Not free! They request that you pay $5 per night on their sign near the entrance! Take an envelope and fill it out and deposit your money- and keep a tag in your car and one on the designated (numbered) campsite. We stayed at campsite 3. We got in pretty late. Small site with outhouse like bathrooms too the left. Small playground. around 11 or 12 spots? Places for RVs and tents. Fire rings. Pic nic tables under a small shelter. Pretty well maintained. Very affordable (although could be free in my option). Decent stop on the way home from a road trip.
The other reviewers had it right. Sage Creek is a sweet little spot within Badlands National Park. Definitely pay your park entrance fee! BUT it’s true - this spot is completely free. Lots of people dig this spot. Doesn’t feel too crowded though. Tons of tents, vans, and car campers fit into this somewhat small but open space. Bison are common visitors. Plus, there is a prairie dog town right in the center of the loop the road creates in the camp. They are so fascinating to watch! There are two basic but clean restrooms. Several pic nic tables with small shade shelters. A nearby creek for water filtering / road trip baths. Make sure to bring lots of water or a filter people! We saw folks asking around for extra water. Be prepared. Definitely would highly recommend for anyone traveling through South Dakota. Badlands National Park is so unique and so special.
This Forest Service road provides tons of neat pull offs and campsites! The view up the road is DROP DEAD GORGEOUS… you can see Mammoth Hot Springs in the distance! The road is pretty well maintained and windy. A lot of the pull offs have a fire ring pretty close to the road. No bathrooms or amenities. But this space is worth it. All free, gorgeous camping just outside of Gardiner and Yellowstone National Park!
Stayed here with my sister one night before we hiked up to Spanish Lakes! Follow a long gravel road to the picnic area. Tons of pic nic tables and spots to set up. Creek not too far away for purifying water. There’s a very clean restroom and two different trail heads. We just camped by our car and packed up in the morning and hiked. Very basic all ya need here folks! Pretty views as well
This place is indescribable. To get there you drive into the Spanish Creek Picnic area. Then you follow the trails on the map to Spanish Lakes. The trails are pretty well marked. It’s about 9.5 miles in and up. The first 4.5 miles are super chill and flat. You’ll cruise through those. You cross over some beautiful bridges over roaring streams. Couple streams didn’t have bridges so we had to lose our boots for those crossings. Then there is a gradual uphill and the last 2 miles are pretty brutal. Eventually, you reach the first lake and you’re like WHAAATT and your jaw is dropping. Mt. Blaze is up to your left and all around are other stunning peaks. The lake is crystal clear and cold. Tons of west slope cutthroat trout that get flown in. There is a ~ 40 ft cliff you can jump off of into the super deep water. We camped just above that spot at a fire ring overlooking the lake. But if you go up to the second and third lakes there are even better spots. Truly a magical place. Definitely make it worth it and stay at least two nights if the weather is good!
Pulled up to this spot and camped under the most beautiful night sky I’ve ever seen. Road in was no beuno for the Honda Civic. She barely made it up and couldn’t make it all the way back to some of the climbing spots. Not restrooms or services but tons of little designated pull outs and fire rings. Very open and little shade during the day. Tons of super fun climbing!
Camped here with my buddies the other night! Super chill spot. Easy access, road is not too bad. Although - I think it may have popped my tire in my Honda Civic haha. Ummm but yeah overall not bad. A little crowded. Definitely recommend getting there early or reserving a spot ahead of time up at the reservoir. Tons of little fire rings, pic nic tables, multiple restrooms. Lots of great hiking and fishing in the area!
Imagine camping under the Grand Tetons… for FREE. This campsite is part of the Bridger-Teton National Forest. You go down some long gravel roads to the entrance, where there are some campsites at the base of the mountain. There is a road that goes up the mountain- which is pretty rough. You probably don’t need 4 wheel drive to get up, but a higher clearance would make it less stressful. I still have no idea how my Honda Civic made it up… but she did. The views were worth the stress. The Tetons were right there, right across the valley from us. Gorgeous. Absolutely amazing views. All around.
WARNING Although this is National Forest this area is designated camping only!! There are only a handful of sites at the base and along the road. The rangers are super strict about this as well. We had a Ranger come up to us (right before dark) and tell us we weren’t in a designated campsite. She was super kind about it, and thankfully the folks next to us at a designated spot let us join them! So make sure to get there early folks!!! So worth it!
This canyon is within the Cache National Forest. Just outside of Logan, UT. Super easy access to a neat little canyon. My Honda Civic was able to navigate the gravel road far back into the canyon. There are two restrooms - one at the trailhead and one down into the canyon a bit. Several spots with picnic tables. Many pullouts / camping spots with stone fire rings on either side of the road. There were tons of mountain bikers around, as there is a mountain bike / trail running / hiking trail that goes through the canyon as well. Kinda crowded on the weekend. Lots of trucks, razors, and ATVs. BUT the canyon itself is cool and pretty. There is even a cave up on the left coming in and we saw some people bouldering up there. Overall not bad for a free place to stay! Met some super kind folks in there.
I car camped here with a good buddy the other night! We laid out two paco pads in the back of his tracker and left the hatch back open to enjoy the glimmering view of Moab at night. With the windows down it was cool and breezy. Had a lot of cars drive by and a truck actually pulled in next to us and crashed as well haha. The night time sky was stunning. Overall not super private but worth it if you’re tired and just need to pull off somewhere and sleep in your car.
Stayed up here to escape the heat! The cooler air and wind was so welcoming. My sister and I camped at a pullout along the La Sal loop road. The spot was just off a gravel road in a cow pasture. We had a few friendly visitors occasionally, but overall the cows were never an issue. There was a rock fire ring which we did not use due to the extreme fire danger. You could see the stunning La Sal mountains behind us and the gorgeous valley below. Free, safe, and easy spot to crash.
Did a short overnight rafting trip on the Daily. We put in pretty late not too far above Onion and floated to this lovely little beach spot. We crashed under the stars - no tents - on the pretty little sandy beach. Across the river there is a put in, a bathroom, and parking. Overall a very chill spot. Made for a stary night and an early morning enjoying coffee and the views before hitting the river again.
My sister and I recently visited this stunning campsite on our social distancing road trip. Oowah lake is absolutely stunning. The deep, clear, emerald lake is perfect for a quick dip after a hot day. There are plenty of adorable primitive campsites. Most have fire rings, grills, and picnic tables. The lake is surrounded by stunning evergreens and aspens. There is a a very affordable fee to camp as well as a decent bathroom. The road up to the lake is about 3 miles of washboardy gravel. It was a bit sketchy in my 2002 Honda Civic - but she made it up just fine!
Also, there are a couple great hiking trails that stem from this area. We hiked about a 3 mile round trip up to Clarke Lake- which is equally as beautiful and definitely worth a visit. Overall, Oowah lake is the perfect way to escape the desert heat of Moab, and it has been one of my favorite camping spots in the La Sals. Highly recommend!
My sister and I have to drive through Kansas on our road trip to Utah. My friends have told me that it’s the worst state to drive through because it’s so flat and boring. BUT another friend recommended this campsite. OMG it’s free and it’s so cute and pretty well kept. It’s in the Flint Hills region of the state. There are rolling green hills surrounding a lovely little lake. Cottonwood trees shelter the many spaces out camp spots. Milkweed and butterfly bushes support a healthy monarch butterfly population! There’s boat / fishing access and a pretty decent bathroom. It wasn’t too buggy - and there was a lovely sunset in the wide open sky. I didn’t give Kansas a chance. And, I was wrong
My sister and I were on a road trip to Utah and our friend recommended this cute little spot! The trail is a little over grown - but the primitive campsites are nice and clean. Easy to get to from the highway and you can camp just off the trail - not too far or a hike in. There are other spots along the trail that are vibey. You can get a few glimpses of some nice views between the trees along the trail down to the creek. Rocky natural stone steps take you down to the wide rocky creek. Almost deep enough for a swim! A local said that there are swimming holes up / down the stream. Overall all perfect for some peace and quiet off the road.
I worked for the Wayne National Forest as a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) member when I was 18! We would meet at this beautiful building every morning to head out to do maintenance on the trails. The building has a lovely welcome center / small gift shop that is full of SUPER useful maps and information on trails, camping in the Wayne, the ATV trails, etc. There is a huge parking lot in the front and the side of the building and the roof is covered in solar panels! There is also a lovely native plant garden / pollinator area outside with informational signs. Additionally, there is an old (but well maintained) fire tower in the backyard (unsure if this is open to public). Overall a very great place to visit to get more information about camping in Wayne National Forest.
The Hanging Rock Recreation area features tons of well kept ATV trails for motor bikes or quads (max width allowed is 50 inches). Besides the ATV trails, there are tons of little lakes that are ideal for fishing! There is a large parking area in the middle of the park with a restroom, and at least one other restroom further down the road. I noticed several “fire pits” in gravel pull offs in the park. Not sure if fires are allowed though.
We hiked here today to retrieve some trail cameras from the surrounding Wayne National Forest for a spotted skunk study at Ohio University. Along and just off the trails were tons of gorgeous wildflowers like trilliums, violets, showy orchids, and more!
I used to live by this park and I visited it all the time with my cousins as kids! There are a couple playgrounds, swing sets, and tons of open areas for children to enjoy. The trails are nice and fairly well kept. The little sandy beach is by far my favorite part of the park though! The water is shallow and warm in the summer. In fact, the water is so shallow that you can wade almost 400 meters out or more! There are often crabs, small fish, and sometimes jellyfish floating about. There is always cool driftwood and shells to collect along the sand. Belle Isle is a great place to visit for day trips or over night camping! I’d definitely recommend it to anyone in the area that wants to get a small taste of the Chesapeake Bay and it’s wildlife and plants.
The Nelsonville Music and Arts Festival is one of my favorite summer festivals of all time. It is usually the first week of June. NMF is big enough to have some great artists play (Ween, the Avett Brothers, Mac Demarco, the Flaming Lips, Twin Peaks, and many more!) but small enough that it isn’t too crowded and most of the people there are friends or acquaintances. The campground for the fest is just outside of the music festival. You can drive in and purchase a camping pass, then drive to a spot, park your vehicle, and set up your tent right next to it. The area is broken into cool “streets” with unique street names. There are also camper and RV spots available. You can purchase firewood and ice on site. Alcohol is allowed in the camping area, but not on the road or parking lot. Outside alcohol is also not allowed in the festival. If it has been rainy the campsites and dirt roads can get muddy - turning the area officially into Mudville. The best sites are those along a road in the forested area however. During hot years the trees provide shade which helps keep it cool. They also protect from rain. There is always a stage set up in the campsite area on the “rowdy” side of the campgrounds. This stage hosts late night bands and DJs! It’s always a fun time.
Dolly Sods is a wilderness area within the great Monongahela National Forest. I backpacked here in early March a few years ago. Definitely be prepared for high winds and rain. We hiked in in warm weather and once we reached the top of a long entrance road (where one trailhead was) we found snow. A lot of the snow had melted making the ground very soggy and oversaturated in some areas. Despite this, our short Dolly Sods backpacking trip was an amazing first trek for myself and a fiend. Dolly Sods is absolutely gorgeous and is a completely different and unique ecosystem than the surrounding area. I also have friends who have camped here later in the year - mid to late summer - and have highly, highly, recommended that I go back during that time.