Finding Free Camping Areas

If you are a frequent traveler, you know how much cash goes to staying at a developed campground. This can pack one heck of a punch to your wallet, especially if you are visiting during peak season.

As campsite bookings increase and rates go up, some RVers have developed a strategy to offset these costs by splitting time between paid stays and boondocking. Besides saving money for other things, some of these places are pretty sweet places to camp.

If you aren’t familiar with boondocking, that generally means staying somewhere for free, or very close to it. If you have a fully self-contained rig, boondocking (also called disbursed or wild camping) is a great option. Here are some options for free – or nearly free – camping.

Federal properties

So, it’s not often you get something free from the federal government, but BLM lands, Forest Service Grasslands and National Forests all offer fee-free camping around the country. The key is locating these properties and where boondocking is allowed. To get started, visit each website for information, or download the Allstays Camp & RV app, which you can use to find public lands while on the road. Also, the US Public Lands app is a good resource if you just want something that only lists public lands.

Speaking of apps, now is a good time to check out our list of essential travel apps you should have on your smartphone.

Connect with other campers

The web is full of great resources for folks sharing free places to camp. Check out the community of like-minded travelers at, or Campendium.

On the road

For most RVers, it’s quicker and much cheaper to just pull over and bed down for the night at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, interstate rest stops, truck stops, etc. while in transit. Make sure to double check and make sure that your planned stop allows for overnight camping. Oh, and be courteous – keep slides and awnings in while at these locations. The Allstays Camp & RV app is one our favorite picks for locating overnight camping spots.

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