How to Stay for Free at Joshua Tree National Park

blog title image. White and pink letters read: Boondocking for free Joshua Tree National Park Photo by Mariana Abeid-McDougall shows an RV in the wilderness. Trees and bushes in front of the RV, and mountains in the background.

Free RV Parking in Southern California isn’t easy to find, but we did find free RV parking in Joshua Tree National Park. 

Free camping Joshua Tree National Park, www.marianamcdougallcom. Photo of RV in BLM


Joshua Tree National Park is an absolutely gorgeous place. It’s awful that it got vandalized during the federal shutdown, and I hope the people who cut down those beautiful trees somehow have a change of heart and learn that it’s never OK to hurt and destroy nature, especially at national parks and protected lands.

Despite the vandalism, the park is still a beauty to behold, and the scenery here is quite unique.


Mountains, trees and rocks at joshua tree national park

Joshua Tree National Park does offer camping, but it’s dry camping. We do dry camp a lot, so that’s not an issue for us. But if we can find free dry camping, that’s pretty sweet. We do have national parks passes for both the US and Canada, but they don’t include camping, only the entrance fee for the parks.

If you’re willing to drive just a few minutes down the road from Joshua Tree National Park, there’s a BLM right outside it, and when we visited in February, there were plenty of spaces available. I imagine when the weather is warmer, there’s probably less availability, but in the middle of “winter” there was lots of room. If you have an America the Beautiful pass, camping at most BLMs is included. Even if there’s a fee, most BLMs are very affordable, costing only a few dollars for a 2-week stay.

So that’s how we stayed at Joshua Tree National Park for free—we simply drove out of the park and stayed at the BLM, and that worked well for us. We didn’t pay anything, because this BLM is included in the America the Beautiful pass.

And while I couldn’t hike the beautiful park because of my broken toe and sprained ankle (yep, broke the toe on the left and sprained the ankle on the right a week later), I was still able to enjoy the view.

Woman with long, curly black hair, wearing a purple zippered sweater and sitting on a red chair in front of mountains at Joshua Tree BLM


mountains, trees, and clouds in a blue sky at Joshua Tree National Park BLM


Before leaving the park to drive to the Salton Sea, Dan and I took the opportunity for a selfie. It’s pretty rare to get a photo with both of us in these days, so I’m happy we took the time to take this picture.


couple takes a selfie in front of mountains and trees at Joshua Tree National Park

Have you ever stayed at a BLM? Which is your favourite?


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