Want To Learn How To Boondock
We created a PRINT version of our most popular guide to help you with the most common boondocking problems. We get a ton of questions from our subscribers about how to get started boondocking that range from where to go and wild animals to water conservation to what equipment to use and more.
Throw off the shackles of traditional RV Parks and campgrounds, stop paying high fees every night that you spend in your RV, and experience the boundless amounts of nature while boondocking.
Youre done with the noisy RV parks, the 3.5 feet of room you have squished in between two other RVs, and other peoples kids running through your campsite?Youve ditched the hookups, the concrete blocks and have replaced them with self-leveling and Navy showers?
National And State Parks
Most campgrounds within state and national parks are paid. However, there are a few exceptions. There are several campsites in Death Valley National Park where you can camp for free.
Another great option is to camp just outside Joshua Tree National Park. Generally, you can find an abundance of BLM land or free camping options right outside national parks. You can simply Google free camping near .
No Mans Trailhead Lassen National Forest
The No Mans Trailhead is the starting point for the Clear Creek National Recreation Trail, which takes you 22 miles down to Youngs Valley. The trail provides magnificent views of the picturesque Siskiyou Wilderness to campers.
It was built back in 1928 and served as a fire access road for many years. If you are hiking, there are several creek crossings, some of which might be hazardous during flooding.
Be aware that rattlesnakes are common between No Mans Trailhead and Trout Camp. Remember to pack all your gear for primitive camping as there are no amenities and cell service in the area. You will need to bring your own drinking water and carry out your waste.
- Closest town : Happy Camp, CA
- Map coordinates :PFH8+P4 Happy Camp, California, United States
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Forest Service Campgrounds & National Forest
Most of the McCloud area Forest Service developed campgrounds and day use facilities are located along the McCloud River. The McCloud River parallels Highway 89 from its source near Dead Horse Summit to Fowlers Campground. Campgrounds are on a first come-first served basis and have a 14-day stay limit. Unless posted otherwise, you may camp anywhere within the National Forests . A stay limit of 30 days is enforced for dispersed camping. There is no dispersed camping allowed in the McCloud River Loop. Weve provided more information camping in the forest below, and you can find more on the Forest Service website.
Looking for a less rustic experience? Check out our lodging information.
Plum Valley Campground Modoc National Forest
Located in Modoc Forests Warner Mountain Ranger District, this scenic little dispersed campground is perfect for both hiking enthusiasts and obsidian rock collectors alike. Being close to the Sugar Hill Look-Out and a crystal-clear creek, get up close and personal with nature under the shady pines!
Nearest Town: Davis Creek, Modoc County
Amenities: Fire rings, picnic tables, and vault toilets. No potable water.
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How To Find Dispersed Camping Spots In National Forests
There are maps available sort of.
An excellent online source for the maps that designate dispersed camping in national forests is called Motor Vehicle Use Maps .
These are primarily used to tell the noisy two-stroke ATV crowd where they can and cant drive. But if you know how to read them, they also have valuable information dispersed campers.
Go here: and pick the forest you are interested in.
The individual forest sites vary but look for MVUMs as PDF downloads.
The National Forests now uses a very helpful app called Avanza Maps for Android and Apple operating systems.
The Free App is available for download through Avenza System Inc.: www.avenza.com/pdf-maps . This application along with the USA Forset Services PDF maps, will allow you to view your location at all times as you navigate through the forest, even offline when there is no INternet connection.
Look for the dots on either side of the road that means its OK to camp there.
The maps may also contain information about minimum and maximum distances from the road you can camp, plus how close to water you can camp. A little poking around will save you a trip to the ranger station.
Needles Point Dispersed Camping
Needles Point Dispersed camping is situated just outside of Sequoia National Park and offers some amazing free camping in California. Its a beautiful place with plenty of undefined campsites for you to choose from or make up as you go. This is bear country, so make sure you are able to store your food and garbage safely to prevent bear-related disasters.
Because of the climate in this area, this camping ground is usually only open in the warmer months. Its also challenging to reach, so plan on parking your 4X4 and hiking the rest of the way. RVs and any larger camping vehicles are not recommended as the area would be virtually impossible for them to maneuver.
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Looking For Some Awesome Places To Camp Out West
Whether dispersed camping, boondocking, state or national parks or commercial campgrounds, we can help you find the best places to stay and suggest the things you need to see and the places you need to explore in the Southwest.
Please check out our special Southwest Bundle 3-Pack, instantly downloadable eBooks of our 7 Day Adventure Guides to Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. These guides are bundled together at a great price, or you can buy them separately at just $7 each.
Dont Start A Wildfire
Seriously, make sure you have a California campfire permit and be aware that for much of summer into autumn all fires are prohibited in California national forests, including Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Klamath National Forest. Even if its early in the season and campfires are allowed, strongly consider skipping it. Always make sure you follow all regulations and understand fire safety.
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What Does Camp For Free Cover
Camp for Free is not a guide to specific campsites there are several hundred thousand sites on the over 400 million acres of public lands in the United States. Instead, the book is a how-to guide that includes all the details of enjoying dispersed camping, and how to do it both ethically and safely.
Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Anza Borrego Desert State Park has lots of paid campsites but also allows dispersed camping for free if you want to be a little more adventurous and economical. There are no hookups in the dispersed camping areas, but RVs and other camper vans are allowed as well as tents. Coyotes are common in this area, so keep your pets safe and within sight at all times.
The park asks that you not drive more than 10 feet from the road to park your vehicle to preserve the natural beauty of the area.
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Best Free Campgrounds In Central California
Get ready for some breathtaking mountain views in central Cali. Whether its the obsidian beauty of a long-ago volcano or an incredible view of Death Valley from far above, theres never a shortage of sites to see in this vibrant region. You cant go wrong with a blue sky and mountains nearby when doing some free camping in California.
Bureau Of Land Management Public Land
You can camp on many dispersed camping sites located on public land owned by the Bureau of Land Management for up to 14 days. All hail dispersed camping on BLM public lands!
However, you will find some BLM-managed public lands that have no camping signs so keep an eye on those as well.
The Bureau of Land Management also manages developed campgrounds that offer facilities such as tent pads, picnic areas, garbage cans, electrical hookups, and restrooms. Most of these require you to pay a fee.
Dispersed campsites on public lands operated by the Bureau of Land Management are located on most secondary roads.
If you camp on a free dispersed campsite in California, you mustnt dispose of sewage, hazardous materials or pollute the surrounding area in any manner. As long as you stick to the Leave No Trace principle, youll be fine.
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Glass Creek Campground Inyo National Forest
The Glass Creek Campground is huge and ideal for both tent camping and boondocking. It can easily handle RVs up to 45 and has 66 designated campsites.
During the day, many campers like to hike to the nearby Obsidian Dome to the north for a day outing. There are 10 vaulted toilets and no potable water here.
- Nearest town : Mammoth Lakes, CA
Grizzly Flat Dispersed Camping Area
Full of beautiful pine and spruce trees, the Yuki Wilderness is home to a few campgrounds, one of which is Grizzly Flat. This rugged spot boasts one vault toilet, a total of three fire rings, and not a single table. campers are welcome to use that area or camp in another location as long as they leave as little impact as possible on the plants and wildlife. If youre really looking to rough it, check out this location that discouraged RVs from trying to make the trip.
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Alder Creek Dispersed Camping
In Los Padres National Forest, oak and sequoia trees flourish along Alder Creek. There is an abundance of inexpensive campsites nearby, as well as completely free dispersed camping with no toilets, no fire rings, and no picnic tables. RVs may not be able to maneuver well through this area, so tent camping is the way to go if you want to visit Alder Creek.
Camp For Free: Dispersed Camping And Boondocking Book
My book Camp for Free: Dispersed Camping & Boondocking on Americas Public Lands tells you everything you need to know to find secluded and beautiful campsites on the over 400 million acres of government-owned lands in the United States, primarily national forest and Bureau of Land Management lands, but also national monuments and state lands.
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Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort
Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort is a popular place to pitch a tent on its namesake’s southwest shore. This private facility offers several vacation amenities, including dining, a private beach, and boat rentals. The property also features an excellent view of Mount Shasta on the horizon, glimmering across the lake.
The camping at Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort includes primitive sites for tent camping, hookup sites for RVs, and large group sites for bigger get-togethers. All campsites come with a picnic table and fire ring, and access to flushing restrooms.
The Camp Resort also has a selection of cabins and houses. The smallest cabin has a studio layout and sleeps up to four adults. Both house rentals on the property are three-bedroom units, with ample outdoor space and enough beds to sleep eight.
Needless Point Dispersed Camping Near Sequoia National Park
Just outside Sequoia National Park, youll find one of the most scenic camping locations in California. The Needless Point dispersed camping ground offers gorgeous vistas of the area, and it is just a quarter of a mile from the Needles Lookout Trail.
Keep in mind that this camping spot is located in bear country. Store food in bear-proof containers and secure trash so that bears cannot access it.
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Dispersed Camping And Your Rv
Give dispersed camping a try if you have the boondocking capability to do it comfortably.
Dispersed camping gives you that most precious of commodities in this urbanized, modern world solitude in a beautiful natural setting.
Its not for those who want to be in a group.
Often, you can go days without seeing another human.
If you are not comfortable being alone, this isnt for you.
But if peace and quiet and nature is why you camp, this is what you will experience.
Alabama Hills Recreation Area
Alabama Hills is located in the middle of the desert and the mountains, providing some of Californias most stunning views. Thousands of people visit Alabama Hills Recreation Area each year and many of them have camped here to have more time to enjoy the surroundings.
Campers must be completely self-sufficient at Alabama Hills since there are no facilities. If you need to stock up on supplies, Lone Pine is the nearest town, but its not close enough to feel like youre in touch with civilization. If you want to sit around an open fire, you will need to get a fire permit.
- Closest town : Lone Pine, CA
- Map coordinates :JV3M+2G Lone Pine, California, United States
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Hermit Valley Campground Stanislaus National Forest
Deep within the Stanislaus National Forest is the Hermit Valley Campground where the area is covered by large sequoia trees with pine needle floors. It is usually quiet during the weekdays but can get very busy during the weekends, especially in the mid-summer because it is largely shaded.
There are plenty of outdoor activities available in the surrounding areas. You can bike, fish, or hike the many trails here. You can also hike to Yosemite National Park towards the south if you are feeling more adventurous.
- Nearest town : Markleeville, CA
- Map coordinates :G4Q2+CR Markleeville, California, United States
Castle Crags State Park
Castle Crags State Park, one of California’s best state parks, is an easy 14-mile drive south of the City of Mount Shasta. It’s a place of enormous beauty and a perfect frame for the namesake monoliths bordering the park. And the views of Castle Crags and the Trinity Alps are worth the travel alone.
Outside of admiring the landscape, the state park also has several recreational outlets. A few favorite adventures include picnicking and fishing, but most visit to explore hiking trails. Over 28 miles of trails wind throughout the park, including the country-spanning Pacific Crest Trail. One of the most popular routes, and one of the most challenging, is the Crags Trail, leading to Castle Dome.
Camping at the state park is the best way to catch sunrise and sunset at Castle Crags. The state park has 76 developed sites spread between a few different loops. The sites cater to tents and RVs, although no hookups are available. Flushing toilets, showers, and potable water are within a short walk of every site.
Most of the sites are opposite Interstate 5 from the Sacramento River. These sites are near the popular Vista Point parking area. About a dozen sites are available opposite the interstate, and these sites are quieter and highly coveted throughout the summer.
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Camping Near You Find A Free Campsite
Whether you just need to know where to camp nearby or you want to plan a free camping road trip, we’ve got you covered. You can simply use your smart phone’s GPS to find camping near you or even use our trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.
Our community provides the best free camping information available. Free campgrounds can be hard to find. Freecampsites.net makes it easy. We give you a simple, map based search engine to find free and cheap camping areas. Community reviews and ratings provide you with up to date information and help you select the best camp site for your next camping trip.
This is a platform for sharing campgrounds and camp sites you have discovered. We are community driven, and while we will be adding many free camping spots, we hope that you will add some of your favorite camping places as well. By sharing camping information freely, we can all spend less time researching campgrounds, spend less money, and more time camping. If everyone contributes a few campsites, we’ll all have more places to go camping.
Please come back and let us know what you find!
We are not actively seeking Wal-Marts, truckstops or other parking lots and will not be adding very many of these. There are enough Wal-Mart and truck stop directories out there already. However, if a member of the community finds one of these locations to be useful for overnight RV parking and creates an entry, we may approve the listing.
Please come back and let us know what you find!
Campgrounds In The Lake Shasta Area
Antlers RV Park: Full hookups, hot showers, and secluded tent sites. They serve a Sunday pancake breakfast and have a swimming pool. Lots of things to do. They can accommodate both campers and tents.
Castle Crags State Park: 76 developed campsites and six environmental campsites, near the scenic rocks that it’s named for. Californias state parks reservations process can be confusing and its set up in a way that practically forces you to plan 6 months ahead.
Holiday Harbor RV Park: Holiday Harbor has 27 tree-shaded sites with full hook-ups by water’s edge, along with some tent spots. They have laundry facilities, showers, and a swimming area. Pets are allowed, for a small daily fee.
Lakeshore RV Park: This RV park overlooks Shasta Lake. They have cabins, RV, and tent sites. You can entertain yourself in their video arcade, take a dip in the pool or have a meal in their restaurant.
Salt Creek Resort: Cabins, paved RV sites with full hookups for vehicles up to 40 feet long. They have a swimming pool and a barbecue area.
Shasta Lake RV Resort: Shasta Lake RV has pull-through, shaded sites up to 60 feet long, full hookups and a dump station, cabins, and a secluded tent area. Most sites have a cable TV hookup. You can use their pool, playground and boat dock. They also have restrooms, hot showers, laundry room and a grocery store.
Shasta-Trinity National Forest: This site offers single and double sites and yurt-style tents in a number of locations .
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