Free North Carolina Boondocking Locations
Although there is no such thing as a free lunch, there are free campgrounds. Setting up camp in an undeveloped region, whether you call it boondocking or dispersed camping, has a lot of attraction. Choose your own spot without making a reservation, stay for a week or two, and camp for free at one of these North Carolina boondocking spots.
Youre not merely going off the grid like you would when dry camping. Because there arent many amenities other than a parking spot, youll most likely need your own generators, batteries, solar panels, and fresh water supplies when boondocking say goodbye to Wi-Fi!
Boondocking is permitted in numerous specified places of the Croatan, Nantahala, Pisgah, and Uwharrie National Forests in North Carolina. You should be fine as long as you dont camp near trailheads and observe all fire safety requirements .
Winter Car Camping: 15 Year
A sad thing about car camping in the high country of the Carolinas: come mid to late fall the campgrounds all go into hibernation. Well, not all of them, exactly. As part of our collaboration with the Great Outdoor Provision Co., weve come up with a list of 15 places to camp year-round 15 legal places, where you wont have to worry about the county sheriff rousting you in the middle of the night. In the uplands of South Carolina we didnt have to look hard: every state park campground we checked remains open year round we included four in our list. North Carolina is more inclined to close its campgrounds in the winter, but we did find two . Ditto the National Forest Service campgrounds . The rest are what are known as dispersed campsites, those found along certain remote gravel roads in our National Forests. Thought you had to take a break from car camping come winter? Think again.
Below are quick descriptions of the 15 campgrounds open year-round. For detailed information, click More info here.
1. Ammons Branch
Where: Pisgah National Forest along Bull Pen Road near Highlands, N.C.Latitude: 35.0135
2. Big Ivy Area, Coleman Boundary
Where: Appalachian Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest near Barnardsville, N.C.Latitude: 35.4532No. of campsites: not designatedCost: free
3. Blue Valley dispersed camping
Where: Pisgah National Forest, NC 28S 5.5 miles south of US 64 near Highlands, N.C.Latitude: 35.0024
More info here.
5. Davidson River
6. Devils Fork State Park
New Mexico National Forests
The Land of Enchantment is home to several national forests, most of which follow a similar pattern of juniper-pinyon lining sand-colored mountains full of mysterious creatures such as the Gila monster. Unlike much of the rest of the southwest, New Mexico tends to be cold in the winter and so exploring its national forestlands is best done in the spring and fall to avoid extreme temperatures one way or another.
The usual suspects like Santa Fe and Taos get all the love, but while farther and fewer between than its neighboring Colorado, small towns like Hatch and old town Las Vegas, New Mexico are at least worth a day trip.
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Playing In The Pisgah: How To Spend A Weekend In Western Carolina
ItÃ¢s no secret that the mountains of Western North Carolina have a wide array of wonderful places to live and play. With vibrant mountain towns like Boone, Brevard, and Asheville, as well as well-preserved national forests and serpentine scenic highways, itÃ¢s easy to see why so many people choose to visit this area . If youÃ¢re going on vacation this holiday season, make sure the Pisgah is on the top of your list. And while youÃ¢re there, use this weekend guide for a night of camping and a day of hiking and trail running.
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White Pine South Group Campsite Info
White Pine South Group Camp is nestled along Avery Creek in the lush forests of the Appalachian Mountains. The facility provides tent camping year-round and can accommodate families, scout troops and other groups of up to 25 people.
This is a walk-in, tent-only facility parking lot is provided
Picnic tables, campfire rings with grills, and lantern posts
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Free North Carolina Boondocking Spots Wilson Creek Area
Management: Public Forest Service
The road in is Gravel. You may stay 14 nights at Wilson Creek Area. Primitive dispersed car camping in pullouts along a Pisgah National Forest Road. Nothing but land is provided. Bring anything that youll need and take it all with you when you leave.
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Free North Carolina Camping Spots Brown Mountain Ohv Entrance Road
AddressV7Q7+R7 Adako, Johns River, NCMorganton, North CarolinaElevation: 1109
Management: Public Forest Service
The road in is Gravel and < 2 miles from a paved road. Brown Mountain OHV Entrance Road is open all year. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 14 at Brown Mountain OHV Entrance Road. Off The Brown Mountain Beach Road, Just off 181, is the National Forest Service Off Highway Vehicle trail System. The Road to the Parking lot is about a mile or 2 long and has 7 campsites along this pretty creek.
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Where Can I Camp For Free In Pisgah National Forest
To limit impact, dispersed camping is only allowed at designated sites in these areas on the Pisgah National Forest: Pisgah Ranger District along the following corridors: Cathys Creek, Courthouse Creek, Wash Creek, Headwaters, Yellow Gap and Avery Creek in corridors along Big Ivy Road, Cold Springs Creek and River
Can I camp anywhere in the Nantahala National Forest?
Wherever adventure takes you, youll find a handful of campsites scattered throughout the forest along with plenty of dispersed camping options. Whether youre looking for a relaxing campground where you can fish for trout or a basecamp for a spellbinding ride down the river, youll find it in Nantahala.
Best Texas State Parks
Texas is not known for free anything, and that includes camping. When the state became part of the US, most of the land was already owned by Americans who immigrated to Mexico, only to then request that their new homes be annexed by the USanyway, its a long story and not necessarily a favorable one when it comes to freedom, but a few gems do exist, mostly in the Rita Blanca National Grasslands, as the other true national forests allow very little RV or van friendly camping.
If youre desperate for a good, free experience in Texas, skip the national forests and head to Big Bend National Park. If you dont mind dropping a Jackson or less, check out the Lone Star States state park system, one of our favorite.
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Salty Kisses On A Sailboat
Mississippi is home to an abundant number of national forests, however most are relatively small as forests go, and there is very little free camping accessible to vans or RVs. Airey Lake is one of the few exceptions, where just about any size of a rig can find a spot, if theyre available, and facilities like flush toilets, trash and water accompany your more recreational pursuits.
The remainder of the national forestland in Ol Mississip will run you around $7 / night with no hookups, though more expensive options exist where amenities are available.
Free North Carolina Rv Parking Roseboro Rd Dispersed Camping
Management: Public Forest Service
The road in is Gravel and .5 miles from a paved road. Panther Creek is open All. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 14 at Panther Creek. Two sites. One is walk in only, the other is large but would be difficult to get a big camper in. Flat camp area with tent pads, fire rings, and picnic table. Right on a trout stream.
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Nevadas Extraterrestrial Highway: The Weirdest Road In America
While parts of national forests that primarily exist in California do extend into Nevada, there is simply too little acreage for it to be of note in this article. That said, Nevadas Loneliest Highway, aka US Route 50, is a joyride across the state, particularly when taken from Utah toward Lake Tahoe.
The Ultimate Pisgah National Forest Camping Guide
Pisgah National Forest offers more than half a million acres of wilderness to explore, stretching from near the southernmost reaches of Western North Carolina to the northern border.
The National Forest is split into three ranger districts. The Pisgah District encompasses areas south of Asheville, the Grandfather District includes areas near Grandfather Mountain State Park and the Linville Gorge Wilderness, while the Appalachian District stretches along the Tennessee border.
There are dozens of Pisgah National Forest campgrounds and day-use areas for visitors to enjoy. Most of them are in fabulously picturesque locations, nestled deep in the forests and often near mountain streams or lakes.
There are also ample opportunities for Pisgah National Forest RV camping.
While there are no U.S. Forest Service cabins in Pisgah National Forest, privately-owned Pisgah National Forest cabin rentals are widely available.
Thanks to the moderate Pisgah National Forest weather, spring is often an inviting time for nature lovers to visit, with the verdant green forest dotted with beautiful North Carolina birds and wildflowers.
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Pisgah National Forest Is A Scenic Wonderland
Whatever vehicle youre driving for this scenic road trip, pack it up, hop in, and start driving. You wont want to miss out on one of the most popular national forests in the nation.
Pisgah National Forest is truly a wonderland to explore on foot, in a vehicle, or simply from the comfort of a cozy chair at your campsite. Breathe in the mountain air, breathe out the stress. Pisgah is calling your name, and its time to go!
Blue Valley Dispersed Camping
Why you should camp here: Skip the fees and set up your Nantahala basecamp at a primitive site.
- Reservations accepted: No
- Best season: Spring, summer, fall
- Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping
- RV hookups:No
Looking to skip the fees? Blue Valley Dispersed Camping offers about 22 dispersed campsites that are available year-round . Located about 30 minutes from Highlands, the Blue Valley area is accessed via NC28S.
Situated near Wilson Lake and several waterfalls, Blue Valley is a good basecamp for anglers, paddlers, and hikers.
While camping in Blue Valley is primitive, you wont be entirely without amenities. Youll find the bare necessities here, which include a campfire ring, picnic table, and a pit toilet.
This campground has a reputation for being one of the cleaner dispersed camping areas so please do your part and pack it in, pack it out.
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Free North Carolina Boondocking Locations Henderson Reservoir Roadside Camping
Management: Public Forest Service
The road in is Dirt. Yellow Gap Roadside Camping is open year round. Access is weather permitting. There are 6-15 campsites at this location. You may stay 14 days at Yellow Gap Roadside Camping. Lots of free camping locations along this road. Many are beautiful and situated along a creek. However, you cannot park in most of the campsites. You park on the road and walk 10s of feet to the camp. Each campsite has a tent pad, lantern pole, and a fire ring with BBQ. The road is well maintained but too narrow and windy for big rigs.
Guidelines For Dispersed Camping
First and foremost, check the rules and regulations for the location you plan on visiting. These will include length of stay, group size limitations, permit requirements, and if you must use a designated campsite. But, in general, here are a few basic guidelines:
- Use established fire rings
- Use dead, fallen wood or heat-treated wood if bringing your own
- Safely store odorous items when applicable
- Pack out your trash. Do not burn!
- Use the bathroom at least 200 ft away from any trails, campsites, or water sources
- Respect wildlife
- Leave what you find
Most of these guidelines will be covered in further detail below, but I do want to briefly discuss campfire rules.
To minimize the impact we have on the land, it is advised that we do not create a new fire ring unless absolutely necessary. Some public lands strictly forbid it, so check out their website and know before you go.
Also, use dead wood for your campfires. Do not saw, cut, or chop branches. It is very difficult to burn green wood anyway, so spare the tree the harm.
And if bringing your own firewood, make sure it is heat treated. This prevents the spread of foreign insects and pathogens that can cause severe damage to non-native habitats. I mention this because some dispersed camping sites are accessible by vehicle, so bringing your own firewood may not be as difficult as some think.
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Dispersed Camping: What It Is And How To Do It Right
Are you familiar with the term dispersed camping? Perhaps not, but you probably already know what it is and not even know it.
Dispersed camping, like primitive camping, is camping on public lands away from designated campgrounds. It allows you to avoid larger crowds but does not include the luxury of facilities, such as bathrooms and showers.
In other words, if you have ever had an overnight hiking trip, you likely participated in dispersed camping simply by pitching your tent in a clear spot along the trail. In some of the more popular dispersed camping sites, you might find a lean-to shelter and even a privy, but it will still be considered dispersed when not in a campground.
So, why the confusing terminology?
Dispersed camping is used by the National Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to distinguish campgrounds from more primitive camping that is permitted on public lands. Aside from that, dispersed camping is primitive camping it is just more official.
Looking to try dispersed camping for the first time? Let us go over a few things.
Pisgah Ranger District Roadside Camping
The massive Pisgah National Forest is divided into three districts. The Pisgah Ranger District includes the Brevard area with places such as Looking Glass Rock, Sliding Rock and many waterfalls.
Within the Pisgah Ranger District there are disbursed roadside camping sites that are available on a first come – first serve basis. These campsites are located alongside gravel roads throughout the district and include a parking area, tent pad, and fire ring. Toilet facilities and drinking water are not available.
Trash pick-up is not provided. Trash must be collected and disposed of properly. Failure to remove or properly dispose of trash is a crime and law enforcement officers will issue citations for littering if trash is strewn about or not properly disposed of.
The following regulations must be adhered to and are strictly enforced by Law Enforcement Officers.
Warning: Unattended property and equipment in these areas can be an easy target for criminal activity. Protect your property by locking valuables out of site. Access to these campsites is easy by any vehicle. If you see anyone stealing anything from a roadside campsite or parking area near a public trailhead, picnic, or recreation area please call 911 to report it or call USPS Law Enforcement at the Pisgah District Ranger Station at 828-877-3265.
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Free North Carolina Boondocking Rv Parking & Camping Spots
North Carolina is a wonderful place to visit, and Free North Carolina boondocking lets you to do so on the cheap. North Carolina, dubbed Tar Heel State. One of the biggest draws for Free North Carolina boondocking is the abundance of national forest land. RV parking and free camping is available within designated sites. These areas are undeveloped and lack amenities such as restrooms, showers, electricity, and other amenities found in developed campgrounds. Free North Carolina Camping Spots and Free North Carolina Boondocking Spots are what we concentrated on when searching for the best Free North Carolina Boondocking Locations.
Jump directly to the 25 SW Area North Carolina Boondocking
The 8 Best Camping Spots In The Nantahala National Forest
Nantahala is Cherokee for Land of the Noon Day Sun and yes, this picturesque National Forest is just as enchanting as it sounds.
Take a walk under the thick forest canopy and youll quickly see how Nantahala National Forest earned its name. The forest floor rarely sees sunlight in many areas, which is great news for those looking to find a shady place to set up camp.
Established in 1920, Nantahala National Forest sprawls out along 531,148 acres in North Carolinas southwest region. With district names derived from the Cherokee language, visitors will find Nantahala is as rich in history as it is in habitat.
Plan a trip out to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and youll be in the presence of one of the largest stands of old-growth trees found on the east coast. For a more exhilarating experience, take a whitewater rafting ride down the Nantahala River.
Wherever adventure takes you, youll find a handful of campsites scattered throughout the forest along with plenty of dispersed camping options.
Whether youre looking for a relaxing campground where you can fish for trout or a basecamp for a spellbinding ride down the river, youll find it in Nantahala.
Ready to set up camp? Heres our guide to the best camping spots at Nantahala National Forest.
Why you should camp here: Sleep at 3,880 feet under evergreens near the Nantahala River.
- Reservations accepted: Yes
- Best season: Spring, summer, fall
- Campsite type: Tent, RV, car camping
- RV hookups: No
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