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
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
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
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
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.