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Nearly Two-Thirds of Campers Have Camped for Free

by Kimberly Inlander

May 23, 2024

© Lane Erickson | Dreamstime.com


The Dyrt, an app for camping availability, photos and reviews, recently found nearly two-thirds, at 65.8 percent of campers, reported camping for free at least once in 2023, which was almost doubled the rate from 2019. The results were revealed in The Dyrt’s 2024 Camping Report presented by The All-New Toyota Tacoma.


“There are so many ways to camp for free,” said Kevin Long, CEO, The Dyrt. “As popular campgrounds continue to fill up fast, more campers are discovering dispersed camping in National Forests or Bureau of Land Management areas. I’ve also been surprised to discover how many free established campgrounds there are all across the country, many of which offer amenities of paid campgrounds.”


Free camping numbers continue to rise despite a lack of public awareness of its availability. The report found 31 percent of the U.S. population does not know they have the option to camp for free, while another 40 percent know of its availability, but have never tried it.


“The Dyrt guided us to an awesome, small dispersed campground where we were the only folks for a couple nights midweek,” sad The Dyrt camper Joan R. of Oregon. “It was the quietest place I’ve been since camping as a kid way back in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. With the purchase of a new travel trailer that’s well suited to off-grid, we’re enjoying dispersed camping a lot more by having some of the amenities with fewer of the humans.”


The most popular place to camp for free in 2023 was at dispersed camping areas on public land, at 36.1 percent; a rest stop or parking lot, at 19.1 percent; a friend or family’s private property, 15.4 percent; a free area of a campground, 15.3 percent; and a camper’s own private property, at 6.8 percent.


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