No, boondocking in Connecticut is not allowed, at least not on public lands. Any boondocking or dispersed camping must be done on privately owned lands. This is because there are no national forests nor BLM lands in Connecticut. The only public lands available for camping are state parks and state forests.
Is Boondocking in Connecticut Allowed?
Connecticut is one of the few states where there are no boondocking or dispersed camping opportunities anywhere. There is still plenty of camping available, it’s just limited to developed campgrounds on state forests, state parks, and privately owned campgrounds.
There are only two (2) federal agencies operating recreation lands in Connecticut…
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service operates three (3) national wildlife refuges in Connecticut. However, none of these refuges support camping.
- Army Corps of Engineers operates eight (8) dams and reservoirs in Connecticut. Only one lake offers its own campground, with a second lake having a campground operated by Connecticut State Parks. See “Army Corps of Engineers Campgrounds in Connecticut“.
Boondocking in Connecticut State Forests & Parks
Boondocking and dispersed camping is not allowed in Connecticut State Forests and Parks. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection oversees the Connecticut State Forest & Park system. The Department has a rule restricting camping only to those areas they’ve designated. Thus far, the only areas they’ve designated for camping are developed campgrounds they’ve built.
Moreover, the Department requires ALL campers obtain a permit. For more information visit the Camping Homepage of Connecticut State Forests & Parks.
- Backpack Camping for hikers is allowed in Connecticut State Forests and Parks, however only in specific “backpack camping areas”, and permits must also be obtained through a reservation system.
- River Camping is allowed for kayakers and canoers, but only in one of four river campgrounds. Permits must also be obtained through a reservation system.
State Boat Launches
Many campers have reported being able to park overnight at state boat launches, and often for multiple nights in a row. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection owns and/or operates 117 boat launches statewide on ponds, lakes, rivers and Long Island Sound.
However, the Department has published a set of regulations for its boat launches, and among them is a rule specifically prohibiting “camping” at its boat launches…
At any boating access area which is under the control of the Department of Environmental Protection and is intended to provide public access, or parking related to such access to streams, lakes, ponds or tidal waters, including Long Island Sound, the following regulations shall apply: (d) No person shall park a vehicle except in an area designated by the Commissioner for parking. (e) No person shall kindle a fire. (f) No person shall engage in camping.Connecticut Agency Regulations § 26-16-1
- However, the Department has not defined “camping” under that section of regulation.
- As long as you remain inside your vehicle, and do not set up camping gear, you could argue that you are not “camping” but just sleeping inside your vehicle.
- Most state boat launches are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, there are still several others that close up after sunset.
Note: the Department has also mentioned that there may be times when boat launch parking will be restricted to only those vehicles towing or carrying a boat. This is published in its annual Boater’s Guide…
Unless posted; parking spaces are for vehicles w/trailers, or vehicles carrying cartop vessels but only if single vehicle spaces are full.2023 Annual Boater’s Guide, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
Casino Parking Lots
There are two casinos in Connecticut where RVers have reported being able to park and stay for several nights in a row…
- Mohegan Sun Casino, Montville, CT – Allows up to five (5) parking in their RV lot. You must notify security and obtain a parking permit. Read more on FreeCampsites.net.
- Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Mashantucket, CT – Allows parking on their RV for multiple nights. You must notify security. Read more on FreeCampsites.net.
Overnighting at Rest Areas
Many boondockers have been able to sleep overnight in their vehicles at rest areas in Connecticut. There are no laws or regulations that prohibit sleeping overnight at rest areas, and no time limits. We don’t recommend staying more than one night, however. Read more at, “Connecticut Rest Area Rules“.