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11 Best Places to Camp For Free In Connecticut? (Boondocking in CT)

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With its forest lands, beaches, and proximity to other Northeast states, Connecticut is a perfect road trip destination. The beautiful panoramic views of the rolling green hill, the refreshing water edges, and historic landmarks make for a memorable trip. During our East Coast summer, we enjoyed spending time exploring Connecticut.

Where can I camp for free in Connecticut?

Free camping in Connecticut can be found on some dispersed camping spots, overnight RV parking, and casinos that allow RVs. For the most part, boondocking in Connecticut is based on the gratuity of private businesses.

In general, I post about RVing and have written here about places to boondock camp in an RV for free. However, if you would like to stay along the Appalachian Trail, you can camp many places in a tent. Sages Ravine is a good place for backcountry tent camping. The Appalachian trial runs alongside the ravine and you can hike nearby Bear Mountain.

The remainder of the places where you can camp for free in Connecticut are for RV camping. These resources on the blog will help you plan your Connecticut camping trip:

Beach Pond Boat Ramp Area- Voluntown, Connecticut

This site features two beach pond boat ramps and lots. One in Connecticut and the other in Rhode Island. There are several color-marked trails for hikers to use. Aside from the nearby beach, there is also a lagoon and some small cliffs that offer beautiful views for anyone looking to take a walk along the shoreline path.

  • Website
  • Location: 205 North Shore Road Voluntown, CT
  • Hookup: None (Boondocking/Dry Camping in parking lot)
  • Pets Allowed: No
  • Amenities: Picnic Area, Restrooms, Trash Disposal Area, Water Access, Fishing Area, Swimming Beach

Mohegan Sun Casino Parking Lot – Uncasville, Connecticut

This open-space parking lot features a beautiful view of the Thames River with clean air and easy access to the nearby casino. Any would-be camper interested as a shuttle bus comes around every 20 minutes. Take note that you do need a permit from their site filled out that security will pick up shortly after your arrival. The maximum number of days that you can stay using a single permit is 7 days and requesting an extension requires a new permit. Another thing to note is that the parking space is not level, meaning you will have to bring multiple level blocks depending on your spot.

  • Website
  • Location: 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd. Uncasville, CT 06382888-226-7711
  • Hookup: None (Boondocking/Dry Camping)
  • Amenities: 24/7 Security Staff, Shuttle Bus to Nearby Casino, Restrooms

Cracker Barrel Parking Lot – Milford, Connecticut

This parking lot is located beside the highway, which is convenient but is a bit noisy. The RV parking area itself is perfectly lit, not too bright, but bright enough to maneuver. However, the asphalt is unfortunately not level so be prepared with level blocks or tools.

  • Website
  • Location: 30 Research Dr Milford, CT 06460
  • Hookup: None (Boondocking/Dry Camping)
  • Amenities: Nearby Restaurants (Cracker Barrel, Tropical Smoothie), Nearby truck stop 
Rear view of boy while embracing white Belgian Malinois on picnic in a forest camp ground
miodrag ignjatovic via Canva.com

Middletown Rest Area Northbound – Middletown, Connecticut

This rest area features a dump station on-site with wide-open spaces for RVs, Campers, and even big rigs. The quiet, clean, and moderate lighting at night makes it an ideal place to stop for the night to get some rest from driving long hours on the road.

  • Website
  • Location: I-91 North Middletown, CT
  • Hookup: Boondocking/Dry Camping, Dump Station
  • Pets Allowed: Yes
  • Amenities: Picnic Area, Restrooms, Trash Disposal Area, Dump Station

Wallingford Rest Area Southbound- Wallingford, Connecticut

This rest area is a relatively quiet area warranting a good reputation for getting some nice sleep. It also features a large rest area for RVs and campers and even an area for big rigs. The restrooms are clean and well cared for by the very friendly and accommodating staff attending the facility.

  • Website
  • Location: I-91 Southbound Wallingford, CT
  • Hookup: None (Boondocking/Dry Camping)
  • Pets Allowed: Yes
  • Amenities: Dump Station, Picnic Area, Restrooms, Trash Disposal Area

Danbury Welcome Center – Danbury, Connecticut

This rest is just off the highway making the noise fairly loud but is otherwise very accessible. The dump station is located in the upper parking lot of the Welcome Center. The area also features many picnic areas with grills and lots of parking spaces for RVs and trucks. Take note however that the restrooms are closed between the hours of 2:30 pm and 7:30 am.

  • Website
  • Location: I-84 Eastbound Danbury, CT
  • Hookup: None (Boondocking/Dry Camping)
  • Pets Allowed: Yes
  • Amenities: Dump Station, Picnic Area, Restrooms, Trash Disposal Area

Foxwoods Resort Casino Parking Lot– Mashantucket, Connecticut

This open-space parking lot is located right beside the casino and is near various state parks. Upon arrival you need to check in with the Transportation Manager, they may come up to you or you can contact them yourself as their number is on the sign when you arrive. You can stay for up to 10 days here without any problems and they even allow you to unhitch and run your generators. The area is fairly quiet which is ideal if you’re looking for some peace and quiet.

  • Website
  • Location: 350 Trolley Line Blvd. Mashantucket, CT
  • Hookup: None (Boondocking/Dry Camping)
  • Pets Allowed: Yes
  • Amenities: Nearby Restaurants, Nearby Casino, Trash Disposal Area, Restrooms, Laundry Facilities

Southington Rest Area Eastbound– Southington, Connecticut

This rest area is located off the I84 with a section for RVs and campers. The road noise is fairly audible because of this so be warned if that is an issue for you. The site itself is quite spacious with extra room. There is a Dump Station on-site.

  • Website
  • Location: I-84 Eastbound Southington, CT
  • Pull-Through or Back-in
  • Pets Allowed: Yes
  • Amenities: Dump Station, Picnic Area, Restrooms, Trash Disposal Area

TA Stopping Center– Willington, Connecticut

This TA center is one of the smaller ones compared to the usual larger welcome center. It is easily accessible from the nearby restaurants. The Dump Station, however, requires you to check in with the attendant to pay the fee ($10) and get the key.

  • Website
  • Location: 327 Ruby Rd Willington, CT
  • Pull-Through or Back-in
  • Pets Allowed: Yes
  • Amenities: Nearby Restaurants (Dunkin Donuts, Country Pride), Restrooms, Trash 

North Stonington Rest Area Southbound– North Stonington, Connecticut

This rest area features an accessible and clean parking area where you can hunker down for free. The nearby picnic area frequently attracts travelers and some campers but is usually quiet.

  • Website
  • Location: I-95 South-North Stonington, CT
  • Hookup: None (Boondocking/Dry Camping)
  • Pets Allowed: Yes
  • Amenities: Picnic Area, Restrooms, Trash Disposal Area, Dump Station

No matter how much you love living off-grid, there are still unspoken and unwritten rules and regulations wherever you go boondocking or camping in general. Free camping regulations vary from place to place, so make sure you follow these tips wherever you camp.

Stay Safe

Always keep in mind that not every place can be boondocked, nor every open field that exists allows you to legally stay there.  In any case, make sure that the place you found allows boondocking. 

After you’ve checked and made sure that you can stay there, here are some factors to always keep in mind:

1.    Road, Weather, and Place Conditions – even if you feel like you have found the perfect spot, it is always safer to examine the road you want to tread on. Always keep in mind some potential exit strategies as you drive, if you’re not comfortable backing up or doing tight turnarounds, think twice before venturing into the unknown.

2.    Keep your essentials well stocked – the last thing you will want after being on the road for hours is to find out that you’ve run out of gas. Or if you get a flat tire and do not have the spare on hand. You may think that these kinds of situations would never happen to you but it never hurts to be ready.

3.    Being extra vigilant when traveling alone – Now this may seem like common sense, but a lot of solo campers tend to forget about it after a long drive. Remember to be aware of how many people are on the site with you, and make sure to always have emergency services to contact.

4. Leave no trace – it is common courtesy to not leave your trash around. Always keep your area tidy and leave nothing behind. As a general rule, leave the place cleaner than when you found it. 

Be Flexible

Boondocking requires you to be fully flexible and adapt quickly when a situation arises. If you are used to things being taken care of inside a campground, boondocking is the complete opposite. With boondocking,   you are on your own.

You figure things out on your own, fix problems, as well as plan ahead for the things you want to do to avoid wasting materials during the trip. Boondocking will allow you to experience being out of your comfort zone and grow as a camper.

Final Thoughts

Camping doesn’t always have to be expensive, especially just for a night on the road trip. Free campsites in Connecticut can give you a good stopover or place to rest on your camping trip.

The majority of these free campgrounds even offer basic amenities such as dumping stations and restrooms, while some even have staff and security for your safety.

On a side note, planning your boondocking shouldn’t be stressful. Over at my Etsy Store, I have a checklist that will guide you on what to pack during your hiking trails and more. I encourage you to take a look and see if it fits your travel needs.

If you’re looking for your next travel destination, you can check out our RV Travel blogs here.

The remainder of the places where you can camp for free in Connecticut are for RV camping. These resources on the blog will help you plan your Connecticut camping trip:

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    Shauna Kocman founder Family Travel Fever
    Shauna Kocman founder of Family Travel Fever

    Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever.  We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug!  I take the kids by myself because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.

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