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.

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

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Recent Wisconsin Free Campsite Reviews

Grantsburg, WI

County Road O Landing

Sep 06, 2021

"Two Tent Sites "

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This is a great launch spot. Our 24’ Van fit well, but I wouldn’t bring anything much larger as there isn’ta whole lot of room to turn around, especially if others are there. The “road” to the two tent sites is blocked with a boulder. There is enough room for maybe six standard vehicles. Paved road in is lovely until 1.5 miles out, then it is...
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Ashley Schenkel
27 reviews
Sep 06, 2021

"Free, loud, not quite level"

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A pretty fine spot for a night. It's nice that there are a lot of trees and grass around the parking lot. It's sloped for drainage, so we were a bit crooked, but if you check your level you could fix it with some blocks. The freeway noise is very close and really loud. We did not check in with security and did not have any problems. They...
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Katie Fox
27 reviews
Kenosha, WI

Cracker Barrel

Aug 19, 2021

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Great parking lot. Thanks Cracker Barrel

John Tumminello
3 reviews
Jul 27, 2021

"Great spot with 50 amp. "

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Friendly staff/casino, dump station and potable water.

Paul Vela
5 reviews
Jul 21, 2021

"Clean bathrooms"

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I felt as safe as one feels at a rest stop. Nobody bothered us and the bathrooms were clean. It was a bit noisy being so close to the road. There were also some picnic tables which was nice.

Meghan
1 review