Our 10 Favorite Places to Camp In the US
There's no doubt that camping is one of the most American activities that you can do. With its wide open spaces, incredible wildlife, and diverse climate — it's no wonder as to why many parts of the US have become hotspots for people who get their excitement from spending time off the grid and being one with nature. However, finding a truly great place to camp can be a hassle. So to save you some time, we used some of our personal expertise to recommend our 10 favorite places to camp around the contiguous US. Just be careful... you might not want to return to civilization after camping at one of these amazing campsites.
DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK, FLORIDA
Camping in Dry Tortugas National Park offers an experience that is one of a kind. From incredible sunsets to breathtaking night skies. Just to get to the campground is an experience in itself. All overnight camping happens strictly within the Garden Key campground, which is located right next to Fort Jefferson — the largest brick masonry structure in the Americas. All eight campsites are available on a first-come first-served basis.
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, OREGON
The Lost Creek Campground is a small, tent-only campground located on the road to Pinnacles Overlook. The campground is in the forests below and just a few miles from Crater Lake. It usually opens in early July and closes in mid-October. Registration is self-service, and reservations are not available. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and bear-resistant food locker.
TAHOE NATIONAL FOREST, CALIFORNIA
Calpine is a forest fire lookout tower that was actively used every summer until 1975. It is a three-story structure with external stairs. The top room is an observation cab that has been converted into a rental space available at this time. Visitors renting the lookout are treated to spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, sunrises, sunsets and incredible stargazing. It doesn't have electricity or water — but does contain propane-powered appliances.
BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA
Kirk Creek Campground is an oceanside paradise, with each site overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This campground offers a variety of opportunities for both relaxation and recreation. It's also within walking distance of the area's largest sandy beach and is close to a variety of scenic trails that lead visitors into the Los Padres National Forest.
ZION NATIONAL PARK, UTAH
For those visiting Zion National Park, Watchman Campground is the ideal place to camp. It's located near the park's south entrance and just a short walk from the main visitor center. The campground is also conveniently located near the Zion Canyon Shuttle System and the adjacent town of Springdale. The canyon and most of the park's trails are only accessible by shuttle bus from approximately April to October each year; however, Watchman Campground is open year-round.
JEDEDIAH SMITH REDWOODS STATE PARK, CALIFORNIA
Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is one of the few redwood parks that stretch up Northern California's coast. A few miles inland from the ocean, the park is densely forested with huge ancient trees. In fact, it contains seven percent of all the old-growth redwoods left in the world. If you don't care to tent or have an RV, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park also offers you access to dreamy rental cabins.
MT. SNEFFELS WILDERNESS AREA, COLORADO
The Blue Lakes are located in an extremely scenic glacial basin within the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness area of the Uncompahgre National Forest. The drive to the trailhead is breathtaking, offering panoramic views of Mt. Sneffels and the Dallas Creek drainage area. It's especially spectacular in the fall when the aspens turn to yellow and gold.
BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH DAKOTA
Experience Badlands National Park overnight and enjoy its breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, colorful flowers, bountiful wildlife, and rugged scenery from Sage Creek Campground. Bison can be spotted wandering through this primitive area, located near the Badlands Wilderness Area. Camping here is free of charge and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, HAWAII
Namakani Paio Campground is located five miles west of the park entrance and the trail to Kilauea Crater is just a half-mile away. No permit is needed camp, but stays are limited to seven days. Facilities include fire-pits, picnic tables, outdoor dishwashing areas, restrooms, and drinking water. There are also ten cabins that accommodate up to four people each.
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA
Jumbo Rocks Campground is one of the most popular campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park. At 4,400 feet in elevation, the campground has 124 first-come, first-serve campsites (for RVs, trailers and tents) that are situated among giant granite boulders. It's central location also offers a great base camp to explore other areas within the park. Each campsite has a concrete picnic table, fire pit and grill. There is no water at this campground so be sure to bring your own.