Best Free Camping in West Virginia

Free Camping in West Virginia

By Nathan Swartz

Easily one of the best places to still find vast stretches of forested mountains in the Eastern United States, West Virginia is the perfect combination of a small population and plenty of space in between towns to explore. From car camping to RVing, discovering your next beautiful destination is easier here than in much of the busier states surrounding the Mountain State, making finding campsites in West Virginia that don't cost a thing easy to do whether the state is your destination or just another stop on a road trip.

See a map of all free camping in West Virginia.

Free RV Camping in New River Gorge National River

West Virginia's de facto national park, the New River Gorge–and adjoining Gauley River National Recreation Area–offers an assortment of free camping spots to choose from in and around the parks and small town of Fayetteville WV.

Some of these camping areas are primarily for tent camping, while others provide perfectly suitable spaces for RVers. Experiences range from basic dispersed camping throughout the forest to actual campgrounds with vault toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings at each free site. Despite having these amenities, there is still no campsite fee to stay at places like these, though note that there are also paid campgrounds within the parks. Luckily, Campendium makes it easy to search and filter by which campsites are free.

Free Camping in Monongahela National Forest

Northeast of the national parks mentioned above, the Greenbrier Ranger District of this national forest boasts some of West Virginia's best camping. Boondocking can be found throughout the forest. Campers particularly love the dispersed camping found along the forest roads such as Canaan Loop Road and Forest Road 44.

Between Monongahela and the adjoining George Washington National Forest, nearly the entire eastern side of West Virginia serves as a playground for those who love camping in the beauty of natural hardwood forests clinging to the rugged mountains of the Appalachians.

On the western side of the state, Wayne National Forest has its own share of free, dispersed camping.

Quick Overnight Camping for Free in West Virginia

In addition to the abundance of places to camp for free on public lands across the state, if you're looking for a quick overnighter along the way, free overnight RV parking can be found in various Walmart parking lots throughout the state. Near Charleston, St. Albans Roadside Park provides electric hookups, on the Kanawha River, at no charge.

All of these options combine to make West Virginia one of the most abundant states in the Eastern US to find free places to call home for the night while you explore the quaint small towns, many state forests, state parks, or enjoy a little relaxation beneath night skies.

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


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Recent West Virginia Free Campsite Reviews

Prince, WV

Army Camp

Sep 15, 2021

"Free and actually nice."

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Found this last minute. Pulled in the dark. And woke up to our surprise it was a beautiful spot. Bathrooms and trash cans on site and very clean I believe there was 8 sites, it was less than half full when we got there but it was a Monday night. Nice day use area right on the water for fishing. Fire pit and picnic tables on all...
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Austin Ray
24 reviews
Meadow Bridge, WV

War Ridge Campground

Sep 10, 2021

"Quite and fairly clean."

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Like other reviewers have noted, this is the place to go if you can’t find a site next to the river available. We went to 3 campgrounds next to the river and there were all full. This was a day after the Labor Day weekend and we thought it won’t be a problem finding a river site. Wrong! So we were very pleased to find this campground totally...
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Albert Chang
2 reviews
Meadow Bridge, WV

War Ridge Campground

Sep 09, 2021

"Off the beaten path"

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Great spot. Seemed to be maintained pretty well. Fire rings and gravel pads. Had 1-2 bars of AT&T. Not real scenic, but secluded. Had a vanlifer there the first night and a car camper the next. A solid one lane road with a couple switchbacks turns to a gravel road. Most should be able to make it in. Even had a por-o-let.

1 review
St. Albans, WV

St. Albans Roadside Park

Sep 07, 2021

"Nice spot to stop for the night"

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The spaces are generally level and wide. Wide enough for two campers side by side (no slide outs). It was generally quiet during the night, the sites are right off Rt 60 so there is some road noise. One of the three spots did not have power (under maintenance). There is a nice view of the river and a big park with lots of kids in it during the...
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6 reviews
Sep 06, 2021

"Easy Safe and quiet"

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We have stayed 3 times this year. It’s easy and we love it. It’s quieter than a rest area.