Best Free Camping in Washington

Free Camping in Washington

Dispersed Camping Washington

By Sara Sheehy

There is nowhere else in the United States quite like the Pacific Northwest. In the “upper left” state of Washington, you’ll find mountain ranges that stretch to the sky, lush and moody rainforests, and a wild coastline that holds such beauty that you’ll forget that you’re within a morning’s drive of Seattle’s city lights.

Washington is chock full of great spots for boondocking and dispersed camping. So grab your tent or RV, stock up on good eats, and head to one of these campsite gems in Washington State.

See a map of all free camping in Washington.

Where to Find Dispersed Camping in Washington

Public land, rest stops, parking lots, oh my! Washington has a wide variety of free campsites. Some are best suited for a quick night’s sleep when you’re passing through, but others are begging for you to settle in for a week or more and enjoy the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Washington earns its nickname of “the Evergreen State” honestly—it has a lot of trees! If you rely on solar, keep a close eye on our Campendium community reviews to ensure your chosen location has enough sun access to keep you charged up and ready to go.

A Note About the Department of Natural Resources Campgrounds in Washington

Washington’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages 80 campgrounds through the state that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Though these campgrounds are free to use and are listed as such Campendium, a Discover Pass is required.

A Discover Pass gains you access to DNR properties for recreation and camping alike. The annual pass costs $35 and can be purchased online. On Campendium, these campsites have a “permit required” icon at the top of the page.

Free Camping on the Olympic Peninsula

Gorgeous old growth forests await on the Olympic Peninsula to the west of Seattle. Olympic National Park is a traveler’s favorite, filled with waterfalls, rainforests, beaches, and glaciers. Yes, that’s all in one park! There are no free campgrounds inside the park itself, but just outside is a jackpot of great sites.

Check out Forest Road 29 in Sappho for beautiful forest views and fast cell service. South of the park, in the Olympic National Forest, the secluded Campbell Tree Grove Campground offers excellent access to hiking trails.

Free Camping in the Cascades

The Cascade Mountains stretch from British Columbia, Canada to northern California, cutting a beautiful path through Washington. In the north part of the state, you’ll find solitude and few roads cutting through the landscape. Check out Hozomeen Campground, a popular waterfront spot right on the Canadian border.

A bit further south and closer to Seattle, you’ll find more people and some of the prettiest landscapes in the state. Ranger Creek Airstrip is big-rig and tent camping friendly, and each site has a picnic table and firepit. The memorably-named Tree Phone Campground is a hidden gem in Ahtanum State Forest.

Free Camping on the I-5 Corridor

If you’re moving through Washington from north to south or vice versa, the most direct route is on the I-5 corridor that stretches from the Oregon/Washington border straight through to Canada.

Free camping along this corridor can be tricky to find, but not impossible. Just south of Olympia, Washington’s capital city, the Maytown Rest Area is clean and quiet. North of Seattle, the Tulalip Casino offers up to three nights of free camping and all those sought-after casino amenities. Not far from the Canadian border, the Silver Reef Casino offers free parking and a dump station with fresh water.

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Recent Washington Free Campsite Reviews

Sep 24, 2022

"Busy but it was the weekend. "

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We arrived on a Friday afternoon to find there were sites available but most were uneven or small for our size. We drove to the end of the road, thankfully we had disconnected our Jeep. There were people in the pullout to the right and no loop where we could turn around as the gate was closed down to the lake. We did manage it difficult but if...
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Outdoor Girl
116 reviews
Ridgefield, WA

Ilani Casino Resort

Sep 22, 2022

"Easy & Safe"

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It's a huge paved parking lot with 24 hr security which was great. They do make you disconnect your toad which was kind of a pain since there was lots of room to leave it on. We ate in the casual restaurant where they charged $20 for a glass of wine - ouch!

4 reviews
Sep 21, 2022

"Good Place For Big Rigs"

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Large, open area. Great for our 42 ft fifth wheel. People use as a parking area for atv use but that didn’t bother us any.

2 reviews
Sep 20, 2022

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I arrived about 4 and had no problem finding a spot. It’s basically a parking lot on the river. Very rocky not really accessible to the water. There was a rather sketchy guy who looks like he’s been there a long time. .. The spot I chose had been used recently by someone who emptied their cooler of food (including raw meat) and just left it in...
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2 reviews
Sep 20, 2022

"Windy Definitely, Great Views, A Little Noisy But I Would Come Back. "

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I arrived by 3 pm and easily found a reasonably private spot with a view. It was a little difficult to put up a tent because the ground is so rocky, and too rocky for a big rig. There are latrines nearby but they were disgusting. Some younger folks like to play their music loud enough for others to hear but it didn’t last forever.

2 reviews