Knowing how to find free camping sites can really help cut the cost of your family camping adventure!
One of the most compelling reasons for camping is that it allows people to have a vacation or weekend break fairly inexpensively.
However, if you are like me, then you are always looking for ways to cut even more costs and finding places where you can camp for free or almost free can really reduce the cost of your next camping trip.
I have been lucky enough to have found a free camping area near my home about 30 years ago and over the years have spent a lot of time camping there both with my children and now as a retired couple.
The camping spots are on two small lakes that offer fun fishing for Large mouth bass, pike, sunfish, and perch.
There are both small and large camping sites available on a first come, first serve basis.
All we have to do is pick up a registration form from our local DNR.
While free camping spots may not be the norm, there are some scattered about in almost every state.
Finding them may seem difficult, but is not as difficult as it seems.
How to Find Free Camping Sites
If you are looking for free camping near where you live you can contact your local DNR and ask them about free camping areas.
The DNR will also be able to tell you a little about the camping area and explain to you any permits you will need (such as fire or burning permits) as well as any rules for using the camping area.
You can also contact the Bureau of Land Management for information on free camping.
Many states allow camping on state land, but you may need a permit to do so. These permits are usually not expensive and much less than the normal camping fee may be.
[Read: A Camping Guide for Beginners – Different Types of Campgrounds]
Most national forests allow free camping unless it otherwise posted. You may ask to get a registration form and submit an itinerary in case of an emergency.
There is also a site called Freecampsites.Net that has a list of free and low costs places you can camp listed by state. The site is free to access and has some helpful information.
Looking for the Best Free Camping Sites? Get Creative!
When considering places to camp for free a little bit of creativity may be helpful. My niece and her husband were looking for a free place to camp with their 5 kids and she ended up calling up a local farm and asking if they could camp there in exchange for helping with small chores.
The farmer agreed and the family had a nice two week vacation and the children had a great time helping to gather eggs, feed chickens and water the goats. They even learned a bit about the farms history and about farming as well.
The farmer and his wife even joined the family for a couple of cookouts and on the last night of their stay he took the entire family on a moonlight hay ride.
With a bit of imagination and a lot of effort it shouldn’t be too difficult to find some free places to camp near you.
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