9 free activities for Vanlifers that won't break the bank

The beauty of Vanlife is that it allows you to break away from the usual routine and embrace the unexpected. Oftentimes, the best things in life are free. Here we round out nine free activities for Vanlifers that will enrich your experience on the road without breaking the bank.




Freedom in the desert with a Bemyvan B-Adventure build



Go on a hike

There’s nothing like getting out of the van and into the outdoors. Feel the wind on your face and the sun on your skin as you wander through nature’s backyard. “For the love of the outdoors” isn’t just a catchy tagline. At Bemyvan, getting outside and enjoying the magic of nature while sharing it with others is why we exist. Hiking is something for all ages, and there are plentiful trails to choose from, no matter what state you cruise up to! Make sure to check out the app, Alltrails for detailed information and recommendations of trails in your local area.




Vanlife dog traveling and enjoying the outdoors, facing a lake and mountains




Explore a ghost town

The great American West is dotted with ghost towns and abandoned settlements that once thrived. These ghost towns are a window to the past, and they’re often free (or cheap) to explore. Take a walk through the deserted streets and imagine life on those dusty roads many moons ago. They make great opportunities for photo ops, and you might even leave with a ghost sighting! One we highly recommend is Bodie, located in Mono County, California.




Ghost town in California called Pioneertown, perfect to explore with a Be-Van built by Bemyvan




Volunteer with locals 

What better way to discover your new destination than with the locals, working towards a cause, a shared vision, and coming together to make the community better for all? Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet locals while leaving a positive impact. There are programs for national park cleanups; you could help put on local events like farmer’s markets or lend a helping hand and a friendly smile at a senior center. Other possibilities you can consider are HelpX or Woofing to volunteer in organic farms, ranches or even lifestyle blocks.


There are countless ways to give back. Enjoy a rewarding experience while learning about the location from a unique perspective as you hear stories from the locals themselves.




Volunteers helping local communities Vanlife




Go fishing

Remember the old saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”? There’s truth to it! Fishing is an enjoyable, leisurely activity that can be so rewarding when you reel in your first catch. With miles and miles of freshwater streams and lakes around the country, there’s no shortage of opportunities to reel ‘em in, and our B-Vans have plentiful storage for all your fishing gear.



There truly is nothing like freshly caught trout from a cool mountain stream, cooked to perfection with homemade chips on a campfire under the stars. Fishing brings you back to simplicity. Note some locations will require a fishing permit before you’re allowed to cast a line – so make sure to double-check before you head downstream!



Check out our Virtual Builder!


Vanlife couple fishing free activities Be-Van Bemyvan




Watch the wildlife

Whether you’re cruising around the Oregon coast or exploring the backcountry of the Sierras by foot, there’s no shortage of jaw-dropping wildlife to observe. Take a walk along the shore and watch for whales, sea lions, and seals. Give birdwatching a go on a relaxing Sunday under the trees. Keep your eyes wide open for Mountain Lions and Big Horn Sheep sightings. It’s a gift to be able to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats, from a distance, and with respect for the land.


You can also contribute to science and conservation with your bird observations through the eBIRD project, and learn more about identifying birds you hear thanks to the BirdNET app (a sort of Shazam from bird song recordings).




Whales in the pacific ocean




Beach days 

The coastline of the U.S. is a wondrous place to plant your feet in the cool sand as you slow down and appreciate the Vanlife journey. Ride the waves on a boogie board as you soak up Vitamin D, collect seashells on a leisurely stroll, or people watch in Venice Beach as you catch a drum circle and watch the surfers. Some beaches even have free overnight parking near them -giving you the perfect opportunity to take in the sunsets from your Van window. Check out the app iOverlander for peer-reviewed recommendations for overnight parking spots.




Be-Home parked in Newport Beach California





When the sun goes down in all its glory and the first star of the night becomes visible, it’s time to lay back in your cozy van bed and marvel at the beauty of the night sky. Our B-Vans are perfect for Stargazers. Our builds have abundant windows to let in the fresh air, with an option to add a Skylight. We can’t recommend Joshua Tree National Park enough for Stargazing, where views of the Milky Way are otherworldly against the backdrop of unique Joshua Trees, with the sounds of coyotes in the distance lulling you to sleep.




B-Van Nighttime Joshua Tree



Practice photography 

Vanlife provides endless opportunities for incredible photography. You don’t have to spend a cent to take amazing photos! Whether it be the magnificent mountain scenery or interesting humans you meet along the way, Vanlife is an awesome way to get to know your camera outside of manual mode. Collect memories while capturing fleeting moments of simplicity and nature. Photography is also a fantastic way to make money while you travel. Check out our blog on remote jobs perfect for Vanlife to see other ways to roll in the dough as you roll through new streets and towns.




Girl in a adventure van checking the outdoor pictures she took



Make new friends 

Last but not least, connect with amazing fellow Vanlifers! With one of the coolest, friendliest, most diverse communities on Earth, meet fellow nomadic hearts as you journey from one destination to the next. Countless Vanlife gatherings are happening throughout the year, many free, and some we’ll be parking at, like the Adventure Van Expo! Who says making adult friendships has to be difficult? The Vanlife community is warm, welcoming, and full of adventures to share. 





Friends building community at adventure van expo 2022 lake tahoe



So there you have it, nine free activities that any Vanlifer can take advantage of without breaking the bank. What’s been your favorite activity on the road so far? We’d love to hear from you on Instagram!



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