For my "senior trip" me and three of my friends are going to drive from Chattanooga, TN to San Diego, CA. Starting off with the Bonnaroo Music Festival and continuing through St. Louis to Seattle to San Franscisco to San Diego to Las Vegas to Denver to New Orleans then back home. We are trying to use the least money as possible. Plans are to sleep in the vehicle or camp, except for in some of the more interesting cities. Hopefully we can get this done in less than 3 weeks. If anyone as any insight about where to look for free campgrounds or just any help at all it would be greatly appreciated
Nate, head down to your local bookstore and pick up a campground guide. You should be able to find inexpensive options in each state, although free ones are hard to come by.
In my state (Arizona), for example, you can camp for free on public lands most of the time, but not on private lands (without permission, anyway). The problem is in knowing which is which as many times you can't tell one from the other. Also, "dispersed" camping (means "not in a fee-paid campground") can be restricted altogether in places like parks and monuments where they've determined it is detrimental to the land because of the high numbers of people -- places like Sedona, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc.
Finally, if you are comfortable using the internet, you can find a wealth of information, maybe even all you need, by searching on the state's different websites. They often have just the kind of information you're looking for, available there for free. Most of the states will even send you a free map, just for the asking (hey, it's a $3.95 value at the gas station!)
Thanks for your help Bob. I will definately use your advice.
Also, I neglected to mention that in some of the cities, you can find hostels -- they are dorm-type facilities and very inexpensive -- for when you don't want to camp.