This page lists the top websites, apps, and Facebook pages for dispersed camping and boondocking, along with other websites that provide more general information about official campgrounds and federal agencies like the U.S. Forest Service (national forests) and the Bureau of Land Management.
I’m the author of Camp for Free: Dispersed Camping & Boondocking on America’s Public Lands. The book provides all the details you need to find the best dispersed campsites in the United States, and how to enjoy your backcountry camping experiences safely and responsibly.
(Also see my detailed dispersed camping and boondocking checklist of what to take.)
Dispersed Camping and Boondocking Websites
Note: as I discuss in Camp for Free: Dispersed Camping & Boondocking on America’s Public Lands, you should always search for the rules of the specific jurisdiction of whatever federal agency where you plan to do dispersed camping or boondocking.
U.S. Forest Service: National Forests Dispersed Camping
Use the search bar to look for dispersed camping in specific national forests.
US Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Maps
Home page to find motor vehicle use maps for every national forest in the United States. Download as PDF files and print them out.
United States Forest Service Land: United States
Shows boundaries of all national forests in the United States.
Bureau of Land Management Dispersed Camping
This is the main official page for both Bureau of Land Management dispersed camping and official campgrounds. Look for regions and then specific rules for regions.
Database of all BLM maps: download as PDF files and print them out.
BLM National Data Viewer
This sophisticated webpage lets you zoom in on BLM land anywhere in the United States.
Based on USGS topographical maps: you can print custom maps for anywhere in the United States. Use the map layers function on the right side to choose important options like “Public Lands” and “Motor Vehicle MVUM,” which are U.S. Forest Service national forest motor-vehicle use maps which show roads open to vehicles. You can also examine the contour lines on the Caltopo topographical maps to find flatter areas that are more likely to have dispersed camping sites. Note that some of the roads on the maps may be closed or no longer passable by vehicles, even though they appear on the map.
National Monuments in the United States
Many national monuments allow dispersed camping and boondocking, especially the larger ones in the western United States.
National Recreation Areas in the United States
National Recreation Areas, especially larger ones in the West, may allow dispersed camping.
Google Earth lets you zoom in on specific areas and scout the terrain.
Dispersed Camping and Boondocking: United States Where-to-Camp Websites
Note: most of these websites focus on organized for-pay campgrounds, but also have some coverage of free campgrounds, plus dispersed camping and boondocking sites. They also use a lot of crowd-sourced information: this means some of the information may be incorrect. Also, there are typically far, far more places to do dispersed camping and boondocking on public lands than what’s shown on these websites.
Shows you both free campgrounds and some areas where you can do dispersed camping.
Also has numerous places you can camp for free across the United States.
Covers the United States and Canada, and includes mostly paid campgrounds, but some are free. Doesn’t specifically focus on dispersed camping and boondocking sites. Has an Android app and an iOS app.
This extensive website covers many places to camp, including free ones, plus many other amenities and services of interest to travelers.
Dispersed Camping and Boondocking: United States Where-to-Camp Apps for Your Phone
Note: most of these apps focus on organized for-pay campgrounds, but also have some coverage of free campgrounds, plus dispersed camping and boondocking sites. They also use crowd-sourced information: this means some of the information may be incorrect. Also, there are typically far, far more places to do dispersed camping and boondocking on public lands than what’s shown on these apps.
Gaia GPS Android and iOS is excellent for trails, and also road navigation. The paid version is very powerful.
Other Ways to Sleep for Free
Note: this is not dispersed camping or boondocking. Rather, it’s parking for free somewhere and sleeping in your vehicle. Chapter 8 in Camp for Free: Dispersed Camping & Boondocking on America’s Public Lands covers this also. These sites are useful when you’re in-between places for dispersed camping and need to sleep for a night, usually near a town or city.
Wal-Mart RV Parking
This provides everything you need to know about parking overnight at Wal-Mart.
Casino RV Overnighting
List of casinos that allow you to spend the night in your RV or van.
This website is for RV users only. A low annual fee give you the possibility to stay in your RV for a night or two (in most cases) at various private-property sites around the country.
A membership site that lists agricultural properties where you can camp for free, although you are strongly encouraged to buy products from the farmer, rancher, or vintner.
Facebook Groups for Dispersed Camping and Boondocking
Facebook groups are a great way to connect with other people who love dispersed camping and boondocking. You can ask for suggestions of places to camp, and you can also use the search bar to find past posts for the specific region you plan to visit.
Here’s a list of the most popular and most useful Facebook groups. New ones can certainly pop up. To find them, use the main search bar on Facebook to enter your specific search terms, and then select “groups.” Note that there are also some pages and communities for dispersed campers and boodockers, but groups allow the most interaction of members.