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The 13 Best Campgrounds in the U.S.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado. Credit: National Audobon Society.

One of the best ways to enjoy this nation’s natural beauty is to make a plan, pack a good tent, wear and use good gear, and then head out camping.

“Here is your country,” wrote President Theodore Roosevelt. “Cherish these natural wonders.”

What follows are 13 campgrounds to consider.


13. Arches National Park, Utah

Breathtakingly beautiful, challenging trails take campers through the twisted Arches National Park’s towering red stones with their time worn buttresses.  There are several campgrounds nearby for those seeking this experience.


12. Mount Wrightson Wilderness, Arizona

Mount Baldy dominates the landscape, and it is high enough, dry enough and far enough away from civilization to offer jaw dropping views of the heavens.  Campgrounds are available from 3,000 to 9,000 feet, and campers can hike a modest 4.5 miles to the summit to sleep under the stars.


11. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park, Washington. Credit: National Audobon Society.

The Evergreen State abounds in places for outdoor enthusiasts, but this park has more to offer than just hiking amongst towering trees.  Within the park are three different ecosystems, to include a rainforest. Campsites are plentiful, so if you travel the trails or watch the whales, you won’t be disappointed.


10. Joshua Tree National Park, California

For those who enjoy camping in the desert, this is the park to visit.  There are almost a dozen mountain peaks which offer both hiking trails and rock climbing. This is also a good winter destination as it does not get unbearably cold.


9. Lake McConaughy, Nebraska

This camping area features plenty of space and no crowds.  For those seeking laid back fishing, white sand beaches, water skiing and boating, this is the place to camp.  The Nebraska Sandhills are nearby for those with dune buggies.


8. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands National Park, South Dakota. Credit: TripSavvy.

With 244,000 acres, there are plenty of campsites.  Among nature’s painted rocks there are plenty of hiking trails and climbing opportunities, to say nothing of the scenic vistas.


7. Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

Off the coast where Virginia meets Maryland is one of the best kept camping secrets.  This area offers hundreds of miles of white sand and surf, and it is home to one of the few herds of feral ponies in the world.


6. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

This site is not easy to get to; however, the effort is worth it if rocking climbing, hiking, fishing, and just relaxing is the goal.


5. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

America’s first national park, it is 3 million acres big, and it is home to over half the world’s hydrothermal features.  There are over 2,000 campsites, and there are several campsites in the backcountry.


4. Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine. Credit: BMW Unstoppable.

For those who want to swim, boat, fish, swim in the ocean, hike or eat lobster, this is the place for you.  Scale Cadillac Mountain and be the first to see sunrise reach America.


3. Anastasia State Park, Florida

Located on a peninsula on the Atlantic side of Anastasia Island is a camping experience never to be forgotten.  With 4 miles of white sand beach, a tidal marsh teeming with plant and animal life, and trails on which to walk or mountain bike, campers return happy.


2. Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area, Arizona

Situated at 6,300 in elevation in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, campers enjoy heron and eagles soaring overhead as they fish or bask in the sun beside one of the largest desert bodies of water on the planet.


1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Although the resort business on the islands makes camping a rarity, it does happen in this park.  During the day campers can hike through the park exploring rock formations; at night they can watch active volcanoes light up the night sky.

These areas are considered some of the best campgrounds in the U.S., and they provide the opportunity to experience President Roosevelt’s words.


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