Boondocking in the US

celilio park boondocking in the us

Boondocking in the US

Written By: Andrew
March 25, 2020

Boondocking in the US

WHAT THE…. is Boondocking, us Aussies will ask? We had the same response not that long ago. But, boondocking is exactly what Travel is Sweet is doing on our 9 month adventure around the US and Canada. Boondocking is the term us RVer’s like to give to RVing when we are not connected to water, electricity and sewerage while camping. In other words, we are only relying on what we have in our RV. It can also be referred to as dispersed camping, dry camping, wild camping and free camping. So, boondocking in the US is our current lifestyle as of March 2020. Considering the state of affairs around the world due to the COVID19 outbreak, we are in the best possible spot. Self-isolating in our RV, only venturing out for food and supplies. Boondocking in the US has been a God send.

So, for those of you that don’t already know Carolyn and I (Travel is Sweet) have invested in an RV for the duration of this journey. So, without further ado I would like to introduce you to “Cup Cake” our 1989 23ft Winnebago. She may be old but she suits us to a tee.

cup cake boondocking in the us

Check out our video below of Cup Cake. We are fully self-contained, and as such, are able to visit and stay at places without having to pay accommodation fees. Yes, that’s right FREE!!!

 However, there are some restrictions on where we can stay 😊. But hey, that’s half the fun of boondocking in the US. Finding those places where we can sit back, relax and soak it all in. And the best part, pay nothing 😊.  So, we will give a review of the locations we boondock at, to show you the unique side of our travels.

boondocking in the us

Boondocking in the US Celilo Park, Oregon

While technically not our first location, that belongs to a truck stop on I-90 Indian John Hill Rest Stop just outside Cle Elum, Oregon.

indian john hill rest area boondocking

We feel Celilo Park reflects our first true taste of boondocking in the US.

celilo park boondocking

Located to the river side of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway on the Columbia River, which borders Washington and Oregon.

columbia river travel is sweet

Lying about 13 kilometres west of Biggs Junction, and to the south banks of the river in Oregon. Owned and operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers it offers plenty to RVers, campers, picnicker’s and water sport enthusiasts alike. There are plenty of spaces for RV’s of all lengths on a paved surface. It also has grassy areas and trees for shade for campers and day trippers. To the west of the area is a boat ramp for those wishing to launch their vessels.

car park travel is sweet

Situated within the park grounds are 2 toilet blocks. The first is your normal flushable toilets, the second, as we Aussies would call it, a long drop (bio toilet for our US friends). Both are kept very clean and we had no hesitation in using either of them.

toilet block boondocking in the us

There is a large garbage bin (dumpster) to use, also picnic tables and chairs. However, there are some negatives to this site. The big one is it sits right next to the railway line. So, if the sound of loud train horns blowing quite frequently throughout the day and night bother you, then this may not be the place for you. Also, the freeway butts alongside the railway line. So, traffic noise is present too.

train and highway boondocking in the us

Albeit, as a fairly safe area to stop for the night there were some questionable looking people. But this may have been our paranoia talking 😊.

Extra Information and Conclusion

Additionally, our AT&T internet connection worked well allowing Carolyn to continue working. This park is one of eight in the local area that allows you to do boondocking.

all the camp spots travel is sweet

You have a combined total of 14 nights free parking between all eight over a 30 day period. Park rangers come around every day and write down registration plate details, so don’t get caught staying for more than 14 days all up, or you may be penalised. The park ranger that I talked with to get this information was very helpful.

cup cake in her spot travel is sweet

Overall, our first real boondocking in the US at Celilo Park, Oregon turned out to be a wonderful experience. While the noise from the trains can be off putting it didn’t affect our stay. The area is kept tidy and utilities cleaned. So, we would recommend this as a place to spend some time, chilling out and relaxing.


Cost: Free up to 14 nights
Access: *****
Location: ****
Cleanliness: *****
Site Quality: *****
Noise: **
Safety: ****
AT&T Signal: ***
GPS: 44.059246, -121.01614

Check out our other reviews of Reynolds Pond and Kla-Mo-Ya Casino.

Join Us

We would love for you to follow our exciting journey by joining our friends list here on our website and following us on our social media pages below.

If you have any comments or questions we would love you to leave them below or email us.

Take care

Andrew & Carolyn

Travel is Sweet (Dream It, Experience It, Treasure It)

Travel Tips

Find Your Flights

Skyscanner is a great tool for searching websites and airlines around the world to make sure you get the best available price possible.

Book Your Accommodation is our go to tool for booking hotels. It always gives us a large variety of hotels at great rates. We also use Airbnb as a wonderful alternative for those places you may want to go and live with the locals.

Always Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must and this is speaking from experience. Comprehensive protection will protect you against illness, injury, theft, accidents and cancellations. Just in case something goes wrong, heaven forbid. We never travel without it, having used it several times over the years. World Nomads have years of experience and knowledge to look after all your travel needs.

All images, photographs, and prints are exclusive property and may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, transmitted, manipulated or used in any way without written permission of the photographer.
Disclosure: “Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.”

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  1. Grant Pennycuick

    Hi Andrew and Carolyn

    Have been wondering what you guys were doing and weather you have been caught up with the CV19.
    Great to read your blog and see you are doing well in the midst of the pandemic. Lorraine and I often discuss doing a caravaning or RVing holiday but are a bit tentative (chicken)to give it a try. Cup Cake looks very comfortable though. I expect that the price of gas is pretty cheap in the US.

    I hope everything works out for you and you really enjoy the experience.
    All the best from your Ready Creek friends. I pray that God blesses you and keeps you safe.

    • Andrew

      Hi Grant,
      Thanks for you comments. We are doing really well just self isolating in Cup Cake as much as possible. Only getting out when we need supplies, gas or RV needs. Cup Cake is going well except she has a bit of a drinking problem lol. Lucky gas prices are better here than at home.
      Some spots we have boondocked in have been remote and a bit nervy but it has been an experience we wont forget. You and Lorraine should do it, the hard step is the first one. Let us know if we can be of any help. Thanks for your continued prayers they are very welcomed. Say hi to RCBC for us. We are watching the online services which is pretty cool from the US.


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