Lawn Parking

We have been loving Airbnb* lately. Not because we are staying in someone else’s home (we do that too), but because we are staying on their lawn.

Airbnb has been a go-to site of ours since our last visit to New York City in 2015. During that time we stayed in a Brooklyn apartment, chosen for its location and price value. Once we got over the amount of animal furs (except for the snake skin-that’s just weird) draping over each piece of furniture and found the wine opener, we knew Airbnb had hooked us. Ever since, Nick and I have gravitated towards renting a place whenever we travel, especially since hotels tend to be more expensive. Often the spots are off the beaten path but allow for a unique and less-touristy experience.

We originally planned to stay in state parks on our RV road-trip, not knowing that Airbnb might be an option for us. However, this past summer Nick and I made the mistake of waiting to book a place down in Florida. We forgot that we would be becoming “Snowbirds” and that all RV parks and state parks book at least six months in advance for the winter. We were getting increasingly desperate as the summer wound down and still we had no place to park our home. One morning, we decided to see if Airbnb had anything to offer, and we were pleasantly surprised.

While I don’t want to divulge our secret to anyone else looking to RV full-time, if you go under ‘Unique homes’ there are a whole bunch of options, including igloos, yurts, and tipis. And caves! I really want to know who has rights to one of those. We always check the ‘Campsite’ option, not ‘Camper/RV’ (‘Camper/RV’ is for people who want to stay in a camper. Look at this one). Even better, most of the options include water, electric, and high-speed internet.

 
Don’t get distracted by the ‘Castle’ option, even though that sounds really cool.

Don’t get distracted by the ‘Castle’ option, even though that sounds really cool.

 

We are now at our third Airbnb site fifteen minutes from Crystal River, FL. And so far none of the sites have disappointed. The hosts are very accommodating and they often provide great tips such as where to eat, do laundry, and places to visit. These are places we would not have explored otherwise, but we are so glad we did. In DeLand, FL, our spot was in such a great location that it made more sense for us to ride our bikes to see manatees(!) in Blue Spring State Park rather than drive over. Our host also happened to be in the same line of work as us, so we got to visit his company and have some ideation time. In Mount Dora our host even graciously watched our cats while we flew home for Christmas.

From left to right: working on the lawn in Deland, a tight squeeze in Mount Dora, and our backyard view in Crystal River.

It seems as if Airbnb is still relatively new in the campsite-hosting arena. Options aren’t as abundant yet, especially beyond Florida. But we know it’s the start of an exciting time when we can rent someone’s lawn!

Our spring site isn’t on Airbnb and probably won’t ever be, but I’m looking forward to our stop in May. It comes with a little pond and a waterfall to fall asleep by. Music is provided by squirrels dropping (more like aggressively throwing) pinecones on top of our RV. We can even pick fresh vegetables from the garden for our meals. There are trails to go apple picking and to watch deer nest in the high grass. Often the host will cook dinner for us. Our payment usually consists of a case of Genesee beer every so often or a home-cooked meal of our own. It’s comforting to know we have exclusive rights to this cozy spot in Holland, NY, come every summer.

A view from our Holland campsite. No photoshop required for this photo!

*Please know that I am not associated with Airbnb, nor am I making any money off this post even though I feel I should be for the glowing review it’s getting.