20 Best Places to Camp in the United States

1. Crater Lake National Park-Oregon

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Crater Lake National Park is named for the caldera of Crater Lake which is a remnant of a destroyed volcano. The lake is 1,943 feet deep at its deepest point which makes it the deepest lake in the United States. Crater Lake National Park has several campground options available. You can’t go wrong with any of them. With these beautiful views you’ll be begging for one more day.

2. North Rim Campground-Arizona

Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim of Grand Canyon is often the first prominent feature that visitors see, even before viewing the canyon. The highway ends at the lodge. The lodge’s sloped roof, huge ponderosa beams and massive limestone facade fit its 8000-foot / 2400 m setting, but where is the Grand Canyon? To experience the full impact of the design of the lodge, take the historic route. Go through the front entrance. Walk across the carpeted lobby and descend a stairwell. Shining through great windows across the “Sun Room” is the much-anticipated first view of the Grand Canyon. The architect, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, following the wishes of then-Director of the National Park Service, Steven Mather, designed a rustic national park lodge. Grand Canyon Lodge served as a symbol of the importance of the preservation of this natural wonder, while allowing for luxury and enjoyment. Yet, Underwood had incorporated something extra—a surprise view! Underwood’s 1928 Grand Canyon Lodge, designed for then-concessionaire the Union Pacific Railroad, is not today’s lodge. Underwood’s design included a massive Spanish-style exterior with a high front topped by an observation tower. The original burned down in 1932 and a “new” 1937 lodge sits on its footprint. Forever Resorts operates the Grand Canyon Lodge, restaurants, retail, gift and convenience stores, service station, and Grand Canyon Cookout Experience in the park under contract with the U.S. Department of the Interior. Forever Resorts trains and encourages employees to foster a sense of awareness and stewardship in park visitors through an appreciation of park resources. For information on Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge visit online at: http://foreverlodging.com/lodging.cfm?PropertyKey=181 NPS Photo by Michael Quinn

If you plan on making a trip to the Grand Canyon, pencil in a stay at the North Rim Campground. Located right on the rim of the canyon several sites feature views of the canyon or are within a short walk of the rim. If you want a more luxurious sleeping quarters the site also offers a lodge.

3. Indian Cove Campground – Joshua Tree National Park, California

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Indian Cove is located 13 miles east of Joshua Tree Village. With its beautiful rock formations, this campsite is popular amongst rock climbers. But with their pet-friendly policy this site is great for any family. If you plan a spring visit you will be treated to the colorful spring blooms that are striking against the sand-colored rocks.

4. Cougar Rock Campground – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Cougar Rock Campground

Located on the southwest side of Mt. Rainier National Park this campsite offers wonderful views of the mountain. With amazing trails this is a great spot for both recreational and serious hikers. The campground is open year round, so you can experience the many different activities the park has to offer.

5. Assateague Island – Virginia

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Assateague is best known for its wild horses that roam the island. With Oceanside campsites, families can camp and observe the horses while keeping a safe distance. They also offer sites for horse owners to bring their horses to explore the island on.

6. Chisos Campground – Big Bend National Park, Texas

Chisos Campground

Between the climate and the level of difficulty on the trails, Chisos campground is more for the experienced camper. Over 15 miles of mountain trails offer excellent views of the Chisos, desert panoramas, and the Rio Grande. Be sure to take plenty of water to this dessert atmosphere.

7. Watchman Campground – Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park

If you’d like to stay at the Watchman Campground you need to plan about 4-5 months in advance, but campers say that it is well worth the advance planning. The beautiful scenery can’t be beat and this campsite is located in the heart of the park to make sure that you can get your fill.
8. Little Beaver Lake Campground – National Lakeshore, Michigan

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Little Beaver Lake Campground is set in a picturesque pine forest along the banks of Little Beaver Lake. When visiting this campground you don’t have to choose between beautiful scenery or tolerating the crowds at the beaches along Lake Superior.

9. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park

With nearly one million acres, Olympic has just about everything a camper could hope for. The site features four basic regions, Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier east side. With such different sections, the park allows you to visit different eco-systems while staying in one area.

10. Sandspur Campground – Bahia Honda State Park, Florida

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One of Florida’s southernmost state parks it is known for its beautiful beaches, magnificent sunsets, and excellent snorkeling. But be sure to pack a fan as camping can be very warm even at night.

11. Absaroka Beartooth Mountain-Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

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Located on National Forest land in Montana and Wyoming that borders Yellowstone National Park. This park encompasses two different types of mountain ranges that are equally as breath taking. The Absarokas are made primarily of volcanic and metamorphic rock, while the Beartooths are almost entirely granitic rocks. With Jackson Hole close by many activities are available for the whole family to enjoy.

12. Jedediah Smith National Park – California

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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is a few miles inland from the ocean and is densely populated with the huge ancient trees. You can fish, snorkel, or kayak in the Smith River or take a historic hike through the grounds.

13. Acadia National Park- Maine

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Acadia was the first eastern national park and has been bringing in visitors ever since. Sign your child up for their junior ranger program and they can participate in different activities as part of the ranger-led program. Fall is a favorite of many to visit the park because of the beautiful scenery.

14. Sage Creek Campground – Badlands National Park, South Dakota

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A unique feature of Sage Creek Campground is that with no defined campsites you can pitch your tent wherever your heart desires. The sites are also free, making it a great choice for a budget friendly vacation. If you have a budding paleontologist in your group be sure to check out their paleontology lab to learn about fossils found at the park.

15. Valley of Fire State Park- Nevada

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With the majestic rock formations and vibrant colors it is hard to take a bad picture of the Valley of Fire. Be sure to look closely and check out the Native American writing on the rocks; it will transport you to a different time.

16. Green Mountain National Forest-Vermont

Green Mountain National Forest

Visitors seem to agree unanimously, that the best time to visit Green Mountain is in the fall. The wonderful colors are nothing short of amazing. The forest contains three nationally designated trails, including parts of the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail, as well as the Robert Frost National Recreation Trail.

17. Grand Teton National Park-Wyoming

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With more than 1,000 drive-in campsites and over 200 miles of hiking trails Grand Teton is a great backcountry retreat. A unique aspect is the programs pairing with local Native American tribes to learn more of their culture.

18. Pisgah National Forest – North Carolina

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With whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails Pisgah National forest is a campers dream. Be sure to bring a towel because you won’t be able to resist taking a dip in these beautiful waters.

19. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee

Smoky Mountains National Park

When visiting the Smoky Mountains one of the most daunting tasks is simply choosing a trail. How do you choose between waterfalls, old growth forests, and endless views? Be sure to plan your trip in advance as it is the highest visited of all the national parks.

20. Bartlett Cove Campground – Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

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It is quite the trek out to Alaska but if you can make it you will be rewarded with amazing views. Visitors love the Park Ranger tour and highly recommend it. If you can’t make the trip you can take a peek at their views by watching their live webcams.

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