Amazing Places To Camp In The Usa
One of the most American types of holiday for families is thought to be camping. Take to the open countryside, plan your adventures, and enjoy the excitement.
The wide-open spaces, the diverse climate in different parts of the country and the variety of landscapes on offer in America are incredible. Camping along the coast, in the mountains, by the side of lakes or streams or for the really adventurous of you backcountry camping.
There are picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing, swimming and many more exciting activities on offer. Many campsites offer built-in campgrounds with running water and electricity. Whether you decide to use your RV camper, tent or go backpacking in an isolated area, there will be something to suit everyone.
You can even tie camping holidays in with hunting – both work very well together as it means you can plan trips further afield and not have to worry about how far you need to travel to get back and forth.
If you do plan on going hunting, it would be best to plan what equipment you need to take. You don’t want to get there and find you’re out of ammo, so it might be best to stock up well in advance. If you do, then you can bulk ammo at a number of different places including Palmetto State Armory and AmmoMan.
But let’s move on to the actual locations themselves.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
This is one of the few really dry places where camping is a joy and it offers many different views of desert landscape.
Wherever you plan to explore remember to take plenty of water with you as this is a desert !! If you enjoy hiking there are more than 10 mountain peaks to attempt, and also an opportunity for rock climbing.
Almost 95% of this park is designated as wilderness, there are 13 campgrounds scattered throughout the park as well as backcountry camping for the experienced camper.
Joshua Tree National Park is open all year round with the busy season running from October through May, and is a great winter location as it never gets unbearably cold. The Mojave and the Colorado come together in the Park resulting in a large variety of plants and animals and creating many nature walks, opportunities for stargazing, ideal for photography and is a land which has been sculpted by strong winds and very occasionally torrential rain which ensures many surreal geological features in the vast wilderness.
It is wise to plan your visit before you go in order to get the most from your time there as the area is so vast.
Yosemite National Park, California
Situated in the beautiful county of Mariposa and offers soaring granite icons such as Half Dome, El Capitan and of course what Yosemite National Park is well known for its waterfalls.
Nearly 95% of the park is completely natural making it an incredible experience for everyone who enjoys nature. There are 13 popular campgrounds scattered throughout the park as well as backcountry camping for the more adventurous. It is advisable to make a reservation as early as possible as campgrounds which require a reservation are very often full.
Yosemite Valley has well-known rock formations and sheer cliffs with flowing waterfalls from great heights to tiny streams. The best time for waterfall sightseeing is May and June
The granite dome of the Half Dome and EL Capitan, the stillness of nature whether hiking, backpacking or skiing in one of the most beautiful places on earth makes Yosemite National Park a place well worth visiting.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
Located in south-west Colorado, is not widely known and is in fact one of the least visited of the nation’s national parks. Black Canyon offers two campgrounds one on each rim.
North Rim Campground is a remote campground in the North Rim of the park, seven miles of the North Rim and the campground road are unpaved. Services are limited, the campground is small but the sites are spacious.
The campground gets full very quickly during the summer months and at weekends. The South Rim Campground is situated one mile from the South Rim Visitor Center and is close to the amphitheater where ranger programs operate during the summer season.
The Night Sky and Viewing & Telescope Site is also nearby. There is also a campground at the bottom of the canyon called East Portland. The East Portal Campground is situated within Curecanti National Recreation Area and is adjacent and only accessible from Black Canyon National Park.
Well prepared and experienced campers can choose to camp at the base of the inner canyon wilderness route.
Black Canyon provides an opportunity to see amazing and important geological features, for example, some of the steepest cliffs in North America, and is also home to the fastest bird in the world the Peregrine falcon.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park has something to offer everyone who visits, a Junior Ranger Program or a hike along the Fossil Exhibit Trail and for the more experienced a social trail and a backcountry camp.
Venture along the Badlands Loop Road, but be aware of the wildlife. Reifel Visitor Centre provides interesting facts about the area, visitors can engage with palaeontologists working in the fossil preparation lab, browse the many books in the bookstore and enjoy the many museum exhibits
Youngsters can become a Junior Ranger at Badlands by completing a fun activity book and earn a Junior Ranger Badge and pledge to explore, learn about and protect the parks.
Take a drive along the Sage Creek Rim Road which is one of the dirt roads in the north, and enjoy the many views of the Badlands formations, you may come across some of the local wildlife. Enjoy further views from the Badlands Loop Road – known as highway 240.
If you are an early riser you will enjoy some spectacular sunrises. There are two official campgrounds at Badlands National Park with either views of the Sage Creek Wilderness area or Cedar Pass.
Cedar Pass offers amenities such as running water and electricity while Sage Creek has no running water, but has the added bonus of watching Bison wandering the area. Reservations are required for both of these camp sites.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Dry Tortugas National Park is approximately 68 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico.
The park preserves Fort Jefferson and the Seven Dry Tortugas Islands, the westernmost and most isolated of the Florida Keys. The park is noted for the abundant sea life, tropical bird breeding grounds and colourful coral reefs. The park’s centrepiece being Fort Jefferson, a massive but unfinished coastal fortress occupying the majority of Garden Key in the remote Dry Tortugas National Park.
Fort Jefferson represents the highest achievements of nineteenth-century American Military architecture and civil engineering. When camping in Dry Tortugas bear in mind that space and services are limited.
All overnight camping takes place within the Garden Key Campground, which is situated south of Fort Jefferson. There are eight regular campsites which offer a first come first served basis.
If you are prepared to camp in a remote location then you will enjoy camping at Garden Key, which is a short walk from the public dock. Individual sites to accommodate up to 3 two person tents are available.
Campsites have picnic tables and grills but campers must supply their own tent, water, fuel and food and all garbage must be taken away. A ferry can bring campers and their gear to Dry Tortugas, once you arrive there are wheeled carts to enable you to move your camping gear to the campground.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park is situated on Mount Desert Island.
The park has an estimated 17million acres of forest, 6000 lakes and 32,000 miles of rivers so plenty of space for everyone to enjoy. The park has three campgrounds, Blackwoods which is close to Bar Harbor, Seawall which is considered less touristy and Schoodic Woods on the Schoodic Peninsula.
Camping from May to October is very popular so it is advisable to make a reservation. Blackwoods Campground welcomes tents and RV’s. The campground has restrooms with running water and showers.
Seawall Campground is open from May through September and offers walk-in / drive up tent sites as well as sites for campers and RV hookups. Restrooms and running water are available.
Schoodic Woods Campground which is situated on the Schoodic Peninsula and is approximately an hour from Bar Harbor by car or ferry ride. These wooded campsites for tents and RV’s have running water available.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, long known for its scenic drive and its volcanic features is considered to be one of the best places in the United States for amateur astronomy.
Haleakala National Park contains one of two volcanoes that go to make up the island of Maui. Over half of all Maui visitors visit Haleakala Crater making a somewhat difficult journey up the switchback road which rises from sea level to 10,000 ft in only 38 miles. Once at the summit the remarkable views of the four islands make this one of the most impressive experiences in Hawaii.
There are two easily accessible campgrounds for tent and car camping. Each has toilets, picnic tables, fire pits, and a three-night per month limit. Hosmer Campground lies below the summit at approximately 7,000 ft near Hosmer Grove. Kipahulu Campground has ocean cliffs and is close to the Kipahulu Visitor Center.
There are also two backcountry camping areas available for backpackers. Each camp lies on a trail, has a two-night maximum stay, but they act as fantastic base camps from which to explore.
It is important to remember that whilst daytime temperatures may be between 40 – 70 degrees night time temperatures can drop to 30 -50 degrees, so make sure you have plenty of warm clothing with you.
Holua Campsite is approximately four miles from Halemau’s trailhead and gives access to the wilderness district. Paliku Campsite is more than nine miles from the Sliding Sands Trail and is situated at the base of rainforest cliffs.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park is only a short drive from Washington DC and has approximately 500 miles of trails. This park offers exciting views of forest and waterfalls and fields of wildflowers.
There are over 200,000 acres of protected lands which are home to songbirds, deer and black bears. Ranger Programs are on offer, including guided hikes, talks and campfire programs.
Camping at Shenandoah can be an amazing experience, with the right preparation, the campgrounds have a seasonal opening at the beginning of spring and closing at the beginning of fall with reservation recommended, particularly at weekends and holidays.
There are four main campgrounds which feature spacious tent, trailer and RV sites as well as many areas for backcountry camping. As this is Bear country food storage is considered paramount and all garbage and equipment used for food preparation must be kept in a locked vehicle when not in use.
Virginia Shenandoah National Park has the majesty of Blue Ridge Mountains, the Shenandoah Valley and the heart of the Appalachian Trail. The Shenandoah River and Shenandoah Valley are to the west, the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont to the east and everywhere there are the Blue Ridge Mountains.
As well as the peace and tranquility of the wilderness at Shenandoah there are many organized activities available such as Annual Festivals, Astronomy events, Hiking, Horseback riding, Rock climbing and of course many opportunities for some shopping.
Olympic National Park Washington
Olympic National Park is home to four of the world’s few remaining temperate rainforests, a breathtaking coastline and craggy mountain peaks elevating from sea level to 7,983 ft at Mt. Olympus.
This evergreen park has innumerable places for any outdoor enthusiast to enjoy but Olympic National Park has more than just magnificent trees and hiking opportunities it has three completely different ecosystems, including a rainforest.
Hike over the hills, or watch the whales from the shore, walk among giant trees including the nation’s largest Silka spruce at 191ft tall.
There is nothing quite like camping next to a beautiful coastline which is marked by several sea stacks. The park has 14 developed campgrounds with approximately 900 campsites throughout, some next to the ocean and others in the rainforest.
All campsites provide a fire pit, some with a grate, picnic tables but no RV hookups or showers.
The majority of the campgrounds operate on a first come first-served basis. There are, of course, many opportunities for the adventurous and experienced to enjoy some peace and tranquillity by backcountry camping.