18 Free Indiana Boondocking Camp Sites Along With Maps

Free Indiana Boondocking is available to enjoy. This also includes Indiana Camping Spots, and Indiana RV Parking throughout the state. Tour the state’s slow-paced little towns, which are known for their warmth and excellent local cuisine, for a true “Hoosier” experience. Long after your vacation is finished, you’ll recall the warmth and charm.

Jump directly to the 5 Free Northern Indiana Boondocking Locations
Jump directly to the 13 Free Southern Indiana Boondocking Locations

Free Indiana Boondocking Camp Sites

Indiana’s parks are popular among outdoor enthusiasts, from the sandy bluffs and hundreds of lakes in the north to the limestone caverns in the south. Peaceful days on the river and hundreds of miles of isolated trekking are just a short drive away in a state distinguished by its love of automobiles. You won’t have to travel far to locate your retreat, so come explore the Indiana camping spots!

It’s easy to discover the perfect place to stay with over 30 state parks and a national forest nearby. Summer evenings are a terrific time to get the family together outside for a weekend away, and campers appreciate choosing the finest area to visit in the fall for the gorgeous autumn colors.

Escape to Indiana’s White River, which meanders for more than 200 miles among sandstone bluffs that rise from the river’s banks. The White River is popular with locals and tourists alike because of its excellent fishing chances and wealth of animals. It’s the perfect excuse to take a day off from work and go camping in Indiana, with over 12 different areas of the river to explore.

The bird watching and calm views of Indiana’s riverways will appeal to nature lovers camping in Indiana. Call ahead to arrange for an outfitter to take you to the best fishing spots on the river. Adventurers may want to go it alone, thanks to a comprehensive river guide available online.

The Knobstone Trail in Indiana is a must-see for hikers and backpackers. The 140-mile trail, which connects to the Tecumseh Trail in the north, dispels the misconception that the state is flat. Start your journey in Louisville and wind your way through hardwood forests, tree-top panoramas, and Southern Indiana’s undulating and surprisingly hilly terrain.

Are you looking for a way to beat the summer heat? Go camping at Hoosier National Forest in the limestone region, which is known for its underground caverns. Spend your days off exploring the park’s 200,000+ acres by hiking and horseback riding.

Want more ideas to round-out your trip to the North-Eastern States?
► Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin ◄

Best Boondocking and Hiking Trails in Indiana

5 Free Northern Indiana Boondocking Locations

Jump directly to the 13 Free Southern Indiana Boondocking Locations

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1. Hoosier Park Racing and Casino

Anderson, Indiana
GPS: 40.067833, -85.65007
Elevation: 909′

Management: Private – Casino (Official)

Free Indiana boondocking spots.

2. Tipton In (Picnic/Rest Area)

Rt 28 X CR-213 SE Corner
Tipton, Indiana
GPS: 40.285646, -85.958102
Elevation: 865′

Management: Public – Rest Area (Official)

Parking Area – Not a campsite/campground. Suitable for overnight RV Parking only. Free Indiana camping spots.

3. Ouabache Park

400 S Canal St
Attica, Indiana
GPS: 40.293191, -87.254362
Elevation: 512′

Management: Public – City Park (Official)

The road in is Dirt and .25 miles miles from a paved road. Ouabache Park is open May 1 – Oct 31. There are 6-15 Free Indiana boondocking spots at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay 7 days at Ouabache Park.

4. INDOT Thornhope Rest Park

40.9156819, -86.5262208
Star City, Indiana
GPS: 40.91624, -86.52653
Elevation: 715′

Management: Public – Rest Area (Official)

This is a state owned pull off with two concrete picnic tables and some grass area. This is not a a designated camping area but a camper overnight or a quick place to pop a tent for the night. Open, flat grass areas. No water, electricity or restrooms. Free Indiana camping spots.

5. RV /MH Hall of Fame – Museum

Bristol, Indiana
GPS: 41.72927, -85.880246

Management: Private – Retail Store (Official)

The road in is Paved. RV /MH Hall of Fame – Museum is open all. The maximum RV length at RV /MH Hall of Fame – Museum is unlimited. You may stay 2 nights in Free Indiana boondocking spots at RV /MH Hall of Fame – Museum.

13 Free Southern Indiana Boondocking Locations

Jump directly to the 5 Free Northern Indiana Boondocking Locations

1. Maines Pond

8657-9499 South Houston Road
Freetown, Indiana
GPS: 39.053939, -86.167416
Elevation: 692′

Management: Public – Forest Service

Free Indiana boondocking spots in the Hoosier National Forest’s Brownstown Ranger District. First come -> first served. No reservations accepted

2. Berry Ridge Rd

Berry Ridge Road
Freetown, Indiana
GPS: 39.063778, -86.207983
Elevation: 886′

Management: Public – Forest Service

Free Indiana camping spots in the Hoosier National Forest’s Brownstown Ranger District. This campsite does not use a reservation system. First come, first served.

3.Deckard Church Rd

6185-7487 Deckard Ridge Road
Nashville, Indiana
GPS: 39.106397, -86.352025
Elevation: 804′

Management: Public – Forest Service

Free Indiana boondocking spots. First come -> First Camped. Reservations not accepted. 2019

4. Beach-side Campsite in Hoosier NF

Bloomington, Indiana
GPS: 39.073348, -86.376019
Elevation: 551′

Management: Public – State Forest (Official)

You may stay 14 days in Free Indiana camping spots at Beach-side Campsite in Hoosier NF. This campsite can be reached via a 4.7 mile Indiana hiking trip, one way from the Grub Ridge Trailhead on Tower Road. It has a fire ring, logs for seating, and a grate for cooking. There are several other sites nearby. First come first serve. It is an official NF Campsite. This site is not vehicle accessible

5. Hoosier National Forest

Tower Ridge Road, IN
Bloomington, Indiana
GPS: 39.034815, -86.321273
Elevation: 901′

Management: Public – Forest Service (Official)

The road in is Gravel and 6 miles from a paved road. Hoosier National Forest is open Year round. There are 30 or more Free Indiana boondocking spots at this location. You may stay 14 days at Hoosier National Forest.

6. Charles C Deam Wilderness – Grubb Ridge TH

Tower Ridge Road
Bloomington, Indiana
GPS: 39.032861, -86.340793
Elevation: 879′

Management: Public – Forest Service

Free Indiana camping spots in the Hoosier National Forest’s Brownstown Ranger District. Reservations are not accepted at this campsite.

7. Hoosier NF Bloomington Campsite

Norman, Indiana
GPS: 39.025784, -86.315568
Elevation: 856′

Management: Public – Forest Service (Official)

You may stay 14 daysin Free Indiana boondocking spots at Hoosier NF Bloomington Campsite. There are a number of campsites on this road, spaced a reasonable distance apart and none too far off the road. This one is on a slight rise in a stand of pine trees, allowing a decent view in all directions. It has a fire pit, and a decent driveway in, though at the time we went there were some pretty deep muddy ruts.

8. Blackwell Horse Camp

Bloomington, Indiana
GPS: 39.017262, -86.38971
Elevation: 785′

Management: Public – Forest Service (USDA) (Official)

Free Indiana camping spots been a popular destination / overnight camping area for equestrians. Other campers are also welcome although the facilities are geared to provide for horses. The camp is along Tower Ridge Road in the center of the Charles Deam Wilderness area.

9. White Oak State Fishing Area

4460 North White Oaks Road
Bruceville, Indiana
GPS: 38.742251, -87.404139
Elevation: 492′

Management: Public – State Park

Free Indiana boondocking spots. No reservations. First come, first served.

10. Shirley Creek Horse Camp

West Baden Springs, Indiana
GPS: 38.649447, -86.597549
Elevation: 735′

Management: Public – Forest Service (Official)

The road in is Gravel. Shirley Creek Horse Camp is open All year. Free Indiana camping spots with pit toilets, hitching racks, and water for livestock. The campground is designed for horse camping, however, any National Forest visitor is welcome to camp.

11. Youngs Creeks Horse Camp

South County Road 50 W
Paoli, Indiana
GPS: 38.503523, -86.465684
Elevation: 850′

Management: Public – National Park Service

Youngs Creeks Horse Camp is open all year. There are 30 or more Free Indiana boondocking spots at this location.

12. Buzzard Roost Recreation Area

Cannelton, Indiana
GPS: 38.1215, -86.4639

Management: Public – Forest Service (Official)

Buzzard Roost is an overlook on the Ohio River that provides a panoramic view of the Ohio River bottom. Free Indiana camping spots – primitive picnic area though no toilets or water are provided. Camping is allowed.This was once the location of the Buzzard Roost Lookout Tower.

13. Elk Creek Trail Head (hike-in)

3399 N Leval Ratt Rd Salem, IN 47167
Salem, Indiana
GPS: 38.645899, -85.966831
Elevation: 948′

Management: Public – State Forest (Unofficial)

The road in is Gravel. Elk Creek Trail Head (hike-in) is open all year. There are 1-5 Free Indiana boondocking spots at this location. A small parking area that can hold about 5 regular sized cars. It is literally right on the side of the road. The good part is that it is a very rural, gravel road in the middle of Amish country.

Dispersed Camping In Indiana

Check out the USDA Forest Service website

Dispersed camping is allowed throughout most of the Hoosier National Forest. Dispersed camping is acceptable on National Forest System lands away from developed campgrounds, nearly anywhere your camping equipment and/or vehicle does not block developed trails or road rights-of-way. It is not necessary to check in with the Forest Service when you camp overnight.

Where dispersed camping is NOT allowed:
• within campgrounds
• along roads, parking areas, or day use areas within developed recreation areas
• at day use trailheads or parking areas, including boat launches
• within Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest (Orange County)
• within the Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower site (Monroe County adjacent to the Charles C. Deam Wilderness)
• within Hemlock Cliffs area (Crawford County)

All dispersed camp sites must be at least 300 feet away from trailheads and at least 100 feet from trails and waterfronts.

Roadside Camping

Roadside dispersed camping should be done at established sites if any are provided, but must stay within 125 feet of the road. We do not have maps for where these sites are located, but if you drive most Forest roads you are likely to see them in the more popular areas of the Forest. Roadside camping is not allowed within campgrounds.


Please pay close attention to parking locations for your dispersed camping trip. Ensure your vehicle is parked legally on public land. For example, parking is prohibited on Tower Ridge Road (Monroe County adjacent to the Charles C. Deam Wilderness) except at designated trailheads.

If you ensure you are on public land and there are no signs saying no parking, vehicles can be parked within one vehicle length or within a specified distance up to 30 feet from the edge of a designated road.

Permits and Restrictions

There is no charge for dispersed camping, however the following restrictions are required:

• Stays are limited to 14-days
• Personal property must not be left unattended overnight
• Group size is limited to 10 people in the Charles C. Deam Wilderness. In other parts of the Forest, groups larger than 75 people require a permit.
• Firewood restrictions apply throughout the Forest.

Please check for current restrictions such as fire bans before heading out to camp.

Dispersed Camping Best Practices

Practice Leave No Trace Principles:

• Bring enough water for the duration of your stay.
• Leave a clean campsite by packing out all refuse. No garbage service is provided and leaving your trash is illegal and can result in steep penalties.
• Go at least 200 feet from water sources and campsites for personal hygiene needs and bury human waste.

Free Indiana Camping Spots

Indiana is rich with natural treasures waiting to be found, with approximately 200 days of sunshine a year, 4.7 million acres of woodland, and innumerable stunning rivers, dunes, lakes, and caves. One of the finest ways to see them is to go camping in Indiana!

In Indiana, primitive (distributed) camping is legal and free in public locations such as the gorgeous state forests. Camping is also a cheap and easy way to enjoy the scenery in the ‘Hoosier State,’ as there are some free campsites alongside hiking routes in state parks and woods.

Indiana provides wild (free) camping, as well as guidelines and where to find Indiana camping spots. As well as where to find inexpensive Indiana RV parking. So take your tent and prepare for starry evenings and breathtaking views.

There is nothing better than camping, in our opinion. It’s your chance to get back to basics, reconnect with nature, and disconnect from the stresses of modern life. It also allows you to enjoy some of nature’s most beautiful sights for free.

The great thing about free Indiana boondocking is that free camping is permitted as long as you stay on state property and follow a few basic rules. State-owned land will be managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the United States Forest Service, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Any areas that are green on Google Maps are usually public property. Just keep in mind that there are a few places in Indiana where free camping is prohibited.

Many state forests and parks also have their own campgrounds, in the hopes of encouraging campers to pitch their tent there in order to reduce their environmental impact. They are frequently located in some of Indiana’s most scenic locations, offer adequate facilities, and are near to excellent Indiana hiking trails, making them a cost-effective option to camping in the wild.

The cost of staying at these campgrounds, many of which are suitable for Indiana RV parking, varies based on the amenities available. The more rudimentary the campground, the less expensive it is.

Indiana Camping Spots: The Guidelines and Where to Find Free Campsites

Many hikers and walkers opt to camp as they travel since Indiana hiking routes are in such bad shape around the state. This is free camping at its most natural, but there are a few ground rules that hikers must follow either wild camping or staying in the free Indiana boondocking campsites located beside trails.

Apart from these sites, you can camp anywhere in Indiana’s woodlands:

  • Paid campsites
  • Parking areas, trailheads, and day-use areas
  • Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest (Orange County)
  • Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower site
  • Hemlock Cliffs area

Campers must stay 300 feet away from trailheads and 100 feet away from waterfalls and trails, according to state forest officials.

You should also leave your pitch in the same condition as you found it and squander as little as possible. When using the restroom, keep at least 100 meters away from a water source (such as a river or lake) and use a trowel if necessary.

Additionally, be mindful of any prohibitions on campfires in your area. If you’re unsure, don’t start a campfire. We advocate utilizing a storm cooker because it allows you to cook anywhere.

It’s advisable to only stay in each camping area for a short period of time. However, you can stay in Indiana state parks for up to two weeks at a time.

Be informed of the vegetation and fauna in the Indiana region where you intend to camp. While staying in forested areas, there’s a chance you’ll see bears, coyotes, and maybe mountain lions!

If you want to enjoy Indiana hiking trails and camp at the same time, several of the routes that are longer than 10 miles include free campsites as well as the option of wild (distributed) camping. These rustic campsites are located along the trails (the state refers to them as “back-country camping”) and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Many of them are shelters, so they’ll give you a roof over your head if the weather isn’t cooperating with a tent.

Within so many natural reserves, there are 17 Indiana hiking trails that are more than ten miles long and offer free Indiana camping spots.

Boondocking Is Legal in Indiana

Free camping is often simpler to come by in the western part of the country than in the rest of the country. However, while it may require a little more effort, the Midwest has some excellent possibilities.

The Hoosier State may not come to mind when you think of boondocking, but we’re going to look at some of the best free camping opportunities in Indiana today, including Indiana RV parking.

In Indiana, as in many other states, boondocking is permitted in designated areas. The Hoosier National Forest in south-central Indiana is one of the nicest places to visit. As long as your car does not block developed trails or roadways, you can boondock almost anyplace in the national forest.

You cannot, however, boondock in campsites, parking lots, day-use areas, boat launches, or any other location where there is a notice prohibiting camping.

Because many roadside places in the national forests aren’t mapped, finding a campsite might be difficult. You must stay within 125 feet of the road and only camp in already constructed sites. If you visit the most popular areas of the national forest, you should have little trouble finding them.

Free BLM Campgrounds in Indiana

BLM-managed lands provide a variety of options for camping under the stars, ranging from staying in an RV at a well-developed campground to simply sleeping in the woods with a sleeping bag on the ground. On BLM-managed public lands, you can have any kind of experience you want.

Many Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campgrounds provide free camping. That isn’t always the case, though. A permit, which may include a cost, may be required in some campgrounds or places. Many of these permits cost anywhere from $5 to $15 and are valid for seven to fourteen days.

If you plan to camp on BLM land, make sure you read the rules first. Some places have more patrols than others, and not knowing the rules may not save you from a punishment. The cost of fines for camping without a permit can be far more than if you had purchased the permit.

Free Indiana Boondocking

Exploring the roads of Hoosier National Forest is your best chance in the Hoosier State for campers who adore the independence and appeal of sleeping under the stars without paying a dollar. Aside from that, Indiana free boondocking is accessible in corporate parking lots across the state’s northern reaches.

Free Camping in Hoosier National Forest

The US Forest Service allows free camping on its public lands in Indiana.

The restrictions include the inability to camp for free in official campgrounds and the requirement to stay within 125 feet of the road. The USFS does not supply maps to these areas; nevertheless, they are generally plainly marked and should be easy to spot with a little exploration. Blackwell Horsecamp, for example, is largely geared at equestrians but has no explicit rules prohibiting people without their trusty steed from staying there. There are fire rings and vault toilets available.

Just keep in mind that camping in the national forest is limited to 14 days, and you should know how to boondock correctly before driving down dirt roads. To avoid damaging the forest you’ve come to admire, the first rule of thumb while looking for free campsites is to choose an existing established spot.

Near Branchville, Indiana, the forest service also provides free dump facilities.

Free Indiana RV Parking in Casino Parking Lots

While free camping places may be scarce in Indiana, those who enjoy playing the slots will find plenty of concrete outside of the two casinos located along I-80/I-90 at the state’s northern border.

Blue Chip Casino boasts plenty of RV space and is close to Lake Michigan and Indiana Dunes National Park, in addition to the casino itself. Four Winds Casino near South Bend is another choice.

If a trip to Indianapolis is on your agenda, Harrah’s Hoosier Park Racing and Casino is around 45 minutes from the city’s center and offers RVers a parking area designed exclusively for this purpose.

If you’re planning on camping in a casino parking lot, phone ahead to make sure it’s alright to remain, as some casinos will need you to visit their institution (and some will even offer you some credit to get you started!) There are some, on the other hand, may be fine with camping except at peak seasons.

More Free Camping in Indiana

Businesses across the state, such as Walmart and Cracker Barrel, typically offer overnight stays if all you need is a safe place to stay and a place to park your RV for the night.

Finally, the RV Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart, IN, offers a free one-night stay in exchange for a visit to the museum. Given your way of transportation and the subject matter, it doesn’t seem too difficult to stomach in exchange for a spot to spend the night off the I-80 / I-90 corridor.

Boondocking in Indiana

Indiana boondocking locations have a diverse range of popular tourist attractions, including major towns, national forests, state parks, and a state border on the shores of Lake Michigan. Indiana Sand Dunes National Park, on the southern shores of Lake Michigan, is also in Indiana. If you’re looking for a free area to boondock in your RV, any of the national forests, as well as several state forests, have plenty of alternatives.

This sort of boondocking, also known as dispersed camping, is commonly characterized as lawful camping at undeveloped campsites along forest access roads inside national or state parks, or further into the interior. Visitors are asked to pack out trash and other rubbish at these types of free campgrounds, which do not have electricity or running water but may have vault toilets nearby. While you are not permitted to camp for free in developed campgrounds or leisure areas while visiting a national forest, you are permitted to camp in most other areas.

Indiana Boondocking Spots

Blackwell Horse Camp Hoosier National Forest

The Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area, which is part of the Hoosier National Forest, is home to the Blackwell Horse Camp. The camp is designed to accommodate overnight equestrians and has a picnic shelter, a horse loading space, and hitching posts. The horse camp, on the other hand, is open to all campers. This campground is roughly a mile from Highway 446 and is located along Tower Ridge Road. The trailhead for the Charles C. Deam Wilderness trail system is located here.

Morgan-Monroe State Forest

Many of the trails in the Morgan-Monroe State Forest are suitable for camping, but you must first register with the State Forest Office and provide data about your intended camping area. Camping groups are limited to either family groups or mixed groups of no more than six people camping for no more than three nights in a row. Morgan-Monroe State Forest is 35 miles south of Interstate 46 via State Road 37 in Morgan and Monroe counties, between Indianapolis and Bloomington.

Shirley Creek Horse Camp

Shirley Creek Horse Camp is a horse camp with hitching racks, pit toilets, and water for cattle in the Hoosier National Forest. Despite the fact that the camp is oriented toward equestrians, anyone can use it. There is no charge for using the facility, and parking is also free. Mountain bikers and equestrians must have a permit and must stay on specified trails. Permits are available at the National Forest office or via local vendors. Off on CR 775, about 40 miles south of Bloomington, IN, is where you’ll find the campground. Drive 1.2 miles east on CR 775 to the Shirley Creek Trailhead on the left.

The Hickory Ridge Horse Camp

The Hickory Ridge Horse Camp is intended for horseback riders, but anyone is welcome to stay. The campground is located on Hickory Grove Road, about 25 miles southeast of Bloomington, IN, in the Hoosier National Forest. At the Forest Service sign, turn right and go to the Hickory Ridge Trailhead on the left side of the road. Vault toilets, hitching posts, a mounting ramp, and animal water are all available at the campground. There are no fees for camping or parking. The campground is shady and has room for about 25 RVs, and there are various paths that connect to the national forest’s general trail system. The ancient Hickory Grove Church is well worth a visit.

Maines Pond Hoosier National Forest

Maines Pond is located in the Hoosier National Forest near Freetown, about 35 miles east of Bloomington, IN. Maines Pond, which is flanked by grasslands, cedar groves, and brush thickets, has a number of basic campsites. There are wildflower fields in the spring and summer. Many bird species, such as bluebirds, meadowlarks, quail, sparrows, and other types of birds, will be visible. Around the pond and in the forest, there are additional opportunities to watch small animals and ducks.

Where to Boondock in Indiana

The Hoosier National Forest, which is a massive natural preserve located between Indianapolis and Bloomington, offers several of the best boondocking sites in Indiana. Within the national forest, you’ll find a diverse range of habitats where you may go hiking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, mountain biking, and a variety of other outdoor activities. There are various horse campgrounds open to the public, and many of the dispersed camping locations have designated and built-up sites to keep campers from badly impacting the environment. If you’re searching for some peace and quiet, these campgrounds are perfect.

Free Camping in Indiana

In order to have a nice and safe camping experience when boondocking in Indiana, you need bring a few basic items with you. Take potable water, food, camping gear, cooking equipment, and a first-aid kit with you. Finding legally accessible campgrounds requires research, and knowing about mobile phone service in the region is a smart idea. You’ll also want to find out what there is to see and do in the area where you plan to camp. Before you leave on your journey, read our blog to learn everything there is to know about boondocking.

Taking an RV road trip across Indiana is a fantastic opportunity to see the diverse natural landscapes that this state has to offer. Many of the national and state forests and parks are particularly worth visiting, and many of these regions have numerous dispersed campsites where you can camp for free.

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