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Where Can You Go Camping For Free

Ask Landowners For Permission To Wild Camp

Before You Go Camping…

Other national parks are clear in their guidance that, although they may include areas of common-access land, wild camping is not one of the rights allowed. Exmoor, Snowdonia and the Peak District National Parks all suggest that you should seek landowner permission before pitching a tent. The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is the same but goes as far as providing a list of farms which will allow wild camping you can pick one up from their visitor centres in the Beacons.

Making a wild camping pitch legal is as simple as asking a landowner whether its okay if you pitch up for a night or two. Occasionally you might like to identify who owns the piece of land you want to camp on before you head to an area but, more often than not, you will stumble upon a perfect place to pitch by chance. If theres a farmhouse nearby its only polite and sensible to ask if you can stay. If its agreed, you can rest easy and enjoy your nights sleep safe in the knowledge that your pitch cannot be brought into question and that you wont wake up in a field thats unsuitable. And who knows by asking a landowner, you might even be directed to a better pitch than the one youve found yourself as they will know where the best views are, where it can get boggy underfoot and where the livestock are grazing next.

Restrictions On Camp Sites

Camping sites cannot be pre-booked or reserved.

Camping in State Forests is generally limited to a maximum of four weeks. Visitors should be aware of and adhere to any signage at camping sites which may define shorter periods of stay and must comply with all directions given by authorised officers during their stay.

Cumberland State Forest is Australia’s only metropolitan State forest camping, trail bike riding and 4WDing are not permitted at this forest.

Darvaza Gas Crater Turkmenistan

If you want to tick a really, really unique experience off your camping list, then Darvaza gas crater in Turkmenistan in Asia is the one to go for.

At night in the desert, with incredible stars above you, youll have the worlds most impressive campfire for company, a rumbling bright orange and red crater named the Door to Hell.

As fireballs and games burst from inside it, youll feel completely smug that this camping experience isnt shared by many. It is free to camp here as long as you bring your own gear but do plan your journey well as the harsh conditions could be tricky without preparation.

Camping spots

Camping near to the crater overnight so you get to see the full spectacle of the burning hole at night.

Opening times

All year round but, conditions are tricky in the height of summer when the sun is dangerously hot and in winter when it is freezing at night. As long as you plan when you hike and travel and the gear you take with you, you can go any time.

Best time of the year to camp?

Avoid peak summer times.

What is the campground known for?

The beautiful and totally unique Door to Hell crater.

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How To Leave No Trace

Before getting into this post, I need to emphasize to you how important it is to Leave No Trace when camping in British Columbia.

Following Leave No Trace principlesensures that beautiful BC remains clean, beautiful and accessible for everyone

Here are some of the most significant things you can do to help:

  • No toilet in your vehicle? Use the cathole method for proper waste disposal
  • Pack out everything you bring in with you, including natural items like banana peels and apple cores
  • Camp on durable surfaces only, preferably areas that have previously been used for camping
  • Build campfires in existing fire rings, keep fires small and extinguish them properly

For more info and tips, check out our full Leave No Trace guide.

Denali National Park Alaska

Camping and campsites in Sweden

Camping in Denali is magical, with breathtaking scenery, rare wildlife, the cleanest air, and free backcountry camping with a free-to-obtain pass. There are also paid-for campsites if you want amenities.

The only thing to consider is that this is advanced camping, for those experienced in survival. If you can have somebody with you who knows how to comfortably survive in these conditions, then youre in for the adventure of a lifetime.

Camping spots

This depends on the weather, but as a general rule, sheltered from the wind but away from potential rock falls is a good idea.

Opening times

One paid for campsite stays open all year round and some roads close in winter. Generally, people start to enter the park from springtime onwards.

Best time of the year to camp?

It depends on how cold youre willing to go! For the easiest camping, visit during the summer.

What is the campground known for?

The epic scenery, incredible wildlife, and general I cant believe this place is real vibe.

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Is There Any Way To Go Wild Camping In England And Wales

If you want to wild camp in England or Wales, you do have options. Dartmoor National Park does actually allow wild camping in specific areas, with some simple rules in place. Campers must carry all their equipment on foot, and stay a maximum of two nights. Overnight stays are not permitted in vehicles, including campervans and motorhomes, and large tents are also banned. Campers must pitch up out of sight at least 100 metres from the road, and leave no trace behind. For more information, check out the parks own camping guide, which includes an interactive map showing where wild camping is allowed.

Over the border in Wales, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority provides a list of local farms which allow wild camping.

Elsewhere in England and Wales, including Exmoor, Snowdonia and the Peak District National Parks, all you need to do to wild camp is ask the landowners permission first and make sure theres no trace of your stay when youre done.

So What Exactly Is Dispersed Free Camping

Free or dispersed camping means youll most likely be without services and amenities such as water, picnic tables, trash cans, showers, and toilets. That means you need to come fully prepared with everything you need, and youll need to pack everything out and abide by Leave No Trace principles. The trade-off is these dispersed campsites are generally FREE, offer a lot more solitude than traditional campsites, and sometimes youll even have better views!

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Using Backroad Mapbooks To Find Bc Recreational Sites

Recreational Sites are very easy to spot on in the Backroad Mapbooks . They are shown clearly in red, with a tent or RV/tent symbol showing what kind of Rec Site it is. The name of the Rec Site is listed next to this symbol.

Towards the back of the Backroad Mapbook, there is an entire alphabetised section with a detailed description of each Rec Site.

This usually includes details such as how many campsites there are, what attractions are close by and the condition of the road leading to it. If there is a charge to camp, a large dollar symbol is shown.

Ventana Double Cone Trail / Lone Pine Camp

How We Find Free Camping, Free Water, and Free Dump Stations * Full-time RV Living *

A hike on the Ventana Double Cone Trail is a great opportunity to gain one of the best views in all of Big Sur.

The easiest start is from Bottchers Gap. To arrive, take Highway 1 south from Carmel for roughly 20 miles. Make a left at Palo Colorado Rd and drive through a remote cluster of houses dotted among some massive redwoods adorning the canyon.

Drive the road to its end, about 8-9 miles where it stops at Bottchers Gap. Dont drive through the gate, even if it is open!

The best camping option is probably Lone Pine Camp, though you can wild camp in many other places should you choose to. Water sources can be far and few between. Keep that in mind when choosing a place to camp.

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How To Camp For Free On Your Road Trip Any Time Any Place

Knowing how to camp for free its pretty much the ultimate road trip hack.

Between gas, food, and admission to attractions along the way, travel isnt cheap. Finding ways to make your money go further means your trip can go a little further, too. Free camping might not be the most glamorous option, but its got a certain romance of the open road appeal to it. Heres our advice on how to camp for free anytime, anywhere.

Can You Camp Anywhere

The logical answer is that yes, technically, you can camp anywhere if you have permission. But campers neednt limit themselves to improved campgrounds. Dispersed campsites scattered across public lands provide an isolated place to pitch a tent. Some small towns have citizen-owned campgrounds right in town, and RV owners spend nights in state rest areas, big-box store parking lots and truck stops. Boondockers folks who set up camp out in the middle of nowhere with no nearby water source, electricity or bathhouse get away from it all with careful planning. Private landowners might welcome campers, but be sure to get permission before setting up camp.

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Los Burros/willow Creek Road

Los Burros Road is another classic free Big Sur camping area that offers great views and peaceful camping. Like all place in Big Sur, the secret is out when it comes to Los Burros.

That said, compared to some of the other campsites on my list, Los Burros can be less populated with campersand it is a fucking gorgeous spot!

If youre RV camping, I dont recommend trying to park here. In fact, I would keep RVs off of all of the free Big Sur camping spots I cover. They are just too big, and turning around on these roads is impossible .

If you come in season , you can pick wild blackberries to your hearts content. The drive up the road isnt super long, though it can be very steep in some places. Go early in order to snag the best spots. Dont be afraid to walk a bit into the bush in search of the best tent sites.

Note: Be aware that there is TONS of poison oak in the area.

The USA is blisteringly beautiful. Its also blisteringly expensive! Visitng two national parks in day can run you $70+ in entry fees.

Orrrr you kick those entry fees to the curb, buy an annual America the Beautiful Pass for $79.99, and get unlimited access to ALL 2000+ federally managed sites in the States totally FREE!

You do the math.

Free Camping In British Columbias Recreational Sites

[META] Why pay for the boot camp when you can go for free ...

There are hundreds of free campgrounds all over British Columbia in the form of Recreational Sites.

These come under the umbrella of BCs Ministry of Forests but are often managed by partnership agreements with:

  • Recreation groups
  • Local governments
  • Forestry companies.

Most Recreational Sites are suitable for RV, van and tent camping. A small minority of British Columbias forestry campsites are only suitable for tents due to their small size and/or difficult access.

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Can I Go Camping In A Parking Lot

It depends on the parking lot. Do you still have questions about camping in a metro area?Click here to scroll back up to our section on different places to crash in a city.

Most often in recreational areas, overnight camping is NOT allowed in parking lots, trailheads, picnic areas, and day-use sites.

Look out for no overnight camping or no overnight parking signs, and if youre still unsure, call a ranger to get some clarification for your area.

Free Camping Options In Bcs Provincial Parks

British Columbias Provincial Park system also offers camping opportunities. There are two different types of camping available in Provincial Parks:

  • Car-accessible campsites in well-maintained campgrounds for both tent, van and RV campers.

The fee for one camping party ranges from $12 to $35 per night in these campgrounds. The more expensive campsites have showers, flush toilets and, sometimes, electricity. Many campsites are reserved in advance during the main summer camping season

  • Wilderness camping at marine and backcountry campgrounds for tent campers. Camping at these sites is free or costs $5-10 per night per person

Backcountry and marine sites are usually quite rustic, with just a pit toilet at a minimum. These sites are only accessible by foot or boat respectively.

Relatively common is the use of tent pads to preserve ground cover. Less common facilities include picnic tables, barrels for wastewater disposal and shelters.

Some Provincial Park backcountry camping sites are completely free all year round. Others always have a fee or only charge during the main summer season .

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How Can I Go To The Bathroom While Camping In The Backcountry

When camping for free, youve got to get creative when nature calls.

For #1 , Leave No Trace principles recommend peeing directly into a large body of water. However, they dont recommend peeing in small bodies of water because it wont properly dilute.

If you are up in the mountains, try peeing on rocks to deter animals like mountain goats from digging up the area.

For #2 , its necessary to have a trowel to bury your business. No shovel? No problem. Use a nearby rock or push dirt back into place with your foot.

For all bathroom visits, make sure you are at least 200 feet from any water source.

Read REIs complete guide to going to the bathroom in the outdoors to learn how to leave as little of an impact as possible.

What Is Backcountry Camping


Free camping goes by many names. Weve heard it called dry camping, wild camping, backcountry camping, or even boondocking. Any term you choose, they all generally mean the same thing: finding a place to camp for free.

More often than not, free camping means you can expect there to be no facilities, no running water, and definitely no access to electricity .

Reservations arent usually made for free camping areas, and they tend to run on a first come first serve basis.

Free camping areas are at LEAST 1 mile off the main serviceable roads and have unofficial, if any, designated pullouts for your car.

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There Are No Added Comforts And No Frills

If you are opting to find free campsites, youre pretty much saying goodbye to flushing toilets, showers, and all conveniences.

Before deciding to camp this way, we suggest brushing up on backcountry knowledge like going to the bathroom in the wilderness, how to make a fire, and how to find and collect water if necessary.

These skills will not only make car camping easier, but it will also keep you safe.

Thats why its important to be prepared when finding free places to go car camping.

Keep reading this post to find out what to pack, how to prepare for car camping, and things to consider on your next dispersed camping trip.

Hickock Brook Multi Use Area

Wheres It Located: Barryville, NY

Why Youll Love It: This rustic spot is prefect for tents, vans and small trailers. Youll have access to a small lake and be able get tucked back in the forest.

Campers also reported cellular access.

Heres way a recent Campendium reviewer says, Lovely place to stay in the forest with a little lake and active wildlife! There is a shooting range nearby but the noise wasnt prevalent enough to bother me. The road in is gravel and offshoots to sites are dirt which can get muddy in the rain, but I saw many small vehicles come through successfully.

Keep In Mind: Large RVs wont fit!

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Free Campsites In The City

In a pickle and dont have time to find a proper campsite?

Sleeping in your car in the city can be more of a gamble, and a little tricky. However, sometimes situations deem city sleeping necessary.

We dont totally recommend basing a trip entirely on these suggestions below, but were sharing them to let you know they are at least an option for your road trip.

Here is a list of free camping in the city and some proper practices when doing so:

  • Arrive late and leave early. City camping is for SLEEPING only.
  • If possible, ask permission from the owner before sleeping in a parking lot.
  • Read this post for tips on sleeping in your car comfortably.

Night Sky At Mesa Verde

Where can you go camping for free?

Spend a night under the stars in Mesa Verde National Park.

A few weeks in, Id learned some tips for finding spectacular campsites for free:

1. Take the scenic route. Youre unlikely to find campsites along major interstate highways. Instead, plan to take the scenic route along Americas original highway system. U.S. highways often followed old road bedssome dating to before the signing of the Constitutionand they will often take you through the heart of national forests and BLM lands.

2. Google, Google, Google. The internet is full of information about free campsites, but once you think youve found one, keep searching. Many campsite reviews are dated, and the rules or the land may have changed since the first search listing was created.

3. Use an app. Adventure travel apps abound in the age of Instagram, and if you plan to search for campgrounds using social media, Id recommend utilizing an app such as The Outbound or AllTrails instead of Instagram, where tent photos can be completely misleading.

4. Ask a ranger. Park rangers are typically some of the friendliest folk youll find in the wild. In addition to being a potential resource for designated campgrounds, they can sometimes tell you where to find dispersed camping. If youre alone, its also smart to let someone know where youll be, and nobody knows wild terrain better than the people who work there.

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