Best Free Camping in Kansas

Free Camping in Kansas

By Nathan Swartz

For a part of the country considered to be a "fly-over state," free camping in Kansas is relatively abundant and often surprisingly diverse. RVers will find a free place to call home in national grasslands, city parks, private businesses, and via campgrounds provided by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. All of that free camping left your tanks full? The state is full of free dump stations, as well.

See a map of all free camping in Kansas.

Free RV Camping at KDWPT Campgrounds

The bulk of free camping in the Sunflower State is provided courtesy of the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. A dozen recreation areas, scattered across the state, provide camping in designated spots and always near a lake. Crossing the Great Kansan Plains? See a sign that reads "State Fishing Lake" along the highway? Chances are it's also an indication you'll find a free spot to camp there, too.

Highlights include Leavenworth State Fishing Lake between Topeka and Kansas City, and Chase State Fishing Lake near Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. While they trend toward the eastern half of the state, you'll see these camping areas spread across the state.

Free Camping in Kansas County and City Parks

Beyond the camping areas provided by the state, many small towns have been kind enough to offer campers a place to pull in for an overnight or two. Some of these, like Davis Park Campground in the city of Greensburg KS and Medicine Lodge's city park, even provide electric hookups. However, most of these sites are simply a place to park with access to a restroom, some picnic tables, and maybe even a boat ramp or a playground. One of the highlights is a county park by the name of Antelope Lake, where you'll find waterfront camping and one of the rarest of amenities in the state...ample shade!

Free Dispersed Camping in Cimarron National Grassland

If you're a fan of national forests, Kansas' version comes in the form of national grasslands. Cimarron offers bare-bones boondocking just outside of the park. Unlike your typical national forest, don't expect much in the way of scenery. The place isn't for everyone, but should campers want to see what a national grassland entails or just need a quick, free overnighter while traveling Kansas State Route 51, the option is available.

More Free Overnight Camping in Kansas

In addition to the public lands we've already discussed, many businesses offer a free place to park. Not exactly full-on campsites, these are typically just a parking space at the back of a Walmart parking lot, and while it's not required, the hope is that you'll shop at their business during your stay. Be considerate of other customers, and try and remain as stealthy as possible–generally, etiquette is to not put out your chairs or awning and otherwise be discreet. That said, these places are perfectly legal spots to spend the night. You'll find Walmart and Cabella's with this policy located primarily near I-70 and US 50, making them the perfect way to get some shut-eye on the long trek that is crossing Kansas. Be sure to check with management or security before settling in for the night.

Also of note, the Kansas Underground Salt Museum, aka Strataca, provides free camping in their lot to customers interested in a tour of the mines.

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Recent Kansas Free Campsite Reviews

Cottonwood Falls, KS

Chase State Fishing Lake

Apr 15, 2024

"A Very Special Place"

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Strong 2 star Verizon. Lots of space and usually trees and bushes between. Every site has lake fishing access. Can be dusty I high winds.

Tina
4 reviews
Apr 15, 2024

"Nice Place for a Short Stay"

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There are three separate areas you can camp. The Eastern one down by the water is not an easy decent for any large vehicle. But its right by the water! The second area furthest south is the most accessable for larger rigs, but there is one low branch during the entrance path that can catch a taller AC unit, I just drove a little off the side of...
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GMAdventures
1 review
Apr 06, 2024

"Peaceful Area With Plenty Of Spaces Right Near The Water"

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This location was totally stellar on my way through. Would love to stay here for a few days at a time next time. Sites had fire rings and picnic tables and were clean and fairly level. A man did drive an ATV and filled up jugs *right* at my campsite and I’m not sure why he needed to fill right there but after filling water jugs from the lake, he...
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YvonneP
9 reviews
Stockton, KS

Bow City Campground

Mar 24, 2024

"Quiet And Secluded "

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We arrived around 9:30pm and no one was here camping in late March. It made it a little eerie but there was no one around so it was very quiet. You get a view of the lake and a lot to park at for free! We are just camping out of our SUV. During our stay it was too windy to put up a tent.

camper-914721
1 review
Dodge City, KS

Boot Hill Casino & Resort

Mar 12, 2024

"Easy access. Quiet"

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Great place for an overnight. Appreciate the reviews... first time doing an overnight stop like this.