Did you know that some of the best campsites in the country are free?
Thanks to BLM and the Forest Service, the U.S. maintains thousands of miles of pristine nature that you can pitch a tent in without paying a cent. No park passes, fees, or licenses are required.
We’ve compiled a list of ten of the best free campsites to visit this summer. We’ll also cover some of the things you need to know about the more primitive ones.
The Deets on Free Camping
The best things in life are free. And that includes campsites.
Free camping is abundant across the U.S. on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Sometimes referred to as boondocking or dispersed camping, you can expect a primitive stay. Most are also free of amenities like picnic tables, fire rings, and sometimes even pit toilets.
But don’t let the lack of facilities scare you.
They allow you to really see America up close and personally. Just remember to treat the land responsibly by packing out your trash and following water and fire rules. Before long, you’ll be experiencing nature in its purest, wildest forms.
Let’s look at some of the best free campsites the U.S. has to offer.
Remember, conditions and availability are constantly changing for off-grid campsites. Research campground accessibility before you go.
#1 Sugar Hill Fire Tower Designated Dispersed, New York
GPS: 42.3905, -77.0033
The Sugar Hill Fire Tower Designated Dispersed campground sits in Watkins Glen, New York. And true to its name, there’s a decommissioned fire tower onsite! The tower was built in 1941 and operated until 1979, but visitors can still climb and explore the structure.
The view at the top stretches for about 15 miles on a clear day.
Sugar Hill is also home to tall trees, grassy sites, and hiking trails. It’s just 15 minutes from Watkins Glen State Park. You can fish in Spencer Pond or take your horse for a ride along the Six Nations Trail System. And unlike most free grounds, Sugar Hill has amenities like fire rings, flush toilets, and picnic tables.
It’s a fantastic option for a summer trip to New York State.
Reviewers have reported this spot is big rig friendly. RVs over 30 feet have camped at Sugar Hill.
While You’re There: 7 Spectacular Castles in New York
#2 Sahara Creek Horse Camp, Washington
GPS: 46.7562, -122.0868
You’ll find Sahara Creek Horse Camp on the western side of Washington, near Ashford. With hitching rails and dedicated equestrian-friendly plots, this is one of the best free campsites for horse lovers. It’s also close to Rainier National Park, making it a perfect destination for hiking and outdoor activities.
It also offers a few amenities that many no-cost options don’t. Vault restrooms, picnic tables, and trash pickup are among the perks you’ll find here.
This beautiful area doesn’t cost a dime, except for one caveat. Visitors need a Washington State Discover Pass to avoid fees. However, at the low price of $30 for an entire year, a Discover Pass is well worth the money to access this and other local treasures.
Note that reservations are required.
This campground has space for many different camping styles, from tents to teardrops to Class A RVs.
While You’re There: Can You Visit Kurt Cobain’s House in Washington?
#3 Seboeis Lake Boat Landing, Maine
GPS: 45.5007, -68.8885
Seboeis Lake Boat Landing rests on the edge of Lake Seboeis in Brownville, Maine. This free campsite is one of the best in the middle region of the state. You’ll find fishing, boating, and animal-watching in this cool, forested area. You can even ride ATVs and other off-road vehicles during the spring and summer.
Seboeis Lake Boat Landing includes uncommon amenities like a boat ramp with water access. The spaces also have fire rings and picnic tables.
Many visitors even report good cell phone service.
They only offer four RV-friendly sites, but plenty of dispersed tent spaces are available.
While You’re There: Can You Go Whale Watching on Maine’s Coast?
#4 Green Road Dispersed, Michigan
GPS: 44.1037, -86.4011
The Green Road Dispersed campground sits in the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness in Forest Soil, Michigan. And just like the area name suggests, dunes are one of the nearby natural features. These natural wonders are part of a range more than 3,000 years old!
Green Road offers lots of activities. You can go hammock camping on the beach, hike the nearby trails, or explore the dunes. You can also relax with a small fire, burn bans permitting. Visitors report cool weather and few bugs during the summer months.
Green Road is a primitive space in every sense of the term. There aren’t any amenities like trash service or drinking water. But experiencing this pristine slice of nature is well worth a few nights of boondocking.
This spot is ideal for van camping or tent camping; however, a few small Class C RVs have reported staying at Green Road.
While You’re There: Woah! What is a Michigan Red Hot?
#5 Nip & Tuck Road Dispersed, Idaho
GPS: 44.2491, -114.9713
You can find Nip & Tuck Road Dispersed campgrounds in Stanley, Idaho. Enjoy a clear night sky and wide open spaces in the middle of the Gem State. You’ll also love the gorgeous views of nearby mountain ranges. It sits within the Sawtooth National Forest, making it a choice spot for hiking. You can also bring your ATVs, dirt, and mountain bikes during the warmer months.
Nip & Tuck is home to lots of wildlife like ospreys and deer.
It’s also close to Stanley Lake, which you can visit on foot. Cell service is spotty here, and you won’t find toilets or fire rings. But that big night sky makes Nip & Tuck worth a few unplugged nights.
The camping areas are relatively large and can potentially fit Class A RVs. The most common campers at this site are vans and mid-sized travel trailers.
While You’re There: 5 Must-See Ghost Towns in Idaho
#6 Walton Peak Dispersed, Colorado
GPS: 40.3875, -106.66
Walton Peak Dispersed Campground rests within the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and Thunder Basin National Grassland near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It consists of several roadside pullouts that each accommodate several vehicles. This is one of the very best free campsites for stunning mountain vistas.
Walton Peak sits at an elevation of just over 10,000 feet, making it a perfect spring and summer spot. You can also enjoy tons of nearby hiking trails as well. You can even bring your pets exploring with you.
Some visitors to Walton Peak report some mosquitoes in low-lying campsites. But spots with good drainage generally have fewer insects. This is another back-country area with zero amenities, but one look at the mountains and trees will make up for it.
Larger RVs (25-30 feet) have reported camping here. The road in may be rough, though.
While You’re There: 11 Best Trails for Hiking in Colorado
#7 Green Creek Road Dispersed, California
GPS: 38.1197, -119.2512
Green Creek Road Dispersed Campground lies within the Toiyabe National Forest near Bridgeport, California. This area allows “dirt road” camping without toilets, tables, or fire rings. But the adventures you can have here are endless. Who needs plumbing or outdoor furniture when you can go backpacking, fishing, and hiking through meadows and alpine lakes?
It also offers plenty of shade and beautiful views of canyons and creeks. You can bring your hammock to enjoy the cool night air. Some visitors report mosquitoes, so be sure to bring your insect repellant. But don’t let the bugs fool you.
This is one of the best free campsites in northern California.
No big rigs have reported camping at Green Creek. It seems ideal for vans and small trailers.
While You’re There: 5 Incredible California Castles
#8 Jug Hollow Dispersed, Utah
GPS: 40.9887, -109.5602
You’ll find the Jug Hollow Dispersed campground in the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area near Dutch John, Utah. This beautiful slice of nature has it all: clear skies, pristine water, mountains, and miles of clean shoreline. What can’t you do in this gorgeous place?
Swimming, fishing, boating, and kayaking are popular activities in Jug Hollow. The sunsets here are totally stunning. The dark night sky is perfect for stargazing with or without a telescope. Although the summer days are warm, the evenings and nights are cool.
Jug Hollow is another truly primitive campground, so pack plenty of supplies.
30-foot travel trailers, 5th wheels, and Class C RVs have all reported camping a Jug Hollow, but the path in may require a 4×4 vehicle.
While You’re There: The 5 Best Free Campsites Near Moab, Utah
#9 Santee Coastal Reserve, South Carolina
GPS: 33.1538, -79.3668
The Santee Coastal Reserve campground sits in McClellanville, South Carolina. You’ll see wetlands, freshwater, and uplands in this diverse natural area. Cypress trees, sea turtles, and wading birds are just a few of the unique sights.
Santee Coastal Reserve is one of the best free campsites with many amenities. We enjoy the picnic tables, fire rings, and trash pickup. You can go fishing and hiking on the nearby trails.
As a natural wetland, Santee Coastal Reserve can be a little buggy. Just don’t forget your repellent, and you’ll be fine. This peaceful space has so much to offer, and a few pests are well worth the visit.
The sites are large, but low-hanging branches may be an issue for larger RVs.
While You’re There: What Is Famed USA Attraction “South of the Border?”
#10 Blodgett Campground, Montana
GPS: 46.2691, -114.2437
Blodgett Campground lies in the Bitterroot National Forest near Hamilton, Montana. This heavily wooded space is a perfect summer getaway. Tall trees provide tons of shade and gorgeous scenery. You can explore the nearby hiking trails or even rock climb in Blodgett Canyon.
This is another free campsite with some of the best available amenities. You’ll find picnic areas and tables, fire rings, vault restrooms, and trash services onsite. It’s also ADA-accessible and pet-friendly.
Whether you’re taking a cold dip or fishing for trout, Blodgett Campground can’t be beaten. But be forewarned that this is a popular spot with just a handful of RV sites, so plan your visit carefully.
The sites can accommodate larger RVs.
While You’re There: What Are The Most Dangerous Creatures in Montana?
The Best Campsites in Life are Free
In our opinion, free camping is the best way to spend your vacation. Although some are primitive, many aren’t. And even the most remote ones offer something money can’t buy. You’ll get time spent in some of America’s most secluded, untouched spaces.
Don’t be afraid of a spot without restrooms or fire rings. Just pack your essentials, get out there, and tune in with nature. You’ll never regret these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
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 who love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: