motorcycle 101 guides

Where to Go for Motorcycle Camping Without Making a Reservation?

Where to Go for Motorcycle Camping Without Making a Reservation?

Stopping at a campground is a great way to make your motorcycle tour more enjoyable. Motorcycle campsites provide riders a place to rest after a long day of travel and gives them the chance to explore and engage in recreational activities off of their motorcycles.

Finding a spot for motorcycle camping can be the biggest challenge if riders don’t have a reservation. With several websites and apps available to help riders find and reserve campgrounds, this usually isn’t a problem. However, if you don’t plan early, then your options become limited.

This article provides possible motorcycle campgrounds you can visit if you don’t have a reservation.

1. Check Out the Full Campgrounds on the Way

Check Out the Full Campgrounds on the Way

Photo Credit: @shutterstock

If you decide to stay at a campground for the night, make it a point to check campgrounds with the “full” sign. Despite what the sign states, you may be able to find available spots if any motorcycle campers canceled their reservations or left early.

If there are no available spots closer to the entrance, ride deeper into the area. According to a Mesa Verde park ranger interviewed by the New York Times, “Arches National Park is usually always booked, but if riders ride several miles toward Mesa Verde park they will always find an available spot as Mesa Verde is more remote and less popular compared to Arches.”

This strategy is useful when exploring less-known and obscure campsites. Remote campgrounds have more frequent cancellations. Usually, the websites of less popular and remote national parks do not update any last-minute cancellations or no-shows. Some campers do not bother to cancel their reservation due to complicated policies. When looking for campsites with no reservation, capitalize on the opportunity to secure a spot.

Also Read: Top 10 Motorcycle Navigation Apps for 2022 to Guide You Down Uncharted Road Rides and Tours

Checking Full Campgrounds
Pros Cons
  • May find spots that aren’t visible on websites or campground search apps.
  • Time-consuming
  • Can be a frustrating and disappointing process
  • Not Always Reliable
Best Website/Apps to Find One
Google Maps Reserve America
Motorcycle Camping Style Dispersed/Organized Camping

2. Check Out National or State Parks Along the Way

Check Out National or State Parks Along the Way

Photo Credit: @pinterest

Popular places to go motorcycle camping are national and state parks. You can find campgrounds within the national or state parks where you can camp overnight. Most designated campgrounds are booked 1-3 months in advance.

According to a 2018 Resources for the Future study, national park campgrounds get reserved six months in advance on a daily basis, and parks like Yosemite and Zion remain full throughout the year at 100% capacity.

Some campsites in state and national parks open for freedom camping operate on a first-come, first serve (FCFS) basis. If you are riding during less busy seasons, then the chances of finding a FCFS campground increase.

During busy seasons, the first come first serve (FCFS) campsites in larger state and national parks tend to fill up before 7 a.m. If you are planning a camping trip, then try not to rely too much on FCFS sites and reserve your spot several months in advance.

If stopping at a campsite to check for availability seems tedious, visit the state or national park websites. Having access to websites and apps like and Reserve America are handy if you need to quickly book a spot.

Checking National Parks & State Parks
Pros Cons
  • Find remote spots near the state and national parks
  • Availability of first come, first serve spots during off-seasons
  • Last-minute reservations not available
Best Website/Apps to Find One
Reserve America Reserve California Airbnb Campendium Ultimat Campground Xanterra
Motorcycle Camping Style Organized Camping

3. Check Out Motorcycle-Friendly National Forest Campgrounds

Check Out Motorcycle-Friendly National Forest Campgrounds

Photo Credit: @recreation

National forests are usually your best bet when looking for a motorcycle campground without needing a reservation. Besides developed campgrounds, national forests have open spaces for freedom camping with no reservation fee required.

Established campgrounds within national forests come with minimal facilities, such as fire rings, tent sites, picnic tables, vault toilets, and a parking space. If you are willing to forgo facilities, then a scenic location with no amenities will be easier to find. You can easily locate these campgrounds on Google Maps and the United States National Forest website.

Making last-minute reservations in National Forest Campgrounds is also difficult because there is no way to make a reservation online. That requires calling the local department to book a spot. Since cellular services are often unavailable in the wilderness, free motorcycle campsites are the only options.

Checking Motorcycle-Friendly National Forest
Pros Cons
  • Underdeveloped free camping spots available
  • No reservation fee
  • No online reservation
  • Booking via a phone call may be unavailable; cellular service is often not available in wilderness areas
  • No amenities
Best Website/Apps to Find One
US National Forest App US National Forest Website HipCamp Campendium Reserve America
Motorcycle Camping Style Dispersed/Organized Camping

4. Check Out Privately-Owned Land Open for Motorcycle Camping

Check Out Privately-Owned Land Open for Motorcycle Camping

Photo Credit: @Koa

Campers can find and book a reservation at privately-owned campsites at the last minute using HipCamp. Compared to government campgrounds, private campgrounds have better facilities, are more expensive, and usually have several camping spots available.

Privately-owned campgrounds include farmlands, ranches, resorts, and glamping sites. If you are working with a tight budget, you can stay at the designated area for tent camping, or stay at a small tent cabin without electricity, pools, hot showers, and proper washrooms, or you can opt for a luxurious cabin including all these facilities and more.

An example of privately owned motorcycle-friendly campgrounds would be Kampgrounds of America (KOA). KOA has over 500 campgrounds scattered all over the United States. Their campgrounds are located near highways and popular tourist attractions, making them easily accessible no matter your route. KOA campsites tend to be more expensive than public campsites. However, If it fits within your budget, then you can rely on KOA campsites due to not requiring reservations months in advance.

Checking Privately-Owned Land Open for Motorcycle Camping
Pros Cons
  • Better facilities
  • Last-minute reservations
  • Non-reserved spots also available
  • Accessible
  • Available throughout the U.S.
  • Expensive for a lone camper
Best Websites/Apps to Find One
Airbnb Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Website & App HipCamp Campendium Google Maps Tentrr Go Camping America AllStays
Motorcycle Camping Style Organized Camping

5. Motorcycle-Friendly Camping Resorts & Lodges

Motorcycle-Friendly Camping Resorts & Lodges

Photo Credit: @AmenMoto

Motorcycle-friendly camping resorts and lodges are located near scenic motorcycle roads and popular tourist attractions. At these campgrounds, you will find deluxe cabins, camping cabins, and suites.

Motorcycle-friendly camping resorts and lodges offer basic amenities, recreational activities, gourmet restaurants, bathhouse facilities, motorcycle events, and peaceful secluded places are some of the defining features of motorcycle-friendly camping resorts and lodges. Though reservations are recommended, you can visit these lodges if you need a place to stay without requiring a reservation.

Since other riders may be staying at these resorts and lodges, you get the chance to make new friends, exchange stories, and learn more about motorcycle camping. So, next time you feel the urge to enjoy a cup of coffee by a campfire with other motorcyclists, search for motorcycle-friendly camping resorts on Google Maps and head over for an experience of a lifetime.

Checking Motorcycle Camping Resorts & Lodges
Pros Cons
  • Better facilities
  • Last-minute reservations
  • Non-reserved spots available
  • Accessible
  • Finding spots is possible even during busy seasons
  • Expensive for an overnight stay
Best Website/App to Find One
Airbnb HipCamp Tentrr Google Maps
Motorcycle Camping Style Luxury Camping/ Glamping

6. Try Glamping Sites

Try Glamping Sites

Photo Credit: @ebookers

Glamping involves camping on private campgrounds. Glamping sites are located in natural landscapes with rustic tent cabins. The stark contrast of accommodation and interior makes the camping experience even more enjoyable.

You can use GlampingHub, Airbnb, or CampSpot to find glamping sites nearby or ask locals about one in the area. High prices are another reason you are likely to find an available spot at a glamping site. Not everyone is able to afford it; therefore, these sites see fewer visitors, especially in off-peak seasons.

The greatest disadvantage of staying at a glamping site is that it will cost you the same as a hotel stay if not more.

Checking Glamping Sites
Pros Cons
  • 15,000+ glamping sites throughout the U.S.
  • Less visitors
  • Best for last-minute reservations
  • Non-reserved spots available
  • Quality country experience
  • Expensive
  • Not a traditional camping style
Best Website/App to Find One
CampSpot GlampingHub Airbnb
Motorcycle Camping Style Glamping

7. Look for BLM Lands & USFS Forests for Dispersed Camping

Look for BLM Lands & USFS Forests for Dispersed Camping

Photo Credit: @hikespeak , @nps

Dispersed camping means camping on public lands or forests managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). These campgrounds usually do not require a fee and do not come with amenities.

These campgrounds tend to be easy to find since they spread across millions of acres. However, you should check the BLM and USFS official websites and interactive maps for any restrictions.

Dispersed camping is best suited for experienced motorcycle campers who can provide and survive on their own food, water, and accommodations. Novice moto-campers can use legal BLM lands and USFS forests to spend the night and set off the next day.

Most USFS forests are open for dispersed camping. When looking for dispersed campgrounds, you can use Google Maps for aerial and satellite views and check for signs that indicate RVs, cars, and other vehicles are allowed. Try to camp at least 150 feet from the main road for comfortable seclusion and easy access. Make sure to contact the BLM office beforehand to learn more about the campground, as not all BLM lands allow camping or waive a fee.

As mentioned, not all BLM lands are for camping and not all are free. You should contact the BLM office for confirmation and information.

Checking BLM Lands & USFS Forests
Camping Style: Dispersed Camping
Pros Cons
  • Free
  • Accessible
  • Available spots are easy to find
  • No reservation required
  • Harsh conditions
  • No amenities
  • Not all BLM lands and USFS forests allow camping
Best Website/App to Find One
Boondocking BLM Official Website & Interactive Map USFS Official Website & Interactive Map The Dyrt OnX Offroad iOverlander
Motorcycle Camping Style Dispersed/Freedom Camping

8. Quick Overview

Quick Overview

9. Takeaway

During long-distance motorcycle trips, it is natural to want to look for a comfortable place to rest, preferably a campsite. Motorcycle camping can help riders unwind and prepare for the long journey ahead. If you plan to go motorcycle camping, it is prudent to reserve your spot before embarking. Government motorcycle campsites tend to fill up quickly, leaving no available spots for at least the next 30 days.

If you cannot reserve a spot, you can still search for a campsite by taking advantage of canceled reservations and no-shows. You can also visit privately-owned motorcycle-friendly campsites, glamping sites, motorcycle lodges, remote campsites, or dispersed campsites.

Also Read: Motorcycle Camping Guide - How to Camp Everywhere?

Reading next

Best Non-Reservation First Come, First Serve Motorcycle Camping Spots Across America
Reasons Why Sissy Bars Are Essential for Wilderness Trips

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.