There is an art to finding the perfect free campsite during an RV road trip. The convenience of a campsite with amenities is always nice when enjoying an adventure on the road. However, some of the best spots are the ones with no amenities and cost you nothing. This post is about finding the best spots on the road for free camping, also known as boondocking or dry camping.
Buy an atlas
A digital GPS is really amazing when trekking on an adventure, but an old-fashioned atlas can be just as useful. The first reason to have an atlas is for safety. An atlas can serve as a back up if you run out of service, your phone dies, or for any other reason, technology might fail. The next reason to have an atlas on hand is for locating areas designated National Forest or Bureau of Labor Management Land. BLM Land belongs to the public. Thus, unless otherwise stated, free camping is easy to come across in these areas.
National forests are an amazing option if your trip brings you to a National Park. It is illegal to boondock in National Parks, but not National Forests. If free camping is not allowed in a National Forest, this is typically marked very clearly. There will usually be rules for length of stay (14 days in most cases), so be sure to follow the rules. National Forests are found surrounding national parks, and can create easy access to the parks without having to pay the park campsite fee. This is also a great option if you arrive and find the campsites to be full in a National Park.
But, if you’re more into camping on the beach than a forest, check out this post all about free camping on the beach!
Search the web
If you are looking for more input from other local and traveling RVers for free campsites, there are several websites that can help. These sites offer great specifics and reviews from people who have camped there. You can also find great information about what type of RV will fit and some requirements for camping there. This may include drive train, size, etc. Check these sites out for some awesome free camping:
Free Campsites: This is the original free campsite database! This site is maintained by travelers placing in spots they find and rating them. Be mindful to check the last review date in order to make sure the free site is still there.
Check out Google Maps
This is a great trick for unexpected changes in a road trip. This can include getting ahead or behind schedule during an RV road trip. If travelers find themselves stuck with no real place to camp, this can be a great option to find a spot. Obviously, always pay attention to signs and make sure you are not on private property. Often in the countryside, you can look at a 3D Google Map image and find pull-off roads that are not private property to camp on. Sometimes you can even see RVs on the google satellite photo and know it’s a common spot to rest for the night
Some of the best camping spots are free and have no amenities. Check out a free campsite on your next RV adventure with Outdoorsy!