How Can I Camp For Free In The USA

Several national parks and some places allow you to camp for free in the USA. Free camping means you can legally camp without paying money.

However, you will have to arrange everything yourself. You will not be able to avail any of the facilities, amenities, and conveniences that come with paid camping. 

Let’s look at some popular free camping spots and ways to find them.  

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1. Free Camping Places

Every campsite mentioned here has its own unique experience. You can compare and choose which one is more in-line with your expectations. 

1.1 National Forests and Grasslands

Several national forests and grasslands in the USA are free to camp on. These places allow you to camp for free if you follow some guidelines.

  • You can set your beautiful campsite with tents and other arrangements. 
  • You are even allowed to enjoy the fire, but you will have to obtain the relevant permission from authorities. 
  • You can locate the National forests on maps and search for the specific guidelines or rules of that particular place.
  • While camping for free, you will have to be completely self-sufficient and carry all the essential items you need. These places have nearly zero amenities. Hence you will have to manage everything yourself. 
  • Know the place you are camping in beforehand. Also, check the status of signals you are camping in. 
National Forests and Grasslands
National Forests and Grasslands

1.2 Bureau of Land Management

These are the places located in the western part of the USA and allow free camping in the places outside the campgrounds.

These places offer free camping, but a large part of the area also includes other farming activities.

So you will have to search a bit to learn about the camping experience in such places. You can enjoy camping by setting up pullovers or tents.

Again, the place does not include any amenities, so you need to manage everything. 

These places also include some semi-established unofficial camping areas, but you will have to spot these and check the rules. 

BLMs (Bureau of Land Management) are hard to spot on Google maps but are available on BLM’s interactive maps.

These maps have information about the officials and management of these lands. 

1.3 State Forest Land

Several state-owned lands have free dispersed camping spots.

You can camp in places other than local parks, recreation areas, game area campgrounds, or forest campgrounds.

But there are different rules in these places which are needed to follow for different places. So before going to such spots, do proper research about that place.

2. How To Find Nearby Free Camping Places

Several websites compile information on free camping spots. Here are the few sites you can rely on and go to for the research:

2.1 iOverlander

This app has all the camping information you need. This information is submitted by the campers. So it is first-hand information and experiences.

They tell you about information such as dumping facilities, water, etc.

Though the app is reliable, always do your due diligence before making any plans. 

2.2 Free Roam

This is an app with all the information on BLMs and National parks.

They provide a map tracking system where you can search for the place and can plan your camping. This app has different helpful features and is reliable.

This app also includes a satellite map system where you can find free camping places.

Find Nearby Free Camping Places
Find Nearby Free Camping Places

2.3 Campendium

You can easily search for the places and look at the pictures and reviews of the campers on Campendium.

2.4 US Public Lands App

You can gather information about all the available National parks and BLMs.

This app has a zoom-in feature which makes surveying a prospective camping spot very easy. 

Here are the links for US Public Lands’ Android and iOS apps.


This is another resource to find the places, directions, and reviews about the free camping experience.

2.6 Other Useful Resources

The Bottom Line

You can get a raw camping experience in the USA. However, you will have to arrange everything yourself.

But remember to always research well before going to any place. Prefer camping near your house so that if it does not work out, you can return without much remorse.

Happy Camping!

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