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Have you noticed that we camp in a lot of AMAZING places?
It’s true, we do.
What if I told you that most of the places that we camp are not only amazing, but that they are also usually free. Yes, over the years, we’ve become masters at finding fantastic and free places to camp all over the world (and by we, I mean my amazing husband Andrew). The trick is to go Wild Camping (aka boondocking, dispersed, or primitive camping).
This means that you find a beautiful place and just camp there (follow our tips below to keep it legal). Although you’ll have to do without amenities like bathrooms and water faucets, the beauty and solitude will far make up for that sacrifice.
Here’s how we do it:
1. Figure out where the public land is.
Check with local authorities and ask where public land is located. In the US, you can often check with your local forest service, BLM, or even county offices to determine where public land ends and begins. Once you know where it is, check into what their regulations are for overnight camping. Many areas will allow you to camp practically anywhere if you follow certain rules about things like waste disposal, fires, and proximity to water, usually without a fee. Yes, this means that you will have to pack in your own water and will need a shovel and TP to take care of business, but it also means that you can have some peace and quiet without the distractions of “camp neighbors” at all hours of the night. Trust me, that alone is worth it!
2. Scour Google Earth.
Yes, Google Earth is hands down one of the best tools for finding an amazing spot to camp (except for that one friend who always picks the best spot…ask him first). Pull up Google Earth and locate the areas where there is public land. Now with a birds-eye-view you can easily find a place that has what you’re looking for. With Earth, you can practically walk around the site all from home so that you don’t have to waste any of your valuable adventure time finding a suitable spot to pitch your tent.
If you want to be near a stream, find it here. Looking for a some rock for the kids to climb around nearby? Check.
Also, make sure that you take a look at some of the pictures that others have shared to see if there are other great options nearby.
3. Be flexible.
We always have a handful of potential sites picked when we head out for the night. You never know when one will be taken, trashed, or otherwise not to your liking. If you keep an open mind and don’t get your hopes too set on one specific site, your chances of success are much higher.