It's officially camping season, and there are only so many free weekends left in summer! Take advantage of the warm weather and book a few camping trips you won't forget.
Check out our favorite places across the U.S. ~ we have something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a challenging rock climbing adventure, a laid-back lake-side trip, or a refreshing wilderness experience, you'll be able to find a camp site worth visiting on this list. Read on!
Pros: The Redwood Forest in California is home to some of the tallest trees in the world ~ and of course we had to include it, Redwoods are kind of our thing;). The peaceful landscape is the perfect place to get away from it all and experience some big nature. Plus, there's tons of trails to hike along the coastline!
Cons: This park might not be open year-round to campers, so make sure to check the park's site before committing to camping. The views and experience are worth the little extra preparation though!
What to Pack: You couldn't camp in the Redwoods without wearing your favorite Redwood Tall Outfitters shirt... Make sure to pack your favorite to stay warm, dry, and comfortable on your next adventure!
Pros: Acadia has something for every camper out there. With sites for camping newbies, seasoned backpackers, and even RV campers, Acadia has several options for a relaxed nature getaway. Fish for lobster on the shore nearby, hike Cadillac mountain for a challenge, explore the colorful woods during mild autumn, or bring your boat and hit the surf.
Cons: The weather can change quickly, so be prepared! Peak season for Acadia is between June and October, so hitting those warmer mild months is idyllic. If you can reserve a site during September when the leaves are in full color, you'll enjoy an amazing view!
What to Pack: You'll need something versatile to keep up with all the activities you'll be doing while exploring Acadia. Make sure to pack a comfortable Long Sleeve Shirt (great for chilly early mornings, can be rolled up for that hot noon sun, and they'll cover your arms from bug bites). You might also want to pack a Lobster Catching Kit and a few camping lobster recipes;).
Pros: Besides getting to camp in an epic landscape of towering red arches and massive rocks reaching into the sky, there are also countless hiking trails to explore around the Arches. It's easy to get lost, but as long as you know what you're doing, these trails can be a great challenge! These camp grounds are also prime for backpacking.
Cons: There are a limited number of camp sites, so it's important to book a camp site ahead. The Arches is also a popular tourist destination, so finding some privacy might be a little tricky (especially if you're visiting the main attractions!). Just be prepared to enjoy nature with a few new friends.
What to Pack: For those avid backpackers, you'll want a good headlamp after the sun sets so you can find your footing safely. You might also want to pack a really good air mattress (sleeping on hard rock might not be the most comfortable).
Price: $10 per vehicle
Pros: Volcanoes would be the obvious perk to this incredible camp spot, but besides that, the weather here is mild and refreshing (if not a little toasty). The trails surrounding the camp site are mild and relaxing (great for kids and dogs) and offer stunning views of Hawai'i. Plus, there's tons to explore around the strange rock formations surrounding the grounds.
Cons: Who doesn't want to camp near volcanoes in Hawai'i? Unfortunately, space is pretty limited and this is a popular spot, so be prepared to book far ahead. If you're an avid hiker, it might also be difficult to find challenging trails (most are pretty mild and relaxing). But they're great for a stress-relieving trip!
What to Pack: For campers with kids, pack a magnifying glass to observe the almost otherworldly wildlife growing between the crags of hardened volcanic rock! But if you're planning a trip with just the adults, pack a picnic blanket and watch the active volcanoes explode in the distance by night ~ it's a sight you don't want to miss.
Price: $8-$15 per vehicle
Pros: This destination is the rock climber's heaven ~ the routes available are challenging and exciting, with stunning views of the Rocky Mountains to go with. Plus, the locals will gladly offer hiking and climbing route suggestions that will challenge you. There's great fishing along the river below as well!
Cons: Camping in the Gunnison is more challenging than relaxing, so if you're looking for a laid-back getaway, this might not be the campsite for you. The grounds are trickier to reach than others available along the Rocker Mountains, but if you're looking for some thrill and challenge, it's more than worth it.
What to Pack: Make sure to bring your fishing rod and climbing gear to take advantage of everything the Gunnison has to offer. And don't forget to pack a good jacket ~ even in the summer, Colorado gets chilly at night.
Pros: The landscape in the Joshua Tree National Park varies drastically, and exploring the wild rock formations and thriving desert is a blast. Plus, with surrounding mountains and incredible vertical rocks jutting out of the sand, hiking and climbing are a must. Typically, camping in the desert is dangerous and difficult, but here it's a joy.
Cons: While the Joshua Tree National Park is fun to explore, it's still a desert, so it's easy to get dehydrated. As long as you pack plenty of water, you'll be just fine. And remember shade might be scarce ~ be prepared to get a nice tan. Try booking a site during the off season winter months to dodge the heat a bit ~ it never gets too cold, and the days might be more mild and enjoyable in the winter.
Pros: These camp sites are absolutely stunning, and there are countless options to choose from. From endless forests, rocky beaches, and parts of the camp grounds that are actually labeled rainforests, there's plenty of nature to explore. If you plan on camping during the spring or fall, you might also catch some whales migrating along the coast.
Cons: Olympic National Park is dangerous territory for solo missions and backpacking, so make sure you are prepared and aware of what you are getting into! And don't forget you're in Washington... expect rain.
What to Pack: In order to appreciate the full Olympic experience, you'll want to book your camp site during the month of May (which is reported to be the best month for whale-watching!). Pack some binoculars, a warm jacket, and huddle on the rocks to spy some whales migrating off the shore ~ it's an unforgettable experience.
Pros: This park is huge with over 244,000 acres to explore! Painted rocks jutting into the sky make for amazing views with countless climbing opportunities. There are also tons of hosted events in the Badlands, with plenty of opportunities to find fossils and remains from early civilization.
Cons: The wildlife can be dangerous, so be prepared and know your stuff. Navigating a landscape littered with prickly pear cactus with plenty of places for rattlers to hide is tricky, but worth it. Just make sure to stay at least 100 feet away from wild bison!
What to Pack: The famous painted rocks in the Badlands are photographed constantly for a reason... Make sure to pack a good camera so you can capture all your memories while you're there! And bring a hat ~ unless you want a sunburned scalp:).
Pros: The views in Yosemite are absolutely stunning from every angle. Spend your mornings reading or fishing at the edge of a tranquil stream, hike through untamed forests, or climb unusual rock formations and mountains surrounding the area. In short, every camper should visit Yosemite at least once!
Cons: Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited tourist sites, so be prepared to deal with other campers. Thankfully, the park is so large, there's plenty of room to spread out so it really does feel like you're alone. Just be cautious ~ if things go south, it's difficult to find immediate help out in the wilderness.
Price: $30 per vehicle
Pros: Denali National Park is unmatched in its beauty, and with 6 million acres to spread out in and explore, you'll be able to have a real wilderness experience here. Plus, you'll be able to see Mt. McKinley not far off, North America's highest peak.
Cons: With 291 different camp sites to choose from, the amount of options might be a little overwhelming. Pick a site you feel comfortable and safe with, and don't go too deep into the wilderness if you don't feel prepared.
What to Pack: Ever watch Bob Ross? The views here are straight out of one of his paintings, and if you're a painter yourself, you might want to bring your supplies;).
Price: $6-$16 per night
Pros: The Grand Canyon has something to offer for everyone: stunning views above and amazing water activities below. Camping here provides the perfect opportunity to hike around and take it all in ~ even tall guys will feel tiny next to these canyons;).
Cons: The Grand Canyon is obviously a big tourist destination, so you'll have to get a little creative to avoid the crowds. The trick is to camp on the North Rim ~ it may be harder to get to and less convenient, but the privacy is worth it, and you'll still have access to stunning canyon views.
What to Pack: What better place to have an epic picnic other than on the edge of the Grand Canyon? Pack a picnic lunch, bring a few drinks, and set up a blanket on the edge to enjoy dinner and a show.
Price: $18-$25 per night
Pros: Camping at Crater Lake in Oregon is the perfect mix of mountain adventure mixed with lakeside paradise. With plenty of opportunities to take stunning pictures and explore this landmark, it's a bucket-list type of camping spot. Plus, there are sites for both tent campers and RV campers!
Cons: Back country camping is available here, but you'll need a permit to wander. Just be prepared! Also, there have been temporary closes on the camp grounds, so make sure to check availability before you book your dates.
What to Pack: It can get chilly up at Crater Lake, and it's super important to come prepared. Make sure to pack some good hiking boots that will allow to you explore the wild landscape surrounding the lake.
Price: $5-$42 (Depending on whether you are backpacking, tent camping, or RV-ing).
Pros: For those who love water sports, Big Bend National Park is the perfect place to go. With rafting, canoeing, and kayaking available, you'll be able to explore the Rio Grande and have a blast! And experiencing mountain, desert, and river habitats all in one dose is simply euphoric.
Cons: Some camp sites are still operating under reduced capacity, so it's wise to plan ahead and book a site before driving up. And if you intend on taking advantage of the Rio Grand River, you'll need to pack quite a bit of gear (so worth it, though).
What to Pack: Besides all the water sport equipment you'll need, it's wise to pack some bug spray. Texas is home to some wicked huge mosquitos.
Price: $16 per night
That completes our guide, and we hope you were able to find a camp site you're excited about this summer! Nothing compares to exploring the untamed wilderness. Good luck, happy camping, and let us know your favorite camping spots in the comments below 😎
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