5 Free Campsites for Any Size RV

5 Free Campsites for Any Size RV

In the Summer and Fall of 2020, we spent 125 straight days camping for free throughout several states. Some might associate ‘boondocking’ or free camping with van life or that it’s only achievable for smaller rigs. We’re here to help break that idea! While we travel in a 25ft Winnebago Navion Class C, we have several friends with large Fifth Wheels and Class A RVs who boondock often in similar spots. The 5 (+ a bonus location) campsites below are all locations we’ve personally camped in and are easily accessible for RVs of any size!

1. Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake No. 2 – Manhattan, Kansas

GPS Coordinates: 39.2293, -96.5308

The Pottawatomie State Fishing Lake definitely surprised us! The scenery is incredibly beautiful because all the campsites have views of the lake. We were there in late October right at the peak of the fall foliage and the colors were spectacular! This location is about 15 minutes from shopping, restaurants and grocery stores. Plus, we had great cell service for work purposes.

Amenities & Info:

  • Fire Pits, Picnic Tables, Pit Toilets in some areas (there are two campground loops, the first has pit toilets)
  • Beautiful views of the lake, and yes, fishing
  • 14-day stay limit
  • No reservations, first-come first-serve

2. Antero Reservoir – Hartsel, Colorado

GPS Coordinates: 38.9773, -105.8946

We spent almost two months free camping throughout Colorado and this was one of our favorite locations! Antero Reservoir is one of many free campgrounds owned and operated by Denver Water. Ironically, there is no water service available at any of the campgrounds, however a few (not Antero) do have dump stations.

Antero has 38 RV sites, all level and large enough for any size RV. We were able to snag one of the parallel parking sites with lakefront views. This location is pretty great for exploring the nearby towns of Fairplay, Alma or Buena Vista and it’s about a 30 minute drive to each. Breckenridge is also only an hour away. Plus, if you’re into fishing… that’s the thing to do here! We just love taking in the views and watching the sunset over the lake.  We also had great Verizon service at this location.

Amenities & Info:

  • Fire Pits, Picnic Tables, Pit Toilets, Trash Cans
  • Beautiful sunset views of the lake and mountains
  • 14-day stay limit
  • No reservations, first-come first-serve

3. Coconino National Forest Dispersed Camping – Flagstaff, Arizona

GPS Coordinates:
Location 1 35.0541, -111.7272
Location 2 35.0496, -111.7426

There are two camping areas across the road from one another. The first seems to be an old campground with more “established” sites. The second location is a bit more dispersed. The major draw for this free camping is the location to both Flagstaff and Sedona, situated about halfway between both. The immediate entrance off the paved road can be a bit rough with rocks, so take it slow and you’ll be fine. Again, we had great Verizon service at this spot as well.

Amenities & Info:

  • Fire rings in some areas
  • Numerous sites
  • 14-day stay limit
  • No reservations, first-come first-serve 

4. Goose Bay Dispersed Camping – Townsend, Montana

GPS Coordinates: 46.5421, -111.5733

This campground has PLENTY of room and is easily accessible for big and small rigs alike. And almost every site has water views, picnic tables and fire rings. We chose it because of its proximity to nearby Helena, Montana. Great cell service is an added bonus. Plus, the free camping is adjacent to the pay campground and they allow campers of both sites to access the water there and you can dump your tanks for a small fee.

Amenities & Info:

  • Fire Pits, Picnic Tables, Pit Toilets in one loop,
  • 14-day stay limit
  • No reservations, first-come first-serve 
  • Incredible views, free water and even a pay dump station at the nearby pay campground

5. Wolf Flats Recreation Area – Ririe, Idaho

GPS Coordinates: 43.5989, -111.6109

Wolf Flats Recreation Area was such a gem to find! We struck out at another nearby free camping area that didn’t have great cell service for working and decided to check this spot out, and we’re so glad we did! There are numerous sites sprinkled throughout a long gravel road. The road does have some washboarding in a few areas, but it’s easily passable.

If you have a smaller rig, you can fit into some of the hidden spots right along the river and have incredible views of the rushing, crystal clear water. Larger rigs have numerous flat, clear spots on the other side of the road to choose from. We had blazing fast Verizon service here, some of the fastest we’ve seen in two and a half years of RVing!

Amenities & Info:

  • Fire Pits, Pit Toilets in some areas
  • 14-day stay limit
  • SUPER Fast Verizon Service
  • No reservations, first-come first-serve 

6. BONUS: Cypress Creek Preserve – Land O’Lakes, Florida

GPS Coordinates: 28.2382, -82.4305

Free camping in Florida, what!? That’s right! We’re going to let you in on a little secret… there are several campgrounds on land owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. While it is free, reservations are required in advance but can be requested online here. Cypress Creek Preserve is tucked down a dirt road surrounded by lush vegetation. We celebrated New Year’s Eve here ringing in 2020 and had a great time camping in this free, beautiful spot.

Amenities & Info:

  • Fire Pits, Picnic Tables, Pit Toilets
  • 7-day stay limit
  • Decent cell service
  • Reservations Necessary

And that rounds out our list of FREE campsites for any size RV! Curious as to how we find these places and what we look for once we get to a location? Keep reading! 

Apps & Websites We Use to Find FREE Camping

In order to find free camping, we use a variety of resources: 

  1. Campendium: This is our go to search engine for camping because we can actually filter our locations based on cell service and connectivity, which is huge since we work from the road. It’s helpful to see reviews from other campers and you can set the filters for free camping as well. 
  2. iOverlander: This is a great resource for not only finding camping, but the amenities you’ll eventually need after dry camping for a while. You can look for dump stations, water, even RV repair and showers on this user-generated map. 
  3. Freecampsites.net: Another great user-generated map of camping with reviews and pictures. 
  4. Ultimate Public Campgrounds: This is the most comprehensive list of public paid and free campsites with over 43,000 listings. You can display or hide based on operator, amenities offered, price, etc. Another great perk of this app is that you can download maps by region of the country, and once you have it loaded on your phone,  you don’t need internet access to review the listings.

What We Look for in a FREE Campsite

There are certain must haves and nice to haves when we’re scouting out campsites.

  1. Cell service: In case I haven’t mentioned it enough, connectivity is crucial since we work from the road. When we scout out campsites in our tow vehicle, we bring our Verizon Jetpack and antenna with us and run speed tests to see if the service will be good enough for work. If it’s not… we move on. There is a free app called “Speed Test” that you can download to run the same tests we do! 
  2. Privacy: Katelyn is a self-proclaimed introvert… the further away from people the better for her (Howard is the social butterfly) and given the current state of Covid-19, we try to find secluded spots. This often takes a bit more time and effort, but the payoff is always worth it for us. We don’t have to worry about other barking dogs (our pups really don’t like that) or bothering anyone else if we need to run our generator. 
  3. Views: This is always a bonus and something we usually seek out, afterall… with a home on wheels, having epic scenery out your window is what it’s all about! Again, this takes a little more time and effort. But if we know we’re staying somewhere for at least 3+ nights, then it’s worth it for us to spend the time finding an ideal location. 
  4.  A level spot: While our rig doesn’t need to be perfectly level for certain appliances, like the refrigerator, to operate, sleeping on a slope doesn’t always feel good. We try and eyeball a spot for levelness. You can usually tell if it just won’t work or if you can make it better by utilizing leveling blocks, which we often do.

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Katelyn & Howard Newstate

Katelyn & Howard Newstate

Howard and Katelyn Newstate have traveled over 80,000 miles in their Winnebago Navion Class C RV, exploring from Alaska to mainland Mexico since 2018. Joined by their adventure pups, Piper, Ella and Scout, they share how to “Live Like a Local” in every New State they explore. For more information on their travels or the 51 Parks in 52 Weeks tour, visit NewstateNomads.com/NationalParks

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