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5 States With Incredible Boondocking Camping Spots 2910

Why pay for an RV park when the U.S. has tons of public lands you can park on? Dry camping, or “boondocking,” allows you to be deeper in nature, where you can disconnect for a bit. We could all use a little more of that, right?

Not all states are very “boondocking friendly” though. In fact, you’ll notice that all five of these states are in the west. Finding boondocking spots is considerably more challenging the further east you go.

5 States with Incredible Boondocking Camping Spots

Utah

Utah is known for its national parks and outdoor adventure! The open space this state boasts is practically screaming to be explored and camped on.

boondocking in utah RV

Valley of the Gods

Lots of wide open spaces and easy to access spots entering from Hwy 163. A perfect spot to enjoy a sunrise and star gazing all in the same day! There’s plenty of nearby sites to enjoy as well, including Goosenecks State Park, the Moki Dugway, Muley Point, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Monument Valley.

Wyoming

Wyoming has nearly 100,000 square miles of wide open spaces. Plus, with Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, you won’t believe the views you can get!

grand tetons free RV camping wyoming

Upper Teton View

Not only is this a great place for phenomenal views of the Tetons, but because of its popularity, it’s also a great place to meet other campers and mingle! Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are easily accessible from here, offering endless amounts of outdoor exploration. There’s also plenty to do and see in the nearby town of Jackson.

Lake Hattie Public Access Area

Just 20 miles from Laramie, this area offers beachfront camping and beautiful views of Lake Hattie. Lake Hattie is the largest of the Laramie Plains Lakes and offers great fishing and other water activities!

Arizona

This state has it all: you can camp beside the Grand Canyon, in the Petrified Forest, next to saguaros in the desert, or right in the city of Phoenix. You can find over 200 free camping spots in Arizona!

free rv camping arizona sedona

Loy Butte Road

Loy Butte Road ranks high on many boondocker’s lists of favorite free camping sites. While the road can get heavily trafficked, it’s worth it for the views and proximity to everything Sedona has to offer. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch hot air balloons float over the valley in the mornings.

Forest Road 688

This peaceful forest spot is only about 5-10 minutes from the entrance of Grand Canyon National Park! You’ll likely find an area all to yourself and the only neighbors you’ll see are deer and elk. The campgrounds within the National Park tend to fill up fast, so this is a great option!

California

Most people immediately think of L.A., San Francisco, or even Yosemite or the Redwoods. While free camping is nearly non-existent in those parts, you’ll find the complete opposite story going to the eastern side of the state along US-395.

free camping eastern california RV boondocking

Joshua Tree South

Just 1 mile off of Interstate 10, and close in proximity to Joshua Tree National Park, this spot is real gem. Staying outside the national park allows you to have great cell phone coverage, be close to town, and yet still have the ability to drive through the unique landscape of Joshua Tree.

Alabama Hills Recreation Area

Described as “perfect” and “magical” in some of its reviews, this area is a must for anyone looking for scenic and free camping spots in California. It has sweeping views of Mt. Whitney and the Eastern Sierras and wide open space (which isn’t easy to find in California!).

Colorado

Colorado is one of the top states for free camping, especially along the western half of the state. You can’t beat Colorado camping, with some of the most beautiful peaks in the nation, it’s an outdoor lovers dreamland.

free RV camping western colorado boondocking

Twin Lakes View

This is one of the most scenic boondocking sites you can find, with views of twin lakes below you and the mountains beyond. It’s especially beautiful during the fall with the aspens changing colors. As always when you’re in Colorado, don’t forget your hiking shoes, kayak, fishing pole, and adventurous spirit!

San Luis State Wildlife Area

This is an actual campsite with asphalt pads and electric hook ups…yes, for free! But that’s not even the best part. You’ll be 20 minutes from Great Sand Dunes National Park and the town of Alamosa. More importantly, you’ll have gorgeous views of the lakes, the dunes, and the Sangre de Cristo mountains right from your window.

Looking for a campsite with more amenities? Check out a Good Sam Campground near you!

Lindsay McKenzie

Lindsay McKenzie travels full-time in her Winnebago Navion with her husband Dan and their 2 dogs. Originally from Colorado, they have been seeking adventure together for 10 years now and have done a lot of international traveling, including living in Costa Rica. They took the leap into full time RVing after experiencing life-altering news. They viewed the news as a life “detour” and started a travel and inspirational blog called Follow Your Detour. Lindsay has grown more passionate about pursuing her dreams and a leading a fulfilling life, while inspiring others to do the same. She loves that RVing allows her to be in nature and do more of what she loves. You can usually find her on the river fly fishing, hiking to sunset spots, or at a local brewery.

(All photos by Lindsay McKenzie, except where noted.)

31 Comments

  1. Thank you for your post…we are full time RV’ers and our biggest expense is camping sites. The problem for us us that we are 41 feet long and towing so all together 60 feet. It’s important to note that most of these places do not allow more than 40 feet so free space for us has been a challenge.

    1. Hi Vickie! I have personally parked our RV at many of these locations and don’t feel that your length would keep you from parking there. Most of these spots are open land so as long as you find a spot with plenty of space for your rig, you’re fine. I do agree that the longer your RV, the harder it is to find places to park, but BLM land has no restrictions on length, to my knowledge. However, it probably is a challenge to maneuver through BLM land with that extra length. I would imagine its hard to find RV parks and campgrounds since they are the spots that typically have length restrictions.

    1. Maine!
      State Public Reserve Land. Mostly in the northern half of the state. Often on lakes. Gorgeous.
      White Mt National Forest, NH & ME, have free sites sprinkled through out. Usually, removed from camping areas, but close by.

      These are the ones I personally know of.

    1. Florida is a little tougher to find free spots. But, casinos typically allow free overnight parking, many rest areas in Florida are beautiful and are obviously free, and I know many of the water management districts allow free parking. These aren’t really long term parking options, but good for a night or two. But, there are lots of great state parks that are very affordable and right on the beach! Hard to get reservations but if you check in frequently, you can snag someones cancellation.

      1. To my knowledge: The city of Phoenix only allows the homeless to camp on private & public lands, city parks excluded. RV are allowed in campgrounds and mobile home parks. Even ELK Lodges are cautious to allow overnight parking – the rv-er takes the risk.

  2. The picture for Utah is nowhere near the Valley of the Gods, even the the scenery is similar; this looks like it is taken from a rest area on I-70, I have a photo just like it. There is also free camping (or at least it was several years ago when I was there) at the Goosenecks, with amazing early morning views and colors.

  3. Just finished an epic week of Overlanding in Utah from the 4 corners through Moab, to the Henry mountains, to Kanab and ending at Zion. Free camping and purchased showers available everywhere.

    1. can you please share where to go? we are looking for a place to go tent came beacuse money is very tight but want to go places we are going from betrice ne to somewhere we have if you could email me at [email protected]

  4. Thank you for the interesting and informative information. I would love to continue or follow your post.

  5. We have 4 days between reservations at Tetons and then Yellowstone. We have a 35 ft. Class A with tow. A little worried about roads getting into places to boondock. Any suggestions? Loved this blog!

    Franknkay

  6. NewMexico
    I 40 six miles west of Grants is 117 south six miles down on left side is joe skeen camp ground. Picnic tables. Overheads, nice it is free.
    El malaise monument. Hole in the wall , sky city all near by

  7. Thanks for all of the above information! We are planning on staying in New Mexico for a couple of weeks later this month, then on to Corpus Christi, TX, any
    suggestions??

    Thanking you in advance

  8. San Louis in Colorado is most definitely not free!! This was one of our most favorite campgrounds, but has switched from being a State Park to a State Wildlife Area. You have to have an annual Colorado fish and game license to camp there now- $36 for each in-state resident and $56 for each out-of-state resident. That means it would have cost our Kentucky family a pretty penny for a one- night stay!

  9. Maine!
    State Public Reserve Land. Mostly in the northern half of the state. Often on lakes. Gorgeous.
    White Mt National Forest, NH & ME, have free sites sprinkled through out. Usually, removed from camping areas, but close by.

    These are the ones I personally know of.

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