The adventurer in all of us dreams about waking up to grand landscapes at our feet and the feeling of those first crisp breaths of mountain air. This list is for the adventurer at heart and for those that are eager to see the beautiful spots around the United States.
Camp 4 – Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park has long been one of the most infamous campsites in the United States. Since becoming one of the first National Parks in 1916, the park is rarely not packed with tourists. Still, this gem has held true to its beauty and offers many camping options for camping whether you are with your family, your friends, significant other or alone.Camp 4 is one of the most notorious campgrounds in the park as it is heralded as one of the birthplaces of modern rock climbing. Over the past 50 years, the sport of rock climbing has erupted and largely in part to the culture and progression in Yosemite Valley.When looking out on the valley and all its grandeur you can’t help but be drawn to the towering granite cliffs on each side, Half Dome and El Capitan. Camp 4 is the headquarters for those daring enough to climb the cliffs and if you want an entry into the world of climbing, this is it.
Havasupai Falls – Grand Canyon National Park
Havasupai Falls just outside of the Grand Canyon is one of the most adventurous campsites on this list. The hike into this desert oasis is about 10 miles one-way and is located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation so the facilities are minimal. With just a dirt parking lot at the startOften times the waiting list for this two to four-day camping trip can be backed up for 6 months, so, secure your spot ASAP. While the 19-mile round trip can be strenuous the reward of the beautiful blue waterfalls and crystal clear swimming holes make the trip well worth the work.
Maroon Bells – Aspen, Colorado
With a crystal clear river peacefully flowing by, these snow-capped twin peaks are one of the most photographed landscapes in Colorado for good reason. This a great campsite for enjoying the Rocky Mountains whether you are looking to hike, fish, climb or spend time in the water. The Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak fourteeners (14,000 ft. peaks) are located just 10 miles outside the town of Aspen and are a short drive away from various lift areas. There is even a Colorado Public Bus that will drop you off just outside of the campsite which can be a nice break from the norm.During winter the area is blanketed in the same snow that brings visitors from around the world to ski and snowboard in Aspen. The best time for camping is early autumn when the crowds start to thin and before it gets too cold. The spring and summer months tend to be packed with hikers, fishers and campers so be sure to either reserve a campsite or get there bright and early to secure your piece of paradise for the night.
Jenny Lake – Grand Teton National Park
Jenny Lake boasts some of the most beautiful views of any campsite in America as the campsites are nestled in the flatland of Grand Teton National Park. With over 50 campsites at this location, you can be sure that you will be able to find a beautiful spot on the lake looking out on the Teton mountain range. The facilities at this campsite are sparse compared to most so be sure to pack a bit more than you normally would, i.e; soap, toilet paper, water for dishes.Having Jackson Hole and Yellowstone National Park within a short driving distance makes this spot a must for anyone looking to see as much as the can in a short period of time. The Jenny Lake campground is almost directly next to the trailheads of some of the most popular hiking trails as well. This makes this spot the most popular campsite in the park so it fills up fast, usually by 8 am.
Big Bend, Moab – Utah
Big Bend Campground in Moab has a little a bit of everything for everybody. With beautiful campgrounds stretching over a half mile along the Colorado River, you are sure to find a surreal place to rest your head through the night. The red rock adventure town of Moab is one of few towns like it that caters almost exclusively to outdoor enthusiasts. During the day you can explore the endless trails of red rock canyons and vistas or walk across the street from your campground and explore the Big Bend Boulderfield.
Garden Key – Dry Tortugas Islands
Camping in Garden Key at Dry Tortugas Island National Park can be the perfect tropical adventure! This beautiful island can only be reached by ferry or private vessel for campers so be sure to plan ahead. Each campsite can accommodate 3 – 2 person tents but there is also a group camping option for groups with 10+. The smaller campsites are all available on a first-come-first-served basis.
These campsites on the beach are primitive so be sure to pack everything you may need from food and water to fuel as there is no store nearby. Unfortunately, the only fires allowed at these campsites are camp stoves and charcoal BBQ fires.
Linville Gorge – North Carolina
North Carolina’s wildest land and best climbing are nestled deep in the Linville Gorge along with the ever-popular Linville Falls. This Blue Ridge Mountain getaway is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and being just northeast of Asheville makes it easily accessible as well. Spend your days hiking and climbing on the endless trails through the gorge and snack at Linville Falls before making camp at a beautiful outlook.
The Gorge at Watkins Glen – New York
Watkins Glen is another great family destination on the list. The stunning waterfalls and hiking loops make this family camping park a huge hit during the spring and summer months. During this peak season be sure to reserve your space in advance.A downside to the sites at Watkins Glen is the RV camping is dispersed throughout the tent camping area which can lead to some noisy nights if you’re not lucky. During summer months there can also be flooding which causes parts of the park to close. You can check their web page for notifications regarding park
Fall Creek Falls – Tennessee
This enormous state park has the most camping options of any park on this list. Fall Creek Falls has well over 200 campsites with many different sites to choose from. Those that are looking for a more scenic and secluded campsite can backpack throughout the park and camp in the backcountry or take the strenuous 4-mile hike to the awe-inspiring Virgin Falls.If you are looking for an even bolder getaway you can brave the hike into Virginia Falls during the winter and camp next to a snow-capped waterfall. Be sure to reserve your campsite at Virginia Falls online and bring everything you may need as this hike is very similar to Havasupai Falls as the sites are quite far from any manmade resources.
Fairholme/Kalaloch Campground – Olympic National Park
The beach bum in all of us will love this seaside camping spot in Washington’s Olympic National Park! With your choice of ocean or forest, this campsite is sure not to disappoint! Most of the sites other than a few are first-come-first-served during the summer months which are prime for visitors. Kalaloch campsite offers the best view of the Pacific while Foairholme boasts almost 100 lakefront sites.Some sites in the park are also walk-in only sites so you may be rewarded with a beautiful view if you’re willing to walk a bit for it. If backpacking is your thing, you can grab your bags and head for a scenic section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Check out the Olympic National Park website for more information planning your trip.https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/camping.htm