After spending the whole day enjoying the incredible views, wandering the hidden paths or refreshing into a clear creek, you’re going to want to spend the night under the sparkling stars in a beautiful and quiet place.
Which camping places in the United States impress the most? There are so many fantastic options to try, so we’ve tried our best to list our ten most favorites. Scroll down for the details!
- 1 1. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
- 2 2. Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New York
- 3 3. Yosemite National Park, California
- 4 4. Acadia National Park, Maine
- 5 5. Joshua Tree National Park, California
- 6 6. Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont
- 7 7. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
- 8 8. Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania
- 9 9. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
- 10 10. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
1. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
Pros: It’s for the rustic experience fans that don’t mind the rugged hiking. It’s great to go in the fall so that you can enjoy the fantastic shades of yellow, red, and orange of foliage.
Open: The forest is open year-round, but the visitor center hours may vary.
Camping place: You can take a look at some of the 24 drive-in campgrounds (800 campsites!). You need to make a reservation for the developed campsites.
2. Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New York
Pros: Placed under the Shawangunk Ridge, the park is really close to New York (94miles north). It’s rocky and rugged terrain that has 50miles of footpaths and 35 miles of carriage roads. Hiking, walking, biking are possible. There a couple of waterfalls, really dense wooded forest, crystal clear lakes, and sheer cliffs to admire. If you’re into it, you can give it a try with technical rock climbing and horseback riding.
Open: It’s open for camping mid-May through Mid-November, but the weather counts too.
Camping places: There’s tent-only campground provides pavilion with cooking area, restroom facilities, bathhouse, and trails. There are also 24 drive-in spots and 26 walk-in spots. You may want to make a reservation just in case.
3. Yosemite National Park, California
Pros: 95% of the park protects wilderness, so there are no roads, no cars, no electricity, no structures allowed. The Half Dome, the Glacier Point, or the Yosemite Valley and the High Sierra are only some of the most famous attractions not to miss. Don’t hesitate to try the Panorama Trail or the Four-Mile Trail.
Open: even if the campgrounds may vary throughout the season, the park is open year-round.
Camping places: You can choose one of the 13 campgrounds, but you should make reservations from April to September. You need a free wilderness permit if you decide to go with the backcountry camping.
4. Acadia National Park, Maine
Pros: The Pine Tree State that Maine is known as is covered in 17 million acres of forest. You may select one of the 6,000 lakes and ponds, or enjoy a small part of the 32,000 miles of rivers and streams. It’s for the naturalists out there, no matter how skilled they are.
Open: Blackwoods is open year-round, but you need a permit when going from December to March. The seawall is only accessible from late May through September, whereas you can go to Schoodic from late May until Columbus.
Camping place: You may go with one of the main three campgrounds: Blackwoods, Schoodic Woods, and Seawall. Hiking is allowed throughout the whole park, but you can only camp in the mentioned places.
5. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Pros: even if camping in the desert isn’t very appealing to some, you should think outside the box when it comes to the 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park. It’s placed in the middle of two ecosystems that differ on so many levels: the low-lying Colorado Desert and the wetter Mojave Desert. You can also admire ten mountain peaks higher than 5,000ft in elevation. It’s a great attraction for the rock-climbers and hikers.
Open: Year-round, but the campground status and the visitor center may vary on season.
Camping place: The campers can select from nine established campgrounds. You may need to make a reservation for some of the campsites when you go from October to May. First come, first serve is the rule for the other sites. Backcountry camping is an option, but you may want to register in advance at a backcountry registration board.
6. Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont
Pros: It’s one of the main attractions of the Green Mountain National Forest. It’s better that you find a camping place closer to your hiking spot. The Long Trail impresses with the length (270-miles) and age (it’s the oldest long-distance trail in the U.S.), going across the ridge of the Green Mountains, through Vermont from Massachusetts, right to the border to Canada.
Open: Year-round, but access to campground and visitor center varies by season.
Camping place: You can try one of the five developed campgrounds. You need to go prepared as there are no dump stations or electrical hookups. Reservations may also be needed in some seasons. Unless there are no other notifications, backcountry camping is allowed.
7. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Pros: it’s mostly water as the bay works as a passageway to the inner area of the park (a glacier). You may cruise the bay on a private boat or a charter. Backpacking is challenging as there are no marked trails in the park. Anyone liking the adrenaline running should consider rafting on one of the two rivers in the park. There’s a lot of touring during the summer.
Open: services and access are limited in winter, but the park is open year-round. You can go to the visitor center from late May to early September
Camping places: you only have the campground in Barlett Cove to try. It provides warming shelter, outhouses, and secure food storage. You don’t pay for the permits, but you need them for backcountry and campgrounds from May 1st to September 30th.
8. Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania
Pros: it’s placed in South-central Pennsylvania with the Appalachian Trail (probably one of the most prevalent foot trail all over the world), running through the forest. More than 2,000 people try hiking the whole 2,186-mile trail every year, but only a quarter of them are capable of finishing it. Almost 3 million people hike/walk a part of the path.
Open: Only the campgrounds are open April to December, but the park is open year-round.
Camping places: there are 70 tent and trailer sites (rustic, so keep that in mind), and you can make the reservation even 11 months in advance. It does not allow to overnight hike or backpack. For a fee, you can get electric and water hookups, but only at some sites.
9. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Pros: it’s a fantastic getaway only 75 miles away from D.C. You can try 500 miles of trails, waterfalls, or calming wilderness. There’s an eight-mile hike to Old Rage Mountain that you can decide if you got the skills. The view is breathtaking, so it’s worth the strenuous effort.
Open: It’s open year-round, but the roads are closed at night (during the deer-hunting season) or on bad weather. The visitor services are free only from March to November.
Camping places: four campgrounds are available in fall, spring, and summer. It’s better to make reservations for any of the sites, even though the first-come-first-serve places are also available. You need a free permit for backcountry camping.
10. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
Pros: sitting next to the enormous sequoias is going to make anyone feel intimidated and small. With the Sequoias only growing in this part of the world, you should never hesitate about taking a trip to the ancient and unforgettable park. It’s going to help you get a better perspective on life. You shouldn’t miss the opportunity to wake up surrounded by the majestic and giant trees.
Open: You can go 24/7/365, with July and August being the most popular months.
Camping places: there are 14 campgrounds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon. First come, first served rule apply for the majority campgrounds, but you can play it safe with a reservation six months in advance.
One piece of advice for the road
No matter the final choice, remember that camping is supposed to be fun, relaxing, and energizing. You shouldn’t concentrate on the final destination- it’s the trip that counts, in the end!