Best Free Camping in Indiana

Free Camping in Indiana

By Nathan Swartz

For those campers who love the freedom and allure of sleeping beneath the stars and not paying a dime to do it, your best bet in the Hoosier State is to explore the roads of Hoosier National Forest. Outside of that, free camping is also available via business parking lots along the northern stretches of the state.

See a map of all free camping in Indiana.

Free Camping in Hoosier National Forest

The US Forest Service permits camping on its public lands in Indiana, free of charge.

The limitations are specifically that you cannot camp for free in established campgrounds and that you must stay within 125 feet of the road. The USFS doesn't provide maps to these locations; however, they're often clearly marked and with a little exploration, should be easy enough to find. One example is crowd favorite Blackwell Horsecamp, which is primarily aimed at equestrians but has no official rules barring those without their trusty steed from camping there. Fire rings and vault toilets are provided.

Just note that there is a 14-day limitation on camping within the national forest, and before driving down dirt roads, you should have a good handle on how to boondock properly. When looking for free campsites, for example, the first rule of thumb is to find an already established spot so as not to damage the forest you've come to enjoy.

The forest service also provides free dump stations near Branchville, Indiana.

Free Camping in Casino Parking Lots

Where free camping areas may feel a bit sparse across the state of Indiana, for those who love to play the slots, there is ample concrete available outside of the two casinos found along I-80 / I-90 running along the northern border.

Blue Chip Casino has plenty of RV parking available and, aside from the casino itself, is not far from Lake Michigan and Indiana Dunes National Park as well. It's the preferred "campground casino" of the two among Campendium users, but Four Winds Casino near South Bend is another option.

Should a trip to Indianapolis be your goal, a parking lot by the name of Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing and Casino is about 45 minutes from the city's center and allows RVers to stay in a lot specifically meant for such an endeavor.

Anytime you're camping in a casino parking lot, you should make sure to call ahead and confirm that it's okay to stay, as some casinos will require that you visit their establishment (and some will give you some credit to get started, too!) while others may be okay with camping except during busy times.

More Free Camping in Indiana

If all you need is a safe place to stay and somewhere to put your RV for the night, businesses across the state like Walmart and Cracker Barrel often allow overnight stays.

Finally, the RV Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, IN, allows for a one-night stay for free and does ask that you visit the museum as well. Still, given your mode of transport and the subject material, that doesn't seem that hard to swallow in exchange for a place to get off of the I-80 / I-90 corridor for the night.

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Recent Indiana Free Campsite Reviews

Michigan City, IN

Blue Chip Casino Hotel Spa

Jul 18, 2021

"Pretty level parking area"

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Sweet, vegas vibe in a small Indiana town. So unexpected, but nice. We’re from Vegas so this felt like a small slice of home. The parking lot was nice and relatively quite for being a casino parking lot. Definitely would stay again.

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Austin Ray
8 reviews
Richmond, IN

Cracker Barrel

Jul 08, 2021

"Thankful but…Very noisy interstate traffic"

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I’m very appreciative of Cracker Barrel offering overnight parking. We were delayed in our travels because of a blown out tire and was too tired to reach our destination so we pulled off here at 12:30 am to get some sleep. It was pretty full: school buses, a semi, a Class A with a vehicle in tow and a few car sleepers. It’s right beside the...
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Lisa Nelson
3 reviews
Kokomo, IN

Cracker Barrel

Jun 28, 2021

"Very Quiet"

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I didn't get any pictures, but I stayed in an RV/Bus Parking space. The employees were very friendly, when I asked about overnight. There was no noise whatsoever, which is somewhat rare with a Cracker Barrel, and I felt completely safe. Trash cans and recycle bin were available. Unfortunately, my appointment was changed, so I had to leave too...
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Deborah Hopkinson
12 reviews
Anderson, IN

Harrah's Hoosier Park

Jun 23, 2021

"Free"

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Nice level parking. Trash container on light poles. The parking lot is well lit so it seemed like sunrise when it was not. No hookups. Perfect for an overnight stop.

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Ann Ferenc
9 reviews
Heltonville, IN

Blackwell Horsecamp

Jun 20, 2021

"Peaceful & Free"

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Internet service here is limited. Wasn't able to get any Sprint or T-Mobile signal. Verizon was ok. There is no water so plan accordingly. There are some trails at both ends of the campground but didn't use them.

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Chere Deshayes
9 reviews