How to Find Free Camping in the USA

How to Find Free Camping in the USA

Free Camping! Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Well, if you’re here you either love to camp or maybe you actually live full-time in an RV like us. I am sure you have come to notice that camping in many places can either cost you $10 a night for a tent camping site or the upper cost of $110 for a full hook-up RV site.

When you’re on a budget, like we always are, finding anything for ‘free’ is a huge win!

Now, can you imagine being out on the road and spending on average $20 to  $35 for a full hook up for your RV? That’s about $1000 a month and for us, that was a month’s rent on a 1 bedroom apartment. We moved into an RV to eliminate those costs. We were tired of spending over $1000 a month to live in a 700 sqft apartment. It made us feel stuck and we were working to just pay the basic rent and food. I don’t know about you, but for us, that just wasn’t worth it.

Therefore finding camping spots for free was a no brainer for us. But how is that possible? Is it possible?

It totally is possible!!

You just have to research it out. Luckily we have put together our knowledge from our research right here for you! Whether you are looking to boondock in your RV, van, car,  or bus aka dry camp or enjoy the week or weekend tent camping.

You can camp for FREE!

Option 1: National Parks

 As of 2019, America has a total of 61 National Parks. The newest national park added to the list is the Indiana Dunes National Park along Lake Michigan. If you’re objective or goal is to see them all, just know you only have to go to 29 states and two U.S. territories.

Within these National Parks, you will find the beauty of this Great Nation, amazing Wildlife, Mountains, and Beaches. In order to camp for free, be prepared to boondock or dry camp. National parks do not have the same amenities as RV parks such as your full hookups. That means no running water and no power.

Also, if you are in an RV and plan on finding a spot in a national park to stay it is advised that you plan out your route. Many places in the parks can be tight fits, winding and/or narrow roads. Also, keep in mind the size of your RV, this will help determine where you can go in the park with your rig.

Although camping is ‘free’, many National Parks may not allow Dispersed Camping, meaning camping outside of a designated campground area. To determine designated campsites there will be fire pit rings and/or picnic tables. Check the website for the park you are going to be visiting to see what that specific park allows and ensure yourself that you know the rules.


What kind of camping is allowed: RV, Tent, Van, Car, or Converted Bus
How long can you camp: The length of dry camping in one site on National Park land is 14 days.
How you can find National Parks and get more details just visit:

Option 2: Bureau of Land Management or BLM

What is it? BLM or Bureau of Land Management is defined as undeveloped public land. They are great camping spots for your campers who love solitude and enjoys the great outdoors. The majority of camp spots found on BLM is dispersed camping sites.

However, if you’re lucky you could find a spot someone has camped before by simple markers like a fire pit ring. Every free campsite on BLM grounds is first come, first serve. This is your true 100% boondocking on remote sites. This allows you to find some hidden gems and explore areas many people don’t even think about.

If you don’t like the first come, first serve option you can reserve a campsite on the BLM land for a price at


What kind of camping is approved? RV, Tent, Van, Car, or Converted Bus
How long can you stay? The maximum time one can stay on BLM land is 14 days.
How you can find BLM camp areas: BLM areas include National Wild and Scenic Rivers, Historic Trails, Landmarks, Recreation Trails, and National Wilderness Areas. You can find BLM campsites at

Option 3: Parking Lots & Small Town Venues

There are many different options you can stay at if you are in a Car, Van, or an RV. These are free short-term overnight options and we highly suggest always asking management before spending the night. Another great tip to find free overnight rest areas when traveling in an RV, Car, or Van is to stop by the local Sheriff office.

Also, keep in mind these are free one night stays, so don’t set up camp, and leave your slides in (if possible). If you have a fifth wheel, bumper pull, or towing anything keep everything hooked up. Also, always park in the far back away from general parking or traffic.

Here is a list of potential parking lots you could stay overnight at:

  • Truck Stops
  • Casinos
  • Walmart
  • Nightclubs
  • Cemetery
  • Fairgrounds
  • Parks
  • Churches
  • Hotel Parking Lots
  • RV Dealerships
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Movie Theaters
  • Highway Rest Stops
  • Big Box Retailers: Sams Club, Costco, ect.
  • Roadside Parks and Picnic Areas

What kind of camping is approved?:
RV, Car, Van,  or Converted Bus …. Sorry no tent pitching
How long can you stay?: 1 night (Depending on Management)
How can you find these spots?: Google Maps or stop by the local Sheriffs office.

Option 4: Google “Free Camp Spots Near Me”

I know it may seem obvious but I’m serious, sometimes just googling something can bring up places that you never even thought of. For example, I just googled “Free Campsites in Texas” because that is where we live and actually found a free RV site with hookups. Those are completely unheard of, but it has great reviews and can exist anywhere.

Here are some Online Resources to find great camping spots for free:

There you have it! If you enjoy camping, are on a strict budget, and don’t mind “roughing” it, then Boondocking aka dry camping is right up your ally. If you have an RV, investing in solar panels is a great idea if you still want electricity and don’t want to burn up a loud generator and gas.

To sum this all up, if you don’t want to spend over $1000 a month just to stay at the campsite every night, you don’t’ have too. You can travel the nation and visit all the amazing scenery and not pay a single dime on a site. It does take some planning and adjusting to the Boondocking lifestyle, but the amount of money you will save is amazing.

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Tips on Staying Cool During a Summer Camping Trip

Tips on Staying Cool During a Summer Camping Trip

Camping and Summer go together like peanut butter and jelly. For many families, it’s a super fun activity when the weather warms up. For my family, this was definitely the case.

We absolutely loved and still love going tent camping in the summer. My first camping trip was when I was barely a year old. I can still see the picture of my dad laying on the camping chair and holding me up in my little bathing suit making me laugh. Oh, the memories!

Then, my family and I would always camp on the water at Lake Texoma in Oklahoma. It was about a 4-hour drive from where we lived in North Texas. While camping we enjoyed swimming, playing, skipping rocks, setting up the camp, building fires, and making smores and hot dogs.

Camping with my brother and sisters was a highlight of my childhood.

Along with camping, I also remember it being extremely hot at times. So, staying cool was essential and of course, we got creative.

Tip 1: Water, Water, and more Water!

Staying hydrated is the most important thing you can do when camping in the summer heat to stay cool. Your body is 60% water therefore if you become dehydrated, not only will it make you hotter but there can be extreme risks that could end you up in the hospital. So drink a lot of water.

Another reason water is so important to stay cool is it can be used in other ways. We would pour water over our heads, wet our hats, and even take a cold bottle of water and hold it on our neck for a few minutes. These worked wonders to get cool quick when you just can’t take the heat. So always have water in your cooler.

Tip 2: Portable Fan w/mister

I remember when this option came out! Each one of us had our own personal handheld mister that ran on batteries. It was the talk and must have for years. I honestly still think they are amazing and work wonders for camping in the summer heat. Plus they come in multiple sizes and colors for the whole family.

Also, If you’re camping near a plugin for the electricity they even have larger stand up misting fans you can bring along. Just another great way to stay cool in the summer heat.

Tip 3: Stay in the Shade and Relax

I know how tempting it is to get that nice sun-kissed tan while on a camping trip. Just the thought of laying out and soaking up the sun is intriguing. However, the sun is not only extremely hot but it can dehydrate you as well as de-plenish your energy levels. When camping I always try to listen to my body and when I need to cool off I find a nice shaded area, grab a bottle of water, and relax.

Staying in the shade protects you from direct UV rays, it keeps you cooler than being in the scorching sunlight and allows your body to recharge. So stay safe and cool by staying in the shade. You can even bring along a shade tent like this Portable Shade Canopy.

Tip 4: Swimming pools/Lake swimming/Kayaking/Paddle Boarding

Depending on where you choose to camp at, this one is either a great idea or doesn’t apply. As a kid, we would always go camping in Oklahoma right on Lake Texoma. Therefore swimming was a given when we camped.

We all had our individual floats to go swimming and cool down during the hottest time of day. I say “all” because there were 6 kids and 2 adults and camping was a cheap and fun vacation. It truly was the best time! The water always felt so amazing and kept us cool, especially when the temperatures reached above 90 degrees.

So if you have floats, a Kayak or two, or paddleboard, these are great to take camping. They keep you cool, active and enjoying the great outdoors.

Tip 5: Take a quick trip to town

This one is kind of a splurge. I mean we all “forget” something we need whether it’s marsh-mellows for the smores or batteries for the misting fan. Finding an excuse to go into town was something us girls mastered while camping. It gave us the greatest opportunity to get some nice cold air conditioning. (We didn’t have an RV).

After spending all day in 90 plus degree weather, there is nothing better than walking down the freezer section in the grocery store. Talk about a way to cool down!

Tip  6: Wet Towel or Bandana

This one I learned not only from camping trips but also all the softball games I played as a kid. Having a wet towel or bandana wrapped around your neck is amazing. They actually make special cooling neck towels now with the ability to put ice cubes in, and they are made out of a special kind of material that stays cooler longer.

On top of the neck towels, they even have cooling full body towels that can be used for camping or any activity outdoors. I love how things can develop over the years!

Stay cool and enjoy your camping trip! I hope all or some of these tips will help you when planning and going on your next camping adventure. They are essential techniques for me to make sure I stay cool, safe, and hydrated. Like I mentioned these are tips I grew up learning and implementing while camping in the summer heat.

I truly believe they are great options for everyone in the family and I especially love the personal misting fans!

Enjoy your next camping trip with your spouse, family, or friends and take these cooling tips along with you!

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Camping with your Dog | Must-Have Dog Camping Gear for a Safe Trip

Camping with your Dog | Must-Have Dog Camping Gear for a Safe Trip

Camping with your dog or dogs should always be an enjoyable experience.

However, camping season is smack dab in the hottest time of the year for most people, depending on where you live. Since your Dog’s fur acts like a sweater or coat for them, high temperatures can cause a numerous amount of problems.

The last thing you want to do is rush your beloved pet to the vet for a heat stroke or exhaustion. 

We know first hand about having a dog who overexerts himself to the point of having seizures. He would play fetch until his muscles gave out and would seize from being overheated.

We have now learned and have been working with him to calm down and rest.

Lessons have been learned by having three dogs, therefore, we make sure that when we camp these must needed essentials are always with us.

These essentials are to keep your pets happy, healthy, and enjoying the camping trip as much as you and your family will.

There are items to keep your dog cool during the heat of the summer and also keeping your dog safe from predators, pests, and more.

So, let’s get to it…

1.  Extra Water and Collapsible bowl

These bowls are amazing! I seriously wish I came up with the idea.

Whether you are camping with your dog, going to the dog park or on a gorgeous hike with your beloved pet, water is a must. However, no one wants to lug around a bowl that just gets in the way.

If you own a dog, these are a necessity!! 

To add to the bowls there is the Pet Cup. This allows you to bring extra food and water specifically for them during day hikes.

They also keep you from having to share your personal water because you need to stay hydrated too! 

This is a great purchase if you’re camping and planning on hiking with your dogs.

2. Doggy Travel Bag 

Dogs can be somewhat like children because they require a lot of things like toys, food, and treats.

These items can easily be forgotten when packing for a weekend getaway camping trip. The last you want to do is to get to your campsite and realize you forgot the dog food.

These bags are super handy to keep the dog’s items all in one place together to ensure you don’t miss a thing. 

3. Hiking/Camping Dog Backpack

Don’t carry your pet’s stuff for them on hikes. Seriously, most dogs love to work, and placing a doggy backpack on them stimulates their brain in a great way.

Dogs like to feel like they are working and contributing as a pack member. 

These backpacks allow them to do just that by carrying their own water, food, and bowls for rest time. Plus, it frees you up from having to carry everything while hiking and/or camping. 

4. Tie Down/Rope/Portable Fence or Leashes! 

For most, if not all campsites and national parks, having your pets on a leash or contained is a must.

In many places, it is actually the law.

Making sure your pet is tied down, behind a fence, or always on a leash is protection for them as well as others.

I can’t imagine losing one of my dogs in the wilderness and not knowing what could be out there that could hurt my pet. It’s also safety from other pets attacking your pet.

I have heard of many stories of dogs getting into fights simply because the owner did not have the pet on a leash.

If you’re having trouble with keeping your dog from pulling and you’ve exhausted all the training techniques, check out my review on the Gentle Leader. “The Best No Pull Dog Leash Ever!”

Safety, Safety, Safety!

5. Tick/Flea Medicine

Summertime is camping time for many people. This is also the time of year where your ticks, fleas, and mosquitos come out to play as well.

\These pests can wreak havoc on your beloved animals as well as yourself.

So having some type of protection whether it’s a collar, spray, or a monthly pill like my dogs take is essential.

Whatever you choose for protection while camping with your dog, just know something is better than nothing! 

6. Dog Bags

I know, when your camping it’s easy to think that you’re in the wilderness and there are so many other animals out there doing their business, so why would you have to pick up your dog’s poo?

Well, it just a simple courtesy for the next campers that choose that spot.

Also, if you’re RV camping it’s usually apart of the camp’s rules.

7. Pet First Aid Kit 

This one is important! You never know what could happen during a camping or hiking trip.

There are many sharp rocks and objects that could cut your dog’s paw or legs.

They could get an allergic reaction to some type of plant or bite. T

he list could go on and on, therefore, having a pet emergency kit is super smart to always have handy when camping with your dog.

9. Outdoor Dog bed 

If your pet is an inside dog and a little too spoiled like ours, sleeping on the ground at night just doesn’t cut it.

Even if it’s not a fancy blanket or bed, having something so they don’t have to lay on the hard dirt outside is nice.

We always bring their waterproof bed for them to sleep on at night in the tent. 

10. Dog Tags w/Name, Phone Number and Address

Making sure your pet has proper identification is a necessity when Camping with your dog. It can mean the difference between getting your dog back if he/she gets lost or runs away.

You will also want to make sure they have their Rabies Vaccination tags and registration tags as well.


This list is a lifesaver when camping with your dogs!

Keeping your dogs safe and happy will make them love the outdoors even more. Plus, it gives you peace of mind so you can enjoy the camping trip as well! 

I hope you use this list and have an amazing camping trip and summer with your family and pets. 

If you found this list helpful, please leave a comment! I would love to hear!

Also, don’t forget to share with your fellow dog owners. Thanks for stopping by! 

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7 Unique Gift Ideas for your Happy Camper (Valentine’s Edition)

7 Unique Gift Ideas for your Happy Camper (Valentine’s Edition)

It’s February! Do you know what that means? Valentine’s day!

Now, this holiday is such a great way to show your significant other or friend that you’re thinking about them. Everyone deserves to feel a little bit of love this month, even your Happy Camper.

Do you know someone who loves camping? Maybe you and your family actually live in an RV fulltime, like us! But… you’re having a hard time figuring out something unique to get them for Valentine’s day in place of or in addition to flowers and/or chocolate?

Well, do not worry! I’ve compiled a list of great gift ideas for him and her that you can get right from Amazon.

Apparel for Him and Her!

Let’s start with some Apparel! These adorable t-shirts and sweaters are perfect for your Happy Camper wife, girlfriend, or friend! She is bound to make one of these t-shirts or sweaters a piece of her camping outfit!

For the men in your life! These perfect t-shirts are comfortable and versatile. Great for everyday camping activities like setting up the RV, Grilling, or building a fire! I Especially love the U.S. National Parks shirt. It pinpoints all the parks you can travel and camp at in the United States.

Happy Camper Jewelry Gift Ideas for Him and Her!

Jewelry is a staple gift item for Valentines Day, but why not grab something for him or her that has a little twist. Some great jewelry to show their love for the outdoors. Items can include a great watch with a compass, a beautiful mountain scene necklace, or even a Happy Camper Key chain.

Coffee Mugs and Tumblers!

What about your coffee lover that wakes up every morning and enjoys a nice cup of delicious coffee while watching the beautiful sunrise. These mugs are such great gifts! Wake up and be adventurous with these gift mug selections!

Personalized Gifts for your Happy Camper

Nothing says I’m thinking about you more than a personalized gift! Personalized gifts become sentimental items and even key pieces in someone’s house. Here are our some great picks for your happy camper!

Gifts for the Camps Cook

There always seems to be that one person who loves to do all the cooking. From roasting and stewing, these awesome gift ideas will make the camping food experience even better! My favorite is the popcorn roasting set.

Gifts for the Camping Writers and Readers

The great outdoors provides such a beautiful and peaceful place that can spark one’s creativity and provides a serene environment to dig into a great story! These gifts are for those who love to write, draw, read, and find inspiration from the peaceful outdoors.

Camping Gift Ideas for Couples

Camping with your loved one makes the experience even more special. Experiencing the great outdoors, hiking, and sitting by the campfire are memories that will last forever. Check out these products designed for couples to enjoy their camping trip together! MR and MRS mugs, Couples Hammock and the popular Inflatable Lounger.

I hope you enjoyed all of these amazing gift ideas for your Happy Camper!   Mix it up from the popular Flowers and Chocolates and get your person something they will love, use, and enjoy on every camping trip!

Happy Camping! Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on our journey, and more tips, tricks, ideas, and travel stories from Exploring New Sights. We are also on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Check us out! 

Thank for your support and HAPPY VALENTINES! <3



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