Great Tent Camping to Try on Vacation

The USA has so many fantastic places to soak up the spectacular natural scenery, breathe in the fresh air, swim in crystal clear lakes and rivers, and hike in some of the most beautiful areas of the world. And what better way to end a day than by pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars? National and state parks and recreational areas all over the country have a plethora of campsites that offer all kinds of camping from backcountry and primitive camping to deluxe glamping with all the bells and whistles. Whether you prefer to pitch a tent in the remote wilderness or enjoy the comforts of glamping closer to home, here are some of the best spots in the USA to head into the wild.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is a 47,000-acre recreation area on Maine's Mount Desert Island that offers fantastic tent camping. Located southwest of Bar Harbor, the 49,075-acre park features pristine landscapes ranging from rocky beaches and dense woodlands to grand granite peaks and is home to a wide variety of wildlife such as bears, moose, whales, and seabirds. There are three campgrounds in the park, namely Blackwoods Campground, which has 306 campsites, including sites for RVs; Seawall Campground, which is on the western side of Mount Desert Island and has 200 wooded campsites, and a scenic oceanside picnic area; and Schoodic Woods Campground, which has 94 campsites with standard amenities. Other recreational activities in the park include hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, rock climbing, kayaking and canoeing, swimming, sea kayaking, and guided boat tours on the ocean.

Bar Harbor, ME 04609, Phone: (207) 288-3338

White Mountain National Forest

Mount Washington State Park is a 60.3-acre area of land on the summit of Mount Washington, the summit of the Northeast's highest peak, and is surrounded by the magnificent 750,000-acre White Mountain National Forest. Spectacular views from the 6,288-foot summit extend as far as 130 miles to Vermont and New York on a clear day and a modern summit building known as Sherman Adams building houses the Sherman Adams Visitor Center, the historic Tip-Top House, the Mount Washington Observatory and its museum, as seasonal cafeteria, gift shop, and restrooms. The White Mountain National Forest provides a variety of camping from family-friendly campgrounds, to popular backcountry sites and tent camping in the wilderness.

1598 Mt Washington Auto Road, Sargent's Purchase, NH 03589, United States, Phone: +1 603-466-3347

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is a national park next to the Colorado River just north of Moab that features more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-renowned Delicate Arch. The aptly named park spans 76,679 acres also boasts a wealth of significant geological resources and formations, hoodoos, gargoyles, craggy sandstone towers and turrets, and spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness and distant snowcapped mountains. A notable feature in the park is Landscape Arch, which measures 306 feet with the second-longest span in the world. Activities in the park include hiking, mountain biking, climbing, scenic drives, camping, and photography. Devil’s Garden Campground is the only campground in the park and offers 51 primitive campsites which need to be reserved in advance.

Moab, Utah 84532, Phone: (435) 719-2299

Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island National Seashore is a vast natural barrier island ecosystem on the coast of Maryland and Virginia and offers a multitude of recreational opportunities, including camping. The 37-mile long barrier island features a variety of diverse terrain, including maritime forests, dunes, and salt marshes, and is famous for two herds of wild horses that inhabit the island. The campground is open year-round and offers oceanside group camping sites, equestrian non-electric sites, and oceanside and individual bayside sites with amenities such as unheated showers, potable water, and vaulted toilets. The island can be accessed from both Maryland and Virginia by bridge over mainland routes.

Assateague Island National Seashore, Bayside Dr, Berlin, MD 21811, United States, Phone: +1 410-641-3030

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is a national park in southwestern South Dakota that is renowned for its dramatic rock formations, towering spires, steep canyons, and sprawling grasslands teeming with bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs. The 242,756-acre park features several attractions, including the Fossil Exhibit Trail, a boardwalk displaying fossils uncovered in the park; the Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240), which winds past numerous scenic lookouts; and interesting hiking trails near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. The park features several campgrounds, including the Cedar Pass Campground, which is located near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center and offers 96 level sites with scenic views of the surrounding rock formations; the Sage Creek Campground, which provides first-come, first-served primitive camping sites, pit toilets, potable water and covered picnic tables. Backpackers are allowed to camp anywhere in the park.

25216 Ben Reifel Road, Interior, SD 57750, Phone: (605) 433-5361

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park rests on the United States-Canada border and encompasses over a million acres of landscapes, including two mountain ranges, over 130 lakes, and thousands of plant and animal species. This natural wonderland is at the center of what is referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem" and is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with a range of recreational activities to enjoy, from hiking, biking, mountain climbing, and wildlife watching. The park features 13 front-country campgrounds and over 1,000 campsites to choose from with amenities ranging restrooms with hot and cold showers, potable water, and dump stations to basic vault toilets and water-filling stations. The Bowman Lake, Kintla Lake, Cut Bank, Quartz Creek, Logging Creek, and Sprague Creek are tent-only campsites.

West Glacier, MT, Phone: 406-888-7800

Green Mountain National Forest

Green Mountain National Forest is in western Vermont that is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, including temperate broadleaf and mixed Acadian forests and black bears, moose, coyote, beaver, wild turkey and white-tailed deer. The Green Mountain National Forest provides a range of recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and camping at a variety of campgrounds ranging from developed campsites to rustic backcountry camping. The region has seven campsites located around the Middlebury, Manchester and Rochester districts that offer various amenities ranging from restrooms with hot and cold showers, potable water, and dump stations to basic vault toilets and water-filling stations.

Rutland, VT 05701, United States, Phone: +1 802-747-6700

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Located on Hawaii Island, also known as the Big Island, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to two active volcanoes - Kilauea and Mauna Loa – as well as awe-inspiring landscapes of cinder cones, gaping pits, rough lava trails, and other volcanic wonders, offering some of the best volcano viewing in the world. The park has two drive-in campgrounds – Namakanipaio and Kulanaokuaiki. Namakanipaio Campground boasts a large grassy area shaded by tall eucalyptus and 'ohi'a trees and features restrooms, potable water, picnic tables, and barbecue pits, and the more basic Kulanaokuaiki has nine designated campsites with tent pads, picnic tables, and vault-type toilets. However, there is no water at the Kulanaokuaiki campground.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718, United States, Phone: +1 808-985-6000

Joshua Tree National Park

Located 140 miles east of Los Angeles in the Southern California desert, Joshua Tree National Park is an expansive park that features more than 4,500 established rock-climbing routes, natural springs, human-made reservoirs, and many overnight camping areas. Named after the yucca that grows in the park’s northwestern section, the park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, and offers some of the best camping in Southern California. The park boasts no less than eight campgrounds that are open at various times of the year, including three group campsites and two equestrian campgrounds. Amenities at the campsites range from restrooms with hot and cold showers, potable water, and dump stations to basic vault toilets and water-filling stations.

74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277-3597, Phone: (760) 367-5500

Kaibab National Forest

Bordering the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon, in north-central Arizona, the Kaibab National Forest spans 1.6 million acres and features four designated wilderness areas, including the Kanab Creek Wilderness and the Saddle Mountain Wilderness in the North Kaibab Ranger District and the Kendrick Mountain Wilderness and Kendrick Mountain Wilderness in the Williams Ranger District. Attractions in the park include the historic Spring Valley Cabin, the Hull Cabin near the Grand Canyon’s south rim, and camping at several campgrounds around the park, ranging from primitive tent camping with basic amenities to standard campsites with electricity and water hookups.

800 S 6th St, Williams, AZ 86046, United States

Lake McConaughy

Lake McConaughy, fondly known as Lake Mac or Big Mac, is Nebraska's largest reservoir and offers an array of recreational activities including boating, fishing, swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing, scuba diving, sailing, and camping. The 100-mile lakeshore has beautiful white sand beaches that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and camping where tent campers can pitch their tent right on the water's edge. Lake McConaughy boasts ten campgrounds, including primitive beach camping, lakeside camping at one of three campgrounds, and three developed campgrounds within a stone’s throw of the lake with RV hookups, drinking water, flush toilets, and showers.

1475 Highway 61 North, Ogallala NE 69153-5930, Phone: (308)284-8800

Ludington State Park

Nestled between Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake just north of Ludington, Michigan, Ludington State Park encompasses almost 5,300 acres comprised of several ecosystems, including dense forests, lush marshlands and wetlands, lakes, rivers, sandy beaches, and scenic dunes. The park is home to several campgrounds that offer rustic camping to modern sites with amenities such as restrooms with hot and cold showers, potable water, and dump stations to basic vault toilets and water-filling stations. Campground facilities include swimming pools, playgrounds, laundry rooms, games rooms, convenience stores, and fish freezers, and other activities include interpretive programs, nature hikes, classes, and a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

8800 M-116, Ludington, MI 49431, United States, Phone: +1 231-843-2423

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

The Minnewaska State Park Preserve is a 22,275-acre preserve that offers a range of recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, swimming, and camping against a backdrop of scenic views of the Catskill Mountains. Located on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County, New York, the preserve is home to four of the five sky lakes on the Shawangunk Ridge and offers a range of activities, including over 50 miles of trails and carriageways around the three lakes. The Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground is a tent-only campground with a bathhouse and restroom facilities, pavilion and cooking area, and several circulation trails. The campground features 24 drive-in spots and 26 walk-in spots that can accommodate up to two tents per pad. Camping in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve is open mid-May through mid-November, weather permitting.

5281 Route 44-55, Kerhonkson, NY 12446, United States, Phone: +1 845-255-0752

Big Bend National Park

Set along the Rio Grande in the Brewster and Presidio counties with 23 miles of river frontage, Big Bend National Park is a 311,000-acre state park and the largest in Texas. The park encompasses a network of open range cattle ranches and is home to vast herds of longhorn cattle that are rounded up on a semi-annual basis. Visitors to the park can enjoy a wealth of outdoor recreational activities, including river-rafting, kayaking, swimming and fishing, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking on over 238 miles of trails. Big Bend National Park has four campgrounds, three of which are developed front country campgrounds with drinking water and restroom facilities, and one full hookup RV camping area with electricity and water.

Big Bend National Park, TX 79834, Phone: 432-477-2251

Cayo Costa State Park

Set on the Cayo Costa, just north of North Captiva Island and west of Cape Coral, the Cayo Costa State Park is a Florida State Park on a barrier island that boasts miles of beautiful beaches, acres of pine forests, oak-palm hammocks and dense mangrove swamps. Accessible only by boat, ferry or helicopter, the 2,426-acre park has several nature trails for hiking and mountain biking, bird- and wildlife watching, and has excellent fishing opportunities. The park has several camping options with 30 primitive campsites with picnic tables, barbecue grills, and potable water, and modern restrooms with cold showers and flush toilets. There are also rental cabins on the island, boat camping facilities, and bikes, kayaks, and paddleboards for hire.

Captiva, FL 33924, USA, Phone: +1 941-964-0375

Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park

Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park is a Californian state park that features vast old-growth forests of coast redwoods and eight miles of wild Pacific coastline. The Mill Creek Campground lies just south of Crescent City in a logged redwood grove next to Mill Creek and offers an ideal basecamp for exploring this remote swath of coastline. The peaceful and relaxing campground is a drive-in tent campground intended for tent camping with basic facilities, including a dump station, a water filling station, fire pits, picnic tables, and food storage lockers. The campground has a scenic hiking trail loop that winds through heavily-logged redwood forest and is only open from May through September.

Crescent City, CA 95531, United States, Phone: +1 707-465-7335

Denali National Park

Encompassing six million acres of Alaska’s rugged interior wilderness, Denali National Park is and centered around and named for the 20,310-foot-high Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak. Bisected by a single road, the vast wilderness attracts thousands of visitors each year who come to enjoy the beauty and solace of the wild activities like hiking, biking, backpacking, and mountaineering in the summer, along with cross-country skiing, dog-sledding, and snowmobiling in the winter. Denali National Park has six campgrounds, all of which offer tent camping and have basic facilities. The Riley Creek Campground is open year-round, while the remaining are only accessible during the summer, and the Igloo Creek Campground is for tents only with just seven sites.

Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK, United States, Phone: +1 907-683-9532

Devils Fork State Park

Resting on the shores of the 7,500-acre Lake Jocassee at the eastern edge of the Sumter National Forest in northwestern South Carolina, Devils Fork State Park is a pristine wilderness that offers hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and camping. The park has two campgrounds located near the shores of Lake Jocassee that offer standard sites with electricity and water and one 12' by 12' tent pad, as well as picnic tables and fire rings. Walk-in campsites designated for tent camping only are available a short walk from a central parking area and have 25 elevated tent pads with picnic tables and fire rings. Laundry facilities are also available.

161 Holcombe Cir, Salem, SC 29676, United States, Phone: +1 864-944-2639

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park consists of 1.5-million-acres of beautifully preserved wetlands made up of coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes, and pine woods. The most significant tropical wilderness of its kind in the world, these wetlands are home to a wealth of animal and bird species and have been declared a World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve, and a Wetland of International Importance. The park has two drive-in campgrounds, namely Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground, both of which can accommodate tents and RVs and offer a limited number of group sites. The Lone Pine Key Campground is located just a few miles from the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm and offers restrooms, cold showers, a dump station and a water-filling station, while the year-round Flamingo Campgrounds boast beautiful views of the Florida Bay and have showers, picnic tables and grills, two dump stations, and an amphitheater for winter programs.

40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034, Phone: (305) 242-7700

Monument Valley

Monument Valley is an arid desert region on the Arizona-Utah border that is famous for its red sand and towering sandstone buttes, the largest of which reaches 1,000 feet above the valley floor. One of the best ways to experience the spectacular beauty of the Valley that has been home to civilizations for centuries is to camp at one of the five campgrounds in the region. The View Campground offers basic amenities, including potable water, a fire pit, and picnic tables, and breathtaking views of the most popular tower in Monument Valley — the Mittens, while Goulding’s RV & Campground sits beneath the towering red walls and offers sites with picnic tables, fire rings, and hot showers.

Indian Route 42, Oljato-Monument Valley, AZ 84536, United States, Phone: +1 435-727-5870

Olympic National Park

Set on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park is a national park with World Heritage status that spans nearly a million acres with 73 miles of park coastline covering several different ecosystems from old-growth forests to the dramatic peaks of the Olympic Mountains. The park is home to the towering, glacier-clad Mt. Olympus, which attracts mountain climbers, while other activities in the park include hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, geocaching, and camping at one of several campgrounds in the park. Tents-only campgrounds with limited amenities such as pit toilets and no potable water include the Deer Park, Dosewallips, Graves Creek Campground, North Fork, and Queets campgrounds.

3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362, United States

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Hugging the south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a famous reserve that is renowned for its dramatic multicolored Pictured Rocks cliffs and unusual sandstone formations like Miners Castle and Chapel Rock. The park offers a variety of attractions such as remnants of shipwrecks around Au Sable Point’s 19th-century lighthouse and a popular hiking trail through a white birch forest at Twelve Mile Beach. Camping is available at three rustic drive-in campgrounds - Little Beaver, Hurricane River, and Twelvemile Beach - which have basic amenities such as vault toilets and well water, along with picnic tables, fire rings with grill grates and tent pads.

Munising, MI 49862, United States, Phone: +1 906-387-3700

Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Based on the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounded by the Michaux State Forest in Cooke Township of Cumberland County, the 696-acre Pine Grove Furnace State Park is home to the Laurel and Fuller Lakes. The park features many recreational and outdoor activities, including hiking the Appalachian Trail, mountain biking, boating, camping, cross-country skiing, canoeing, fishing, kayaking, and swimming. Facilities include boat launching stations, picnic shelters with picnic tables, a children’s playground, seasonal refreshment stations at the beach, and a campground. The campground has 70 tent and trailer sites with picnic tables and fire rings, and amenities such as flush toilets, warm showers, some electric hook-ups, and a seasonal camp store nearby. The park also has a rural area for group tent camping.

1100 Pine Grove Rd, Gardners, PA 17324, USA, Phone: +1 717-486-7174

Shenandoah National Park

Extending along the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is home to pristine landscapes and breathtaking natural terrain ranging from densely forested valleys, cascading waterfalls, rocky peaks like Hawksbill and Old Rag mountains, the rolling hills of the Virginia Piedmont, and the vast, meandering Shenandoah River. The 200,000-acre designated wilderness is home to a wealth of bird and mammal species and can be explored on the 105-mile Skyline Drive that runs the entire length of the long and narrow park and offers spectacular panoramic vistas and views. The park is home to five campgrounds that offer both primitive tent camping and RV hookups, and amenities including coin-operated showers and laundry facilities, flushing toilets, camp stores, and generators.

3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835, Phone: (540) 999-3500

Wyalusing Hardwood Forest

Originally named the Nelson Dewey State Park, Wyalusing State Park is a 2,628-acre park at the point where the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers meet that is home to 500-foot-high bluffs dotted with prehistoric Native American mounds. The park is home to the National Natural Landmark of the Wyalusing Hardwood Forest and the Wyalusing State Park Mounds Archaeological District, which is listed is on the National Register of Historic Places. Wyalusing State Park offers several camping opportunities for visitors, including two family campgrounds which have basic amenities such as flush toilets, warm showers, electric hook-ups, and potable water, and are open year-round. 13295 State Park Ln, Bagley, WI 53801, United States, Phone: +1 608-996-2261