Are you ready to plan your next outdoor adventure? Dispersed camping is one of the best ways to explore the United States for free and find some of the most stunning landscapes. But where should you start?
Researching dispersed camping involves sorting through multiple websites and forums, compiling reviews from real campers, verifying information from state park websites, and understanding precisely what it is and how it works.
It can be a daunting task. Luckily, I’m here to help! In this article, I’ll share with you my top tips on finding the best dispersed campsites in the United States for your next adventure.
What Is Dispersed Camping?
Dispersed camping is an outdoor activity where you can set up a camp in natural or rural setting, like national forests, rather than a designated campground. This can be tent camping or RVs. The sites are usually free or carry minimal usage fees. Dispersed camping offers a unique way to enjoy nature and experience many places at once.
When looking for the best dispersed campsites, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you begin your search. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the local regulations for any campsite you’re interested in so you can find one that is suitable for your needs. Also, consider what amenities are offered by the site, such as fire rings, drinking water access, bathrooms, or other facilities. This will help narrow down your list of potential locations and make the selection process easier.
Once you’ve found several potential sites, it’s also a good idea to check reviews online and talk to other campers who’ve stayed at these sites before. This will give you valuable insight into the quality of each site and help ensure that you choose one that meets all of your needs and expectations!
How to Find Dispersed Camping Spots
Google Maps is an excellent tool to help you locate free dispersed campsites in National Forests. Start by searching for the National Forest you’d like to explore and then zoom in as close as possible in satellite view.
Using Google Maps will allow you to follow promising-looking Forest Service roads and locate potential pull-offs where you can camp. It’s also helpful to start your search near developed campgrounds or trailheads, as these are often good indicators of where you might find a suitable spot. Once the map is covering those areas, just search the maps for dispersed camping in that area.
In addition, many National Forests have websites listing their dispersed camping areas, which can help narrow your search even further, link above. There are also several online resources such as Campendium, The Dyrt, and FreeCampsites.net that provide convenient map search tools so you can quickly find available dispersed campsites in any given area. With a little research and planning, it’s easy to find the perfect spot for your next outdoor adventure!
Of course, you can also search this site in the search bar above. I cover locations in most states and national parks.
Dispersed Camping Guidelines
When it comes to finding the best dispersed campsites in the United States, it’s important to know about the guidelines for dispersed camping. Dispersed camping means that you can camp on public lands without a specific designated campsite. It’s also important to follow Leave No Trace principles when dispersed camping, so that our wilderness remains pristine for future generations.
First and foremost, find out if dispersed camping is allowed on the piece of land where you’re intending to camp. Most National Forests allow some form of dispersed camping, but research is key! Once you know that you’re able to reserve a spot, make sure you have all of your supplies such as food and plenty of water, as well as essential items like first aid kits and fire extinguishers.
Next, check whether there are any policies or regulations in place during your stay; these requirements vary between destinations, so it pays to be informed ahead of time. Remember also to practice safety measures when setting up your spot by ensuring your tent and belongings are far enough away from any nearby firewood sources, and research local animal rules if necessary; some places may offer specifics on how close you can get to wildlife or protected land areas.
Finally, make sure that Respect Private Property signs are respected near boundaries – always ask permission before entering or trespassing onto anyone else’s land!
What is Boondocking?
Boondocking is a term used to describe free camping for RVers, road trippers, and long-term travelers. It is an increasingly popular way of exploring the outdoors without paying for expensive campsites or resorts. Boondocking can be done in a variety of places such as national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, or even on private property with permission from the owner.
The beauty of boondocking is that it allows you to explore remote areas that are not accessible by traditional campgrounds. You can find yourself in some truly spectacular locations with breathtaking views and plenty of wildlife. Boondocking also allows you to save money since you don’t have to pay for a campsite or resort fees. Additionally, it gives you the freedom to stay as long as you want without worrying about check-in times or other restrictions imposed by traditional campgrounds. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder why so many people are choosing boondocking over more traditional camping methods.
My Favorite Dispersed Campsites
Dispersed camping is one of my favorite ways to explore the outdoors. It’s a great way to get away from the crowds and experience nature in its purest form.
There are countless dispersed campsites located throughout the United States, each with its own unique beauty and charm.
Montana is great for dispersed camping, with Lolo National Forest, Beaverhead National Forest, and Kootenai National Forest all offering unbeatable free campsites.
Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico also have some amazing dispersed camping opportunities, while much of California is almost impossible to beat in terms of variety and quality. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot to relax or an adventure-filled weekend away from it all, there’s no shortage of great dispersed campsites out there waiting to be explored!
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.