Boon-docking in Tucson - The Hidden Gems

Boondocking is a great way for us to camp for several reasons:

  1. It allowes us to save some camping fees, so we can spend the money on some great adventure or museum pass. Nightly rates range from $20 to $40 in Tucson, so a couple nights of boondocking can really add to the FUN fund. When boon-docking most places are free. We have run into a couple places that charge a small fee - anywhere from $1 to $8 a night.
  2. It takes the pressure off me to be the good neighbor. Not that we ever try to be bad neighbors but when our neighbors are paying $30 a night and our kids are having an off day, and multipule multdowns, I feel quilty that we may be spoiling their paid for spot. When we are out boon-docking I figure they aren't out anything and can move to the otherside of the hill or parking lot if they don't want to listen to it.
  3. Most boon-docking we do is out in BLM land (Bureua of Land Management) and great places for the kids to hike, run, and just be kids. We usually tend to get a lot of "schooling" done while at BLM land because it is more laid back and we can get dirty.
  4. We also meet the coolest people while boon-docking because the saying really is true - birds of a feather flock together.

The two really cool places we boondocked in Tucson where at Snyder Hill, South of Tucson on Ajo and San Juaquin, and Casino De Sol, also on the south side of town off Valencia.

  1. Snyder Hill is BLM land and we stayed 14 days. Most BLM land has time limits posted at the entry points and Snyder Hill allows a person to stay 14 days in any 28 day period. This place is really fun for the kids. There is a smallish mountain/hill they can climb where they can venture out on their own, yet I can have a visual of them. Plus the sunsets a beautiful here.
  2. The Casino is a paved parking lot on one side of the Casino, next to the ampitheature, with lots of really neat people. They say you can stay here infanately except for a few days or a week in April, when the casino asks everyone to leave for about a week, and then you can come back. Staying here is also free, and it sometimes nice to have a little pavement under your feet. We stayed here for a total of 8 days. We actually went to the Casino for 3 days before we went to BLM land because of the record setting rainfall, which would not have been fun in red, wet, sandy clay. We then went back to the casino after our time at Snyder Hill because we were waiting for some mail to arrive. We liked Casino because John could go in at night and watch the craps games after the kids went to bed, and one evenign the kids and I went over to the spa like swimming pool and hot tub - total FUN!

We stayed a total of 22 days without being plugged into or Hooked up to something other than our solar panels. Water was a bit of an issue at times, but mostly we just went down to my moms and filled up our containers. We dumped 3 times in those 22 days, and that was $18 each time, so I figure we saved about $422 by roughing it for a couple weeks, which is awesome because that is almost the cost of the whaling boat trip I want to take in San Deigo in a couple weeks. Not too shabby in my book.



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