2023 Guide to Free Car Camping

2023 Guide to Free Car Camping

Car camping is a great way to experience the great outdoors without having to invest in expensive gear like tents or sleeping bags. But finding a place to park your car and set up camp can be a challenge, especially if you want to do it for free. Here are a few tips for finding free locations to go car camping:

  1. National Forests: One of the best places to find free car camping is in national forests. These public lands are managed by the U.S. Forest Service and offer a variety of camping options, including dispersed camping, which is essentially just parking your car in a remote location and setting up camp. Dispersed camping is typically free, but you'll need to follow Leave No Trace principles and be mindful of any local regulations.

  2. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands: Similar to national forests, BLM lands are public lands managed by the federal government that offer free dispersed camping. These lands are often located in more remote areas, so you'll need to be prepared for a more rustic camping experience.

  3. State Parks: Many state parks offer car camping, but it's usually not free. However, some state parks do have a limited number of free campsites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. These sites can be very popular, so you'll need to get there early to secure a spot.

  4. Walmart: Believe it or not, Walmart is actually a popular place for car camping. The retailer allows overnight parking in their lots, as long as you're a paying customer. This means you can park your car, set up camp in the back, and then do your shopping at Walmart the next morning.

  5. Rest areas: Rest areas along major highways and interstates often allow overnight parking, which can be a good option if you're just passing through an area and need a place to rest. Just be aware that rest areas can be noisy and not all of them allow overnight parking, so you'll need to do your research before setting up camp.

Overall, finding free places to go car camping can be a bit of a challenge, but it's definitely possible with a little bit of research and planning. Just be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles and respect any local regulations to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable camping experience.

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