The 22 Best Campsites in the U.S.
Whether you prefer to pitch a tent in the remote wilderness or go glamping closer to civilization, camping is a great, revitalizing way to spend those vacation days. Grab your sleeping bag, hiking boots and everything you need for s’mores (extra chocolate, please): here are 22 of the best spots to camp around the United States. And psst, be sure to reserve your campsite for the busy summer months as early as possible.
Emerald Bay Boat Camp (Tahoe, CA)
Emerald Bay State Park features two campgrounds, one for drive-in visitors called Eagle Point Campground and the other for those boating in. It’s worth getting your hands on a boat for the access to and views of the latter, which opens each year on Memorial Day weekend. The area, located in Tahoe, California, is notable as Emerald Bay is technically an underwater state park thanks to all the boats and artifacts that have sunk in its depths. It’s also insanely beautiful and very popular, so you’ll want to reserve your campsite ahead of time online.
Firelight Camps (Ithaca, NY)
Experience nature from the comfort of a luxury platform tent at Firelight Camps, located in the woods just outside Ithaca, New York. A stay includes breakfast, access to a bathhouse with hot showers and flushing toilets, and communal areas with fire pits and games. It’s definitely glamping, but you can head into Buttermilk Falls State Park to hike in the great outdoors or explore the Finger Lakes region, where there’s biking and boating. This campground is ideal for those who want quick access to amenities like restaurants, bars and wineries, but still want to find some quiet amongst the trees.
Moraine Park Campground (Estes Park, CO)
High in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains you’ll find Moraine Park Campground, a peaceful spot with great views of the surrounding Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s tent-only, so no RVs, and you can reserve sites up to six months in advance online for the summer months. There’s potable water, flush toilets and ice and firewood for sale (but no cell service or Wi-Fi). The location gives guests access to all of Rocky Mountain National Park, a forested area filled with wildlife, hiking, rafting and fishing. Summer and fall are the best times to visit, although you should always come prepared with rain gear and warm clothes when camping in Colorado.
Cody Wyoming Trout Ranch (Cody, WY)
Fishing fans should book an RV site or a teepee at Cody Wyoming Trout Ranch, situated alongside the Shoshone River in Wyoming. Open from April through September, the campground welcomes visitors of all ages and provides a stocked fishing pond as well as river fishing. Even if you’re less inclined to grab a fishing pole, the teepees, with views of the river, are a great way to get outdoors in style. There are showers, laundry, picnic tables and a community fire pit on-site, and Yellowstone National Park is less than an hour away by car. Be sure to book in advance online, especially if heading to Wyoming during a holiday weekend.
Kīpahulu Campground (Maui, HI)
Hawaii has a plethora of camping available on its islands, but one of the most scenic is in Haleakalā National Park at Kīpahulu Campground on Maui. The area is lush, filled with streams and waterfalls, and the views of the coast are unparalleled. The campground is slightly remote, although you can drive in, and it’s limited to three days. There are toilets and picnic tables, as well as a water-refilling station, but be prepared to be away from civilization during your stay and pack both sun and rain gear. Once situated, it’s the hiking trails that will draw you in, starting with the four-mile Pīpīwai Trail. It’s a side of Hawaii you definitely won’t find at an all-inclusive resort.
South Campground (Virgin, UT)
Zion National Park is a bucket list spot for outdoorsy travelers, especially those looking to sleep out under the stars. For the perfect campsite, reserve a place at the super-popular South Campground two weeks ahead. There’s water available, but no other facilities, so be prepared to rough it. Zion, located in Utah, has a wealth of things to do, from rock climbing to river rafting to hiking, so plan your stay for at least a few days. The park is open all year, so head in whenever you have a free long weekend. For supplies or a quick meal, stop by the nearby town of Springdale, situated just outside Zion Canyon.
Oz Farm (Point Arena, CA)
Along the Mendocino coast, a few hours north of San Francisco, travelers can find Oz Farm, a unique getaway with rustic accommodations like cabins, yurts and eco domes. Cabins come with woodfire stoves and outhouses, as well as access to a community kitchen and bathhouse, but the real draw is the peaceful walking paths and swimming holes located throughout the organic farm. It’s a great pick for groups or families, and the farm often hosts weddings. Be sure to bring rain gear and a sense of adventure, especially if you book into the two-story Tower Cabin.
Ventana Big Sur (Big Sur, CA)
It’s OK if you’re not really a camper. But it’s worth dipping your toe in at Ventana Big Sur, a resort and glamping site with safari-style tents centered in a redwood forest. They’ve got the amenities of home (and more), but you’re secluded in the trees with access to hiking, yoga and all of Big Sur’s outdoor recreational activities. It’s a great place to toast s’mores around the campfire and also take a hot shower. Try to turn off your cell phone for the duration, even though you’ll likely have service and a spot to charge it.
Bartlett Cove Campground (Gustavus, AK)
You’ll have to go on a short stroll to access Bartlett Cove Campground, a walk-in-only campsite in Glacier Bay, Alaska. It’s not far from the road, though, and the campground features amenities like outhouses, bear-proof food storage and a warming shelter. Be sure to snag a permit before you head in and prepare accordingly. The nearby town of Gustavus has everything you need to survive—and thrive—in the woods for a few days, but pack lightly since you’ll be hauling it all in on foot. Once there enjoy the amazing views and access to local hiking trails.
Devils Garden Campground (Moab, UT)
Devils Garden Campground may sound suspicious, but the campground, situated just outside Utah’s Arches National Park, is incredibly scenic and comfortable. Open year-round, the campground welcomes tent campers to 51 spots on a first-come, first-served basis during the winter and by online reservation during the spring and summer. There are picnic tables, grills, drinking water and flush toilets available, and visitors have amazing views of the otherworldly red rock formations that make Arches unique. There’s days’ worth of exploration to do in the park itself, whether it’s by foot, bike or horseback, and adventurous types will love canyoneering at Fiery Furnace or Lost Spring Canyon.
Conestoga Ranch (Garden City, UT)
Snuggle up in a covered wagon or a luxury tent at Conestoga Ranch, a glamping spot in Utah that welcomes families and couples, as well as bigger groups. The tents are ridiculously nice and include bathrooms with hot showers, but you should opt for a 19th-century-esque Conestoga wagon to get into the Western spirit. Those looking for something more basic can book one of the traditional tents, which are nicely designed but lack electricity and plumbing. The picturesque area invites guests to explore, whether it’s caving, hiking or boating at Bear Lake. There’s even a spa, something you might not usually find when camping.
White River Campground (Montague, MI)
Those who prefer to camp in an RV will love Muskegon County, Michigan’s White River Campground, which features over 200 campsites for RVs and tents, as well as rustic cabins. Enjoy the outdoor swimming pool, playgrounds, basketball court and biking trails, or head over to the beaches on the shore of nearby Lake Michigan. It’s an especially good pick for families, and it’s recommended to reserve a campsite in advance online or over the phone. Be sure to partake in watersports on the White River, too—the camp rents canoes, kayaks, rafts and tubes for your aquatic fun.
Under Canvas Mount Rushmore (Keystone, SD)
Under Canvas operates several glamping locations throughout the U.S., but Under Canvas Mount Rushmore might be the best. Campers can book one of the luxury tents that have been built on an old gold mining settlement. Open between May and September, the camp offers safari Jeep tours, kayaking, hiking and access to an aerial adventure park, as well as an onsite restaurant that’s available for three meals a day. Several South Dakota must-sees are nearby, too, including Badlands National Park, Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore itself. For something extra special, reserve a Stargazer tent, which has a viewing window located over the bed to enjoy the clear night sky.
Jumbo Rocks Campground (Twentynine Palms, CA)
Joshua Tree National Park is a quintessential camping experience, and Jumbo Rocks Campground, known for its literal massive rock formations, is one of the best and most popular spots to pitch a tent. It can be reserved during the winter, but in the warmer months it’s first come, first served, so be sure to head in early. It welcomes tent and RV campers, although there is no running water or electricity hook-ups. Visitors can use the BBQs and picnic tables (and the outhouses), and the town of Twentynine Palms is a quick drive if you need anything. The best part is waking up in the campground, where the desert landscape looks particularly breathtaking at sunrise.
North Rim Campground (North Rim, AZ)
Spend a few days on the edge of the Grand Canyon at Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim Campground in Arizona, which is open from May through October. There are 90 tent-only campsites, with picnic tables, cooking grills, toilets and showers, and the Grand Canyon Lodge and visitor center are less than a mile away. It’s a great home base for hiking, with several popular trails accessible from the campground, including the North Kaibab Trail and the Transept Trail. All sites are available by reservation only, so be sure to book your spot ahead of time online.
Fernwood Resort Campground (Big Sur, CA)
Whether you prefer to arrive in an RV, pitch a tent or bunk up in a tent cabin, Fernwood Resort Campground in Big Sur will have what you’re looking for. Located alongside Big Sur River, nearby hiking trails and beaches, the rustic, woodsy resort has a restaurant, motel and two bathhouses to keep you comfortable. Rent an Adventure Tent if you want a bed and electricity, or opt to bring your own to one of the riverside campsites, most of which have water and electricity provided. It’s open year-round and winter can be a great time to visit Big Sur, especially if you want to avoid the crowds.
Assateague Island National Seashore Campgrounds (Berlin, MD)
Pop up a tent alongside the wild horses on Assateague Island at one of the several campsites, which welcome tents, RVs and even horse camping. There are toilets, cold showers and drinking water available, but campers should bring along firewood and anything they need for potentially bad weather. It’s incredibly scenic, with camps on both the bay side of the island and overlooking the ocean. On the island, enjoy swimming, kayaking, surfing and fishing, or set out to view the famed wild horses, which live in two herds on the Maryland and Virginia sides of Assateague.
El Cosmico (Marfa, TX)
Marfa, Texas, is an artsy destination so it’s not surprising to find its campgrounds equally as eclectic. El Cosmico is a quirky spot where you can rent trailers, yurts, safari tents and teepees, or opt to bring your own tent to self-camp. There are hot tubs, a bathhouse, bike rentals and a hammock grove, and you can cook dinner in the sharable outdoor kitchen. Aim for the spring or fall when the desert temperature is milder (winter can be really chilly at night). The town’s restaurants, bars and art galleries are nearby, so you’re not that far out into the wilderness. Check the El Cosmico website in advance of your visit for special events.
Capitol Reef Resort (Torrey, UT)
Capitol Reef Resort, near Utah’s Capitol Reef National Park, isn’t exactly a campground. But the resort does offer teepees and Conestoga wagons as accommodations for guests who want to get closer to the night sky. The wagons, which are centered around a campfire and available from June through September, are bucket-list-worthy, recreating the experience of traveling through the Old West. They have bathrooms but no TVs (you’ll survive), and each sleeps up to six guests. At the resort, enjoy an outdoor pool, horse riding, hiking and llama adventures out into the wilds of the park.
Posh Primitive (Chestertown, NY)
Head into the Adirondacks, north of New York City, to discover Posh Primitive, a luxury camping site with custom-made platform tents that include real beds. Grab a fishing pole to catch your own dinner, which the camp will cook up for you, or traverse the nearby mountain hiking trails. It’s a rustic version of luxury, although there is a new bathhouse, and it’s ideal for those ready to get out in nature. Visitors have access to tons of local activities, like whitewater rafting, mountain biking, caving and zip-lining, so you definitely won’t get bored. The best part is that there’s a comfortable mattress waiting for you at the end of the day.
The Vineyards Campground and Cabins (Grapevine, TX)
The shores of Grapevine Lake, in Grapevine, Texas, are home to The Vineyards Campground and Cabins, a camping spot that welcomes campers of all interests. Whether you’re looking to hook up an RV or bunk up in a cozy cabin, it’s all here, along with a Camp Store, docks and a swimming beach. There’s also kayaking, fishing and spots to play basketball and volleyball. It’s especially perfect for families (be sure to rent a golf cart to zip around the campground during your stay).
Blue Jay Campsite (Tupper Lake, NY)
Nestled on the shore of Big Tupper Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, you’ll discover Blue Jay Campsite, which opens from Memorial Day through September every year. It has its own beach, as well as laundry, showers and toilets, and each campsite has its own electricity and water hook-ups for RVs. It’s by reservation only, so plan ahead, and bring a swimsuit to partake in the paddleboard and boat rentals at the campground’s marina. It’s a particularly peaceful spot, perfect for a weekend away from the city. It’s relatively rural, but anyone seeking modern amenities can find them in the Village of Tupper Lake, just north along the water.