Best Campgrounds In The U.S.
Want unique? How about island camping amid a herd of wild ponies that have roamed the site since before the Declaration of Independence was signed? A barrier island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, Assateague boasts a 300-site campground and plenty of sea-centered activities, like kayaking, surfing, and crabbing. Just be sure to secure your carrots – the ponies can get nosy (seriously).
Yvon Chouinard slept here. In his waking hours, the legendary climber and founder of Patagonia completed landmark ascents on El Capitan and other Yosemite peaks. He and generations of other rock stars spent so much time in Camp 4, it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s no online registration. In season, you simply get in line and wait for the ranger’s arrival at 8:30 a.m. First come, first served. Good luck.
The phrase “getting away from it all” may have been coined here. Seventy miles west of Key West on one of the seven islands of Dry Tortugas National Park, Garden Key has only 10 sites. Campers bring all supplies on the daily ferry. You’ll set up inside Fort Jefferson, an unfinished structure once housing Civil War prisoners. Fortunately, your incarceration includes unlimited beach visitation and warm, clear waters for swimming and snorkeling.
If you’ve never seen Steven Spielberg’s 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you may not grasp the pop culture significance of Devils Tower. But don’t worry, the campground hosts nightly outdoor screenings. Before darkness falls, you can swim, bike, and fish. After that, just watch the skies. Those aliens have to show up some time, don’t they?
Tennessee/North Carolina Check campgrounds for facilities and amenities
Traffic and crowds. Those are frequent memories for anyone who’s ever visited the Smokies. But if you’re willing to journey to the east side or southern edge of the park, you’ll find several campgrounds typically available even during peak periods. As their names suggest, Abrams Creek, Big Creek, and Deep Creek offer water access. Cataloochee and Cosby are perfect for hiking. Balsam Mountain is the highest and most secluded option in the park.
Funny thing about the Badlands. Sometimes you know you’re in South Dakota. Other times you’d swear you’re on the moon. The distinctive buttes, gullies, and ridges certainly present a desolate lunar beauty. And while many campers have a natural aversion to pavement as a means for exploring nature, the park’s Loop Road draws enthusiastic reviews for its many overlooks and trailheads. Cedar Pass is the preferred campground, with easy access to the visitor center.
Michigan Check campgrounds for facilities and amenities
Pictured Rocks is remote, but it’s worth the drive to the south shore of Lake Superior. Choose Twelvemile Beach Campground for long stretches of deserted coastline and direct access to the seven-state North Country National Scenic Trail. Little Beaver Lake Campground offers easier access to Chapel Rock and Miner’s Castle, the lakeshore’s two showpiece formations.
It’s Disney, so no wallet leaves unscathed. But camping – with tent sites at reasonable prices in non-peak periods – offers one way to soften Walt’s impact on your bottom line. Amenities include horseback riding, bus and boat transportation to the theme parks, and one frighteningly large rodent.
If you’re not comfortable with backcountry camping, stop reading now. Still here? Cool, this will be fun. First, paddle a canoe to your elevated campsite. Why elevated? Well, this is a swamp. A really big one. So you have to keep everything dry. Plus, it keeps curious gators from poking around the tent. Hey, wait a minute, where you going? We didn’t even talk about the birdwatching and magnificent sunsets.
Massachusetts Check campgrounds for facilities and amenities
Can islands in the Atlantic be considered urban camping? Many happy Bean Town residents think so. You can choose the more primitive amenities of Grape, Bumpkin, or Lovell Islands. Or if you prefer something closer to “glamping,” Peddocks Island has yurts, a visitor center, and fresh water availability. All four offer hiking trails and beautiful coastal views.
The surreal becomes routine in Joshua Tree. Two deserts, a mountain range, dry lakebeds, stone monoliths and, of course, plenty of Joshua trees combine for a truly strange and quirky visual experience. Hidden Valley, though low on amenities, is very popular. Arrive early – the 44 sites are first come, first served.
Packing your bikes? Everglades National Park is an unexpected treasure for two-wheelers. Shark Valley trail, a 15-mile paved loop with a lookout tower and restrooms at the halfway point, is an ideal venue for seeing the exotic wildlife. In winter and early spring, you’re nearly guaranteed to see alligators, along with plenty of wading birds. Long Pine Key, the nearest camping option, offers its own seven-mile trail for hiking.
the Amenities Key
Some Areas Tents Only
All RV Types Welcome
Thor Industries provides this information for entertainment and inspiration. Things may have changed since we posted this. Thor Industries is not affiliated with, endorsed by, or paid by any of the RV parks, places, brands, merchants, attractions, organizations, or websites mentioned in this post. You should check ahead of your trip to confirm availability, hours of operation, pricing, and the like. Safe travels!
It’s the great outdoors for introverts. Find a little extra solitude in one of our five best remote camping options.