Visiting the eastern seaboard can be expensive, but did you know there’s lots of free camping in the Northeast?
If you want to visit this part of the country, you can stick to your budget by boondocking in many dispersed camping areas.
We’ve put together some of our favorite free locations with all the beauty of paid campsites.
Let’s get into it!
Where Is Free Camping in the Northeast?
You might’ve heard it called boondocking or dispersed camping, but it’s all the same to us. You can camp for free on public lands in the Northeast but be prepared for a lack of amenities. Most sites won’t have hookups, and many don’t have bathrooms either.
Like Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont, national forests usually have free dispersed camping. Maine has over 600,000 acres of public-use land for camping and other outdoor activities. The Department of Educational Conservation in New York manages over 50 free campsites throughout the state.
You can find free campgrounds using websites like iOverlander and Campendium. The reviews provide helpful information to help you select the right area to stay.
Pro Tip: Use our guide on Using Campendium to Find Free Camping.
The Best Free Camping in Maine
Seafood lovers probably already know that Maine has some of the best coastal cuisines. The state has become an iconic destination for lobster and crab dishes, and its rocky coastline makes the area especially gorgeous. Inland Maine’s forests and small mountains contribute to the region’s natural beauty.
Jewett Cove Campground can be found along the shores of Moosehead Lake, the largest in the state. During a trip to this public land area, you can enjoy the lake’s clear, cool water and its surrounding forest. This cove even has a boat launch. If you enjoy canoeing or kayaking, you won’t want to miss out on this picturesque, free campsite.
Seboeis Lake Boat Landing
Seboeis Lake also has a boat launch site for watersport enthusiasts. This campsite also has pit toilets, offering an amenity not often found when boondocking. The road to this spot starts out paved, but you’ll need to drive along gravel to get to the sites.
Snagging a campsite during the summer can be competitive because people love to camp here. In the winter, this lake gets snowed in, so look elsewhere if you want to travel in the colder months.
Airline Rips Campsite
Airline Rips sits along the Machias River. Reviewers have mentioned sharp turns along the entryway that would be ill-suited for a big rig. You might scratch this option off your list if you have a large RV.
Van drivers and car campers might want to stay here to enjoy access to birdwatching and fishing. You’ll need to obtain a fishing permit online before you go, though.
Great Free Camping Destinations in Northeastern New York
When we think of New York, we often think of the Statue of Liberty or Times Square in the city. Sometimes we forget about the natural beauty of the upstate. The Adirondack Mountains run through the area, and it borders Lake Champlain. Don’t pass up an opportunity to camp in the forests of northeast New York for free.
Moose River Plains Camping Corridor
Located in the Adirondack Forest Preserve, Moose River Plains Camping Corridor features over 100 spots to stay with a tent or a small camper. The area has 65 ponds and about 100 miles of streams. Yellow markers designate sites that don’t offer any hookups. If you want a quiet place to unplug for a few days, you should check this spot out.
Jones Pond Designated Dispersed
Jones Pond Dispersed camping can be found along dirt roads from the boat launch parking lot. Visitors have stated that only one of the six sites lends itself to a big rig. You may want to scout out the dirt roads before driving your RV down them. And if you’re staying more than three days to enjoy the hiking and watersports, you’ll need a permit.
Walter Pratt Memorial Park
This campground stays open from April to October and offers large, spread-out sites. You’ll take a gravel road to get to Walter Pratt Memorial Park, making it accessible to large rigs as well as small vehicles. The area has 21 campsites with fire rings and picnic tables. Don’t forget to pack out what you bring in to help keep the campground clean.
Pro Tip: While camping for free, make sure to not commit these 7 Deadly Sins of Boondocking.
Explore the Best Free Camping in Vermont
Vermont has become a popular destination for watching autumn color changes and snowsports in the winter. The Green Mountains stretch through the state, making it incredibly picturesque. Like New York, it also borders Lake Champlain. There’s no better way to see this region than these free camping spots in the Northeast.
Bear’s End Dispersed
Near Somerset Reservoir in Shaftsbury, you’ll find Bear’s End dispersed camping. A previous visitor brought in a 45-foot bus, so you’ll probably have no trouble finding a spot for your rig. The roads have been very well-maintained throughout the years. With no shortage of hiking trails in the area, you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained in this quiet spot.
The Kelley Stand area lies along the road connecting Stratton and Arlington. This dirt road can get muddy when wet and may be impassible for large vehicles. You’ll find several sites along the drive, and more tucked further back in this area. The forest lends itself to exploration, and you can discover streams and ponds.
Michigan Brook Road
Only a handful of sites exist at Michigan Brook Road. Reviewers have advised against taking trailers or cars with exceptionally low ground clearance down the dirt road to arrive at the sites. Due to winter weather, you’ll only be able to access this campground from April to October.
Once you arrive, you can hike in the Green Mountain National Forest and enjoy the babbling creek nearby.
Free Camping in the Northeast is Top-Notch!
Consider utilizing free camping in the Northeast during your next trip to the area. We barely scratched the surface of boondocking options. But do some research before you go to ensure your rig will make it to the sites. With no hookups, you’ll also want to bring plenty of water.
We can’t think of a better way to explore the outdoors than to stay in national forests. You’ll get to enjoy the scenery and the wildlife, but best of all, it’s free!
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.
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