While you can buy access to some great campsite search engines, many of us part-time RVers simply cannot justify, in our minds, paying for a service or membership we might not use that much. There are, however, some decent free sites to search for campsites, though some are a waste of time. And, many of these offer limited services or search options.
Here are some of the free sites I use, as well as my reviews of them. These sites are in no particular order.
This is the information center for all Federally owned recreation areas. Whether looking for campsites, or for day-use areas, this site shows everything Federally owned, including: Army Corp of Engineers campsites, National Parks, US Fish and Wildlife Services, US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and more. I love this site for easy searching of Federally owned recreation areas.
The only problem I have is the site freezes up older computers and usually requires a chrome-based browser. https://www.recreation.gov/
This is basically a community of campers writing reviews, and of writers writing articles about camping. This site is huge. If there’s a camping spot somewhere, someone probably has reviewed it here. Whether you’re looking for National Parks, State Parks, private campgrounds, or whatever, you can search as broad or specific as you want. And, if you’re looking for free camping, this is the place to look.
My only complaint is that you can’t search by calendar dates for possible reservations. For off-season camping, there’s apparently no way to know what’s actually available, with this site. https://www.campendium.com/
This site is for searching for RV parks, campgrounds, and resorts. If that’s your style, this is the site for you. You won’t find any free campsites here, but if searching for private campgrounds and resorts, this site is amazing, and free. https://www.campspot.com/
4. Find RV Parks
This is the one-stop-shop for campsites. It includes everything public or private, and everything in between. If there’s a campsite somewhere, it’s most likely on this site. The site is easy to use and navigate.
My complaint, again, is the lack of searching by calendar date. https://www.findrvparks.com/
5. Free Campsites
As its name implies, this is about free campsites, though it also includes some paid or permit options. Free Campsites is basically a community of campers who let us know where they’ve found free or cheap places to camp. You then search the map for areas you want to go.
Unfortunately, a lot of these free campsites are parking lots, and a lot of the information seems outdated, though you can weed through it and find some awesome free sites that don’t show up on other campsite search engines. https://freecampsites.net/
6. The Outbound
The Outbound searches for, not only campsites, but hikes and other activities. It has some promise, but the site is rather slow, and doesn’t offer much information. https://www.theoutbound.com/
Here is a site for searching state parks, or more specifically, for searching for every type of government owned recreation area in each state- https://www.stateparks.com/
I really like Allstays. It’s easy to use. You can search either public or private campgrounds, truck stops, rest areas, and more. It gives a rough price estimate ($, $$, etc.), and the length of the campground’s season. https://www.allstays.com/