Last Updated on March 14, 2023 by Jessica Lauren Vine
Figuring out how to find a dispersed camping site can make the difference between a good camping trip and a great camping trip. There’s just something about going camping in an off-the-grid type area when you don’t have to pay.
Getting Right To It
The easiest way to find dispersed camping is to use an app like The Dyrt or Campendium, but that also means that someone is more likely to be there as well. If you want to find some “hidden gems,” then you might have to do a bit more digging, and I’ll show you what to do.
Finding Great Dispersed Camping Sites
First off, let me tell you that I am from the East Coast. We don’t get a lot of dispersed camping site opportunities around here. Or at least not like what you see when you’re out in the desert in Arizona and other similar states.
I will show you how to find a dispersed camping site where they are readily available, so I’m going to talk about dispersed camping in Arizona, but you can apply it to any other state that you’re in and see how it is there. When we were in Arizona, we stayed in Cottonwood at an RV park, but there was dispersed camping right outside the RV park, and people stayed there without paying.
Networking with Dry Campers / Boondockers
Dry campers, aka boondockers, are much more likely to try dispersed camping than someone you meet in an RV park. These people often have their favorite spots and are more than happy to be an information source to a nice potential new neighbor at their next dispersed camping area.
While you can find a lot of dispersed camping on apps, sometimes it just makes sense to talk to people and see if they have some insider tips for you.
Using Google Satellite View
When you go on Google Maps, you can check out the satellite view and hunt for dispersed camping spots. The cool thing is that you might even see people there camping on satellite view when you’re learning about how to find a dispersed camping site. No, this won’t be real-time footage, so you can’t check occupancy.
Look at Bureau of Land Management land and follow some of the trails there. You might be surprised at some of the most amazing spots you’ll find out there. Another spot to look is within national forests. You can camp there unless there are signs that say that you cannot camp there.
Go Out and Explore
If you want to make sure that a spot near where you are is the right fit for your RV stay, one of the best things you can do is just to go there. You don’t have to have reservations, so you can go explore and see what you see there.
You can use the go out and explore technique in collaboration with the Google satellite view technique, and this could allow you to see some pretty neat spots.
If you worry that your rig will be too big to go to certain places, you could rent a car or even use your own car if you brought it along and scout out the place you want to hang out.
Frequently Asked Questions for Dispersed Camping
Is dispersed camping dangerous?
No. People don’t come out into nature to rob people. Most RVers don’t have a lot of money on their person, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense for thieves.
Why is it called dispersed camping?
It is called dispersed camping because it’s spread out and not organized.
Where is dispersed camping allowed?
Unless otherwise posted, you can camp on public land like BLM land and NF land.
How to Find a Dispersed Camping Site – Conclusion
Now that you know a bit more, I’d say it’s good to have an app or two there to aid you as you’re looking for dispersed camping. However, the other methods I talked about are really helpful, and they can make things a lot of fun. Who likes going on the same old beaten path anyway?
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