Best Free Camping

For our June Best Campgrounds Series, we asked Amanda from WatsonsWander, Nina from Wheeling It and Tim AKA Van-Tramp to share with us their favorite place to boondock or camp for free. Be sure to check out their blogs!

Washington Gulch Road – Crested Butte, CO

crested-butte
Over the years we have discovered some fantastic free campsites, but the winner has to be Washington Gulch Road in Crested Butte Colorado. We liked this spot so much that we returned two years in a row. As far as we’re concerned this free camping spot has it all. Gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, a variety of spots offering up shade trees or open meadows, easy access to the charming town of Crested Butte, tons of hiking, biking, and 4×4 trails nearby, cool mountain air, and great cell service. I mean really…what more could you want?

A few things to know about bringing an RV to camp on Washington Gulch Rd.

  • This is dispersed camping in a national forest. It is surrounded by private land. The boundary lines for where you can and cannot camp are clearly marked.
  • There are no designated spots, but the more well used spots are obvious. It’s also a popular area, so be prepared in case you can’t find a place to park.
  • This is NOT big rig friendly boondocking. I would say a 30′ RV is the absolute max, and even then you will be limited to only one or two spots in the road. It’s also not recommend for those who are afraid to drive over ruts and bumps, or get their RV dirty.
  • The town of Crested Butte has an RV dump station at the water treatment plant with potable water. There is a fee to both dump and fill with water.
  • Crested Butte has a small, over priced grocery store in town. Either bring your own supplies, or drive 30 minutes south to Gunnison.

We had a blast both times that we camped on Washington Gulch Road. Not only did we explore many of the nearby hiking trials and lakes, but we also got to know the town of Crested Butte. We enjoyed several free outdoor music concerts, the Saturday farmers market, and strolling up and down Main St. where you will find tons of cute shops, restaurants, and bars. Washington Gulch Road remains our very favorite free camping spot, and we can’t wait to go back and experience it again. – WatsonsWander

Clark Dry Lake – Borrego Springs, CA

clark-dry-lake
We have many boondocking spots that we love, but probably our favorite is one we discovered early on in our travels in the cute little town of Borrego Springs, CA. Clark Dry Lake bed lies just northwest of town and has the perfect combo of beautiful views, lots of hiking/exploring and good internet (at least close to the road). We go there for the sunsets, and stay for the rest. It’s become a place we’ve retuned to over and over. – Wheeling It

Padre Island National Seashore – Corpus Christi, TX

padre-island
In late 2012 I got to visit Padre Island National Seashore, just outside of Corpus Christi Texas, during what was to become a more than 5000 mile trip around the West. Upon first arrival I stayed at the Malaquite campground which has it benefits, but after a few nights the call of free camping overwhelmed and I moved to North Beach. On North Beach I was able to find a spot secluded enough to call my own. The ability to step directly from your RV right onto the fine grit sand of the white beach puts it at the top of my free camping sites right away. Toss in most amazing of sunsets you can imagine, the seashore wildlife (birds, crabs, jellyfish, etc), and the warm waters that serenade you in as if sirens awaited just past the next breaking wave, and you have a paradise worth of dreams both of the day or night variety. – Van-Tramp