Our large and glorious country has a lot to offer, but if you want to see the best that the United States has to offer, you have to be choosey.
We’ve compiled the best 25 camping destinations in the country, ranked by amount of campsites, local amenities, dispersed camping leniency, and so much more.
Let’s take a look at these stellar spots that you simply need to visit.
1. Mount Washington State Park, New Hampshire
Home to some of the most glorious mountain views in America, New Hampshire boasts a plethora of recreational activities in and around Mount Washington.
You can visit the Lakes Region, which includes towns like Laconia and Belmont, and go fishing out on the lake, visit the local music shops and Irish-inspired eateries, and still be within a short driving distance to your campsite.
One reason that Mount Washington State Park is excellent is the late closing times for campers.
Enter the park from anywhere up to 10:00 PM, and enjoy lengthy stay times from ten to twenty days, depending on the season.
You’re allowed to bring
It’s one of the reasons that Mount Washington State Park is a clean and protected camping ground, which keeps campers and hikers coming back year after year.
2. Death Valley National Park, California
Death Valley isn’t the most inviting name, but after you lay out under the stars in these excellent campgrounds, you won’t think twice about where you are.
If you find that it becomes one of your favorite spots, you could even sign up for the lifetime pass to get cheaper fees forever.
The Furnace Creek campground is open year-round, with a large maximum party size.
You could easily get lost in thought for hours staring out every night as sunset, and feel as though even after you’ve conquered every hiking trail, there’s still more to see.
Dispersed camping is set at a thirty-day per calendar year maximum, which gives you plenty of time to enjoy Death Valley, and still visit the other great spots on our list.
3. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia offers tantalizing views of the highest points of Maine, with some trails allowing you to see right into the Gulf of Maine onto the crystal water.
Acadia is the ultimate spot for campers who want to enjoy long
The amount of trails is insane, giving you weeks upon weeks of different avenues you could take to tame the hills and peaks, and truly experience everything that Acadia National Park has to offer.
Acadia has a lot of rules in place, so you won’t find dispersed camping spots here, but
One of the best things you can do after a long hike
These spots, as well as others, are close by to the Mr. Desert Island (which is somewhere you have to stop by before you leave).
4. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Grab your four-season sleeping bags and
Crater Lake National Park isn’t just a fun name: it’s a mystical spot that aesthetically changes every single day.
Some days you’ll see the central peak in the middle of the lake popping over the misty clouds, and some days you’ll have full clarity to enjoy the sights completely unprohibited.
Crater Lake is a relatively small spot, which is why it’s so excellent for intimate camping trips.
You’ll enjoy lengthy hiking trails that peak over various spots on the side of the lake, as well as full access to live webcams of different spots, including the Steel Visitor Center, at any time of day.
If you’re bringing the kids and you’re worried about interactions with wildlife, Crater lake is wide open and safe for all ages to enjoy.
5. Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont
It’s where that unique brand of coffee gets its name from, but it’s also where you can get a cabin and stay for a while.
Green Mountain National Forest is a favorite for dispersed
There’s no specific seasons or crazy fees to take underway, making it a popular destination for locals to escape for the weekend.
That being said, you won’t find it to be overcrowded.
Nothing kills the joy of camping more than finding a campground riddled with far too many other families, so instead of that, enjoy making your own campsite within the boundaries of nearby trails.
You’ll witness some of the most stunning views of reflected treelines on the clear waters, narrow rivers, and excellent hiking spots to get the most out of your trip.
6. Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite is a favorite spot of red-blooded Americans everywhere, which is why it can be a little tight to make a reservation.
The good news is that you still have six first-come, first-serve campsites that nobody can make reservations at, so the trail is wide open ahead.
Yosemite features some of the tallest trees and manageable hiking trails, which lets you feel like you’re conquering your own portion of nature without any competition.
Yosemite is also rich with wildlife and stunning waterfront views.
Yosemite also has some of America’s richest history, including a long line of presidential influence, and major events that helped define the United States and how they protect their national parks.
One thing that you absolutely have to see is the husk of the Waterfall of Fire, a once-glorious attraction that now serves as a place to meditate and enjoy your surroundings.
7. Badlands National Park, South Dakota
If you’re looking to relax above all else, to finally get away from the stress of the day-to-day, Badlands has the perfect calming solution for you.
You can either camp out in Sage Creek or Cedar Pass and enjoy nothing but wide open plains, or you can stick to
Badlands National Park has extremely loose stipulations on what you and can’t do, so as long as you’re at least a half-mile from main roads, you can camp just about anywhere you’d like.
There are over 64,000 acres to explore with your backpack, and we highly doubt you’re going to run out of hiking trails.
Thanks to the complete protection and lack of development, there are untapped high peaks and intense natural terrain-created pathways to traverse
It’s impossible to run out of trail in Badlands, just be sure to pack for the occasion.
8. Isle Royale National Park, Michigan
Apart from being on some of the most glamourous lakes in the United States, Isle Royale also has a more scenic, slow way for you to enjoy the sights.
Hop on any of the boat tours that run from early June to September, or check out walks that are led by rangers that occur year-round.
Even with that aide, there’s a ton of untapped wilderness waiting to be explored (and much of it hasn’t been seen by campers yet).
There’s a lot of land to sprawl out on, and fairly lenient dispersed camping regulations in place.
If dispersed isn’t your preference, there are a whopping thirty-six campgrounds, including one off the coast of Lake Superior, with amenities such as clean water and sanitary restrooms.
Isle Royale is an excellent place to get your feet wet if it’s been a while since you went camping, or you’re bringing along a first-timer.
9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Thinking about bringing everything you need in your backpack?
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park welcomes you, so long as you travel a few miles inland before setting up shop.
Their lenient policies on dispersed camping and backcountry exploring make them one of the best places in America to get the full outdoor experience.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more controlled, there are plenty of group campgrounds available to still have amenities nearby without worry.
The Great Smoky Mountains, as you might have imagined, offer a ton of hiking trails that zig-zags across the 500,000+ acres of park.
There are strict regulations on food and firewood, but nothing that threatens any amount of fun.
10. Ludington State Park, Michigan
Bringing your RV, fifth wheel or multiple vehicles with you?
Ludington’s about to be your best friend.
Not only do they have inexpensive campground rentals and a ton of spots, but each of them lets you see a unique perspective of this rather small park.
You’re only working with about 5,300 acres, which keeps everything controlled and very family-oriented.
You’re not going to find much in the ways of dispersed camping, but what you will find is a friendly atmosphere of regular visitors that have turned this park into their second home.
A recreation passport is required for entry.
11. Biscayne National Park, Florida
Biscayne Park can be a bit pricier for daily stays, but it shows you the very best side of Florida.
Bring your tent, your fishing gear, and get ready to rent a boat and head out on the water. There’s boating around the islands, fishing off the coast or out on the water, snorkeling, diving
Think of Biscayne as the ultimate clear-water destination for outdoors enthusiasts.
Biscayne is also home to one of the world’s longest coral reefs in existence, which not only attracts an insane number of
12. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
If you don’t own an ice fishing shanty, now would be the time to get one.
Yellowstone has a reputation for being one of the oldest parks in America, but it’s also flooding with tons of activities for four-season campers.
Ice fishing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, skiing, and an observatory where you can look at
But it isn’t all about the winter sports. Yellowstone is brimming with over three-hundred camping sites in backcountry territory, so even though it’s a popular spot, you’re never bumping elbows with other campers.
Take a boat out on the water, grab a permit to light a bonfire, and fish during the right season. Yellowstone has a little bit of everything for just about every type of camper out there.
13. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Carlsbad is somewhere you can only stay for seven consecutive nights at a time, but don’t let that get you down.
This iconic cavern system and
There are fairly strict rules on what you can do while camping, but plenty of hiking trails to keep you enthused throughout your stay.
If you want to grab a bite to eat, there’s a cafeteria, or you can take a very short drive into the actual town of Carlsbad to find more options. One of the things that you can’t miss is the bat flight program.
You’ll find the cave-dwellers that helped put this cavern on the map in the first place flying through the sky from Memorial Day through late October.
Photographs of this event don’t do it justice: you need to see it to believe it.
14. Adirondack Park, New York
This is one of those places that’s on everybody’s camping bucket list.
From the Adirondack Waterfalls to the hiking trails that entwine them, to the six million acres of space for you to conquer, you’ll never be in short supply of camping spots again.
There are tons of campgrounds to choose from, each with lenient rules revolving around your stay. Pick up after yourself, and for the most part, everything else is fair game.
If you really want to step up your camping game, you could pitch a tent on the Saranac Lake Islands in the Adirondacks, and up the ante on your outdoor game.
Choose between Knobby Island, Eagle Island, Sable
These large islands ensure that no matter where you go, you’ll have immediate access to a lake shore.
15. Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho
Sawtooth boasts over 750,000 acres of rocky terrain, brimming with high peaks and excellent hiking trails as far as the eye can see.
Even if you make a habit to visit this spot every year, it’s going to take ages to see every sight that Sawtooth has to offer.
As you crest the mountain through seven-hundred miles of trails, you’ll land on
You can find numerous first-hand accounts of the wonders that Sawtooth has to offer, talking about the view of five separate small waterfalls pooling into the Snake River, and the amazing amount of unique landscape you’ll take in after just a few minutes on the trail.
If you’re exhausted after a long day of hiking, you can visit the Warfield Distillery and Brewery to get a taste of local craft
16. Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier Park may have some more strict rules and regulations to follow, but that’s what keeps this excellent landscape alive and well.
Most campgrounds are
You’ll get a glorious view from the Avalanche campground, looking down on Cut Bank, Fish Creek, and Quartz Creek, among the other half-dozen spots throughout the ridge.
Hiking trails can be a bit steep, so be certain to bring along a quality pair of hiking boots. If you’re into sightseeing, cresting the peaks near Many Glacier will take your breath away.
Bring either a high-quality camera or binoculars to enjoy the view properly.
The last thing we want to mention is that you’re only paying a maximum of $26.00 per night (for larger parties), though
17. Gunnison National Forest, Colorado
On paper, Gunnison looks like a tactical military map with strategic crags and outcrops everywhere you look.
The reality? Access to some of the best hiking trails that your feet have ever walked over.
With hundreds of miles of trail, as well as paved and unpaved roads, you’ll be able to explore every angle that Black Canyon in the Gunnison National Forest has to offer.
There’s a total of five wilderness areas to enjoy, maintaining some of America’s last truly protected landscapes from development.
You aren’t just stuck to camping: there are trails for ATVs and dirt bikes, some for standard mountain bikes, standard cycling and running, each of which shows you a different side of Gunnison that you’ll remember forever.
18. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
Sequoia and Kings is a very active park, meaning
You’re supplied with food storage lock boxes, as well as ample campsites that accept reservations for six months in advance.
Whether you come with an RV, fifth wheel, or just a good old-fashioned backpack, there’s a spot for you at Sequoia and Kings
You can hike on trails that lead up to 15,000 feet, giving you a magnificent view of
You’re a few hundred miles north of Los Angeles, simply looking into the untapped beauty of nature.
This is a common spot for outdoor enthusiasts who like to spend weeks or months at a time out in the wilderness, but don’t worry, there’s more than enough space for everyone to have their own slice of California.
19. Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
Nebraska, like other
Lake McConaughy is a gem of America, featuring over 35,000 acres of land to traverse, and if you visit their visitor center, you’ll get in-depth information on the best hiking trails around.
But there’s more to do than just camp. You can plan your visit around additional activities, such as eagle viewing, birdwatching, and renting a jet-sky to head out on the lake.
With plenty of high-octane thrills and exciting hiking trails to be had, you’ll mark Lake McConaughy down as an annual spot to return to.
20. Denali National Park, Alaska
We couldn’t just leave it to the continental United States, especially when a gem like Denali National Park exists.
If you’re not against hopping in a plane or driving through Canada to get there, you can visit Denali for one of the most hardcore camping experiences of your life.
Enjoy wide open plains, four-season terrain and valleys sprouting with wildlife that bring you one step closer to nature.
If the sights and simple stargazing at night don’t entice you, there’s a lot to do in Denali.
Hop in a plane for an aerial view and tour, hit the trail for dog sledding, ski, snowboard, and visit some of the nearby
Denali blends family-friendly vacation destinations with dispersed camping, so regardless of your camping style, there’s something to enjoy everywhere you look.
21. Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
Assateague isn’t the cheapest spot to
Every year, horses cross the water between this island park, and the vehicle-accessible island of Chincoteague in an annual event that has locals (and tourists) swarming.
If you’re not into the tourist trap idea, you can camp in your tent with few rules and regulations in place.
You’ll be between Virginia and Maryland’s coasts, which promises a spectacular view no matter what time of year you visit.
There isn’t much to this series of campsites, apart from a rich history when President Lyndon Johnson created this new national park to protect some of what he referred to as “A nation’s real treasure.”
22. Olympic National Park, Washington State
Perhaps one of the most iconic parks in America, Olympic National Park in Washington is predominantly a first-come, first-serve basis, with only two campgrounds accepting reservations during the summertime.
If you’re bringing a fifth wheel or an RV with you, you’ll encounter extremely reasonable fees, amenities, and plenty of space in wide open spaces.
Olympic does allow you to light campfires at night, so long as you use dead, fallen wood that you find within the forest.
Olympic also has some crazy weather from time to time, making it a fun ride for four-season campers who want to put themselves in more close-to-nature situations.
You’ll get to enjoy Ruby Beach, audio hiking trails, and the most breathtaking view of Hurricane Ridge when you climb over the hills. If you plan on staying for a while, be sure to check out the tree of life north of Kalaloch Lodge.
23. Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania
Pine Grove takes you through part of the Appalachian Trail, just like our next pick does, while still letting you enjoy the boundless beauty of Pennsylvania.
It’s one of the last states that people think of for camping destinations, but that’s why it’s so perfect: you enjoy a nice quiet time with nothing but trails and cycling paths around you.
If you like to make the most out of your camping trip, you’ll be within close proximity to Gettysburg, home of some of America’s most interesting civil war monuments and history.
Those of you who enjoy getting quality photographs will have to head up Pole Steeple
24. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
One reason that Shenandoah is a must-see area is not only for the beautiful views of Virginia’s forests, but the exclusive feeling.
Even if you’re on one of the five campgrounds, you’ll have access to over 200,000 acres of park space, with beautiful views in every which way you look.
The real treat is the wide open, year-round dispersed camping spots that coincide with numerous hiking trails that show you the best parts of Virginia.
Trek through over one-hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail, or the other four-hundred miles of pathways that curve around the 4,000 foot elevation peak.
As an added treat, you can also visit Skyline Drive at mile 42.5, and partake in one or two-hour horseback riding sessions.
No matter what way you like to camp, Shenandoah has something for you.
25. Arches National Park, Utah
Last but not least, Arches National Park (named for the grand stone arches), is one more place you absolutely have to go.
There are over fifty-one campsites spread across an eighteen mile stretch of land.
You can set up reservations, but there’s also a first-come, first-serve way to enjoy between November and February. Amenities include picnic tables and grills, clean drinking water and different style restrooms.
Camping under the night sky is relaxing, but when there’s nothing in your way out in the clear plains of Utah, you get a whole new appreciation for nature.
While RV and structured camping
Much of the land is undeveloped, giving you plenty of spots to pitch a
It’s Time to Pack
Get your bags, EDC gear, and tent all picked out for the trip.
Grab a handful of these destinations, and consider them your camping highlights for the rest of the year.
There’s a lot to see, even more to do, and only so many days to get it done. You’ll experience the many facets of this glorious country in all its splendor. The only question that’s left is: where will you go first?
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