If you’ve ever dreamed of free camping in the Midwest, then boondocking is a great option for you! Boondocking entails free RV camping, usually off-the-beaten-path, and often without access to hookups or amenities. From the peaceful forest trails of Wisconsin to the wide open plains of Nebraska, boondocking offers a variety of landscapes and free camping experiences to choose from. This RVT list features one free camping option from each of several states in the Midwest, giving you many options to choose from. So get your campervan, truck camper, or other RV ready to explore all that boondocking in the Midwest has to offer, and let’s take a look!

1. Fountain Springs, Iowa

Photo of a trail in Brushy Creek State Park, Iowa
A trail in Brushy Creek State Park, Iowa

Nestled in the rolling hills of northeastern Iowa, Fountain Springs offers a boondocking experience like no other. With its vast expanse of woodlands and meandering streams, this boondocking spot provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Free camping is available at several nearby parks such as Yellow Smoke Park, Brushy Creek State Park, and Union Grove State Park. These parks are great for boondocking with plenty of sites to choose from, as well as a variety of recreational activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and boating.


2. Indian Trail Conservation Area, Missouri

Indian Trail Conservation Area is a great boondocking option in Missouri. This 1,100-acre nature reserve offers an abundance of outdoor activities such as picnicking, fishing, hiking, and boating. Here, there are a variety of free camping sites to choose from throughout the conservation area including several primitive campsites. In addition, there are numerous trails and other recreational areas such as the Ozark Trailhead and Chalk Bluff that provide beautiful views and excellent opportunities for sightseeing.


3. Pioneer Park, Wisconsin

For boondocking in Wisconsin, Pioneer Park is a great choice. Located just east of Madison, this 1,300-acre park features several free camping spots that are ideal for boondocking. Here you can explore miles of hiking trails and take part in activities like swimming, boating, fishing and more. In addition, the park also offers interpretive displays and ways to learn about the region and its history.


4. Lane Farm, Ohio

Photo of the city of Zanesville, Ohio
Zanesville, Ohio

For boondocking in Ohio, Lane Farm is a great option. Located on the banks of the Muskingum River, this boondocking area offers miles of scenic trails and tranquil woodlands. Here you can find plenty of free camping sites as well as several recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and more. In addition, the nearby city of Zanesville is home to a variety of attractions such as the Zanesville Museum of Art and the John & Annie Glenn Historic Site.


5. Turkey Bayou Campground, Illinois

Photo of aerial view of Cahokia Mounds Native American burial grounds near Collinsville, Illinois, USA
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Turkey Bayou Campground is the perfect boondocking spot for those looking to explore Illinois. Located on a picturesque bayou of southern Illinois, this boondocking area offers plenty of individual camping sites as well as several recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and more. Nearby attractions include the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, the Shawnee National Forest, and several state parks.


6. Lake Superior, Michigan (North Shore)

Photo of beach at Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, Michigan
Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, Michigan

The north shore of Lake Superior in Michigan is an excellent boondocking destination. With its abundant woodlands, crystal clear waters, and stunning views, boondocking here provides a truly unique experience. Free camping sites can be found throughout the region, as well as several recreational activities where campers can enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, and more. In addition, several nearby attractions such as Whitefish Point Light Station and Tahquamenon Falls State Park provide even more ways to enjoy this gorgeous region.


7. Buzzard Roost Recreation Area, Indiana

Photo of a pink and purple sunrise over the White River in Indiana
Sunrise over the White River in Indiana

For boondocking in Indiana, Buzzard Roost Recreation Area is an ideal spot. Located near the town of Muncie, this boondocking area offers plenty of free camping sites as well as a variety of recreational activities including fishing, boating, swimming and more. In addition, nearby attractions such as Delaware County State Park and the White River provide plenty of ways to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventurous getaway, boondocking in Buzzard Roost Recreation Area is sure to make it possible!


8. Crane Lake, Minnesota

Photo of Crane Lake, Minnesota
Crane Lake, Minnesota

Crane Lake in Minnesota is a great boondocking spot and offers a variety of free camping sites. Here, boondockers can enjoy the rugged beauty of the area while taking part in activities such as boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing. In addition to recreational activities, nearby attractions such as Voyageurs National Park and Kabetogama State Forest provide plenty of ways to explore and appreciate the stunning scenery of this natural area.


No matter which Midwest boondocking spot you choose to explore, these campsite options offer an excellent way to get away from it all and experience the beauty of nature. From the peaceful woodlands of Michigan’s Lake Superior to the breathtaking shorelines of Minnesota’s Crane Lake, the Midwest is full of unforgettable outdoor adventures! So whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape or some outdoor adventure, boondocking in this region is sure to make that a reality. Happy boondocking, and happy trails!

If you’re looking for a new or used RV to take you on your adventure, check out the current listings on RVT.com 

By Sam Moon

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