Four Ways to Camp for Free in the United States

The United States is full of great campgrounds ranging in prices from free to over 30 USD. (Yes, over 30 USD for camping… that’s California for ya.) Paid campgrounds tend to have fresh water, bathroom facilities, RV hookups, and camp hosts. If you can pass on these things, you can camp for free! We’ve come up with a list of four ways to camp for free in the states. We did a two month road trip across the United States and only paid 80 USD in accommodation by using each of these four great free camping opportunities.

 

Check out all these great free campsites!

 

 

FREECAMPSITES.NET:

This website is full free campsites scattered across the country. The campsites range from great rest area campsites, to primitive sites, and even old campgrounds. To use this site, you simply go to the link above, type in the area you’re looking to stay, and pick from one of the campsites on the screen! You’ll find a lot more free campsites on the western side of the states, as there is much more open land there, but a few will pop up in the east side too! One downfall to this website is that to connect with this website, you must have internet.

 

{Traveler’s Tip… Find campsites in areas you’re heading and pin them on maps.me before you lose service. If you don’t know what in the world maps.me is, check out this post for all the deets!}

{Traveler’s Tip… Be sure to read the reviews on the different sites. You’ll want to make sure your car can make it over the possibly bumpy trail that leads there! If you stay somewhere, leave a review for future campers too!}

 

 

FOREST SERVICE LAND:

Forest Service Land accounts for a large part of the wild side of the states. Nearly all National Parks across the United States are encompassed by Forest Service Land, making finding this free camping land easy to find! You’ll be camping in the wilderness, with amazing forests around you with not a single soul in sight… Be sure to leave the site as you found it. Find a full list of rules and guidelines to using this land here.
Here’s the jist…
• pack out whatever you pack in,
• you can stay for up to 16 days in one place over one calendar year,
• if you’re going number 2, be sure to dig a hole at least 6 inches deep and 100 feet away from any water source,
• check fire restrictions of the area before starting a fire

 

BLM (BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT): 

BLM land works just like the Forest Service Land. You won’t find it surrounding each national park, but you will find it scattered all across the states! You’ll be surprised how often you will see signs posted stating the land is “BLM Land, You’re Public Lands”.

 

The rules are basically the same for BLM land as they are for Forest Service Lands with one minor difference in the duration of your stay. You can camp on BLM land for 14 days in a one-month period. 28 days after leaving this site, you can return and camp again! No waiting one full calendar year to return to your great free campsite!

 

WALMART PARKING LOTS:

We’ve all seen the campervan, trailers, and motorhomes in the outer parts of Walmart parking lots. While they seem like eye sores, allowing free camping for tired traveler’s is really doing everyone on the road a favor! You can camp for free in most Walmart parking lots, however, some have signs stating that no overnight parking is allowed. While Walmart Parking Lots aren’t always the most scenic campsites, camping in Walmart does have its perks. Most Walmart stores are open 24/7, meaning you have a toilet at your doorstep all hours of the night, a place to grab some warm coffee in the morning, and even do a bit of grocery shopping too!

 

{Traveler’s Tip… Drive around the parking lot first to be sure there are no signs that say no overnight parking. While you’re driving around keep an eye out for the most secluded spot with little light disturbance and away from the busy road.}

 

 

PILOT’S FLYING J TRUCK STOPS:

Yes, we know we said this post was about four free ways to camp in the United States for free, but we had to throw in this extra free campsite. We didn’t publicize this post as five free ways to camp in the states for free because we have not yet tried this last free camping place for ourselves. The above four free camping ways have been enough for us in our travels thus far. We have heard mixed reviews on staying at truck stops overnight. Some people argue that they are too noisy, or not nice, while others say they are better than Walmart and rest stops. We’ve found a post from a regular free camper at Pilot’s Flying J, so be sure to head here to read all you need to know about camping for free at one of these truck stops.

 


 

Remember that wherever you choose to camp for free, you need to be respectful of the area. By leaving food or garbage, you’re making the area ugly and harming the wildlife by feeding them human food and garbage. Clean up after yourself, packing all garbage and food scraps with you. And no, no one wants to see your used toilet paper either, so pack that out too! Be sure to have enough water to get you through your time in the outdoors, be aware of bears or other large wildlife, and always follow fire restrictions of the area! Camping for free is a great luxury, let’s make sure we do our part so everyone else can enjoy free camping too!

 


 

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