The Complete Guide To Free Camping In The US
Sean William Updated on Jun 22, 2023

Are you interested in traveling around the U.S. without breaking the bank? Camping is a fantastic way to explore all this country offers, but it doesn't have to be expensive. Find out how to locate convenient and free camping spots across America with this informative.

We will cover practical tips and advice on finding free campsites near national parks, forests, BLM lands, and more. With careful planning and preparation, an unforgettable outdoor experience awaits.

What is Free Camping

Free camping is exactly what it sounds like — you can stay for free. Generally, this means setting up your tent in a public area where camping fees don't apply. This outdoor lodging may be available on public lands such as national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas, state parks, and other properties with designated camping areas.

Sometimes, private property owners also allow visitors to camp for free. It's important to remember that these campsites are generally more primitive than commercial sites, expect no running water or electrical hookups and few, if any, amenities.

Research the best free camping locations in the USA

Before you embark on your adventure, it's important to research and plan out the best free camping locations in the USA. Start by looking at websites such as Free Campsites.net, The Dyrt, and USFS (US Forest Service) to get a good overview of free camping areas. These sites will provide information on campsite amenities, nearby attractions, activities, fees, and more.

If you're visiting a national park or forest specifically for camping purposes, contact the local ranger station for advice on locating any free areas they may know about.

In addition to researching online resources, consider reaching out to friends who may have recently taken a road trip throughout the country for recommendations on great places to camp.

Friends may be able to provide insider information on special areas that aren’t listed online and give you an idea of what it's like to stay in a particular place, as well as any hidden gems they might have stumbled upon during their journey.

Pack the essentials for free camping in the USA

Once you have identified potential campsites, pack all necessary items for your trip. Remember, free camping locations often require some self-sufficiency and won't usually have amenities such as bathrooms or running water readily available. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, plan and bring the following items:

  • Tent or hammock
  • Sleeping bag/blankets
  • Camping stove
  • Cookware and eating utensils
  • Water, either in bottles or a filter
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • First aid kit
  • Firewood/firestarter
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen and sun protection gear.

By being prepared for any situation, you can make the most of your free camping experience in the United States. It's always a good idea to check local laws before heading out and leave no trace behind when packing up to ensure that our public lands remain protected.

Benefits of Free Camping in the USA

  • Enjoy the great outdoors - Camping is a great way to get out into nature and appreciate the beauty of our country.
  • Great for families - Free camping offers an affordable option for families exploring together without breaking the bank.
  • Learn new skills- Camping requires various skills, such as pitching a tent, building a fire, navigating with a map, and more that can be learned while on your trip.
  • Connect with people - When camping in free sites, you can meet other like-minded adventurers looking to make the most of their time outdoors.
  • Explore public lands - With free camping, you can explore some of the most beautiful public lands in the United States.
  • Save money - Camping generally costs less than staying in a hotel or resort, and free camping can save you even more.
  • Get closer to nature - Exploring remote areas off the beaten path will allow you to get up close and personal with wildlife, scenery, and breathtaking views.
  • Eat healthier- Eating freshly cooked meals is much healthier for your body than eating processed food while traveling. You can easily prepare simple meals over a campfire or stove while camping for free.
  • Create lasting memories- With all the unique experiences available through free camping, you’ll be sure to create lasting memories that will stay with you for years.
  • Have Fun-Most importantly, camping is an incredibly fun and rewarding way to travel. You’ll get to explore new places, learn new skills, connect with nature, and make lasting memories without spending a dime.

Free camping can be a great way to explore the United States on a budget while having an awesome outdoor experience. We hope these tips help you plan your next free camping adventure in the U.S.

Where To Find Free Campsites In the USA

Finding free campsites in the United States is not as difficult as it may seem. Plenty of options exist to save money and camp without spending a dime.

  • National Forests - National forests offer some of the best opportunities for free camping nationwide. Visitors searching for an outdoor escape can often find tent sites, R.V. spots, or even primitive cabins available in these areas.
  • Bureau of Land Management Areas - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages more than 260 million acres of public land throughout the USA and offers many areas with free camping opportunities. Some locations require you to pay a small fee or obtain a permit before setting up your tent, but this is usually much less expensive than a commercial campsite.
  • State Parks - Many nationwide state parks allow free camping in designated areas. These locations typically offer restrooms, picnic tables, and fire rings. However, some spots may require you to pay a small fee or obtain a permit before using them.
  • Private Property - Although it requires some extra legwork, you can sometimes find private property owners willing to let visitors camp on their land for free. This is especially true if the owner is not actively using the land and is looking for someone to help take care of it while away.


Is it legal to camp in the USA?

Yes, it is legal to camp in the USA. However, there may be certain rules and regulations that you must follow depending on what type of camping you are doing. For example, some national parks or forests may require a permit or have designated areas for overnight stays.

How long can you stay in America after Camp America?

The length of stay is determined by the type of visa you have. For example, travelers with a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) can stay in the U.S. for up to six months, while those with an extended stay visa (F or M) can remain for up to one year.

How much money should I bring to Camp America?

The amount of money you should bring to camp in the USA will depend on what type of camping you are doing and how long your stay is. Generally, budgeting at least $20-50 a day for food, supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses is a good rule of thumb.


Free camping throughout the U.S., from national forests to public lands. Many parks offer amenities such as running water and electricity and primitive camping.

Free camping is a great way to save money and provides an opportunity to escape modern life and reconnect with nature. It is also a great way to inspire a greater sense of community among fellow campers.

So why not learn to take advantage of free camping in the U.S.? With so many options available, you're sure to find just what you need.