Best Free Camping in New Hampshire

Free Camping in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a small New England state nestled between Vermont and Maine that is sometimes overlooked, but campers who have discovered its beauty frequently trek back for more.

Pitching your tent or parking your RV in the National Forest is a popular option, as approximately 85% of New Hampshire is covered by forests.

Many east-coast residents find themselves planning a camping trip to New Hampshire, as it is only a 1 ½  hour drive from Portland, Maine (on the coast) or a 5 ½ hour scenic drive from New York City, New York.

Where can I camp for free in New Hampshire?

Are you looking for the best free camping in NH? Here are several options for you to try, whether you are camping in a tent or looking for camping areas where you can boondock in your RV.

White Mountain National Forest

Dispersed camping (undeveloped camping, without amenities) is an option in some areas in New Hampshire, including the White Mountain National Forest and some areas along the Appalachian Trail. Over 160 miles of the trail passes through New Hampshire.

White Mountain National Forest is one of only two New England National Forests (the other is Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont). This area allows for dispersed camping in established sites 200 feet away from water sources, trails, and developed campgrounds.

A popular area of the forest is the Pemigewasset Wilderness section, which has approximately 60 miles of maintained hiking trails.

Parking Lots

Occasionally, travelers will opt to stay overnight in a parking lot. If you opt for this route, be sure to get permission from management or security before setting up for the evening.

Wherever you decide to stay, make sure to practice the Leave No Trace principles by picking up all trash and leaving the area in excellent shape for the next camper to enjoy.

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Recent New Hampshire Free Campsite Reviews

Jefferson, NH

Jefferson Notch Road

Jun 12, 2023

"Wide open, fairly level opening big enough for 3-5 rvs."

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The gate was open, The dirt road in, is soft in places, rusted up slight uphill climb trees are right up to the road. One lane would be tough to pass another car, passing an RV would be out of the question. I would not recommend this if it has rained, 4 wheel drive is a good idea.The opening is large enough to park 3-5 big RVs. 3 rock fire pits...
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Bethlehem, NH

Gale River Campground

Oct 21, 2022

"Stayed For One Night "

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We slept in our tent for a night here. The weather got pretty cold but we made sure to bundle up. There was extra wood others had left stacked up. There was some trash left here from previous campers unfortunately. Everything was pretty wet from the rain earlier in the day so we weren’t able to get a fire going. We only had one vehicle drive by...
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4 reviews
Jefferson, NH

Jefferson Notch Road

Oct 14, 2022

"Nice Boondocking Spot"

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GPS: 44.337, -71.386 - We actually stay here 09/17/22, This is in the White Mountain National Forest on Jefferson Notch Rd. There is dispersed camping along about eight miles, there is one site before this one. Our site was about 2 ¾ miles from the paved road off Rt 2. The road is packed-dirt and very well maintained by the forest service. ...
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Bill n' Luann
9 reviews
Bethlehem, NH

Gale River Campground

Oct 03, 2022

"Quiet And Beautiful Spot"

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Heavily wooded area which isn’t great for solar but we had a great stay in our class B for the night. Trees are starting to turn colors in late September and it was just beautiful. Don’t let the review about thieves deter you from staying! We only saw one other car drive by during our stay. I’m sure if you leave your stuff, people might take it....
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90 reviews
Bethlehem, NH

Gale River Campground

Sep 13, 2022


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This is a beautiful place- but I cannot give it a FULL 5 stars like I originally was going to. I was staying here on my trip through New Hampshire, and was invested in staying the full 2 weeks. I asked the ranger, and he said to “show that you are still occupying the lot, leave your camp gear up, that way no one will come and take your lot”. I...
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1 review