Whether you’re a seasoned camper or aspiring outdoorsman, there are a few campsites you must see in your lifetime. It’s time to head south and check out the majestic campsites of the United States. Say hello to our American neighbors and put these campsites on your list.
1. Crater Lake National Park, OR
Oregon’s crystal clear Crater Lake was formed by a volcanic eruption roughly 8,000 years ago. Sheer cliffs and ponderosa pines encompass the six mile-wide crater. Go during summer or fall to get the most out of swimming and exploring Wizard Island.
2. Arches National Park, Utah
Twisted arches, red stones, and weather-beaten buttresses reach high into the sky, offering challenging trails with rewarding photo opportunities. Campsites are limited, but there are several adjacent and nearby campgrounds to explore. I just want to string a hammock between those arches and enjoy the view.
3. Ludington State Park, MI
This site is sure to please everyone with its wide terrain in a relatively small area. Rent a kayak, explore the sand dunes, or take a nature hike in the marshlands. Fall is an ideal time to visit to take in the splendor of autumnal leaves. Try taking your camping to the next level and bring your own portable treehouse.
4. Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Joshua Tree boasts a variety of campgrounds, but Jumbo Rocks is just a short hike from some of the area’s most breathtaking boulder formations. It’s a great location for climbers and desert enthusiasts, but only offers 124 campsites on a first-come, first-serve basis so be sure to get there early.
5. Jellystone Park Larkspur, CO
This Yogi Bear-themed campground is a family favorite. Make camping with kids fun and easy with teepees and safari tents, goat walks, fossil digging, archery classes and geocaching. Located halfway between Denver and Colorado Springs, the nearby Pike National Forest makes for great exploration.
6. Volcanoes National Park, HI
Most people travel to Hawaii for its pristine beaches, but you can put a twist on your tropical vacation by pitching a tent near Volcanoes National Park. Active volcanoes light up the night sky, and during the day you can stroll the oozing magma, strange rock formations, and unusual flora that manage to thrive near the caldera.
7. Herkimer Diamond KOA, NY
Experience Upstate New York’s largest jewelry store, museum, activity center, and gemstone sluicing area. Ideal for science fans, this campground allows you to dig in diamond mines and offers astronomy-themed cabins complete with its own observatory and high-powered telescope.
8. North Rim Campground, Grand Canyon, AZ
The Grand Canyon is a true bucket list destination. Formed by glaciers some five or six million years ago, the Grand Canyon is one of America’s finest treasures. For the best camping experience, settle in at the North Rim. It offers the best views and is the most accessible of the region’s campsites.
9. Olympic National Park, Washington
The evergreen state has plenty to offer the outdoor adventurer, but Olympic is an ecological marvel. With three completely different ecosystems, it boasts more than exceptional trees and hiking. Watch whales or wander through the rainforest. It can get cold during the offseason, so be sure to pack accordingly.
10. Fort Yargo State Park, GA
Georgia offers a unique program that allows families to experience sleeping under the stars before investing in their own camping equipment. Kids can take a Camping 101 course before having a swim in the lake or paddling a kayak. If you have a great time and decide camping is right for your family
11. Equestrian Camp, Assateague Island National Seashore, MD
This island offers backcountry, oceanside, and bayside camping locations, but the Equestrian Camp gives the unique opportunity to camp with herds of wild horses on the sandy shores off the Atlantic Coast. Their facilities offer cold showers, chemical toilets, and drinking water. The barrier island’s habitat can be harsh during colder months, so campers are reminded to plan accordingly—that means bringing layers and investing in high-quality outerwear from renowned companies like Patagonia. (P.S. it’s easy to find Patagonia promo codes—save your money!)
12. Everglades National Park, FL
Naturalists love the Everglades for the diversity in wildlife. Reptile tours are sure to be on all the brochures, but you can escape the tourist traps by renting a mountain bike for challenging trails or a fishing kayak for some of the best game you can imagine. Bring bug spray and a mosquito net or risk getting eaten alive. This list only scratches the surface of the beautiful campgrounds across the United States, but it’s a great place to pull some inspiration. Great for solo backpackers, fun families, thrill-seekers, and professional relaxers alike, these campgrounds are sure to have something for everyone.