Want to spend your nights in the (relative) wild and your days in the asphalt jungle? Here’s a small sampling of the very best urban camping locales.
Chicago Northwest KOA, Union, IL
A family-focused campground with plenty of on-site summer activities, Chicago Northwest is also conveniently located near two Metra train stations. Hop on board, zoom toward that signature skyline, and you’ll soon be enjoying Shedd Aquarium, the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, or any of the hundreds of other downtown attractions.
Kirby Cove Campground, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco
If the fog has cleared, you may be able to see Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf from here. They’ll be just beyond that large, orange bridge in the foreground. Though only four sites are available and you’re limited to three nights, this is arguably the very best urban camping location in the U.S.
Cherry Hill Park, Washington, D.C.
Cherry Hill offers public transportation and tour shuttles into D.C. It’s also a convenient location for day trips to Annapolis or the Civil War battlegrounds in Sharpsburg (Antietam) and Gettysburg. Back on the grounds, families will enjoy the two swimming pools, 18-hole miniature golf course, nature trail, and the Star Cafe, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
San Diego Metro KOA, San Diego
Located just 20 minutes south of downtown San Diego, this KOA property is a family haven featuring a climbing wall, jumping pillows, laser tag, and movies under the stars. Downtown, you can tour Seaport Village and the Midway aircraft carrier, or catch the Coaster train for day trips to Old Town, Solana Beach, and Oceanside. And Balboa Park, with its 17 museums, can also take up an entire day.
Tolt MacDonald Park, Seattle
A mammoth (574 acres) county park in the city of Carnation, Tolt McDonald sits at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers and is only 40 minutes away from downtown Seattle. Visitors compliment the many walking and biking trails, clean grounds with hot showers, river tubing, and views of the Cascade Mountains.