If you love camping, boondocking and the outdoors, you’ve probably thought about free camping spots from time to time. Luckily, there are plenty of free camping spots in the western U.S., so even if you don’t have much money to spend on camping, you can still spend a few nights under the stars and wake up refreshed in the morning to enjoy your surroundings. Here are 10 free boondocking campsites you can’t miss on your next trip through Utah, California, Oregon and Washington – all of which will provide an amazing experience without costing you anything more than your drive there!
1: Saguaro Lake, Arizona
Located just outside of Tucson, Arizona, Saguaro Lake is a great boondocking spot with ample space for RV’s to maneuver and park overnight. The area is also well-known for its hiking trails and wildlife, so you’ll be able to explore and get some exercise while you’re there!
2: Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania
Cherry Springs State Park is a Pennsylvania gem that you can enjoy for free! The park has more than 50 miles of hiking trails, and is home to more than 20 species of bats that live in the surrounding woods. Cherry Springs is also known as one of the best stargazing spots in America, so be sure to bring your telescope or binoculars to explore some of the more than 8,000 stars visible on a clear night.
3: Gold Beach, Oregon
Gold Beach is a small town on Oregon’s coast, just a few miles south of Port Orford and Cape Blanco State Park, where you can find some of Oregon’s most rugged coastline. This coastal camping destination offers the opportunity to explore unique wildlife habitat and enjoy breathtaking views of natural landmarks like Elephant Rock, Five Fingers Point, and Cape Blanco Lighthouse. There are several free boondocking camping spots at Gold Beach for those looking for an off-the-grid adventure along Oregon’s beautiful coast!
4: City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho
City of Rocks National Reserve is a remote and off-the-beaten-path gem that’s perfect for those looking to explore and disconnect. The reserve offers free camping, hiking, climbing, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities with primitive campsites scattered throughout the reserve.
City of Rocks was once a major landmark on the Oregon Trail and served as a crucial landmark for American pioneers exploring this area of Idaho in search of gold during the California Gold Rush of 1849.
5: Mount Laguna, California
Mount Laguna is a popular camping spot for people visiting San Diego, CA and Los Angeles, CA. Even though it’s just under 2 hours away from L.A., Mount Laguna offers a more peaceful camping experience than many other campsites closer to the city.
6: Corn Creek Field Station, California
Corn Creek Field Station is a privately owned, 36-acre nature reserve and wildlife research center just south of Lake Isabella in Kern County, California. The area has been called one of the last great places on Earth and every inch of it is beautiful; from the towering oaks to the freshwater creeks that wind through meadows filled with wildflowers and butterflies. It’s a naturalist’s paradise!
7: The Playa at Slab City (aka the end of the earth), California/Mexico border
The Playa at Slab City is one of the best free boondocking camping spots on this list, as it offers a wide range of activities and has friendly locals, but it might not be your first choice if you’re looking for peace and quiet. This off-the-grid community is located right next to an active bombing range and is home to a thriving counterculture with its own set of rules.
8: The Playa at Glamis Dunes National Recreation Area (California)
At this point, you’ve probably heard about Glamis Dunes National Recreation Area, but it bears mentioning as a boondocking destination that’s just over two hours away from Los Angeles and San Diego. This is one of the few dune areas on public land that’s open to camping year-round. The Playa is an expansive dry lake bed with plenty of smooth sand to do some off-roading or take a long walk without ever touching water or feeling wet sand.
9 Yellow Rose trailhead outside Fallon, Nevada
The Yellow Rose trailhead is located outside of Fallon, Nevada on BLM land. This site is a favorite among locals and features easy access to some of the best fishing spots in the region. It’s also home to a little-known prehistoric petroglyph rock art site that you’ll have all to yourself when you visit! Just make sure not to take any artifacts with you or disturb the archaeological sites.
10) BLM land (Bureau of Land Management), Nevada/Utah border
BLM land is a perfect place to boondock for free, with no limit on how long you can stay if you are an American citizen. The Nevada/Utah border gives you access to some of the most beautiful landscapes and trails without having to pay any fees at all.