Looking to camp on the cheap? America (and Canada for that matter) aren’t short on scenic, safe, and easily accessible free camping locations.
The trick is finding these spots, and being able to search for a location near where you plan to set up shop.
The digital app stores at iTunes (for iOS devices) and Google Play (for Android powered devices) have several apps that help you locate camping options near you.
One of the more highly rated apps for finding free campgrounds is called Ultimate Campgrounds.
About the Ultimate Campgrounds App for Finding Free Public RV Parking
According to their website, the Ultimate Public Campground Project started up in 2008, and now totals more than 28,000 public camping locations.
This extensive database is accessible to you through a series of apps for the major smart phone operating systems.
How to Use the Ultimate Campgrounds Apps
When you first login to the app (the interface is similar among the different operating systems), you’ll see a listing of various organizations that offer free camping.
Some of these include:
- Bureau of Land Management
- Corps of Engineers
- US Forest Service
- US Bureau of Reclamation
- Indian Reservations
- Military locations, and the list goes on
If you scroll down a bit, you can add your own camping preferences to the mix, so the app will only offer up locations that meet your campsite criteria.
Some of the options here include:
- Tent camping
- RV camping
- Walk-in accessible (you’ll have a walk a bit after you park to get to your campsite)
Once you select your preferences and submit, a map will pop up with the most closely-matched free camping destinations near your preferred area.
There’s a detailed tutorial on the website to help you navigate using the app after download.
Besides the US Public Campgrounds app, the company also makes apps for Canadian public campgrounds and military campgrounds.
POI List Turns Your GPS Unit Into a Free Camping Spot Locator
You can also choose to download a POI (point of interest) database for your RV GPS unit.
POIs are a listing of locations of any particular type, in this case free camping destinations.
There’s many POI lists available on the Internet. Some include information on Walmarts, museums, and tourist spots, for example.
The price ($4.95 for the US and $2.95 for Canada) gives you a 12 month subscription that allows for 12 downloads of the database, which is updated monthly.
This list won’t work by itself though. To use it, you’ll need to import it into your GPS unit.
Don’t worry, the import process isn’t all that difficult, and Ultimate Campgrounds provides a detailed FAQ as well as a POI-specific section on their website.
Reviews are solid for the Ultimate US Public Campgrounds app, but there aren’t many reviews for the Ultimate Canada Public Campgrounds app or the Military Campgrounds app.
For more information, visit the Ultimate Campgrounds website, or the iTunes or Google Play marketplaces.