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