Where to Camp for Free in the US and Canada

If you have gone camping in the past, you know that this is not a cheap affair. After all, most camping sites these days come with high price tags even if you use your own equipment.

On top of that, it can also be quite stressful to stay in a place where you are not even sure if camping is allowed. Your night can turn out sleepless if you pitched your tent and built your fire unsure if it against the law or not.

But, it doesn’t mean that you should deprive yourself of the fun of camping. if you are worried that rising fees will ruin your camping adventure, make sure you know where to camp for free in the US and Canada for your ultimate peace of mind!

National Forests

Even though the national parks of the country emphasize land preservation, national forests have been set aside for various purposes. It means that these national forests tend to be more attractive to the eyes of campers, hunters, and even fishers.

You can often find a free camping spot in national forests. Just make sure you check with the national forest first, specifically regarding areas suitable for camping. The United States has 154 national forests so you can always plan your camping trip to include overnights in different destinations.

A few of the top national forests in the country include:

  • Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington
  • Sierra National Forest in California
  • Coconino National Forest in Arizona
  • Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming
  • White River National Forest in Colorado
  • Superior National Forest in Minnesota
  • Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina
  • White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire
  • George Washington National Forest in Virginia

Sierra National Forest in California, Source: @wahyusanjayawsb

Canada Crown Land

Canada’s Crown Land pertains to the expansive area in the country under the government’s authority. It is free to camp for Canadian residents only. For non-residents, permits are quite inexpensive.

Thanks to the vastness of the Crown Land, there are lots of camping options that await you. These public land areas around Canada are dotted with established campsites and free campsites alike, and you are free to explore.

Cline River Alberta Canada, Source: @ladymonstercolleen

Canoeing or kayaking to the sites is available as well and is a very in demand option. Just remember that it is not the same with provincial parks that often have different regulations on camping.

Residents of Ontario can camp for free for as much as 21 days. Non-residents have to pay about 10 dollars per night, per person, something that you can consider as low cost camping.

A good alternative is renting equipment from a local that has permit to conduct business in the country.

National Grasslands

These national grasslands are the same with national forests although these are generally much smaller. Obviously, these areas are not heavily wooded. Such lands are under protection for public use so you can camp here for free.

Some of the states that have national grasslands include North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, California, Idaho, and Colorado.

Comanche National Grassland in state of Colorado, Source: @adventuresinreallife

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