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Most Comfortable Areas for Boondocking in the Summer

Sam Leash-profile-image
Sam Leash
June 3, 2022

TL;DR: Beat the summer heat while RV boondocking with these tips: head north for milder weather, find shaded or water-side spots for cooler temps, and enjoy mountainous areas for beautiful views and a respite from the heat.

Most Comfortable Areas for Boondocking in the Summer

As the temperatures start to rise everywhere, many RVers are forfeiting their scenic, private boondocking sites for campgrounds with hookups. Some are even skipping Harvest Hosts locations or only choosing to head there in the evenings and leave early in the morning to avoid the heat. But what if you didn’t have to do that? What if you could still enjoy some scenic views or a fun Harvest Hosts location and be comfortable? Previously, we’ve discussed how to keep your RV cool in the heat, but we want to talk more about where you can stay cool, especially while boondocking. As always, when choosing a boondocking spot in nature, be sure it’s truly public land and not privately owned. Be sure to follow all rules and regulations of the area as well. So grab a cold drink and get ready to learn about the most comfortable areas for boondocking in the summer.Here are some suggestions for comfortable boondocking spots in different regions:

  1. Up North: Head to northern regions, states, and Canada for milder summers. Some recommended areas include parts of Oregon and Washington, Montana, Minnesota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Maine.
  2. In the Shade: Look for boondocking spots under trees or in shaded areas. National forests often offer shaded camping options. Ensure that the tree is tall enough to accommodate your RV and avoid parking under trees during thunderstorms.
  3. Near Water: Boondocking near bodies of water can provide cooler temperatures and the opportunity to swim and cool off. Look for boondocking spots near rivers, smaller lakes, or the Great Lakes.
  4. In the Mountains: Camping in the mountains offers cooler temperatures and beautiful views. Look for mountainous areas and check Campendium for nearby boondocking locations.

Up North

This one is a pretty easy choice for RVers that travel with the seasons. They flock to the south for the winter and seek refuge in the north when it gets warm. Northern regions, states, and Canada have more mild summers than southern states, especially the desert.

While just heading north will provide some relief from the scorching south, it still may not be enough. Temperatures can easily reach into the 80’s or 90’s depending on where you go, which will make your RV very warm on the interior while boondocking. Consider researching average yearly temperatures of destinations you’re considering. Be sure to keep in mind that many areas have been setting new record highs each year during the summer months.

Some of our favorite northern areas to visit in the summer include parts of Oregon and Washington, Montana, Minnesota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and Maine. If you can travel to Canada, then almost all provinces have more mild summers than the United States.

Harvest Hosts Locations

There are plenty of Harvest Hosts locations across the northern United States that deserve a shoutout, but below are some of our favorites that have kept us cool in the summer.

BlackRose Farms - Mapleton, Oregon

This versatile farm offers cooking classes, greenhouse tours, farmers markets, along with fresh produce and eggs to purchase. Check out their website for more details and their events schedule. This Harvest Hosts location has eight pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.wp-content-uploads-2022-06-1-blackrose-farm-1024x768.jpg

Blue Heron French Cheese Co. - Tillamook, Oregon

Get ready to taste some gourmet products that will make your stay very worth it. Blue Heron features a variety of homemade or local-made cheeses, with some being from Tillamook Creamery. They also sell charcuterie ingredients so you can have quite the spread on a summer picnic. This Harvest Hosts location has fifteen pet-friendly spaces for RVs of any size.wp-content-uploads-2022-06-2-blue-heron-1024x768.jpg

Willapa Brewing Co - South Bend, Washington

Willapa is a microbrewery that produces beer, ciders, and wine. They’ve also branched out and started serving food, including oysters, appetizers, sandwiches, pizza, and more. This Harvest Hosts location has three pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-3-willapa-brewing-1024x569.jpg

Red Hawk Stables - Sequim, Washington

Red Hawk Stables is a true farm experience with plenty of animals to visit and horseback riding opportunities available. The farm is pet-friendly as long as your pup can play nicely with other dogs and won't chase the livestock. This Harvest Hosts location has two pet-friendly sites for RVs under thirty feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-4-red-hawk-stables-1024x1024.jpg

White Raven Winery - Columbia Falls, Montana

Located near Glacier National Park, White Raven Winery has been in the making for a while, but just opened in 2021. They currently produce a variety of whites, reds, rosé, and other seasonal offerings, such as mulled wine. This Harvest Hosts location has four pet-friendly sites for RVs under forty-four feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-5-white-raven-1024x768.jpg

[East Shore Smoke House]https://www.harvesthosts.com/hosts/montana/tpHFysSa3x0z1GWigCa1) - Polson, Montana

Harvest Hosts patrons are sure to leave more than satisfied after a dinner at the East Shore Smoke House. This restaurant features a hearty menu with many fantastic options, with their BBQ being the showstopper. They even offer a few Montana beers. Nothing goes better together than BBQ and summer! This Harvest Hosts location has four pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size.wp-content-uploads-2022-06-6-east-shore-sh.jpg

Brakstad Natural Farms - Pequot Lakes, Minnesota

At Brakstad Natural Farms, Harvest Hosts members have the opportunity to both support a small farm and stock their freezer with quality beef products. Brakstad raises their own non-GMO beef, providing many cute available for purchase to members and other farm guests. This Harvest Hosts locations offers two pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-7-brakstad.jpg

Bee Wise Farms - Newberry, Michigan

If beef isn’t your thing, then maybe some jars of honey will do the trick. Bee Wise Farms not only produces and sells honey, but they also offer lavender and other herb products, along with local artwork. This Harvest Hosts location offers two beautiful, pet-friendly spaces for RVs up to thirty feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-8-bee-wise-1024x575.jpg

Rolling Fatties - Kingfield, Maine

Rolling Fatties is a comically-named restaurant that specializes in giant burritos with almost any toppings you can imagine, along with some other sides and snacks. This Harvest Hosts location in Maine offers five pet-friendly sites for RVs up to thirty feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-9-rolling-fatties-1024x1024.jpg

Shalom Orchard Organic Farm & Winery - Franklin, Maine

Owned by a blended family, this certified organic farm offers fruits, vegetables, wines, canned products, and more for sale on-site. There are also plenty of fun nearby activities to make your stay a little more memorable. This Harvest Hosts location offers one pet-friendly space for an RV under thirty feet in length. 

In the Shade

After heading north for the summer, be sure to try to grab a spot in the shade. If you aren’t lucky enough to secure all-day shade, try to ensure that your RV is shaded for at least the hottest portion of the day. Be sure to choose a spot under a tree that is tall enough to accommodate your RV and never stay parked under trees during a thunderstorm. There are too many stories of limbs breaking off of trees and crashing through RVs.

Consider camping in a national forest, which can be an even better option than camping beneath just one or two trees. These free public land boondocking options are found in almost every state. There are protected sections of forest that, similar to parcels managed by the Bureau of Land Management, have specific rules that must be followed.

During the summer, some RVers’ favorite national forests to camp in include the Klamath National Forest in Northern California, Mt. Hood National Forest in Oregon, Flathead National Forest in Montana, and Superior National Forest in Minnesota.

Harvest Hosts Locations

Below are some Harvest Hosts locations near some of these favorite national forests. Check out the Host Locations map to find more locations near even more national forests, state parks, and national parks all across North America.

Stone Circle Cider - Estacada, Oregon

Located near Mt. Hood National Forest, Stone Circle Cider is the perfect summer stop. They produce refreshing sweet, semi-dry, dry, and seasonal ciders. This Harvest Hosts location offers three pet-friendly sites for RVs up to forty-four feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-11-cider-1024x605.jpg

Mt. Shasta Brewing Co - Weed, California

Weed, California, sits at a high elevation and offers a great view of Mt. Shasta, while maintaining close proximity to a few national forests. The brewery produces a wide variety of beers including lagers, IPAs, porters, and lots of fun seasonal favorites. This Harvest Hosts location has seven pet-friendly sites for RVs up to forty-four feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-12-shasta-1024x765.jpg

Bowman Cherry Orchard - Bigfork, Montana

This farm is located within Flathead National Forest and sits right on Flathead Lake. Here, visitors can pick cherries or enjoy any cherry products from the orchard's well-stocked shop. This Harvest Hosts location offers one pet-friendly site for an RV of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-13-bowman.jpg

Murray Farms - Angora, Minnesota

Located just outside of the Kabetogama State Forest, Murray Farms offers a wonderful opportunity to stock your fridge with amazing products, plus a great place to spend the night. In their shop, they offer pork and chicken products, eggs, organic produce, and more. This Harvest Hosts location offers two pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-14-murray.jpg

Near the Water

Boondocking areas located near water tend to be at least a few degrees cooler than those in landlocked areas. Not to mention, these locations allow nearby campers to take a dip in the river, lake, or ocean to cool down. The great lakes make for particularly comfortable camping opportunities in the summer but can be difficult places to dry camp due to the lack of free land. It’s possible to boondock on the beach near oceans, but the opportunities to do so are few and far between. When trying to camp near the water, rivers and smaller lakes are going to be your best bet. Be sure to research the location to ensure RVs are welcome there and to assess if there will be lots of bugs or people using the area for recreation on the weekends. If neither of those factors bother you, then you’ll have more choices.

Finding actual boondocking locations near bodies of water can be almost impossible if you don’t know where to look. We recommend using Campendium Campendium to find free boondocking spots that have been submitted and reviewed by other RVers.

Harvest Hosts Locations

There are plenty of Harvest Hosts locations located either beside or within close proximity to bodies of water. As stated above, this can produce cooler temperatures overall while also offering you a place to swim and cool off. If the water is for recreation, be sure to bring your swimming gear and a canoe or kayak!

BBI Lake Effect Resort & Marina - Bois Blanc Island, Michigan

If you enjoy peace, solitude, and water recreation, then this location is for you. Visitors will need to arrive by ferry in order to take advantage of this incredible summer spot. This Harvest Hosts location offers five pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-15-marina-1024x576.webp

Rolling Forks Vineyards - Glenwood, Minnesota

Located just a short distance from Lake Minnewaska, this scenic vineyard is very memorable. Almost all grapes for their wines are either grown on-site or locally. They also produce a variety of whites, reds, blush, and fruit wines, offering Harvest Hosts members two pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-16-rolling-forks-1024x683.jpg

The Silver Knot - Ronan, Montana

The Silver Knot is a working cattle farm that doubles as a wedding venue. As to be expected, the area is absolutely stunning and is just a short drive from Flathead Lake, which is great for summer recreation. Their on-site gift shop offers honey, jams, Montana apparel, and more, giving visitors the perfect opportunity to patronize the business. This Harvest Hosts offers seven pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-17-silver-knot.jpg

Riley Creek Blueberry Farm- Laclede, Idaho

Located on Riley Creek and just a short distance from the Pend Oreille River, this berry farm is a great stop, offering incredible u-pick selections, jams, and other products for purchase. This Harvest Hosts location has four pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-18-blueberries.jpg

Willapa Bay Heritage Farm - Long Beach, Washington

With Willapa Bay to one side and the Pacific Ocean to the other, Willapa Bay Heritage Farm is a perfect summer stop. This hobby farm practices sustainable farming to provide amazing produce and unforgettable experiences year round. They have four pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-19-willapa-1024x768.jpg

Moth Lane Brewing - Ellerslie, Prince Edward Isle

This smaller, fun brewery is a hidden gem located seaside on West Prince Edward Island. They offer a wide variety of beers and regularly feature local food trucks. This location has two pet-friendly sites available for RVs under forty-four feet in length . wp-content-uploads-2022-06-20-moth-lane.jpg

Sisterhood Fibres - Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Located on the Tatamagouche Bay in Nova Scotia, this stop is very relaxing for many travelers. For any of our members who may alos be avid knitters, their shop is full of a variety of supplies to allow you to restock, but they also offer plenty of already-made gifts to purchase as well. This Harvest Hosts location has three pet-friendly sites available for RVs under forty-four feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-21-fibres-1024x683.jpg

Pepper Hill Farm - South Thomaston, Maine

Tucked away on the Weskeag River, Pepper Hill Farm is in close proximity to a variety of lighthouses, oyster farms, lobster pounds, seaside villages, and more. During your stay, your donation to the farm will provide you with access to a bag of horse-approved snacks for the farm's beautiful horses. This Harvest Hosts location offers four pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-22-pepper-hill.jpg

Willy’s Gym - Eastham, Massachusetts

Located on the way to Provincetown and Cape Cod National Seashore, driving to Willy's Gym will take you on quite the scenic drive, while also landing you within close proximity to beautiful lighthouses. By purchasing a day pass, you can stretch your legs from traveling and enjoy rock climbing, a pool and jacuzzi, and so much more. This Harvest Hosts location offers three pet-friendly sites for RVs up to forty-four feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-23-willys-gym-1024x801.jpg

Valcour Brewing Company - Plattsburgh, New York

This brewery is situated in a series of historic stone barracks located right alongside Cumberland Bay of Lake Champlain. The brewery typically produces three to five flagship brews, as well as a variety of seasonal beers, while also serving a hand-picked selection of New York wine, spirits, and hard ciders. They also offer a very robust, in-house menu with something for everyone. This Harvest Hosts location offers four pet-friendly spots for RVs of any size, making RV camping in New York a breeze. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-24-brewery-1024x765.jpg

FamilyFunland - Kincardine, Ontario

Our last water-side stop is located along the Canadian side of Lake Huron in Ontario. This stop is perfect for those traveling with kids or even just adults who still like to have fun. Family Funland offers go-karts, mini golf, a driving range, a playground, and  a great on-site restaurant to round out your day. This Harvest Hosts location has ten pet-friendly spots available for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-25-funland-1024x443.jpg

In the Mountains

Camping in the mountains provides cooler temperatures and offers ample things to do. The higher elevation means the weather will always be at least a few degrees cooler than the weather in the valleys below, while often offering campers a more beautiful view as well. RV camping in the mountains is entirely possible and can even offer more private spots due to the lack of large flat spaces.

There are so many mountains of various sizes throughout North America. Be sure to find an area that you like and check out Campendium for the scoop on nearby boondocking locations.

Harvest Hosts Locations

With so many mountains across the United States, it’s very easy to find Harvest Hosts at a higher elevation. You’ll have even more choices with a Boondockers Welcome membership added on. Below, we've listed just some of our favorite Harvest Hosts mountain camping locations.

Mountain Mist Farms - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited national park in the United States. Even with all the tourist attractions nearby, you can still use your Harvest Hosts membership at Mountain Mist Farms winery for a fee-free stay. While visiting, members can snag some u-pick produce, as well as beautiful bottles of wine, fresh honey, and even a Christmas tree in the correct season. This Harvest Hosts location offers five pet-friendly sites for RVs under thirty feet in length. Be sure to plan your visit well in advance because this location tends to fill up quickly. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-26-mountain-mist-1024x627.jpg

Marie's Lavender Field - Robbinsville, North Carolina

Located in the Appalachian Mountains, Marie’s Lavender Field is a cool, yet relaxing place to stay. If there aren’t any lavender products available for purchase, consider donating or compensating the host for an educational tour. This Harvest Hosts location offers two pet-friendly spots for RVs under thirty-five feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-27-lavender-1024x768.jpg

Owl Moon Farm - Lexington, Virginia

Continuing through Appalachia, this family farm stays busy with their sheep, chickens, cows, and numerous projects. They have quite the selection of goodies for sale, including apothecary products, jewelry, yarn, baked goods, and other locally-produced goods. Owl Moon Farm offers two pet-friendly sites for RVs up to forty feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-28-owl-moon-1024x684.jpg

Man in the Moon Farm - New Castle, Virginia

Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, Man in the Moon farm will not disappoint. Their thirty-seven-acre property is home to dozens of alpacas, which they breed and show, while also periodically shearing them for their fleece to produce goods. They also sell fibers and soaps, as well. This Harvest Hosts location offers one site for an RV under thirty feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-28-moon.jpg

The Minestream Farm - Shade Gap, Pennsylvania

The furthest north on our list takes us to a busy produce and livestock farm raised without the aid of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or antibiotics. Here, visitors can purchase cuts of meat, sausages, eggs, pre-assembled dinners, sauces, soaps, produce, and so much more. This Harvest Hosts location offers four pet-friendly sites for RVs up to thirty-five feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-29-minestream-1024x576.jpg

Lawson Adventure Park & Resort - Dumont, Colorado

Colorado is synonymous with mountains, and the summer temperatures at the higher elevation make for a much more comfortable season. Get ready to get outside and enjoy the mountains with ziplines, river rafting, ATV tours, and more. If you happen to be there on one of the very few rainy days of the year, then head to the Adventure Basecamp Bar & Grille House for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This Harvest Hosts location offers three pet-friendly sites for RVs up to thirty feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-30-adventure-1024x682.jpg

Tenderfoot Farm - Twin Lakes, Colorado

This fun farm in Twin Lakes, Colorado, raises pigs, cows, chickens, and ducks and sells some of their products. They also have a car repair shop right on-site called Balltown Mini Motors for anyone needed a tune-up or vehicle repair. Tenderfoot Farm offers three pet-friendly spots for RVs up to twenty-five feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-31-tenderfoot.jpg

Grumpy Chicken Farm - Sandpoint, Idaho

The Rocky Mountains stretch pretty far north, even into Idaho. Despite what images the name of this farm may conjure, Grumpy Chicken Farm is actually a flower farm with a few (presumably grumpy) chickens running around. They offer u-pick flowers, vegetables, and herbs, as well as five pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-32-grumpy-1024x1024.jpg

Hymas Family Farm - Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Hymas Family Farm is a regenerative farm that raises pigs, cows, chickens, while also growing vegetables and fruits in holistic ways without the use of GMOs. Here, visitors can purchase any of their pork, beef, chicken, or produce products, along with raw milk. This Harvest Hosts location offers three pet-friendly sites for RVs up to forty-four feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-33-hymas-1024x1024.jpg

Infuse Organics - Leavenworth, Washington

Located within the North Cascades mountain range, this unique farm produces flowers, berries, and medicinal herbs. Visitors can purchase fresh produce or any of the salves, tinctures, soaps, and other products that are produced on the farm. This Harvest Hosts location offers one pet-friendly spot for an RV under thirty feet in length. wp-content-uploads-2022-06-34-infuse-1024x1024.jpg

Ovenell's Heritage Inn, Guesthouses & Cabins @ Double O Ranch - Concrete, Washington

This historic 580-acre cattle ranch is the very definition of scenic. Here, visitors can purchase baked goods, honey, beef products, and more. If you’d like a break from RVing, be sure to check out their cabins and guesthouses. This Harvest Hosts location offers three pet-friendly sites for RVs of any size.

Staying cool during the summer months while RVing is no easy feat, but it can be done even without air conditioning. Remember to always follow the Code of Conduct at Harvest Hosts locations, and leave nature better than you found it. Be sure to clean up after your pets and grab any garbage you see when camping to pay it forward to the next lucky RVer to grab your spot. We hope this list can give you some ideas of where to go this summer while allowing you to stay comfortable in the heat!

About Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a unique RV camping membership that offers self-contained RVers unlimited overnight stays at over 5,666 small businesses across North America with no camping fees. Boondock at farms, wineries, breweries, attractions, and other one-of-a-kind destinations throughout North America, and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that a safe place to stay is always nearby!
Sam Leash-profile-image
Sam Leash
Sam is a seasoned traveler and RVer of 4+ years. She loves adventures of all kinds and spends as much time on the road as she can. When not exploring in her RV or writing about her travels, you can find her reading a good book, cooking a delicious meal, caring for her plants, or hiking with her dogs.