Best places to camp for free

A savvy traveler can find plenty of places to camp for free. At Boat and RV Accessories, we can help make that search easy.

In some ways, an RV, camper or trailer is thought of as a luxury item. But you know better: Such a vehicle allows you to take a high level of control over your journeys across the country, so that you can save a ridiculous amount of money, or stretch your vacation budget further toward your wildest dreams.

If your RV or camper is equipped with kitchen features, you can prepare your own meals instead of paying restaurant after restaurant. With your own portable hotel room, you don't have to confine yourself to locations that are tourist traps. YOU pick the location and the scenery.

And thanks to improved technology for renewable energy, it's never been easier to go to the most remote location, far from any utility hookups or even pavement, and enjoy your RV to its fullest.

With that in mind, you are perfectly equipped to go anywhere - including a huge number of places where you don't have to pay a dime to stay.

Camping freedom

Also known as boondocking, many RV and camper owners spend their vacation finding places that offer free camping any place they can find the space for it.

Let's be clear: These types of spots are not right off Main Street. You'll have to do some driving to a more remote location to enjoy these types of spots. There may not be cellphone signals, radio or - well, anything. But for a boondocker, that's exactly the point.

Where can you find these places? The U.S. government can help:

  • Bureau of Land Management. Camping is allowed on public lands, and this department can help you learn where such sites are. This department also has excellent information on mountain biking, climbing, hiking and more. Just look for what the department calls "dispersed camping." The S. Forest Service also has helpful information.
  • If you need to stop near a highway on your way to a destination, business parking lots are a good option. Large retail store, shopping malls, larger restaurants, casinos and other businesses may be perfectly fine with you using their pavement overnight, as long as you call ahead first.
  • Along the same lines, some rest stops - but not all - allow overnight parking. Each state maintains its own list of those rest areas, so try searching that state's department of transportation or tourism.

Some travelers may also recommend searching out spots in neighborhoods or on backstreets. We won't back that recommendation, for security reasons. You could either cause security concerns for residents in that neighborhood, or risk your own safety because of a lack of security.

Additionally, we also do not recommend picking a place near a playground, airport, power plant, military base or school, from pre-schools to universities. Additionally, stay off of private properties, for obvious reasons.

If this type of adventuring sounds like an exciting experience, Boat and RV Accessories can help you determine whether your camper or RV is equipped for that. Contact our travel experts today and let us help you have an unforgettable vacation.