This Map Shows The Best Free Camping in America

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This Map Shows The Best Free Camping in America

Do you want to know about the best free camping spots in the entire United States? 

Look no further! 

From the east coast to the west coast, north and south, and everywhere in between… This epic list has the 21 best free camping spots in the Continental United States. 

What are we waiting for?! Let’s dive in! 

Keep in mind: Access and status of these sites is always in flux. Always verify and scout before driving your RV, trailer, or car into the spot.

What Is Free Camping?

Free camping is camping for free on publicly owned lands. It’s typically dry camping or boondocking – meaning you won’t have any electric, water, or sewer hookups around! 

And, although there are exceptions to this, most free campsites don’t have restrooms or trash service, either. 

Important Things to Consider When Free Camping

When you are free camping you won’t have electricity to plug into, so power should be your first consideration. Also you’ll want to conserve fresh water and gray water tank space, since you won’t find a dump station or fresh water fill. 

Free camping is a great way to get out and experience some of the most beautiful places in the country – but it does require some preparation! 

Your main needs will be power, proper waste containment and disposal, and to have your own restroom facility. 

What Type of Vehicle or RV is Best for Free Camping?

The answer really depends on how you want to camp. Do you want amenities or solitude. Sometimes you can have both, but other times a large RV will have no chance of accessing more remote locations.

Here are the types of campers we typically see at free campsites. We include the pros & cons of each in regards to boondocking.

Tent & Car: This is by far the most economical option. The good thing is that most sedans can access the sites listed below. Obviously, you sacrifice a few comforts like a toilet and kitchen. But the tent & car is a classic camping combo.

Van Conversion: A van conversion, especially with high clearance, is the ideal boondocking machine. You can get almost anywhere and you have enough space to stretch out a little bit.

Class A RV: Big luxury RVs are awesome for open-desert boondocking. It’s like taking a personal apartment on the road. The fresh & waste water tanks allow you to live like a normal human while camping. However, access to most sites is limited.

Class B RV: Like van conversions, these are ideal camping machines!

Class C RV: This is the most common drivable RV on the road. They’re typically the type of RVs that rental companies offer as well. You can access most sites in these units and have the luxury of a kitchen and bathroom.

Travel Trailer: If you have a smaller travel trailer and a solid truck, this combo is ideal for camping off-grid.

5th Wheel: You’ll have many luxuries and huge holding tanks, but access is a challenge. If you’re in the southwest, you’ll be in good shape. Elsewhere, you’ll have issues.

Here’s the Map

Here’s our map of the best free campsites in America. Keep in mind, over time they may become a paid-campsite. We always recommend checking with the managing-service before you go camping.

Here’s access to a printable digital version of the map (great for practical & decorative purposes). You can also get a high-quality, pre-printed version at HWY Vintage.

#21 Lake Creek Road

Location: Near Ketchum, Idaho.

GPS: 43.735, -114.3662

Why You’ll Love It: Lake Creek Road is a beautiful dispersed camping spot just outside of Ketchum, Idaho. It sits in a beautiful mountain valley with a creek running through and has plenty of space to spread out.

Camping at this free campsite feels like you’re the only one around because of how spaced out the campsites are. Lake Creek Road is a must-stop if you’re in the Ketchum, Idaho area. Plus, this spot has excellent cell service for Verizon, ATT, and T-mobile.

RV Access Overview: Easy access in and out on a well-maintained dirt road. Good for rigs of all sizes.

Reported Cellular Internet: Excellent cell service reported for most major carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: Here are the five creepiest ghost towns in Idaho. Check them out on your way to this free campsite.

#20 Whetstone Camping Area

Location: Near Williamsburg, Missouri.

GPS: 38.9665, -91.7302

Why You’ll Love It: Whetstone camping area is an excellent free camping spot not too far from I-70 in Eastern Missouri. This free campsite is in a conservation area and is surrounded by little lakes. It’s a quiet, spacious, and peaceful place to stay one or a few nights.

This free campsite has a pit toilet, too. You’ll likely see lots of wildlife when staying at the Whetstone camping area. Also at Whetstone Conservation Area are hiking trails, fishing, and a gun range. 

RV Access Overview: Easy access in and out on a well-maintained gravel road. Rain can easily change the road to mud, though, so be aware. Good for rigs of all sizes.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent cell service reported for most major carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: You can tour the classic Route 66 on your way to Whetstone. Here’s all about the Missouri stretch of the mother road.

#19 Skull Creek

Location: Off of Cow Creek Road in Wolf Creek, Oregon.

GPS: 42.7722, -123.5702

Why You’ll Love It: Skull Creek campground is in a great location, has a vault toilet, and each site has its own fire ring. It’s located just 25 minutes west of I-5 in southern Oregon.

This free campsite makes a great stop when traveling along I-5, it is also a great place to spend a couple of days while exploring the surrounding areas. This campsite is clean and well maintained. The only downside is no cell signal! But, if you don’t require it, be sure to give this spot a go. 

RV Access Overview: Easy access in and out on a well-maintained dirt road; however, there are only 5 sites here, with possible access to more camping along the road. Good for rigs of up to 30 feet, but may be possible for larger rigs if you scout it out ahead of time.

Reported Cellular Internet: No cell service

Nearby Camping Attractions: If you just can’t get enough of Oregon, you can check out these top boondocking sites in the state.

#18 Redden State Forest

Location: Off of Forest Dr in Georgetown, Delaware.

GPS: 38.7411, -75.4083

Why You’ll Love It: You don’t find much free camping along the east coast, and Redden State Forest free campsite is a real gem! This campsite has picnic tables, fire pits, and tons of free firewood cut and stacked in a shelter.

There is also a water spigot and a port-a-potty… These amenities are pretty epic when you know you are getting all of this for free! The sites here are spacious and secluded. Redden State Forest campground is a great place to spend a few days while exploring the beautiful Delaware area. You’re only 40 minutes from Reheboth Beach, 40 minutes from Dover DE, and about 2 hours from Washington DC. 

RV Access Overview: Reservations are needed, and there are only 5 spots with limited turn-around space, so best for smaller size rigs such as vans and truck campers.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent to excellent cell service reported for most major carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: You many want to include a stop by the Poconos if you’re in the area.

#17 Moose River Plains

Location: Inlet, New York.

GPS: 43.6892, -74.7505

Why You’ll Love It: Another epic free campsite along the east coast, this time in Upstate New York! The Moose River Plains camping corridor is a beautiful free camping area near Inlet, New York and has a lot to see and do. 

The Moose River Plains complex is over 79k acres and is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. There are more than 65 ponds and lakes in the area with tons of brooks and streams throughout. The complex has low-lying river valleys, hills, and mountains. It’s a really unique place geographically, and a great place to spend some time. 

RV Access Overview: Bumpy dirt road to access and good for most small campers and trailers. Not recommended for big rigs, but could be a possibility if you scout it out ahead of time.

Reported Cellular Internet: Very limited cell service, if any, for all major carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: New York doesn’t have many free camping options, but here’s a list of the top five in the Empire State.

#16 Jackson Island

Location: Spring City, Tennessee.

GPS: 35.6613, -84.8454

Why You’ll Love It: This free campsite is managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority and it’s a great spot right on a lake. You can literally camp just feet from the water’s edge. 

You can enjoy fishing, water access, a swimming beach, and just relaxing at your site. There are vault toilets available and great views from all the campsites. 

Camping limit is 14 days here. This is a seriously great free camping spot in Tennessee! 

RV Access Overview: Easy to access and maneuver around. Great for rigs of all sizes.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent cell coverage for AT&T and Verizon, but very limited for others.

Nearby Camping Attractions: Tennessee a number of awesome boondocking spots. Here’s our guide to camping in Tennessee.

#15 Santee Coastal Reserve

Location: McClellanville, South Carolina.

GPS: 33.1538, -79.3668

Why You’ll Love It: Free coastal camping in South Carolina? Yes, please! This free campsite is in the Santee Wildlife Management Area, a wetlands conservation area on the coast of South Carolina. 

This free campsite has fire pits, picnic tables, hiking trails, and trash service. The maximum stay here is 4 nights, which is plenty of time to enjoy this serene setting. 

The campsites are large, the area is quiet, and the cell signal is decent. 

RV Access Overview: Well-maintained, hard-packed sand road with easy access for rigs of all sizes.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent cell service for most major carriers.

#14 Green Road

Location: Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness, Free Soil MI.

GPS: 44.1037, -86.4011

Why You’ll Love It: If you want a beautiful free campsite close to Lake Michigan, this is it! The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness area is over 3,000 acres of National Forest and there are great hiking opportunities and wildlife viewing in the area. 

This campground has sites tucked in between trees that are spacious, with plenty of room in-between for a feeling of seclusion. This place is good for vans, tents, and RVs! 

RV Access Overview: Sand and dirt road that is generally easy to maneuver, but be aware when it rains, as it can get muddy. Great for rigs of all sizes, but if you do have a Class A or larger trailer, spots are limited and maneuverability can be tricky.

Reported Cellular Internet: Cell service varies depending on carrier and the tools you have for your mobile internet needs, but seems to be limited to decent service.

Nearby Camping Attractions: Michigan is one of the best states for outdoor activities. Here are the best waterfalls in Michigan and here you’ll find all of the best boondocking spots in the state.

#13 Cypress Creek

Location: Land O’ Lakes, Florida.

GPS: 28.2382, -82.4305

Why You’ll Love It: Free camping in Florida… next to big cities like Tampa? Yep, you better believe it. Cypress Creek Preserve is not only free camping – it’s excellent free camping in Florida. This preserve is managed by Florida Water Management – which means you’ll have to make a reservation for boondocking, but it’s not difficult. It’s also gated, which is great for security! 

Free camping at Cypress Creek Preserve truly feels like you’re out in nature, but it’s only a couple minutes away from shopping, dining, and the amenities of a city. There are many hiking and biking trails here, and bonus: they’re dog friendly! Our dog, River, enjoyed hiking the area every day that we stayed there. 

RV Access Overview: There are two sites here: Primitive and Equestrian. The Equestrian side has good access for all size rigs, while the Primitive side is more limited with low hanging trees.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent cell service for all major carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: Remember to check out one of these best beaches in Florida during your camping trip.

#12 Blankenship Bridge

Location: Near Glacier National Park in Columbia Falls, MT.

GPS: 48.4641, -114.0726

Why You’ll Love It: Free camping near Glacier National Park isn’t easy to come by, but this spot is incredible!

This campsite is known as Blankenship Bridge SW on Freecampsites.net, and as Middle Fork Flathead River on Campendium. The road in can be a bit difficult, but we promise this campsite is absolutely worth it. 

This is dry camping with no amenities, but there is a pit toilet across the bridge in a county park. Cell service at this location is decent, which is excellent and hard to find in the Glacier area! 

RV Access Overview: The access into this spot is limited with a bumpy road not well suited for low clearance vehicles.  Best for 4×4’s, truck campers, small rigs and vans.

Reported Cellular Internet: Good cell service for most major carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: Either on you way to or back, stop by one of these additional best boondocking spots in Montana.

#11 American Girl Mine

Location: Winterhaven, California.

GPS: 32.8368, -114.812

Why You’ll Love It: The American Girl Mine BLM camping spots is one of the most popular free campsites out west, and it’s not hard to see why! This is a very large free camping area with room for plenty of rigs, and for everyone to be spread out.

The American Girl Mine is not too far off of the I-8 highway. American Girl Mine is a great free campsite for snowbirds or winter RVing in the desert. 

RV Access Overview: Easy access well-maintained gravel road. Great for rigs of all sizes.

Reported Cellular Internet: Excellent cell service reported for most major carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: Even though this site is in California, you’re only a few miles away from Yuma, Arizona. Here are the 9 best things to do in Yuma.

#10 Cebolla Mesa Campground

Location: Questa, New Mexico.

GPS: 36.6405, -105.6891

Why You’ll Love It: Cebolla Mesa is a free camping site located right on the Rio Grande Gorge. Located just a few miles from the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, this location is perfect for exploring the area.

There’s a vault toilet on site, fire pits in most sites and some even have picnic tables. 

This is a quiet campground with great views – we definitely recommend it to anyone traveling near the Enchanted Circle. 

RV Access Overview: – Maintained dirt road for fairly easy access in and out, but could become muddy during heavy rains.  Great for most types of RVs under 32 feet long, but possible access for larger rigs if you scout out the area first.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent cell service for most major carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: New Mexico is also home to many eerie ghost towns. Give them a look!

#9 Oliver Reservoir

Location: Kimball, Nebraska.

GPS: 41.2311, -103.8241

Why You’ll Love It: The Oliver Reservoir free campsite is a State Recreation area on Oliver Reservoir in Nebraska. This is a well maintained campground with campsites right on the lake!

Since this is a pretty popular spot, you’ll have the best chance at getting a site during the week. Holiday weekends here can get pretty rowdy, but if you’re okay with that then you’ll fit right in! 

This free campsite has restrooms, trash, and even water and a dump station – which is pretty awesome! They do accept and encourage donations. 

RV Access Overview: Easy access in and out and great space for rigs of all sizes.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent to excellent cell service for most major carriers.

#8 North Beach 

Location: Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi, Texas.

GPS:  27.4774, -97.2742

Why You’ll Love It: Free camping on Padre Island National Seashore… what could get better than that?! Free camping right on the beach with the sound of the waves in the Gulf of Mexico lulling you to sleep… this campsite is one of the best. 

You have access to nearby water and dump station at a fee station nearby, and you’re in a great location to explore the Corpus Christi area. There is plenty of space to spread out to enjoy your stay here. Definitely check this campground out if you’re in the Corpus Christi area. 

RV Access Overview:  Can be good for any size rigs as long as you pay attention to tides and where you are parking on the sand.

Reported Cellular Internet: Cell service varies depending on carrier and the tools you have for your mobile internet needs, but seems to be spotty and limited for most carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: Corpus Christi is home to many historic landmarks (and awesome breweries). These are our favorite Corpus Christi attractions.

#7 Lake Hattie

Location: Near Laramie, Wyoming.

GPS: 41.2375, -105.9014

Why You’ll Love It: The Lake Hattie free campsite is a public access area on Lake Hattie in Wyoming. This free campsite has limited amenities but does include a boat ramp and vault toilet. 

If you have a smaller rig or are in a tent, you can camp right on the water’s edge! Free waterfront camping just can’t be beat. In the summer, the water is warm enough to swim in. Or you can fish!

RV Access Overview: Good for any size rig if you don’t mind a rutted road with a few potholes. Just take it slow. 

Reported Cellular Internet: Cell service varies depending on carrier and the tools you have for your mobile internet needs, but seems to be decent service for most carriers.

Nearby Camping Attractions: Laramie, Wyoming is more than a college town. It’s got a lot of character. Here’s what we did in Laramie while camping at Lake Hattie.

#6 Jackson Mountain Road

Location: San Juan National Forest near Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

GPS: 37.3474, -106.9343

Why You’ll Love It: At just 8 miles from downtown, this is an epic free campsite for spending time near Pagosa Springs. There are no amenities at this campground, you’ll have to pack it in and pack it out. 

Cell data speeds here are decent for every carrier – especially if you have a booster. 

There is plenty of wildlife to view in this area and the campsites are spread out and tucked in the trees. 

Jackson Mountain road is a beautiful free campsite – we definitely recommend a stop here when you check out Pagosa Springs!

RV Access Overview: Dusty, dirt road, but will work for most types of RVs under 32 feet long, but possible access for larger rigs if you scout out the area first.

Reported Cellular Internet: Cell service varies depending on carrier and the tools you have for your mobile internet needs, but seems to be spotty for most carriers, with AT&T a bit better than Verizon.

Nearby Camping Attractions: You must visit one of these amazing hot spings in Pagosa.

#5 North Creek 

Location: Virgin, Utah.

GPS: 37.2203, -113.1616

Why You’ll Love It: If you’re looking for the best free campsite near Zion National Park, this is it. There are no amenities or services at this free campsite, so you’ll need to pack it in and pack it out here. 

Each campsite is separated by trees and shrubs which keeps noise to a minimum and provides a sense of privacy. 

Perhaps the best thing about this free campsite is its proximity to Zion National Park… just 12 miles away! 

RV Access Overview:Great for most types of RVs under 32 feet long, but possible access for larger rigs if you scout out the area first.

Reported Cellular Internet: Cell service varies depending on carrier and the tools you have for your mobile internet needs, but seems to be decent for most carriers, with AT&T a bit better than Verizon.

Nearby Camping Attractions: Our number one recommendation is hiking Angel’s Landing.

#4 Sacred White Shell Mountain

Location: Near Great Sand Dunes National Park in Mosca, Colorado.

GPS: 37.527, -105.5935

Why You’ll Love It: The best part about this free campsite is its proximity to Great Sand Dunes National Park, which is just about 6 miles away. 

Sacred Shell White Mountain is a BLM site with no amenities but great access to all there is to experience in the Sand Dunes and the surrounding Sangre de Cristo mountain range. There is plenty of space for RVers to spread out, to have their own space, but also to be close to each other if you are visiting with a group.  

RV Access Overview: Easy access in and out with a well-maintained dirt road, although some of the turn-offs can be tight. It can be accessed by many different sized rigs; however,  if you have a bigger Class A, it would be a good idea to scout the road beforehand. 

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent to excellent cell service reported for most carriers.

#3 Nomad View

Location: Near Wall, South Dakota.

GPS: 43.8898, -102.227

Why You’ll Love It: This free campsite is in the Buffalo Gap National Grassland. This site is just one mile from the Badlands National Park west entrance and about 5 miles from the quirky town of Wall, South Dakota. 

The location is what makes this campground great, but the views are epic, too. 

This campsite is a great jumping off point for exploring the vastness of Badlands National Park. There are amazing views overlooking parts of the Badlands…you won’t regret staying at this campsite! 

RV Access Overview: Access in is on a well-maintained dirt road with a few potholes and ruts that can be avoided.  Good for any size rigs, just be aware of turn around spots if needed.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent to excellent cell service reported for most carriers.

#2 The Main Drag 

Location: Near Sedona, Arizona.

GPS: 34.8334, -111.9083

Why You’ll Love It: Sedona, Arizona is a beautiful town that, for some, has mystical and healing properties. Whether you believe in that kind of stuff or not, Sedona is a must-see town in Arizona! 

With towering red rock buttes, hundreds of miles of hiking, and excellent night time stargazing opportunities, Sedona should be on everyone’s list. 

The Main Drag is free BLM camping just a few miles outside of Sedona on Forest Road 525. There are many campsites along this road for miles and miles. Some spots are big enough for several rigs, and some are big enough for 1 or 2. 

The road in gets progressively worse the further you go, and it gets harder to turn around also. But, the further in you go, the better views you’ll have! We definitely recommend scouting it out with a tow vehicle to pick out a spot first.
If you’re just staying a quick overnight, about a mile in on 525 is a large camping area to the left that can easily hold 20+ rigs. 

Whie there are no amenities, views are epic. You may even see the hot air balloons landing along the road in the early morning hours. 

RV Access Overview:  Easy access for any size rig if you stay close to the main turn off.  The road gets progressively worse, the further you go in. However, if you scout it out ahead of time, it is quite possible to get any size rig in and out of many pull-offs on this road.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent to excellent cell service reported for most carriers, although T-Mobile seems to have less service.

Nearby Camping Attractions: You can’t go to Sedona without visiting one of the spiritual vortexes.

#1 Wedge Overlook

Location: Emery, Utah.

GPS: 39.0932, -110.7589

Why You’ll Love It: This free campsite definitely deserves the number one spot on this list! Wedge Overlook is on the Little Grand Canyon in Emery, Utah, and the views do not disappoint. 

The road in is a 20 mile long dirt road, but don’t let that deter you. The road is wonderfully maintained and the campsite is definitely the pot of gold at the end, even without amenities.

RV Access Overview: Access in is on an excellent, smooth 20 mile dirt road. While some bigger rigs might be able to use the closer in sites, this area is best meant for smaller campers, vans, tents and some fifth wheels.

Reported Cellular Internet: Decent cell service for most major carriers, with Verizon reportedly being one of the best.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

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