Are you looking for a great place for free camping in your RV?
Luckily, the options are nearly endless. Miles upon miles of dispersed camping opportunities beckon RV boondockers across the United States.
But what if you’re an RVer that just hates dry camping?
Although quite rare, free RV campsites with free hookups do exist if you know where to look for them.
Here’s exactly how to find free hookup RV sites near you.
Opportunities Are Few and Far Between
Remember that free RV campsites with free utilities are scarce.
It’s incredibly difficult to find these once you’re out on the road (unless you have plenty of extra time to wander around).
Your best bet is to do research before your trip. Make a list of free campsites that potentially offer free hookups prior to leaving. Call ahead to confirm if possible.
In my experience, most free RV campgrounds that do offer hookups only provide electrical hookups.
Occasionally, I’ve stayed at a free RV campsite with both electrical and water hookups. I’ve never found a free campsite that also offers free sewer hookups.
That said, most of the free campgrounds with electrical hookups I’ve stayed at have a host of additional amenities, including potable water, restrooms with flush toilets (and occasionally free hot showers!), and RV dump stations.
All of these free conveniences are much appreciated. Free electrical utilities are especially welcome on hot summer days so you can run your air conditioner to cool your RV.
A final note: most free campgrounds with RV hookups limit stay length to less than three nights (and sometimes only a single night).
Oftentimes, however, you can choose to stay longer by paying a small camping fee for each additional night.
Free Camping at City Parks and County Parks
The best place to find free RV camping with hookups is at city parks and county parks.
Such free campgrounds are almost always located in small towns. They seem much more common along state and county highways than near Interstates.
In my personal experience, the Midwest is the number one place to find free RV campsites with hookups.
For example, I’ve had a ton of luck finding such sites in Nebraska and Iowa. I’ve also found such free campsites in Texas, the upper peninsula of Michigan, and Montana.
The reason some small town city parks and county parks offer free RV camping with hookups is to draw in more visitors to the town.
The goal is to drive more traffic into the small community with the offer of free camping, thereby encouraging campers to spend money at local businesses.
In fact, many city parks with free RV campsites are located within walking distance of the town’s downtown business district.
Supposedly a resource that compiled all the free campsites with RV hookups in the United States used to exist at freshtanks.net. Unfortunately, the website is no longer available.
That said, I don’t believe either of these free campsites tools offers the ability to narrow down your search to only those campgrounds that offer free RV hookups.
Guests are welcome to use this facility four times for 24 hours each time for free. After that, a small fee of $20 a night is charged. 8 RV campsites are available.
I do plan to compile my own comprehensive list of free campgrounds with free utilities for RVs that I’ve personally stayed at for Campnado. So, remember to check back often.
Casino Camping is Another Option
Another place to look for free RV camping is at casinos.
Many casinos offer free casino camping for RVers, van campers, and others.
Most of the time, however, overnight parking at a casino necessitates boondocking. In other words, hookups and other amenities are usually not available.
That said, there are some exceptions.
Some tribal casinos, usually those in small towns or remote areas, have RV parks on their premises. Often, these have hookups. And, sometimes, these are available for free.
Just like with free city park camping, the point of free casino camping is to attract more visitors to the area (in this case, the casino itself) to spend money.
I’m not going to lie – finding free hookups at an RV campground is difficult. So, here are some easier-to-find alternatives:
- Boondocking – RV boondocking is perhaps the easiest way to find free camping in an RV. Just look for dispersed camping in National Forests, on Bureau of Land Management land, and across other public lands.
- Parking Lot Camping – What I call “blacktop boondocking” can be found in numerous store parking lots that offer legal overnight parking. Walmart and Cabela’s are two examples of stores that offer this type of overnight camping for free.
- Fairgrounds – I’m still somewhat new to fairground camping. But, I’ve found that many county fairgrounds welcome RV boondockers for free or very cheap. A select few even offer free electrical hookups (although this seems most common in the off-season…fall, winter, and spring).
- Low-Cost Campgrounds – If you can’t find free camping, there’s still usually a cheap campground close at hand. Freecampsites.net is an excellent tool for finding campsites under $10 per night. Although many city park campgrounds are free, those that do require a fee are usually very cheap. It’s rare to find one that charges over $10 per night.
- Stealth Camping – When all else fails, stealth camping is a good backup, although it’s definitely more difficult in an RV or trailer compared to a camping van or normal vehicle.
As mentioned above, I plan to create a list of free RV campgrounds with free hookups in the near future.
Take Advantage of Other Free Amenities
Despite the rarity of free campsites with hookups, it’s incredibly easy to find free campsites (without hookups) that accommodate RVs of all sizes.
In fact, many free campsites offer plenty of free amenities, even if utilites aren’t available. Take advantage of all of these.
For example, many free campsites have potable water. So, fill up your tanks. Others have free dump stations. So, dump your waste during your stay.
Bathrooms and hot showers are another common amenity. Sometimes a shower costs a few dollars, but, more often than not, I’ve found that free city park campgrounds offer free hot showers (especially in the Midwest!).
Finally, standard trash services are common at free campgrounds. Throw away any trash you’ve accumulated during your RV travels before heading out.
Happy RV Camping!
I’ve said it a few times already but I’ll say it once more – free RV camping with hookups is hard to find.
That said, it certainly possible to find free hookups at a free campsite for your RV if you don’t mind poking around a bit.