Home to numerous rivers, streams, waterways, and lakes, with some of the deepest, broadest, brightest, and most spectacular lakes and reservoirs in the world, the United States is full of amazing places to lakeside camp. 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 where you can soak up the spectacular natural scenery, swim in crystal clear lakes and rivers and hike in some of the most beautiful areas of the world. Here are some of the best lakeside campgrounds to pitch a tent and sleep under the stars.
1. Brantley Lake State Park
Located 12 miles north of Carlsbad in New Mexico, Brantley Lake State Park is home to Brantley Lake, a man-made reservoir created from the Pecos River in the 1980s that offers an array of recreational and outdoor activities. The Brantley Lake State Park Campground has 51 campsites with water and electric hookups, as well as drinking water, flush toilets, coin-operated hot showers, and an RV dump station. The Park also has a visitor center offering information on the park, several hiking trails, a boat ramp, picnic area, and primitive camping at Rocky Bay with campsites, fire rings, shade structures, and tables. Brantley Lake State Park offers activities such as hiking, mountain biking, boating, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, swimming, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.
33 East Brantley Lake Road, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88221, Phone: 575-457-2384
2. Caboose Lake Campground
© Caboose Lake Campground
Caboose Lake Campground is nestled around a 20-acre spring-fed lake in Remington in rural Northwest Indiana and offers 75 pull-through lakefront RV sites with electricity, water, and sewerage hookups, modern restrooms with showers and picnic areas with tables and fire rings. The lake is stocked with a variety of fish species, providing excellent fishing, along with other water-based activities such as boating, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Campground facilities include a coin-operated laundry, a camp store, complimentary wireless Internet around the camp, and an array of organized activities throughout the summer.
3657 West, US-24, Remington, IN 47977, Phone: 219-261-3828
3. Cave Lake State Park
Cave Lake State Park is a 4,000-acre state park and public recreation area next to the Humboldt National Forest in the Schell Creek Range. Located five miles southeast of Ely at an elevation of 7,300 feet, Cave Lake is home to a 32-acre reservoir that offers boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, picnicking and camping. Open year-round, the park’s facilities campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, and a boat launch, and it boasts outstanding scenic views and spectacular natural scenery for nature study and photography. Winter sports include cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice, and snow sculpting is growing in popularity.
US Highway 93-Success Summit, Ely, NV 89301, Phone: Phone: 775-728-4460
4. Campground by The Lake
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Conveniently located within walking distance of the shores of Lake Tahoe, Campground by the Lake is a 178-campsite facility with access to an array of amenities and facilities ranging from a Recreation and Swim complex, baseball fields and an ice arena to children’s playgrounds, hiking and biking trails, a Visitor Center and the Bijou Golf Course. Situated on the shores of the ‘Jewel of the Sierra's’ Campground by the Lake offers full-hook-up sites with picnic areas, tables, and fire rings, modern restrooms with hot showers, and RV dump stations. Recreational activities in the area include swimming, boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boating, hiking, and mountain biking.
150 Rufus Allen Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150, Phone: 530-542-6096
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5. Crater Lake National Park
Resting on the crest of the Cascade Range in southern Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the country with a depth of 1,942 feet. Created over 7,500 years ago when the top of Mount Mazama collapsed, Crater Lake is renowned for its clear, deep blue water, which can be viewed from one of several hiking trails around the park. The centerpiece of Crater Lake National Park has two islands within the lake that can be visited and explored on sightseeing boat tours during the summer between June and September. Visitors to the lake can enjoy swimming, scuba diving, and fishing on the lake, as well as camping, hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing in the surrounding Crater Lake National Park.
Crater Lake National Park
6. Big Arm Unit - Flathead Lake State Park, MT
Nestled on the southwest shore of Flathead Lake, the Big Arm Unit Campground in Flathead Lake State Park offers 40 campsites and three yurts situated along the shoreline and boasting spectacular views of the Mission Mountains. The campsite has restrooms with showers, flushing toilets and washing up facilities, and popular activities in the area include swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking on the many trails in the area. It is also a popular spot to launch boats for trips to Wild Horse Island. The campsite is situated at the southern end of Flathead Lake, which is based on the Flathead Indian Reservation, so Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe fishing licenses are required to fish in the lake.
Big Arm Unit - Flathead Lake State Park, 28031 Big Arm State Park Road, Big Arm, MT 59910
7. Forked Lake Campground
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Forked Lake Campground is set on the eastern shores of the beautiful 1,248-acre Forked Lake in New York State and offers large, well-laid-out forested, campsites with plenty of privacy, picnic areas with tables and fireplaces, pit toilets, and an array of water-focused recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, and canoeing. Nearby attractions include the Adirondack Park Visitors Interpretive Center at Newcomb, which offers plenty of information about the surrounding area, the Wild Center Museum at Tupper Lake, and several golf courses in the villages of Indian Lake, Newcomb, Tupper Lake, and Inlet.
381 Forked Lake Campsite Rd, Long Lake, NY 12847, Phone: 518-624-6646
8. Jenny Lake Campground
© Jenny Lake Campground
The Jenny Lake Campground is situated within walking distance from Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park. The tent-only campground features 49 individual tent campsites and ten sites designated for hikers and bicyclists, all of which have picnic tables, fire pits, and nearby flush toilets. There are no shower facilities on site, but several are within a short drive. Grand Teton National Park is a 310,000-acre national park and reserve in northwestern Wyoming that features several significant attractions like the Jackson Hole Valley and the 40-mile-long Teton Range. The magnificent landscapes within the park are ideal for outdoor recreational activities such as camping, hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, bird and wildlife watching, and mountaineering.
Teton Park Rd, Moose, WY 83012, Phone: 307-543-3100
9. Lake Durant State Campground
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Lake Durant Campground is located on the eastern shore of the 327-acre Lake Durant in the Adirondack Mountains and provides the ultimate getaway for soaking up quiet beauty and breathtaking views of Blue Mountain. The campground has large, forested campsites for tents and trailers, full hook-ups, a trailer dump station, a picnic area with tables and fire pits, restrooms with flushing toilets, a bathhouse with showers, and a recycling center. Nearby is a lovely sandy beach with safe swimming, several hiking and mountain biking trails, and plenty of recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife watching. Lake Durant Campground is set on the Northville-Placid Trail, and there are wilderness trails from the campsite to several ponds in the area.
3444 State Rd, Blue Mountain Lake, NY 12812, Phone: 518-352-7797
10. Lake George Battleground State Campground
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Lake George Battleground Campground is located just south of the village of Lake George and boasts excellent historical significance as being the site of numerous military activities that occurred during the Colonial period. The campground offers tent and trailer sites, restrooms with hot showers, flushing toilets, a recycling center, and a trailer dump station, and there is a self-guided historical interpretive path with plenty of information about the Battlefield Park. The campground is within a short walk from the Lake George Beach for swimming and sunbathing, and other recreational activities include boating, fishing, and hiking.
2224 U.S. 9, Lake George, NY 12845, Phone: 518-668-3348
11. Lake Havasu State Park
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Lake Havasu State Park can be found on the shores of Lake Havasu in Mohave County, Arizona, and offers an array of outdoor recreational opportunities such as camping, boating, and fishing. The park features 47 campsites with shade ramadas, picnic areas with tables and fire rings, restrooms with hot showers, flushing toilets, drinking water, and a dump station. Lake Havasu boasts beautiful beaches, excellent swimming, boating, fishing and kayaking, and has several nature trails for hiking and mountain biking in the area, such as the Mohave Sunset Trail, which winds its way along the shoreline and through the lowland desert. The Arroyo-Camino Interpretive Garden showcases the diverse fauna and flora that live within the park.
699 London Bridge Rd, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403, Phone: 877-697-2757
12. Lake Isabella - Kern River KOA
© Lake Isabella / Kern River KOA
Nestled in the Sierra Mountains and bordering the Kern River Preserve, Lake Isabella RV Resort and Cabins offers a range of camping options from large, shady pull-through trailer sites with water and electricity hook-ups to shady tent sites with concrete pads and picnic tables. Modern restrooms have flushing toilets and hot showers, and a camping kitchen is available for self-catering. Ideally located between Southern California and Yosemite or Death Valley, the campground offers easy access to a variety of outdoor recreational activities such as whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Kern River, and boating, fishing, swimming, windsurfing and jet-skiing on the nearby lake. Facilities at the campground include a family swimming pool and a splash zone play area, a children’s playground, a games room, a pub, and a general store.
15627 Highway 178, Lake Isabella Kern River KOA, Weldon, CA 93283, Phone: 760-378-2001
13. Monument Lake Campground
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Centrally located in Big Cypress National Preserve, Monument Lake Campground offers a multitude of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, photography, and off-road driving. The campground has sites for tent and RV camping with picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms with flushing toilets and drinking water. The tent and RV sites are set in different areas, and the RV sites have lovely views of the lake, however, no shade, and there is an amphitheater that can be used for hosting events and functions. Nearby attractions include Shark Valley, the Oasis Visitor Center, Clyde Butcher's Art Gallery, and the Miccosukee Cultural Center.
50215 Tamiami Trail E, Ochopee, FL 34141, Phone: 877-444-6777
14. Pinewoods Lake Campground
Pinewoods Lake Campground is set on the northern shores of the 31-acre lake in the Pinewoods Lake Recreation Area in Missouri and has 16 seasonal, first-come, first-served campsites with shade, fire rings with grates, and picnic tables. The campground is open from mid-May to mid-October and has restrooms with drinking water and vault toilets. Other amenities and facilities include a day-use picnic area, a group picnic pavilion, horseshoe pits, a primitive boat ramp, and fishing pier, and recreational activities include boating (electric motors only), canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and wildlife watching.
US-60, Ellsinore, MO 63902, Phone: 573-785-1475
15. Ross Lake National Recreation Area
Ross Lake National Recreation Area offers a wealth of outdoor and recreational activities in one of the most beautiful parts of north-central Washington. Situated just south of the Canada and US border, the National Recreation Area, is part of the North Cascades National Park Complex, which includes Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and the North Cascades National Park. Ross Lake National Recreation Area boasts three reservoirs, namely Diablo Lake, Gorge Lake, and Ross Lake, and offers camping, hiking, and an array of water-based activities on the lake, such as boating, fishing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking and wildlife watching.
Rockport, WA 98283
16. Santee Lakes Campground
© Santee Lakes Campground
Santee Lakes Campground is set within the 190-acre Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, which is home to the Santee Lakes and offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities ranging from hiking and mountain biking to boating, fishing, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking. The Santee Lakes Campground has RV hook-ups and overnight cabins, bathrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets, a clubhouse, two swimming pools, and a separate area for dog-walking. Other amenities in the park include playgrounds, several hiking, and biking trails, and facility rentals for special events, and the park is a bird watcher's paradise with more than 230 bird species.
9310 Fanita Pkwy, Santee, CA 92071, Phone: 619-596-3141
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17. Sheridan Lake Resort
Nestled among the aspen forests of British Columbia’s InterLakes district, Sheridan Lake is a beautiful body of water in Cariboo Country that offers a variety of outdoor activities such as camping, boating, fishing, swimming, hiking and mountain biking. Sheridan Lake Resort features 84 grassy sites for tents and RV campers with electricity and water, a dump station, a clean washroom and shower house, and flushing toilets. The resort is surrounded by spectacular natural beauty and offers world-class trout fishing with a new boat ramp, boat and motor rentals, a fully-stocked tackle shop, a fishing cleaning station, and reserved dock space. Other activities include seasonal hunting, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and golf.
7510 Magnussen Road, Lone Butte, BC, V0K 1X1, Phone: 250-593-4611
18. Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area
The Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area is an Illinois state park 15 miles northeast of Salem in Marion County that features a beautiful lake surrounded by rolling hills and shady oaks. Named after natural scientist, Stephen Alfred Forbes, the 3,103-acre park is home to the modernized Oak Ridge Campground, which features 115 shaded campsites with electricity and water and a bathhouse with hot showers. Two Rent-A-Camp sites are available for groups with cots, electric lights, tables and grills, and a two-room cabin with bunk beds, and secluded walk-in sites with scenic views of the lake are available on request. Recreational activities include sunbathing on a beautiful 200-foot sand beach at Rocky Point, swimming, picnicking, boating, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking.
6924 Omega Rd, Kinmundy, IL 62854, Phone: 618-547-3381
19. Tule Campground at Success Lake
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Nestled on the shores of Success Lake in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, Tule Campground has 103 sites for tents and RV trailers, several of which have electric hookups, as well as hot showers, flushing toilets, drinking water and a dump station. The campground also has boat ramps and a children’s playground, and campfire programs are presented at the amphitheater during the summer season. Located eight miles east of Porterville in California, the 2,450-acre Success Lake offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.
Success Valley Dr, Porterville, CA 93257, Phone: 559-784-0215
20. Meadowlands RV Park at Sylvan Lake
Based on property owned Meadowlands Golf Club close to Sylvan Lake in Alberta, Meadowlands RV Park offers 94 regular and big rig sites with 30 and 50-amp electricity, water, and sewerage hookups, picnic tables, fire pits, and grills. The campground has modern restrooms with hot showers and flushing toilets, and sites are lined with mature willow trees that offer plenty of shade in the summer months. The Meadowlands Golf Club is home to an 18-hole, 6,500-yard public golf course, a driving range, a practice green, and a contemporary restaurant.
Meadowlands R.V. Park and Golf Club, 3101 50th Street, Sylvan Lake, Alberta T4S 0P7, Phone: 403-896-4865
21. Tonto National Forest
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The Tonto National Forest is the largest of its kind in Arizona, the edges of which border the Mogollon Rim, the metropolis of Phoenix, San Carlos, and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Encompassing over two million acres, the forest has 62 campsites ranging from primitive sites with no drinking water and pit toilets to new sites with electricity, water, and sewerage hookups, picnic tables, and grills. Camping passes are required to camp in the Tonto National Forest, and the region offers an array of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, picnicking, cross-country skiing, and seasonal hunting.
US 188, Payson, AZ 85541
22. Trumbull Lake Campground
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Set on the banks of the beautiful 100-acre Trumbull Lake in Lee Vining, California, Trumbull Lake Campground is shaded by a thick lodgepole pine forest and offers 24 tents, trailer, van and RV sites with picnic tables, food storage lockers and campfire rings. Amenities include vault toilets, drinking water, and trash collection, and firewood can be purchased from the on-site campsite host. The alpine lake rests at an elevation of 9,980 feet and offers an array of water-based activities such as swimming, fishing, boating, canoeing, and kayaking. Land-based activities include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, ATV riding, and cross-country skiing in the winter.
Lee Vining, CA 93541, Phone: 760-932-7092
23. Umbagog Lake State Park
Umbagog Lake State Park is a 1,360-acre park on the southern shore of Umbagog Lake Coös County that offers activities like swimming, boating, fishing, camping, canoeing, picnicking, hiking, and wildlife watching. The Errol-based park includes a campground with electrical and water hook-ups, three overnight cabins, along with remote campsites and cabins in isolated locations around Umbagog Lake that are accessible only by boat. Visitors to the park can see a range of wildlife including deer, moose and several bird species, and other facilities in the park include a boat launch and fuel sales.
NH-26, Errol, NH 03579, Phone: 603-482-7795
24. Wrights Lake Campground
Surrounded by the Eldorado National Forest and just an hour from Sacramento in California, Wrights Lake Campground is set on the shores of Wrights Lake with breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada’s rocky peaks and Desolation Wilderness. The campground offers campsites for tent and RV camping, several of which boast sweeping views of Wrights Lake and all of which are equipped with tables and campfire rings with grills. Vault toilets are available, and firewood can be gathered in the area, which is well-known for its excellent hiking trails, fields of blooming wildflowers, and myriad bird species. Recreational activities in the area include trout fishing, swimming, and boating activities, as well as hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and off-road vehicle riding on the Barrett Lake Jeep trail.
Eldorado National Forest: 100 Forni Rd, Placerville, CA 95667, Phone: 530-622-5061
25. Lake Manatee State Park
Extending for three miles along the south shore of beautiful Lake Manatee, Lake Manatee State Park is a 556-acre State Park that is situated 15 miles east of Bradenton that offers excellent freshwater fishing, boating, canoeing and kayaking, swimming, and sunbathing, hiking, and picnicking. Created when a dam was built across the Manatee River in the mid-1960s, Lake Manatee State Park is a welcoming outdoor space that offers a variety of activities and attractions for the whole family to enjoy. The park’s natural habitats are made up mainly of sand pine scrub and pine Flatwoods, with some hardwood forests and depression marshes, and boasts full camping facilities a short walk from the lake and a pretty picnic pavilion. A lakeshore beach is ideal for sunbathing and swimming, and there are modern restrooms with showers located near the beach.
20007 E State Road 64, Bradenton, FL 34212, Phone: 941-741-3028
What are the 25 Best Lake Camping Ideas in the USA?
The 25 Best Lake Camping Ideas in the USA according to local experts are: