Best Free Camping in Wisconsin

Free Camping in Wisconsin

By Nathan Swartz

While free camping is not as abundant in America's Dairyland as in neighboring northern states, options still do exist. Most of the best free RV camping will be had in the northern slice of the state, within about a hundred miles or so from the shores of Lake Superior.

If you're just hightailing it through Wisconsin, many rest areas and Walmart parking lots allow for overnight camping along I-90 and I-94 as well.

Free Camping on Public Lands in Wisconsin

Starting on the state's western border, along the shores of the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway, a free campground by the name of County Road O Landing offers primitive camping with easy access to put in a canoe or kayak right from the campground. Otherwise, these are barebones, free campsites with a vault toilet available. While the national scenic riverway is technically a national park, it is smaller and has fewer amenities than what you'll find in most.

Toward the center of the state, a grassy patch of a county park by the name of Pioneer Park & Campground offers a simple, open option for those looking to find free accommodations. A few picnic tables and fire rings are scattered throughout what is otherwise a small dispersed camping area.

Though national forest and state forest lands are abundant in Wisconsin, this is one state where free camping suitable for RVs is next to impossible to find in those settings.

Free Casino Camping in Wisconsin

As your travels lead you into the northeastern corner of the state, surprisingly spacious and grassy free camping is available at Potawatomi Carter Casino Hotel, near Carter, WI. The spots even come with free electric hookups. For $5, you can also take advantage of the casino's pool, sauna, shower, and even a gym. Unlike most free overnight RV parking at casinos, this is more of an actual campground with real campsites, as opposed to simply an open parking space.

Further south, near Madison, Ho-Chunk Gaming is another casino that offers the more standard fare - an open spot in an overflow lot as opposed to anything resembling a campground.

With casinos in general, it's usually a good idea to check in with security to let them know you'll be staying the night. In turn, they'll typically keep an eye on you as well.

More Free Camping in Wisconsin

All along the highways, particularly Interstates 90 and 94, rest stops in the state allow overnight camping. They're intended for a single overnight stay, not for setting up the cornhole and camp chairs, but given their immediate proximity to the highway you're likely traveling on anyway; they get the job done.

Additionally, businesses like Walmart in Sparta, Wisconsin extend a similar courtesy, allowing one or two-night stays in their parking lot while you explore the local area. Between all of these varying types of free camping areas, free dump stations are relatively abundant as well.

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Recent Wisconsin Free Campsite Reviews

Ashwaubenon, WI

Cabela's

Aug 03, 2022

"Nice Lot Would Stay Again! "

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Spent the night last week in the parking lot. Called the store the morning of and the receptionist was very friendly and knew exactly what I was calling about. They ask that you park in the Far East corner of the lot which is easy to get in and out of. Had another camper in the lot when we arrived and a van but tons of room for everyone.

jfergus7
4 reviews
Sun Prairie, WI

Cabela's

Jul 31, 2022

"Great evening at Cabelas"

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A nice overnight stay. Our first time parking lot camping and we were impressed. There were about 4 other campers. Everyone was respective. It’s a quiet location behind the retail store. Not too much overnight noise. Was able to pick up a few goods we needed inside. Great access from interstate. Plenty of restaurants walking distance

KimK
5 reviews
Grantsburg, WI

County Road O Landing

Jul 09, 2022

"Super buggy"

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Allows for tent camping only.

Jbean
4 reviews
Sun Prairie, WI

Cabela's

Jun 02, 2022

"Overnight stop in Madison, WI."

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First time using a Cabela’s. This location is easy on/off I94. Full length pull-thru RV spots. We checked in with security and customer service just to confirm we could overnight which they said is allowed. Minimal road noise. Lots of stores/restaurants close by. Only a short drive down to capital building. Recommended.

Alargos
5 reviews
May 24, 2022

"Great Stay (3 nights max)"

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This place is great. We are parked next to the lawn which is great for our dogs. The pool is currently closed. Each one of the many sites has free electric 20/30/50. When you arrive just go inside and tell them you'd like to stay with your RV. They give you a paper to put in the window. they were very nice. We are one of three currently...
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YouDoYou
1 review