Camping is a fun and relatively inexpensive way to relax and get in touch with nature. You can spend your days hiking, fishing, biking, canoeing, rafting, rock climbing, wildlife watching and so much more. After a day of adventure, many agree that there is nothing better than having a bonfire, grilling food and having a drink with friends and family. Here is a list of some of the best camping destinations across the United States.
Assateague Island, Maryland
If you have ever wanted to try ocean-side camping, this is one of the top places in the country to do it. The Assateague Island National Seashore is a beautiful expanse that is dotted with bays, coves, dunes and marshes. The island is also home to majestic wild horses that roam the area. The island has an impressive collection of over 300 resident and migratory birds. Popular activities for campers include bird watching, kayaking, crabbing, collecting seashells, fishing, biking, swimming and hunting. The beaches here stretch on for more than 37 miles and are considered some of the best beaches on the East Coast. The best time to make your trip is in either the spring or the fall, as during the summer times mosquitoes can be unbearable.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers campers 10 different campgrounds to choose from. For more adventurous individuals, there are more sites that are remote and require backpacking excursions for several miles to access them. In order to legally go backcountry camping you must make reservations in advance and obtain a permit. While at the park there are many things to see and do. Cycling, fishing, hiking and horseback riding are a few options that guests enjoy during their stay. There are over 800 miles of hiking trails that vary in length and difficulty. Many hikes lead you past beautiful waterfalls that can be found throughout the park. This location is also nicknamed the “wildflower national park” and many people come to enjoy the beautiful colors and scents that they provide. Wildlife that you can see while here include black bear, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, woodchucks, raccoons and many types of birds.
Boundary Waters, Minnesota
Located in northeastern Minnesota, the Boundary Waters are comprised of more than 1,000 lakes and cover more than 1.3 million acres. National Geographic even named this area one of the 50 Destinations of a Lifetime. Many camping sites are only accessible via canoeing and can involve portaging in order to get to them. Fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing are common activities here. Some animals that you are likely to see include Bald Eagles, bears, bobcats, loons, cougars, coyotes, moose, deer, wolves, snapping turtles, foxes, lynx and wolverines. Be sure to bring a camera to snap photos of the animals and the beautiful landscapes. This is truly the place to go if you want to get away and get in touch with nature. Be prepared to be without cell phone service and bring everything you might need as this camping experience brings new meaning to the phrase “roughing it.” Permits are required to access the Boundary Waters.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Camping opportunities are ample here, with 13 campgrounds and over 1,000 sites to pitch your tent on. There are over 700 miles of hiking trails you can explore on your own or you can even take a ranger guided tour. You can climb to the top of a mountain and soak in the breathtaking views of the surrounding forests, alpine lakes and glaciers that cover the park. There are horseback trips offered in the park and the many lakes and rivers provide campers with swimming, fishing, kayaking and canoeing opportunities. A visit to the park would be incomplete without driving on Going-to-the-Sun Road. This is the only road that crosses Glacier National Park and it offers some of the best views. Guided boat cruises are also available which teach guests about park history and the geology of the area.
Yosemite National Park, Wyoming
This park covers over 760,000 acres and includes portions of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain. Although there is plenty of space to explore, most visitors will set up camp in the Yosemite Valley which is flanked by amazing rock formations. The park is home to giant sequoia trees, numerous picturesque waterfalls and a plethora of wildlife. There are over 800 miles of hiking trails to explore, with some being long enough that they require backpacking and backcountry camping. Some animals that reside in this area are coyotes, bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lions, bats, river otters, grey foxes and bobcats, to name a few. Some of the most notable campsites are White Wolf, Yosemite Creek and Porcupine Flat. Biking, bird watching, fishing, photography and fishing are some of the most popular things to do while staying in the park.
Arches National Park, Utah
This unique location is home to over 2,000 stone arches that were created by erosion over thousands of years. The most famous arch here is the Delicate Arch which is 65 feet tall and truly a sight to see. The park is known for its beauty and awe-inspiring sunsets which bring out the colors of the many rock formations. There are also ranger-led walks and educational talks available during your stay. It is recommended that you prepare for the elements and drink plenty of water. Pack for both warm and cold weather as temperature swings of up to 40 degrees can occur in a single day. There is only one developed campground in the park which is called The Devils Garden. Since there are only 50 campsites here, it is wise to make reservations in advance. Other options include campgrounds which are located just outside of the park.
North Cascades National Park, Washington
Holding over 300 glaciers of various sizes, North Cascades National Park offers campers plenty of hiking trails and mountain climbing prospects. Fishing, horseback riding and river rafting are some popular activities in this park. There are five main campgrounds to choose from as well as three more that require a boat to access them. With over 140 backcountry camping sites, backpackers can find plenty of places to set up camp after a day of hiking through the vast forests. Guided tours are available for rafting, hiking, climbing and even llama or horse packing trips. During your stay you might spot animals such as ospreys, bald eagles, Harlequin ducks, grizzly bears, gray wolves, wolverines and Columbia black-tailed deer. The most adventurous campers should be sure to try scaling Sahale Mountain, an 8,600 foot peak.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali National Park is most famous for having North America’s tallest mountain, the 20,320 foot high Mount McKinley. Camping here lets visitors explore over six million acres of diverse regions ranging from lush meadows and forests to alpine tundra and icy mountains. This park has nearly 300 camp sites and six established campgrounds. Guests can also do some backcountry camping so long as they attain a free permit first. Depending on the season that you come in, you can partake in hiking, mountain climbing, cycling, hunting, dog sledding, fishing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, rafting and much more. This is also a very popular destination for photographers. The park was initially established because of its wide array of wildlife resources. With over 200 species of animals, guests have ample opportunities for wildlife watching.
Redwood National Park, California
Redwood National Park offers campers the opportunity to dwell amongst some of the largest trees on the planet. There are four developed campgrounds here with backcountry camping opportunities also being available by permit. Besides massive trees, campers can see and experience many other things during their stay. This park extends all the way to the Pacific Ocean; so many visitors will take a hike through the forest all the way to the coast. Klamath River Overlook provides beautiful ocean views and a great chance to spot some gray whales. Ocean kayaking is popular, as well as mountain biking and hiking. Fishing for rainbow trout, steelhead and salmon in the Smith River is another common activity. There are many scenic drives and horseback riding trails which will allow you to see different parts of the park and increase your chances of seeing a Roosevelt elk, one of the biggest species of the deer family.