One of the best things about summer is that it’s a great time to get out and enjoy nature’s splendor. And there’s no better way to experience nature than camping. Days are spent hiking wooded trails and taking in picturesque views of mountains and forests. Nights are passed under a twinkling canopy of stars, eating s’mores and moon pies. It’s exciting to wake up in a tent at sunrise to the sound of birds chirping. After a breakfast of camp coffee and oatmeal, you are ready for another day of new adventure and discovery.
Now is the time to start thinking about this summer’s big camping trip. You’ll need a tent, sleeping bag, hiking boots, backpack, and a group of nature loving friends. To help you plan for the great escape, we rounded up the best camping destinations in the country.
If you're reading this, you're probably interested in going camping. Check out these camping-friendly stores to get you ready for your nature escape:
Source: Reddit user devastated_czar
Acadia National Park encapsulates the natural wonder of the Northeast. Located on Mount Desert Island in Maine, it has everything you need for the ultimate camping experience. Take an early morning hike up Cadillac Mountain to see the “nation’s first sunrise.” There are plenty of lakes, rivers, and streams for enjoying a cool dip. Your life will be forever changed after seeing Acadia’s night sky emblazoned with stars.
Acadia has 3 primary campgrounds: Blackwoods Campground located near Bar Harbor (open all year round, permits are needed December – March); Seawall Campground near Southwest Harbor (open late May-September 6); Schoodic Woods Campground located on Schoodic Peninsula (open late May – Columbus Day).
From May – October, Blackwoods is $30 per site, per night. At Seawall, walk-in tent sites are $22 per site, per night and drive-up tents, camper, and motor home sites are $30 per site, per night. Reservations are highly recommended at Schoodic Woods with fees per site, per night as follows: $22 hike-in tent sites, $30 drive up tent/small RV, $36 RV with electric only sites, $40 RV with electric and water sites.
Source: Northeast Explorer
Located in New York’s Finger Lake Region, Watkins Glen State Park is a magical place that looks like a scene from The Hobbit. Make the 800-step climb up the gorge trail to see and hear nineteen rushing waterfalls. Later, head to nearby Seneca Lake or Catherine Lake for some of the best fishing in the east. There’s also a playground, swimming pool, playing fields, grills and picnic tables making Watkins Glen a great place to bring the family.
The Park offers both tent and RV sites and Rustic cabins. Bathrooms and showers are accessible to guests.
Tent/RV sites are $18-30 per night (out of state resident camping fee is $5). Rustic cabins are $58 per night (3 night minimum with a $7 out of state fee.)
Source: Nutrition 1097
Located in Nantahala National Forest, Tsali Campground is North Carolina’s natural hidden gem. If you are into mountain biking or horseback riding, this is the destination for you. The area boasts 42 miles of trails (there is a per person day fee for trail use). Cool off in Fontana Lake, which permits motor boating and fishing. Pitch a tent and sleep under the stars at campsites available on a first-come, first serve-basis.
The campground has 42 campsites, each campsite has a fire ring, picnic table, and lantern post. Most sites accommodate small RVs, but no hook ups are available. Running water, showers, and flush toilets are available.
Tent/small RV campsites are $15 per site, per night.
Source: HQ World
With its scenic views and diverse terrain, Ludington State Park offers the best of the great lakes region. This is also a great place to come if you are camping with young children. Covering nearly 5,300 acres, the park features sand dunes, a shoreline vista, ponds, marshlands and forests. Enjoy 21.5 miles of hiking trails and great fishing courtesy of Lake Michigan.
There are 3 main campsites with tent, RV, and cabin availability - Beachwood, Cedar, and Pines. Electricity, shower, and bathroom facilities are available. Backpack campers head to Jack Pines Hike-In Only Campground (no electricity and rustic bathrooms).
At Beachwood and Pines campgrounds, tent and RV camping is $31-33 per site, per night. Renting a mini-cabin is $49 per night. Cedar campground is tent only and $31 per site, per night. Cabin rental is $49 per night. Jack Pines Hike-In Sites are $18 per night ($13 during off-season).
Source: Thousand Wonders
Glacier National Park holds a majestic beauty that captures the heart of anyone who visits. Come here to experience magnificent forests, alpine meadows, awesome lakes, and rugged mountains. Travel the Going-To-The-Sun Road, a 50-mile road meandering through the mountains (you’ll need a car). A hiker’s dream come true, Glacier National Park is home to over 700 miles of trails.
Choose from thirteen different campgrounds and approximately 1,009 sites for your stay. Most campgrounds are first come, first serve. Reservations are needed at Fish Creek, St. Mary and some of the campsites at Many Glacier and Apgar. Backcountry camping is permitted in some areas.
Most campsites cost $10-23 per night during the summer season. Backcountry camping requires a permit and $7 per person, per night fee.
Source: Travelling Helga
With Grand Canyon in its name, we do not need to convince you as to why this park is a top camping destination. Hiking offers the best way to connect with the park’s natural wonder. Backcountry hiking is physically challenging so take precautions regarding temperatures, water, and food, especially during the summer months. Or explore the canyon the pioneer way and book a mule trip. Be sure to reserve one day for whitewater rafting down the Colorado River.
On the South Rim, you can camp at Mather Campground (open year round, RVs are not permitted), Trailer Village for RVs in Grand Canyon Village, or Desert View Campground located in a less developed area (RVs are not permitted). The North Rim offers a more rugged camping experience and permits tents and RVs. The most hardcore get their fix by backpacking and camping in the canyon.
At Mather Campground, fees are $18 per site, per night (make reservations March 1 – mid-November during the busy season). Trailer Village is $44 per RV, per night. Desert View Campground is first-come, first-serve and $12 per site, per night. The North Rim Campground is $18-25 per site, per night. Backpack camping requires a $10 permit and $8 fee per person or stock animal, per night below the rim and $8 fee per group, per night above the rim.
Source: Images by Chris A
Plan your camping vacation here for the chance to roam in the land of the giants. Spend a day hiking through the incredible forest terrain composed of towering Sequoia trees. The landscape is diverse offering a unique outdoors experience with mountains, rugged foothills, canyons, and caverns. This is a great place to rock climb with areas suited for novices and well-seasoned climbers alike.
There are numerous campgrounds in the park for tents and RVs. Stay at a campground in Sequoia National Forest and sleep among the giants. Backpackers are permitted to camp in park wilderness areas. To avoid bears, all food, trash, and any items with a scent must be stored in metal food storage boxes.
Campsites range from $18-22 per night. Reservations at popular campgrounds like Lodgepole and Dorst Creek can be make 6 months ahead. A $10 wilderness permit and $5 per person fee is required to backpack camp.
Source: HQ World
Outdoors lovers come to this park to experience its drastically diverse ecosystems. Here, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of glacier-capped mountains, explore rain forests, and hike along over 70 miles of wild coastline! Experienced climbers come ready to tackle the challenging terrain of Mt. Olympus. If your idea of outdoor adventure is more laidback, bring a pair of binoculars to observe the fascinating wildlife.
There are 16 campgrounds that run on a first-come, first-serve basis. Kalaloch and Sol Duc accept reservations during the summer season. RVs and trailers are not recommended at Queets, North Fork and Dosewallips (walk-in only).
Fees range from $15-22 per site, per night. The fee to use dump stations is $10. Dosewallips Campground is the most rugged (pit toilets), but free to camp.
The benefits granted to the mind, body, and spirit after spending just few days and nights in nature are immense. You’ll feel lighter, centered, and appreciative of our natural world and all its beauty. 2016 also marks the 100th birthday of our National Park Service. Start the celebrations by getting ready for this summer’s wilderness adventure.