Best Free Camping in Pennsylvania

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Free Camping the Pennsylvania Wilds

By Nathan Swartz

The northern stretches of the Keystone State from the Allegheny National Forest to the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania" officially known as Pine Creek Gorge, are full of state and national forestland offering free campsites.

In the national forest itself, spots exist at Millstone Creek near Loleta PA, as well as along the northern border's Forest Road 160 outside of Warren. Expect primitive camping, with a fire ring and picnic table at some of these sites, pit toilets at others, but otherwise more or less bare-bones camping sites.

Through the rest of this part of PA, state forest camping can be had in abundance. Elk and Moshannon State Forests are home to numerous, though unlike many a dispersed camping experience you may be used to elsewhere, some of these sites are reservable. Expect little to no cell service across the entire region.

Free Camping in the Poconos

Across the state, in the hot spot vacation destination for Philadelphians looking to escape the city, the Poconos and state forests extending from their foothills' sprawling reach are full of hiking trails, state parks to explore, and some of the best free camping in PA. Many of these sites--like those found in the Delaware State Forest and at Moon Lake Recreation Area--seem closer to organized campgrounds at first sight, and though they're free, they do require a camping permit, which is also free.

Free Camping Near Gettysburg

History has a tendency to come to life at the site of the largest battle of the Civil War, with miles upon acres of battlefields, museums, and the downtown area itself to explore. Free camping can also be found within twenty-five minutes of the city limits as well, throughout the Michaux State Forest. These primitive sites also require a permit, at no cost, and are spread across the woodlands west of Gettysburg itself.

Free Camping Near Pittsburgh

While finding a free spot to camp outside of the City of Champions isn't exactly abundant, anyone looking to explore the Three Rivers, its many bridges and burgeoning local scene leaving a Rust Belt history behind for one of green energy and technology, a couple of options do exist.

In Washington, PA, thirty minutes from downtown PGH, the Meadows Casino offers free camping to its patrons.

If a casino parking lot doesn't quite qualify as camping in your book, and you're up for trying something completely different, a private residence 40 minutes outside of the city, the name of Havityur Way Boondocking, offers free camping, too.

Free Camping the Pennsylvania Wilds

The northern stretches of the Keystone State from the Allegheny National Forest to the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania" officially known as Pine Creek Gorge, are full of state and national forestland offering free campsites.

In the national forest itself, spots exist at Millstone Creek near Loleta PA, as well as along the northern border's Forest Road 160 outside of Warren. Expect primitive camping, with a fire ring and picnic table at some of these sites, pit toilets at others, but otherwise more or less bare-bones camping sites.

Through the rest of this part of PA, state forest camping can be had in abundance. Elk and Moshannon State Forests are home to numerous, though unlike many a dispersed camping experience you may be used to elsewhere, some of these sites are reservable. Expect little to no cell service across the entire region.

Free Camping in the Poconos

Across the state, in the hot spot vacation destination for Philadelphians looking to escape the city, the Poconos and state forests extending from their foothills' sprawling reach are full of hiking trails, state parks to explore, and some of the best free camping in PA. Many of these sites--like those found in the Delaware State Forest and at Moon Lake Recreation Area--seem closer to organized campgrounds at first sight, and though they're free, they do require a camping permit, which is also free.

Free Camping Near Gettysburg

History has a tendency to come to life at the site of the largest battle of the Civil War, with miles upon acres of battlefields, museums, and the downtown area itself to explore. Free camping can also be found within twenty-five minutes of the city limits as well, throughout the Michaux State Forest. These primitive sites also require a permit, at no cost, and are spread across the woodlands west of Gettysburg itself.

Free Camping Near Pittsburgh

While finding a free spot to camp outside of the City of Champions isn't exactly abundant, anyone looking to explore the Three Rivers, its many bridges and burgeoning local scene leaving a Rust Belt history behind for one of green energy and technology, a couple of options do exist.

In Washington, PA, thirty minutes from downtown PGH, the Meadows Casino offers free camping to its patrons.

If a casino parking lot doesn't quite qualify as camping in your book, and you're up for trying something completely different, a private residence 40 minutes outside of the city, the name of Havityur Way Boondocking, offers free camping, too.

Recent Pennsylvania Free Campsite Reviews

Jul 08, 2024

"Very Safe. Arrived Around 9pm and Park In The First Parking Lot "

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Place is well lighted and security car is touring all night. The security guy came to salute us in the morning. You can stay in the parking lot for up to 3 days

Jun 30, 2024

"Nice Secluded Campsite "

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This campsite is only available from July 1-December 31 currently. Permit required and it’s 10$. Pit toilets at the trailhead for Haystack Rocks was 1/3 mile down the road. Very well maintained. Campsite was nice.

Adahler
5 reviews
Delaware Water Gap, PA

Delaware Water Gap Welcome Center

Jun 26, 2024

"Overnight Stay"

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Says two hour parking for cars but was able to stay overnight. Looked like others did as week

Jun 21, 2024

"Quiet Area"

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I stayed along the creek. There were other people camping near by. I was in my vehicle but the sites were ideal for tents. There were a couple where a small travel trailer might fit

Erie, PA

Cracker Barrel

May 19, 2024

"Calm, safe, clean."

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Spacious Parking lot. The cracker barrel nestled in a group of hotels. Very clean and safe, right off of the interstate. Would stay here again.

MountainMan11
1 review