Best Free Camping in Pennsylvania

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.

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Recent Pennsylvania Free Campsite Reviews

Sep 23, 2022

"Extremely large level parking lot"

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Security said to say a long a we wanted to in the VERY large lower parking lot. Room for 100's of large RVs. Security came by ever few hours.

TenOC
5 reviews
Sep 20, 2022

"Perfect Spot!"

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The directions from the website were good, and even though our GPS took us a different way, it was easy to find. It was a large lovely spot for the night.

camper-697467
1 review
Sep 15, 2022

"Peaceful and beautiful "

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Very quiet setting in an open gravel parking area. Great for solar and Starlink. Heavily forested surroundings. Only 11 miles from Gettysburg battlefield. Loved it

Julie H
19 reviews
East Stroudsburg, PA

Shanty Draft Campsite S-4

Sep 08, 2022

"Peace and quiet at it's best"

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Campsite is about 75 yards off the road. Very large and had no problem getting my 31 ft coach with tow vehicle in and out. This is a free site but all the sites in the Delaware state forest require a permit which is free and easy to obtain through the website. We stayed for one night in early September. We had the place to ourselves, no people,...
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Wilkes-Barre, PA

Mohegan Sun Pocono

Sep 07, 2022

"Great stopover!"

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Few miles off the highway - huge parking lot and well lit. Inside is nice casino with couple of nice restaurants - had a great dinner at the Bistro. Lot is sloped - but better around the perimeter. About 10 other RVs here scattered around - did not ask permission - just parked near others. Def would stay again.

Catching Air
27 reviews