The best camping in United States.
With idyllic coastlines, alpine mountains, scenic bluffs and verdant hillsides, America’s beautiful, diverse terrain has something for everyone no matter what kind of camping you’re into. It’s no surprise that more than 40 million people camp in America each year. The US has plenty of national parks (61 to be exact!) and a variety of landscapes and national parks to chooseRead more...
With idyllic coastlines, alpine mountains, scenic bluffs and verdant hillsides, America’s beautiful, diverse terrain has something for everyone no matter what kind of camping you’re into. It’s no surprise that more than 40 million people camp in America each year. The US has plenty of national parks (61 to be exact!) and a variety of landscapes and national parks to choose from in the different regions of the country.
Where to Go
Northeastern United States
Henry David Thoreau was famously smitten with his natural surroundings in Massachusetts—but the rest of the Northeast is pretty impressive, too. Consider Maine, which has an astonishing almost 3,500 miles of craggy coastline (that’s more than California has!). The extremely popular Acadia National Park has views for days thanks to the gorgeous pink granite cliffs, rocky beaches, and in the fall, spectacular foliage along the historic gravel carriage roads. Watch the day break from the summit of Cadillac Mountain—one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise—or take a bracing dip in the picturesque waters of Sand Beach.
The Midwest is best known for its grassy, wide open spaces, but you’ll also be able to camp in or near some incredible geographical attractions, particularly in South Dakota, where the legendary Badlands National Park is home to startling rock formations and fossil beds with the largest group of mammal fossils yet discovered.
In the southwestern part of the state you’ll find Wind Cave, which is famous for being one of the longest and densest caves in the world and for its unique honeycomb-like boxwork formations. Above ground you’ll find a vast prairie — the last remaining mixed grass prairie in the country—with elk, bison, pronghorn sheep and other wildlife.
With more than 10,000 lakes, Minnesota is teeming with shoreline campsites, but Voyageurs National Park is by far the most impressive—if you want to camp on the grounds, you actually have to boat there.
The Southern United States
Sure, the American South is famous for its charming cities, but its outdoor wilderness escapes are equally superb. Chesapeake Bay explorations and bluff-side campsites in historic Williamsburg are obviously a major draw in Virginia, but the state’s true claim to fame is Shenandoah National Park, offering more than 500 miles of hiking trails (including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail), as well as Skyline Drive with over 70 stunning overlooks of waterfalls, wilderness and wild forests.
Rambling streams, mist-covered mountains, and some of the most diverse plant and animal life in the country abound at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina.
Head further south for some true backcountry adventures—tents and hammocks only—in South Carolina’s incredible Congaree National Park, which preserves the largest tract of old growth bottomland hardwood forest left in the U.S. and has some of the highest canopies in the world.
If it's an underwater adventure you’re after, boat on down to Biscayne National Park in the northern Florida Keys and get your fill of rare coral reefs, dive sites, mangrove forests, and stunning wildlife watching.
The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon is, without a doubt, the premier natural attraction in the Southwest, but there are several other natural phenomena throughout the region also worth a visit. Big Bend National Park in Texas—plus, it has very minimal light pollution, making it one of the best places in the country for star-gazing. Set up camp high in the Chisos Mountains or low in the Rio Grande river valley—either way you’ll be in a prime location for some truly diverse hiking.
New Mexico is home to White Sands National Park featuring rolling dunes of rare white gypsum sand that you can hike, tour on horseback, and even sled down if you’re so inclined. Travel further south through the state to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, an incredible, must-see labyrinth of more than 100 caves and spectacular stalactites. Pitch a tent in the backcountry (no lodging in the park) or set up your RV in the surrounding BLM land.
America's West Coast
West coast, best coast? Boasting picturesque landscapes and awesome natural wonders at (almost) every turn, some argue the American West is a true camper’s paradise. Founded in 1872 and covering parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, Yellowstone is the country’s first national park and features more than 300 hypothermal geysers, including the most famous Old Faithful.
If it’s majestic scenery you’re after, consider California where you can find massive sequoia trees (along with stunning waterfalls and granite rock formations) in Yosemite National Park. Or, visit Joshua Tree National Park for panoramic views of stark desert and the iconic twisted, bristled Joshua Trees for which the park gets its name.
One of the most ecologically diverse parks in the Pacific Northwest, Washington state’s Olympic National Park features three different ecosystems: glacier-capped mountains, rainforests and the Pacific coast. Stay at a campsite near the ocean and you might even catch a glimpse of humpback, sperm and blue whales.
Visitors flock to Haleakalā National Park on the Hawaiian island of Maui to see spectacular sunrises and sunsets from the summit of the dormant volcano Haleakala, for which the park gets its name. Equally as magical are the glaciers in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve where you can spend your days exploring fjords and misty wilderness and your nights sleeping under the stars with puffins, bears, and whales nearby.