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.

portable computer displaying map of camping locations
mobile device showing map of camping locations

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Recent Washington Free Campsite Reviews

Sep 17, 2021

"Great base for visiting the northwestern peninsula. "

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A wet location with a couple small ponds on the loop road in the camping area. But what would you expect. The campsite loop road is dirt but even as wet as it was felt firm. The road is paved all the way to the campsite. Over head clearance for at least 12’. About 2 miles off 101. Amazing. Room for 5 or 6 RVs if parked well.

Bryan Fabel
1 review
Sep 13, 2021

"Closed"

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Access to site is temporary closed due to fire ban. A good 20-30 minutes from the thruway but could be worth it. From what I saw at the gate it looked beautiful and secluded

Quincy, WA

Caliche Lake

Sep 12, 2021

"Pretty one night stay "

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Easy to access from interstate, very pretty ponds with butterflies, flowers and bird life. AT&T was great. Some road noise but not bad, the parking lot had a perfect RV back in site right next to the water. Pit toilet for those that need it.

melanie
13 reviews
Toppenish, WA

Yakama Legends Casino

Sep 12, 2021

"Large lot, pretty quiet"

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The casino has a very large lot, and we parked on the outskirts with some trucks. There were a few RVs, but not many. Called before and went to security desk to register, no need for players club or anything, and even the security guard seemed to consider if they'd take any information (but did eventually took our vehicle description and phone...
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Jason Reich
5 reviews
Quincy, WA

Caliche Lake

Sep 11, 2021

"Great stopover"

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You can hear the great in the distance. Very doable. Any rv fits but maybe 4 or 5 max.... Tents ok but a bit rocky. It's a beautiful place on the small lakes..... fairly level as well. Might be some fish in there who knows. Through it a hook and let us know!

Rick Harpster
1 review