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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mobile device showing map of camping locations

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Recent Kansas Free Campsite Reviews

Kansas City, KS

Cabela’s

Sep 09, 2021

"Really great boondock"

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A great and accommodating company. I got in after hours so I couldn’t fill out their paperwork like they wanted. I woke and picked up trash around the lot. Thank you, Cabelas!

Thomas Ross
1 review
Aug 25, 2021

"Great overnight spot"

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We stayed here on 8/20/21 for 1 night while passing through Kansas. $20 a night at a drop box for the electric water sites. nice flat gravel site, great play ground. The drive in is a few miles of dirt roads. They were a little washboard when we drove them.

Emily yettaw
3 reviews
Kansas City, KS

Cabela’s

Aug 25, 2021

"Great overnight spot"

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Great overnight spot, had to fill out paperwork inside. Really nice folks. Large area to park. Stayed 8/21/21.

Emily yettaw
3 reviews
Aug 17, 2021

"Easy and Peaceful"

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Stayed one night on our way through KS - a clean, well-kept city park. A total surprise to find such a welcoming place along the long road through Kansas. It was noisy during (families with kids playing) the day and into the evening, but after the sun goes down the people leave - cars and trucks on 54 heard until about 10pm. Then it is quiet...
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Cindy Black
4 reviews
Jul 15, 2021

"Nice but a little trashy. "

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Previous campers have left enough trash scattered to be an eyesore. Apppears to be from those few who abandon unwanted possessions for others to clean up. Otherwise a nice site. Some thru traffic but not bad. Well maintained with the grass cut and vault toilet clean and free of flies. Good cell service. On the other side of the lake there is a...
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Justin Walmer
10 reviews