How to Find Free Camping Spots Near Me (2022)
There’s no better way to get in touch with everything that nature offers than by camping, and you shouldn’t have to pay for that experience. Many camping spots and campgrounds require a fee to stay overnight, which can be a deterrent when you want to get back to nature.
So, if you’ve been putting off that camping trip because you don’t want to pay to sleep outdoors, don’t go anywhere. Today, we will tell you how and where to find free camping spots near you.
What Is Free Camping?
Free camping is also known as dry camping, backcountry camping, or dispersed camping. Free camping spots are often found in remote areas of national parks and land management bureaus that have no amenities like electricity or water hookups. Even basic amenities like picnic tables and fire rings aren’t available at free camping sites.
Where Can I Camp for Free?
You can camp for free in national parks and land management areas like the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property.
Free Camping Spots in National Parks and National Forests
To find free camping spots in national parks and national forests, you will need to search the National Parks System to ensure the park you’re interested in offers free camping spots. While not all national parks and national forests offer free camping spots, many do. They all offer backcountry or dispersed camping; they just may not be completely free.
National parks that don’t have completely free camping spots are generally protected by national forests or land management areas that you can take advantage of for free camping.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Free Camping Spots
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a federal agency that preserves and maintains federal lands. Much of the Bureau’s land is in the western United States.
There are free camping spots available throughout the land that the Bureau of Land Management maintains. To find camping spots within the Bureau, visit the Bureau of Land Management’s dispersed camping website. Here, you will find information about where to camp for free and how long you can stay there.
Currently, the limit for how many days you can camp overnight on BLM land is 14 days within a 28 consecutive day period. Once the 14th day has been reached, the camper must move to another location within a 25+ mile radius from the original camping location.
The Bureau requires that campers only stay in one area for a maximum of 14 days to preserve and maintain the land. Staying for more than 14 days can disturb the land and make it difficult to recover.
Why Should I Camp for Free?
Free camping gives you an experience that you can’t always get when camping at campgrounds. Aside from saving money (another benefit of free camping), it offers you a secluded experience completely in nature and away from the busy activity that can be found at most campgrounds.
You can also choose to camp for free at the last minute without needing a reservation. Unlike campgrounds that require a reservation to access a site, free camping can be done at any time, and you don’t have to leave by the required “check-out” time that’s required at developed campgrounds.
Things to Remember When Camping for Free
Because free camping spots have no developed amenities like fire rings and picnic tables, you’ll need to be extra vigilant of your actions.
- When building a campfire at a free camping spot, make sure you build a fire ring with rocks to keep your fire contained and never leave your fire unattended. When you are finished with your fire, put it out completely by burning it to ash and covering the hot ashes with cold ashes.
- Leave nothing at your campsite. Anything that you unpack at your campsite must be taken back with you. You also shouldn’t take anything from the campsite that you didn’t bring.
- Dispose of all human waste in a hole at least 6 or 8 inches deep. Make sure the hole is at least 200 feet away from any natural water sources.
Find free camping spots near you by searching nearby natural wildlife areas, including land management areas like the Army Corps of Engineers property. You can camp for free in these areas for a maximum number of days.