Exploring America's Best Camping Destinations: From Coast to Coast and Beyond
Discover the breathtaking beauty and awe-inspiring landscapes of the United States as we unveil the ultimate guide to the best camping destinations. From the rugged cliffs of Acadia National Park to the majestic peaks of Yosemite, we'll take you on a journey across the country, showcasing the most extraordinary places to pitch your tent. Whether you're a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a first-time camper, these handpicked destinations promise unforgettable adventures and unforgettable memories. So grab your backpack, pitch your tent, and get ready to explore some of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders America has to offer!
Acadia National Park, Maine
Located on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is a stunning natural treasure in Maine. Spanning nearly 50,000 acres, the park features lush forests, picturesque lakes and ponds, and an extensive network of 158 miles of hiking trails that offer breathtaking views. For camping enthusiasts, there are five campgrounds to choose from: Blackwoods, which is located near Bar Harbor; Seawall, a quieter option; Schoodic Woods, situated on the Schoodic Peninsula; Duck Harbor, accessible only by mailboat from the mainland and located on Isle au Haut; and Wildwood Stables, available to guests with stock animals. It is recommended to reserve campsites online up to 60 days in advance, as the campgrounds close during the winter but reopen in May for spring, summer, and fall camping.
Alaska and Hawaii
– Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska
– Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii
– Kalalau Beach, Napali Coast State Park in Hawaii
Best camping in Alaska: Wonder Lake in Denali National Park
Considered one of the best camping spots in Alaska, Wonder Lake offers a mesmerizing view of Denali. Accessible by shuttle bus, this primitive campground is situated lakeside in the expansive Alaskan tundra, surrounded by beautiful crimson dwarf birch shrubs.
Best camping in Arizona: Desert View Campground in Grand Canyon National Park
Escape the crowds of Grand Canyon Village and enjoy a serene camping experience at Desert View Campground. Located near the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, this campground offers first-come, first-served sites nestled in a juniper grove, providing shade and privacy.
Best camping in Arkansas: Petit Jean State Park
Whether you prefer RVs, tents, or yurts, Petit Jean State Park has something for everyone. With a variety of camping options and modern amenities, you can explore sandstone boulders at Bear Cave, hike to the impressive 95-foot Cedar Falls, and relax in the swimming pool.
Alabama Hills Recreation Area — California
Image by The Dyrt Camper Alejandro L.
Immerse yourself in the picturesque beauty of Alabama Hills, a California campground known for being a popular filming location for Hollywood blockbusters. Surrounded by the Sierra Nevada range and the Inyo Mountains, every campsite offers stunning views of the dramatic peaks. Take advantage of the high-desert rock formations for climbing or go hiking to appreciate the breathtaking scenery. Please note that camping is now restricted to marked or previously established sites, and special permits will soon be required for the top-ranked campground in the West.
- Price: free (subject to change under new permitting)
- Number of sites: dispersed
- RV sites: yes
- Fires allowed: yes
- Pets allowed: yes
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
Assateague Island National Seashore campgrounds are located approximately nine miles south of Ocean City, Maryland. The seashore offers 37 miles of beautiful beaches where visitors can engage in various activities such as camping, swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, crabbing, biking, kayaking, and horse watching. Camping is only available on the Maryland side of Assateague Island. Visitors planning to camp should remember not to bring firewood from outside of Maryland, ensure their pets have updated vaccinations, and sign a pet policy agreement. Campsites can be reserved online from mid-March to mid-November, and they typically include picnic tables and fire rings.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
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Don't underestimate the breathtaking beauty of Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Despite its rugged climate, the park offers stunning rock formations, prairies, and ancient fossils. Within the park, there are two campgrounds to choose from. Cedar Pass, the first campground, provides 96 sites with scenic views of the diverse rock formations and amenities such as running water and electricity. The second campground, Sage Creek, is smaller and offers 22 first come, first served sites without running water. Keep an eye out for bison roaming in the area.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
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For a thrilling water adventure, head to Big Bend National Park in Texas, located along the Rio Grande. The park offers opportunities for rafting, canoeing, and kayaking, as well as hiking and backpacking through its desert, mountain, and river landscapes. There are three developed campgrounds to choose from: Chisos Basin, Rio Grande Village, and Cottonwood. Additionally, there are plenty of options for backcountry camping. Advanced reservations are required for all campgrounds, and backcountry permits are necessary for river trips and backcountry use.
Best camping in California: Kirk Creek Campground in Los Padres National Forest
Experience the unique charm of camping at Kirk Creek, a campground nestled between crumbling ocean cliffs and coastal redwoods. Located high on a plateau overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this campground provides a rustic camping experience while being conveniently close to the laid-back town of Big Sur. Enjoy stunning views and mesmerizing Rocky Mountain sunsets.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
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To explore the fascinating world beneath the surface, visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. The park requires timed entry reservations for all visitors. While most ranger-guided tours are temporarily suspended due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, you can still participate in the 1.5-hour King's Palace Tour, which offers a glimpse of the unique rock formations inside the cavern. Keep an eye out for fascinating formations such as helictites, soda straws, and draperies. The park is also known for its bat population, which can be seen in the caves during late summer and early fall. Backcountry camping is available within the park, and campers must obtain a permit from the visitor center upon arrival. Alternative accommodations can be found in Whites City or Carlsbad.
Best camping in Colorado: Moraine Park Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park
Located in an elk-filled valley, Moraine Park Campground offers stunning views and easy access to attractions like Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge. This high-altitude campground is ideal for hikers and nature enthusiasts seeking breathtaking Rocky Mountain vistas. The campground is open year-round, allowing visitors to enjoy the jaw-dropping sunsets.
Best camping in Connecticut: Rocky Neck State Park
Experience the best of Connecticut's natural beauty at Rocky Neck State Park. This oceanfront campground spans 7,000 acres and offers activities such as swimming in the Long Island Sound, saltwater bass fishing, and hiking through marshland filled with waterfowl. After enjoying the white sand beaches, unwind by stargazing from your tent and soaking up the ambiance of a crackling campfire.
Coconino National Forest Road 525 — Arizona
Image by The Dyrt Camper Whitney C.
Discover the enchanting Coconino National Forest Road 525, a dispersed camping area just 20 minutes from downtown Sedona, Arizona. This campground provides a remote wilderness experience while still being close to civilization. Enjoy unparalleled stargazing and explore the surrounding miles of hiking trails. Although amenities are limited, the extraordinary views make up for it. To secure the best campsites and views, it is recommended to drive at least three miles down Road 525, which may be bumpy and rough but accessible for most vehicles with some extra clearance.
- Price: free
- Number of sites: dispersed
- RV sites: yes
- Fires allowed: yes
- Pets allowed: yes
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
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Experience the beauty of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, home to the United States' deepest lake, which reaches an impressive depth of 1,943 feet. The park also features a dormant volcano, offering nature lovers ample opportunities for stunning photographs. Choose from two campgrounds: Mazama, open for RV and tent camping from June to late September, and Lost Creek, which is closed in 2023 but typically open from July to mid-October for tent camping only. Backcountry camping is also available with a permit.
Best camping in Delaware: Cape Henlopen State Park
Indulge in a beachside camping experience at Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware. Spanning 7,000 acres, this park offers pristine oceanfront campsites. Enjoy activities such as swimming in the Long Island Sound, fishing for saltwater bass, and hiking through tidal salt marshes. Take advantage of the park's amenities, including laundry facilities and a camp store.
Denali National Park, Alaska
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Explore the awe-inspiring beauty of Denali National Park in Alaska, known for its abundant wildlife, scenic trails, and towering mountains, including Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. The park spans 6.1 million acres of pristine land, offering a haven for nature enthusiasts. Choose from five established campgrounds, and make sure to reserve your spot online well in advance to secure your camping adventure.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Immerse yourself in the wonders of Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Located off the coast of Key West, this park is known for its stunning barrier reefs and historical site, Fort Jefferson. Campers can enjoy snorkeling, sunbathing on the beach, exploring the fort, stargazing, and bird-watching. Make sure to plan ahead and bring all necessities, including tents, fresh water, ice, food, and fuel. Additionally, book ferry transportation from Key West in advance, as tickets tend to sell out quickly.
Experience the Best Camping in Florida at Bahia Honda State Park
Start your day sipping a cup of coffee while enjoying the breathtaking view of the crystal-clear waters of the Florida Keys. Bahia Honda State Park offers stunning white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, incredible snorkeling opportunities, and an awe-inspiring night sky that will transport you to the Caribbean.
Fort De Soto Campground — Florida
Image by The Dyrt Camper Amy B.
Looking for a camping experience by the ocean with incredible wildlife sightings? Fort De Soto, the top-rated campground in the Southeast region, is the perfect destination for you. With seven miles of pristine white-sand beaches and coves that serve as feeding grounds for dolphins and other wildlife, this campground offers the ideal summer retreat.
This park was even named America's top beach by Tripadvisor in 2008 and 2009! After enjoying the captivating marine life, don't forget to explore the park's diverse bird species, with over 300 different types to be spotted.
Discover what The Dyrt's community of campers has to say about Fort De Soto Campground:
"The best waterfront sites were 105, 107 & 109 since they had views right out the back of your site, we could watch the dolphins swim from inside the trailer. Fishing is also really good in the cove. This is probably our favorite park we have stayed at." — Mark P.
"This is a great place to camp, beach, kayak, fish, bike, hike trails, sight-seeing historic fort, etc." — A guy from...
"This place is beautiful and mildly wild. Geckos, cranes, various sea birds and manatees grace this location. The sugar sand beaches are 1 to 3 miles down the road, depending on your choice of beach. The waterside beaches are the best. The bathhouses are simple and clean." — Heidi R.
- Price: $34 - $45
- Number of sites: 236
- RV sites: Yes
- Fires allowed: Yes
- Pets allowed: Yes
Explore the Best Camping in Georgia at West Rim Campground, Cloudland Canyon State Park
It may be hard to believe, but you can find cascading waterfalls, thousand-foot-deep canyons, and rugged sandstone cliffs all in one place – Georgia's Cloudland Canyon. Whether you prefer backpacking, car camping, or treating yourself to a cozy cottage with breathtaking views, Cloudland Canyon has it all.
Glacier National Park, Montana
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With 13 developed campgrounds and over 1,000 sites, Glacier National Park in Montana offers stunning views that will take your breath away. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Montana's magnificent Glacier National Park while hiking through its 700 miles of scenic trails, winding through forests, meadows, and mountains. Some campgrounds are available on a first come, first served basis, while others require advance reservations. Check the website to see which campgrounds are open during winter, as the main camping season is from spring to fall.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
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When it comes to awe-inspiring views, nothing compares to the Grand Canyon. While reservations are recommended for two of the three developed campgrounds during the summer, backcountry camping is also allowed with a permit. The South Rim is easily accessible but can get crowded. For a more secluded stay, consider the North Rim, although keep in mind that it's about a four-hour drive from Grand Canyon Village. The North Rim campgrounds are open seasonally from mid-May to mid-October, while several sites along the South Rim are open year-round.
Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests, Colorado
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Experience the majestic Rocky Mountains in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests in Colorado. With over 3,000 miles of trails and three million acres of public land, you'll be treated to stunning views of the Rockies. The 59 campsites offer a variety of landscapes, from open meadows to evergreen forests, mountains, and lakes. Most campgrounds are open seasonally, so make sure to check road conditions if you plan to camp during the winter months.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
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Located just north of Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park offers breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains, abundant wildlife, and stunning lakes. With six campgrounds inside the park, Signal Mountain receives the best reviews. If you prefer something beyond traditional tent camping, there is an RV park and a village with tent cabins available. Make sure to reserve your campsite in advance, as online reservations open up to six months ahead and tend to fill up quickly. Keep an eye out for bison, mule deer, moose, and the occasional bear.
Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii
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Explore the natural beauty of Maui's landscape at Haleakalā National Park. Known for its 10,023-foot dormant volcano, Haleakalā offers breathtaking views of the island. Designated campsites are available at Kīpahulu and Hosmer Grove campgrounds, and the park also offers historic wilderness cabins for lodging. For a more adventurous experience, try the Hōlua and Palikū primitive wilderness camping areas. Campsite reservations are required throughout the year, and stays are limited to three nights per 30-day period.
Experience the Best Camping in Idaho at Glacier View Campground, Sawtooth National Forest
Glacier View Campground in Idaho offers striking views of the 10,229-foot Mount Heyburn, peaceful sites nestled among fragrant lodgepole pines, and easy access to one of the most stunning lakes in the state – Redfish Lake. Whether you're a hiker or a water lover, this campground has something for everyone with its nearby trails and opportunities for floating or paddling in the lake.
Discover the Best Camping in Illinois at Pharaoh Campground, Garden of the Gods Recreation Area
From its unique, lichen-covered rock formations to its massive rust-colored rocks, Garden of the Gods lives up to its name. Solitude seekers will appreciate the panoramic sunset views and the park's peaceful campground, which offers 12 first-come, first-served sites.
Discover the Best Camping in Indiana at Dunewood Campground, Indiana Dunes National Park
Indiana Dunes, located on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, offers pristine sapphire waters, long stretches of beach, and sunny summer afternoons reminiscent of a tropical escape. Dunewood Campground provides the perfect combination of lakeside fun, sandy sunset views, and city comforts like flush toilets and showers, just minutes away from the beach.
Discover the Best Camping in Iowa at Backbone State Park
Ditch the notion of flat farmland in Iowa and explore the beauty of Backbone State Park. Since 1920, this celebrated recreation area has captivated visitors with its incredible geological wonder, the Devil's Backbone. Hikers will delight in the twisted cedars and cliffs of dolomite limestone, while rock climbers will find plenty of challenging routes to conquer.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
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Joshua Tree National Park in California offers nine campgrounds, including Jumbo Rocks, known for its unique boulder rocks that provide shelter from the wind. It's highly recommended to book your campsite ahead of time, especially during the busy season between November and May. Most campgrounds can be reserved up to six months in advance. Note that certain sections of Cottonwood, Black Rock, and Indian Cove campgrounds may be closed during the summer. Some campgrounds, like Ryan and Jumbo Rocks, require reservations year-round, while others are available on a first come, first served basis.
Kalaloch Campground — Washington
Image by The Dyrt Camper Kelly G.
Protected as a marine sanctuary, the Kalaloch area in Olympic National Park offers a diverse range of wildlife in its incredible coastal environment. From sandy beaches to rocky headlands, this area is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Visit the iconic Tree of Life, where exposed, bare roots bridge a gap in the cliffs. Enjoy easy access to the beach and tide pools, as well as numerous trailheads leading to different beaches.
Kalaloch Campground was ranked number one in the Top 10 campgrounds for the entire Northwest region of the United States.
Discover what The Dyrt's community of campers has to say about Kalaloch Campground:
"I love this spot. My family has been coming here since it was designated an official campground. It's always a challenge to get a spot, but I like the ones closer to the beach. Great vibes, and the park rangers provide educational lessons in the amphitheater. The beach is easily accessible and dog-friendly." — Travis M.
"You can't beat a beach campground that has its own convenience store at the Lodge next door. Everything you need. Mostly wooded sites." — Erik O.
"We make a point to camp here every summer. The beach is gorgeous, wide open, and mostly empty. There is room to play games, wander, find sand dollars, play in the water, or just lay on the sand and soak up the sun. Watch the sunset every evening over the Pacific Ocean and then gaze at the stars from the dark beach." — Dean H.
- Price: $24
- Number of sites: 170
- RV sites: Yes
- Fires allowed: Yes
- Pets allowed: Yes
Explore the Best Camping in Kansas at Woodridge Park
Find tranquility as you relax in a hammock by the lake at Woodridge Park. This campground offers a perfect retreat where you can camp by the water's edge, enjoy the George Latham Trail that surrounds the park, cool off with a swim in Clinton Lake, and unwind with a lakeside view from your hammock.
Many Glacier Campground — Montana
Stay in the middle of it all at Many Glacier Campground, ranked as the top campground in the Mountain West region. It offers breathtaking views of Swiftcurrent Lake, surrounded by five iconic peaks of Glacier National Park. The campground provides access to various amenities such as a restaurant, grocery store, and more. With numerous trailheads and outdoor activities available right from the campsite, you'll surely want to extend your stay.
Make sure to take in the stunning sunsets and sunrises over the mountain peaks and keep an eye out for wildlife. Bears and moose are often spotted near the camp, so remember to follow wildlife Leave No Trace principles.
Hear what The Dyrt's community of campers has to say about Many Glacier Campground:
"This spot is incredibly beautiful, surrounded by picturesque mountainscapes with visible glaciers from the campsites. The campground has a spacious and friendly vibe. While all the campgrounds in the national park are beautiful, this one offers truly overwhelming views that give you a real sense of place. When I go back, I will definitely stay here again, and for a longer time." — Stephanie V.
"This part of the park is gorgeous. You can walk to a river, hiking trails, a restaurant, a small store, and the ranger station. A short drive or hike takes you to the hotel with more amenities and additional trails. The rangers and camp hosts are friendly and informative. It's helpful to practice bear-aware practices, but if not, they will guide you through the process." — Cecelia
"Many Glacier is a must-visit when exploring Glacier, and this campground serves as a great home base." — Austin C.
- Price: $23
- Number of sites: 110
- RV sites: yes
- Fires allowed: yes
- Pets allowed: yes
Best camping in Massachusetts: Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
After a quick ferry ride from Boston, campers can enjoy the wildflowers, tidepools, and sandy shores of the Boston Harbor Islands. These islands also offer a glimpse into history, with Civil War-era Fort Warren to explore. End your day by camping on a hidden beach campsite on Lovells Island.
Best camping in Michigan: Twelvemile Beach Campground, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Twelvemile Beach Campground offers stunning views of Lake Superior, surrounded by white birch trees. Visitors can enjoy kayaking around the park's unique rock formations, with rentals and tours available in nearby Munising.
Best camping in Minnesota: Woodenfrog Campground, Kabetogama State Forest
Woodenfrog Campground is located in Kabetogama State Forest, offering water-based activities in Voyageurs National Park. Rent a boat from a local operator and explore the Ellsworth Rock Gardens and the deserted islands of Lake Kabetogma. Or simply relax and swim in the lake's warm waters at Woodenfrog's own beach.
Best camping in Mississippi: Tishomingo State Park
Tishomingo State Park, named after a leader of the Chickasaw Nation, offers a rich Native American history. Located in the foothills of the Appalachians, this woodland park and campground is perfect for peaceful hiking excursions and family float trips down Bear Creek.
Best camping in Nebraska: Smith Falls State Park
Smith Falls State Park is known for its misty waterfall and offers water-based activities along the Niobrara National Scenic River. Campers can tube, canoe, and kayak through the scenic landscape of this beautiful park.
Best camping in Nevada: Wheeler Peak Campground, Great Basin National Park
Located near the "loneliest road in America" Route 50, Wheeler Peak Campground offers breathtaking views of the majestic Wheeler Peak mountain. Take a short hike along the Bristlecone Trail to see some of the oldest trees on Earth.
Best camping in New Hampshire: Lafayette Place Campground, Franconia Notch State Park
Franconia Notch State Park offers some of the best views of fall foliage in October. It's also a great summer destination for hiking along the Appalachian Trail and traversing the Franconia Ridge. Lafayette Place Campground is conveniently situated near the Pemigewasset River and provides easy access to the scenic White Mountain trails.
Best camping in New Jersey: Worthington State Forest
Worthington State Forest offers a refreshing escape for New Jersey residents, just an hour's drive from Newark. Hike to the top of Mount Tammany and enjoy the scenic views of northern New Jersey's rolling hills. Then relax by the Delaware River on this idyllic campground.
Best camping in New Mexico: Aguirre Spring Campground
Aguirre Spring Campground offers stunning views of the Chihuahuan Desert and Organ Mountains. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, this affordable campground is surrounded by mountain mahogany and alligator juniper, providing much-needed shade in the arid landscape.
Best camping in New York: Heart Lake Campground, Adirondack Mountains
Heart Lake Campground offers a variety of accommodation options, including tent sites, lean-tos, and canvas cabins. Situated in the Adirondacks' High Peaks Wilderness, campers can enjoy the lush mountain scenery and easy access to the Van Hoevenberg trail, leading to Mount Marcy, the highest point in New York State.
Best camping in North Carolina: Mount Pisgah Campground
Located on the southern end of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, Mount Pisgah Campground offers a refreshing retreat from the summer heat. Enjoy the mesmerizing views from the mountain summit and indulge in a delicious burger and local brew at the Pisgah Inn.
Best camping in North Dakota: Cottonwood Campground, Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park showcases the colorful badlands, prairie dog towns, and herds of bison that made Roosevelt into the "conservationist president." Cottonwood Campground offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities along the banks of the Little Missouri River.
Best camping in Ohio: Old Man's Cave Campground, Hocking Hills State Park
With its deep gorges and eerie hemlock groves, Hocking Hills State Park offers a perfect setting for shady walks and forest bathing. Old Man's Cave, named after a hermit who lived in its caverns in the late 1700s, is the park's most popular site, attracting explorers of all ages with its impressive rock formations and waterfalls.
Best camping in Oklahoma: Old Circle Campground, Robber's Cave State Park
Robber's Cave State Park, once a hideout for legendary outlaw Jesse James, now serves as a sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers various activities such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, climbing, fishing, and paddling. Explore the rugged cliffs and enjoy the easy reservoir access in the scenic San Bois Mountains.
Best camping in Oregon: Trillium Lake, Mount Hood National Forest
Trillium Lake offers stunning views of Mount Hood, Oregon's highest point. With its serene atmosphere and a popular trail around the lake, this campground is a favorite among visitors. Enjoy the sparkling blue pond and the tranquility of the surrounding white birch trees.
Best camping in Pennsylvania: Ricketts Glen State Park Campground
Ricketts Glen State Park Campground is nestled atop a forested peninsula on Lake Jean. Aside from lakeside activities, such as swimming and fishing, the park boasts 22 beautiful waterfalls, with Ganoga Falls being the most impressive at 94 feet.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
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Experience the grandeur of the giant trees in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. With 14 picturesque campgrounds to choose from, including locations near the ocean and in the rainforest, campers can explore diverse landscapes. Make sure to check the campground status page on the park's website for any seasonal or weather-related closures.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
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Shenandoah National Park, just a 90-minute drive from Washington, D.C., offers over 500 miles of trails, including the popular Old Rag Mountain hike. The park covers 199,200 acres and provides stunning views of lush forests and waterfalls. There are five campgrounds to choose from, and it's recommended to make reservations in advance for the campgrounds that offer online booking.
Sierra Vista — New Mexico
Experience the breathtaking sunrise over New Mexico's Organ Mountains at Sierra Vista, the top-ranked campground in the US. This campground offers unparalleled views and easy accessibility to Las Cruces. Despite being a dispersed campground, Sierra Vista provides some comforts like noise restrictions and regular check-ins by BLM Rangers. You can start your outdoor adventures right from the campsite, and the nearby White Sands National Park is just a short drive away. Sierra Vista offers a rare combination of unspoiled natural beauty and quick access to the most stunning and wild places in the country.
Hear what The Dyrt's community of campers has to say about Sierra Vista:
"The campsite was cleared and perfect for a tent. At night, you can see Las Cruces city glow in the distance, and the stars are visible. We even heard coyotes at some point in the night. In the morning, we were greeted by a brilliant sunrise over the mountains in the distance." — Spencer R.
"The views of the mountain ridge as the sun rises are absolutely mesmerizing. The stars from here are also incredible!" — Morgan Z.
"We really loved this place. It offers a beautiful setting, with hiking trails all around. You feel like you have your own space, and it's free. It's a great place to stay if you plan on visiting White Sands." — Laura M.
- Price: free
- Number of sites: dispersed
- RV sites: yes
- Fires allowed: yes
- Pets allowed: yes
Best camping in South Carolina: Devil's Fork State Park
Don’t be deceived by the name—Devil’s Fork is actually home to some of the most magnificent, spring-fed mountain waters in the state. Located on the serene edge of Lake Jocassee, this park is largely untouched and offers plenty of opportunities for scuba divers, trout enthusiasts, and paddlers in search of hidden waterfalls.
Best camping in South Dakota: Elk Mountain Campground, Wind Cave National Park
While Wind Cave is renowned for its vast caverns filled with unique boxwork and cave popcorn formations, it is also incredibly biodiverse. After settling in beneath the shade of ponderosa pines, spot herds of bison on a scenic drive or take in the picturesque rolling hills on the Lookout Point Trail.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park — Minnesota
Image by The Dyrt Camper Daniel R.
On the rugged shores of Lake Superior lies one of America's most photographed lighthouses. Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, known for its dramatic cliffs, rocky beaches, and scenic hiking trails, offers a visually stunning and peaceful retreat. The lighthouse, which is now a National Historic Landmark, was constructed in the early 20th century to guide ships through stormy Lake Superior and can be seen from some of the campsites at this top-rated campground in the Midwest.
The park is an ideal destination for trout and salmon fishing, and its hiking trails wind through forests, alongside waterfalls, and along the lake. Keep an eye out for loons, bobcats, lynxes, and other exciting wildlife. Whether you visit in the summer or during other seasons, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park offers a remarkable experience.
Hear what The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say about Split Rock Lighthouse State Park:
“We camped in a cart-in site, offering privacy and a beautiful view of Lake Superior. It's a splendid place for tent camping. The MN Historical Society runs tours and manages a visitor center for the lighthouse. You can go up in the lighthouse and explore the lighthouse keeper’s home from a hundred years ago.” — Mary K.
“We LOVE Split Rock State Park and try to go at least once a year. This spring, we backpacked about a mile to the first backpack site, BP1, which is just a short distance from the parking lot. While the cart-in sites are amazing, the backpack sites are even better! BP1 is situated on an overlook with its own private lagoon right next to the site.” — HollyRose M.
“The proximity to Lake Superior and the breathtaking view was absolutely gorgeous. We were amazed when we arrived at the site—it was so beautiful! Coupled with the tranquility, it made for a truly worthwhile stay.” — Cassie D.
- Price: $16 – $20
- Number of sites: 46
- RV sites: yes
- Fires allowed: yes
- Pets allowed: yes
Best camping in Tennessee: Cades Cove Campground, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Every year, more than 2 million visitors flock to the Great Smoky Mountains to admire the vibrant colors of spring wildflowers and the fiery foliage of autumn. The best way to immerse yourself in this vast park is by camping right in the heart of it all. Take a scenic drive along the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road and keep an eye out for black bears and wild turkeys near your tent (but hopefully not too close).
Best camping in Texas: Chisos Basin Campground, Big Bend National Park
Perched on a lush, green island in the sky, Chisos Basin feels like a world apart from the rest of Texas. Here, mountain lions and black bears roam freely among the rugged, rust-colored cliffs, while the arid Chihuahuan Desert sprawls thousands of feet below. If you're a hiking enthusiast, the campground's 69 sites provide the perfect starting point for exploring the park's best trails.
Best camping in Utah: Fruita Campground, Capitol Reef National Park
One of the hidden gems among Utah's national parks is Capitol Reef. Camp amidst the stunning ochre-colored cliffs, witness breathtaking sunsets, and explore picturesque slot canyons. Located in the historic district of Fruita, this campground offers 71 developed sites with excellent canyon views, all within walking distance of the famous Gifford Homestead's renowned pie shop.
Best camping in Vermont: Mount Philo State Park
Just a short distance south of Burlington, you'll find Vermont's first state park, Mount Philo. Nestled within unpretentious woodlands, this park is a favorite summer destination for birdwatchers, picnickers, and hikers who want to reach the summit of its namesake 968-foot peak. Enjoy stunning views of the Lake Champlain Valley and the Adirondack Mountains from the top.
Best camping in Virginia: Big Meadows Campground, Shenandoah National Park
Big Meadows Campground in Shenandoah National Park is an ideal spot for witnessing the tangerine hues of autumn leaves. With over 500 miles of trails, including over a hundred along the transcontinental Appalachian Trail, Shenandoah offers an abundance of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Big Meadows provides many cozy comforts, such as hot showers, while remaining conveniently close to waterfalls, wildlife viewing areas, and the park's famous Skyline Drive.
Best camping in Washington: Hoh Campground, Olympic National Park
Sleep among moss-blanketed spruce, hemlock, and Douglas fir trees in one of the few temperate rainforests in the country. The Hoh Campground offers a first-come, first-served opportunity to spend the night immersed in the lush greenery. During the day, take a leisurely stroll along the 0.8-mile Hall of Mosses loop and watch out for vibrant yellow banana slugs.
West Virginia — Thorny Mountain Fire Tower, Seneca State Forest
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Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1935, the 53-foot-tall Thorny Mountain Fire Tower is now home to one of West Virginia's most unique accommodations: a 14-by-14-foot cabin in the sky that offers 360-degree views of Seneca State Forest.
White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire and Maine
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If you're up for a rugged hike, head to the northernmost section of the Appalachian Valley near the start (or end) of the Appalachian Trail. The sights in White Mountains National Forest are particularly enchanting during the fall when leaf-peeping season is in full swing. The forest offers several campgrounds and cabins, ranging from fully developed sites suitable for families to remote backcountry spots for wilderness camping. Barnes Field and Hancock campgrounds are open year-round, with Barnes Field sites requiring reservations from mid-May to mid-October and being available on a first-come, first-served basis during the winter. Group sites at the Hancock campground can be booked at any time.
White Star Campground — Colorado
Image by The Dyrt Camper Nathalia T.
White Star Campground is the perfect base camp for those who enjoy a relaxing day on the lake or an exhilarating hike to summit one of Colorado's iconic 14ers. With access to world-class mountain biking, fishing, hiking, sailing, and more, this campground offers endless outdoor activities. Twin Lakes Reservoir is just a short walk away, and some campsites even have direct access to the water.
This highly sought-after campground, ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West region, can be challenging to book. However, if you're fortunate enough to secure a reservation, you won't regret it. Individual campsites can be booked up to six months in advance.
Hear what The Dyrt’s community of campers has to say about White Star Campground:
“What a fantastic campground! There is ample space between sites, and they are level, spacious, and either shaded or unshaded. They are clean, equipped with picnic tables, and offer peace and quiet. The sites are easy to back into, and the lake is within walking distance from any campsite! The views are absolutely breathtaking, with large mountains visible across from Twin Lakes and on the way to Independence Pass. There is a small town nearby with all the essentials, and Aspen is just an hour away over the pass.” — Scott B.
“This campground is stunning. The individual camping areas are generously sized, providing privacy and a sense of space. The views of Mt. Elbert and the surrounding 14ers are breathtaking. The lake is nearby, offering convenient and enjoyable fishing opportunities.” — Aaron M.
“This place never disappoints. The campground is always beautiful, with breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Walking around the lake is always a delight, and if you have a paddleboard, it's a must-try activity.” — Danny A.
- Price: $24
- Number of sites: 65
- RV sites: no
- Fires allowed: yes
- Pets allowed: yes
Best camping in Wisconsin: Quartzite Campground, Devil’s Lake State Park
As the most popular park in the state, Devil's Lake has a lot to live up to, and it certainly delivers. Climb rocky outcroppings to enjoy stunning views of the water, hike the East Bluff Trail, or rent a stand-up paddleboard and explore the lake. The park features three large developed campgrounds, and Quartzite Campground offers the best lake access.
Best camping in Wyoming: Jenny Lake Campground, Grand Teton National Park
The Grand Tetons are undeniably breathtaking. Located at the base of their majestic peaks, Jenny Lake is a central hub for park activities and boasts unparalleled views. Named after the Shoshone wife of a 19th-century trapper, this tents-only campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis and fills up quickly. However, the effort to secure a spot here is well worth it, especially for hikers looking to explore the nearby sagebrush meadows, rocky canyons, and chilly alpine lakes.
Yosemite National Park, California
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Every nature lover must visit Yosemite National Park at some point in their life, especially for a memorable camping trip. Nearly 95 percent of the park is designated as wilderness, and there are 13 popular campgrounds spread across its vast 747,956 acres. Additionally, there are opportunities for backcountry camping for those seeking a more rugged experience. Please note that the Tuolumne Meadows Campground is currently closed for renovations and is expected to reopen in 2023 or 2024, depending on the construction schedule. Visit the park's website for more information on making reservations and participating in the early access lottery for the North Pines Campground.
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Cornelia Doerr / Getty Images
Located just a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas, the Arch Rock Campground within Valley of Fire State Park is a tranquil camping oasis surrounded by breathtaking red sandstone formations. With only two campgrounds in the park, Arch Rock offers 29 sites open during busier months (spring through fall), while the Atlatl Rock Campground provides 44 sites and remains open year-round. Both campgrounds operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Established in 1935, the park is home to 2,000-year-old petroglyphs, fascinating rock formations, and stunning vistas showcasing its signature red sandstone.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho
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The steep Smoky Mountains in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area offer breathtaking views reminiscent of a Bob Ross painting. With dozens of campgrounds scattered throughout its vast 756,000-acre expanse, one of the standout spots is the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It's a fantastic destination for hiking, camping, fishing, canoeing, rafting, boating, trekking, and cycling—a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts. While half the sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, reservations can be made online in advance. Camping season stretches from late May to mid-September each year.
With so many incredible camping destinations to choose from, it's hard to pick just one. Whether you're seeking the rugged beauty of Acadia National Park or the tropical paradise of Hawaii, there's something for everyone on this list. Discover the majestic canyons of Arizona, the diverse landscapes of California, or the sweeping vistas of Wyoming. From coast to coast, these camping spots offer endless adventure and unparalleled natural beauty. So grab your tent, pack your bags, and get ready to embark on the camping trip of a lifetime. Happy exploring!
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