There are several free camping websites to choose from and some actually are reliable to reference. Most of these websites rely on third party input for locations and site fee quotations, which often results in sour leads. For example, just because a contributor states that they camped at a specific place for free, it does not mean that the site is officially a free campground. There are many developed fee campgrounds that are listed as free camping in these websites, so it pays to do a little cross referencing before committing to the venture.
When doing a map search for a free campground, the most reliable key words to use are "dispersed camping." Most mapping services list the official dispersed camping areas, so there is no need to rely upon an iffy third party resource. Visiting the local BLM or National Forest headquarters, visitor center or website is the best way to be sure that the free campsite you choose does not result in a steep fine. Often the rangers will suggest a good spot that best suits your camping style too.
Not every dispersed camping area is a luxury palace and the ones that are located next to a major highway are usually the most basic. This type of free campground is usually just a vacant lot or an empty field, which most often has no facilities. These basic roadside sites are a convenience for long distance highway travelers and RV campers that are on their way to regional destination, so they do play a part in the tourism game.
Arizona State Highway 95 runs along the Colorado River from Interstate Highway 40 (Route 66) south to Lake Havasu and well beyond. The winter tourists are known as snowbirds and they sure do flock to this region in high numbers. This is especially true for the RV camper crowd, because there are so many places along the river that offer free dispersed camping. Most of these free campgrounds have an occupation time limit of about 14 days per month, so planning the next free campsite move it what the thrifty RV campers do all winter long.
Personally, I avoid the roadside dispersed camping areas because I prefer to do 4x4 tent camping, but these spots are worth mentioning. The photos depict a BLM dispersed camping area near the intersection of Arizona Highway 95 and Interstate 40. As can be seen, this is basically just a roadside open field stopover spot for RV campers heading further south. This dispersed area is also a nice location for exploring local attractions like old Route 66, Needles, Topock, Moabi Park and the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. With all this nearby, it is easy to see that the best things in life are free camping!
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