The 40 Best Locations for Camping in the U.S

Famous for its wide-open spaces, the United States has more than a few good options for camping. In fact, this sprawling nation has so many spots to pitch a tent that you will likely find it quite overwhelming to select a campsite no matter which state you’re adventuring in. 

Whether you’re searching for a nearby spot to park your RV for a weekend or looking for inspiration for your bucket list, we’ve got you covered with the 40 best locations for camping in the U.S. The best part is, every location on our list is located on public land, meaning that the cost of staying overnight won’t break the bank. Keep reading to find out more. 

Table of Contents

1. Acadia National Park, Maine

As one of the most famed national parks in the country, Acadia is definitely worth considering for your next camping trip. You can catch the country’s earliest sunrise peeking out behind Cadillac Mountain, hike along the craggy coastline, or take a dip in the icy waters at Sand Beach. 

Acadia National Park has three main campgrounds, each of which has its own draw. The most popular (and therefore usually the most crowded) is Blackwoods Campground. Situated close to Bar Harbor, this heavily wooded area is perfect for those seeking shade. Seawall Campground is a safe bet for those in search of seclusion, and the Schoodic Woods Campground is great for those who want to explore the Schoodic Peninsula while in Acadia.  

2. Denali National Park, Alaska

Alaska is a bucket list item for many, and if you make it up to this northern state, don’t miss your chance to visit Denali National Park. With tundra terrain, diverse wildlife, glaciers, and millions of acres of spruce forests, this is unspoiled nature at its finest. 

The park is also home to North America’s tallest peak, Denali (Mount McKinley), along with miles of hiking trails, streams, and some of the best scenery in the country. There are six established campgrounds at Denali National Park, and for those who don’t mind going off-grid for a while, Wonder Lake Campground is the best place to pitch your tent.  

3. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Another one of the best locations for camping in the U.S. is Shenandoah National Park, situated along the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Virginia. Known for its majestic waterfalls, lush forests, and stunning scenic drives, this park is the perfect place to park your RV and reconnect with nature. 

There are five campgrounds situated within the park and hundreds of campsites to choose from, but one of the best areas to hunker down in is the Big Meadows Campground. This campground is centrally located to all the park’s major attractions, and you’ll find everything you’ll need for an overnight stay, including RV hookups, hot showers, and even a camp store. 

4. Wai’anapanapa State Park, Hawaii

While often overshadowed by some of Hawaii’s more famous national parks, the lesser-known Wai’anapanapa State Park is one of the best locations for camping in the U.S. Located on the island of Maui, this small park is a paradise for those looking to escape the crowds and simply be one with nature. 

What Wai’anapanapa lacks in modern conveniences, it more than makes up for in unspoiled beauty. After all, what’s better than catching a Hawaiin sunrise from a deserted black sand beach? 

5. Olympic National Park, Washington

Few places around the world offer such stark diversity as Olympic National Park, and this is part of what makes it one of the best locations for camping in the U.S. Often considered the crown jewel of west coast parks, you’ll likely agree with this sentiment after a night or two here. 

There are 14 campgrounds located around the park, and whether you choose to pitch your tent in the moss-covered rainforest at Hoh Campground or fall asleep to the sound of waves at Second Beach Campground, Olympic National Park is sure to impress.

6. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

One of the most iconic places in the United States is without a doubt the Grand Canyon, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a place quite as magnificent to spend the night. The views around the canyon are endless, but unfortunately, so are the crowds. 

The good news is that you can escape the throngs of people with a little extra planning. While the South Rim is easier to get to, if you’re looking for some seclusion you may want to consider making the trek to the North Rim. It takes a little more time and effort, but having a piece of the Grand Canyon all to yourself is well worth it. 

If you’re searching for some hard to come by privacy, you should seek out a lesser-known campground like Desert View, or head into the backcountry for the night (permit required). 

7. Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

Situated on the barrier island just nine miles south of Maryland’s Ocean City, the Assateague Island National Seashore is one of the best and most unique locations for camping in the U.S. 

Home to over 35 miles of white sand beaches and herds of wild horses, the seashore is truly a sight to behold. Besides taking in the incredible scenery, visitors to Assateague Island can spend their days paddleboarding, building sandcastles, kayaking through marshy coves, or biking along the trails. 

Those who choose to spend the night at the seashore can fall asleep listening to the sound of waves from one of the waterfront or bayside campsites. Be sure to make a reservation well in advance, however, as these sites fill up fast!

8. Glacier National Park, Montana

People from near and far come to enjoy the spectacular views of Glacier National Park, and it should come as no surprise that this famous park is one of the best locations for camping in the United States. While it may be crowded for much of the year, Glacier National Park is certainly worth visiting, and the sooner you plan your trip the better. 

If you’re lucky enough, you may be able to snag a spot at the highly sought-after Many Glacier Campground. The scenic campground is what dreams are made of, and if you secure a site, you’ll be able to rest your head between some of the park’s most breathtaking peaks. There are also a few gorgeous lakes nearby, along with easy access to some of the park’s most popular hiking trails.   

9. Los Padres National Forest, California

For a classic Californian camping trip, there’s no better spot to pitch your tent than at Los Padres National Forest, located in the southern part of the state. Kirk Creek Campground is especially popular for those who want to stay near the ocean, and this primitive area makes up for its lack of electricity with incredible views over the Pacific Ocean.

There are multiple beaches nearby, and visitors can spend their days here surfing, swimming, fishing, or sunbathing. The forest is also home to some impeccable hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, and this is a great way to get up close and personal to the redwood groves that this area is known for. 

10. Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New York

Those living in the Big Apple will be pleased to learn that one of the best locations for camping in the U.S. is under 100 miles away. The Minnewaska State Park Preserve is situated on Shawangunk Ridge and features rocky outcrops, three sky lakes, beautiful mountain views, and even some stunning waterfalls.

The preserve is laden with miles of trails for hiking, biking, dog walking, and horseback riding, and rock climbing, boating, swimming, and picnicking are also popular pastimes in this neck of the woods. Once you’re tuckered out from a full day of exploring the preserve, you can head to the nearby Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground. Here you’ll find 50 sites for tent camping, in addition to a bathhouse, a cooking area, and some seriously incredible views.

11. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park

Beauty abounds in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, so much so that it would be impossible not to include it on our list of the best locations for camping in the U.S.

Much of the action of this national park takes place around the famous Jenny Lake, and if you’re lucky, you may be able to snag a spot at the Jenny Lake Campground. Not only will you be close to the trails, but you’ll also be surrounded by some of the best views in the entire park. You’ll have to get to the campground bright and early if you hope to secure a site, as this tent-only campground is first-come-first-served.

12. Bahia Honda State Park, Florida

More reminiscent of a Caribbean Island than a U.S. state park, Bahia Honda is one of the best locations for camping for those who are looking for a tropical vacation without leaving the contiguous U.S. Located in the Florida Keys, this state park boasts turquoise blue waters, white-sand beaches, and towering palm trees that are perfect for shading your tent or RV. 

The snorkeling is epic, as are the sunsets and stargazing opportunities, and you may find yourself wanting to come back to Bahia Honda State Park again and again. Unfortunately, this little key is located in an area that is frequently pummeled by severe weather, so be sure to call or check the website to ensure that its facilities are open before planning a trip down to this magnificent park. 

13. Joshua Tree National Park, California

While Californians are indeed spoiled with options when it comes to epic campsites, Joshua Tree National Park stands out amongst the bunch. Surrounded by desert landscape, massive boulders, and the iconic Joshua trees for which the park was named, parking your RV here will certainly afford you one of the most unique camping experiences in the U.S.

During the day you can explore parts of the 800,000 acres via car, horse, bike, or foot, but some of the best views come long after the sun has set on the desert. The night sky is a big draw to Joshua Tree National Park, and you’ll have some of the best visibility in the country for stargazing right from the comfort of your tent. 

14. Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho

Some of the most stunning nature in the country can be found at Sawtooth National Forest, including jagged mountain peaks, fragrant pine forests, glacial-fed lakes and, verdant, wide-open meadows. 

This vast forest has nearly 100 different campgrounds to choose from, some of which are extremely primitive with just the bare bones, while others offer all the modern luxuries you could hope for. If you’re looking for the most scenic spot to pitch a tent at Sawtooth National Forest, head to Glacier View Campground. This is one of the most sought-after campgrounds in the entire state, so be sure to book your site well in advance. 

15. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

The beauty of the Badlands is hard to deny, and even those who live far from South Dakota should make the trek to this national park at least once in their lifetime. The jagged rock formations, herds of wild bison, and prairies full of ancient fossils are just some of what awaits you at this otherworldly park.

There are two campgrounds you can choose from at the Badlands National Park. Cedar Pass offers overnight guests modern conveniences like running water and electricity, while Sage Creek is more primitive with no running water but offers the chance of seeing bison wandering about.

16. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire & Maine

Situated at the northernmost part of the Appalachian Valley between New Hampshire and Maine, White Mountain National Forest is one of the best locations for camping in the U.S. The scenery is one of the biggest draws to the forest, and the best views can be found while hiking the White Mountain and Appalachian trails or by taking a scenic drive along the Kancamagus Highway. The best time to visit the forest is when the fall foliage is at its peak, though be aware that this is also one of the park’s busiest times.

There are numerous campgrounds located around the forest, meaning you’ll have hundreds of campsites to choose from. You’ll find primitive backcountry sites, modern sites with RV hookups and restrooms, and even cabin rentals for those who prefer glamping over camping. 

17. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Colorado beckons nature lovers from all over the world to come and explore its stunning outdoor offerings, and Rocky Mountain National Park is home to some of the best campgrounds in the nation. Moraine Park Campground is especially popular with those looking to get the best views of the park, and pitching a tent here affords you unmatched views of those famous Rocky Mountain sunsets. 

Popular park pastimes include rock climbing the vertical slabs, hiking along the lovely Bear Lake, and going for scenic drives on Trail Ridge Road and the Old Fall River Road. 

18. Big Bend National Park, Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas, and Big Bend National Park is no exception. The park encompasses the largest protected area of the Chihuahuan Desert in the United States, though you’ll find all types of landscapes in this massive park. 

In addition to the arid desert climate you would expect from this southwestern Texas park, you’ll also find meandering rivers, swaths of green grass, and maybe even some unexpected wildlife like black bears and mountain lions. 

Rafting, canoeing, and kayaking are all popular along the Rio Grande, which runs through the park, and other common activities here include hiking, taking the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, and visiting the Langford Hot Springs. Once you’re ready to call it a night, consider staying at the uncharacteristically green Chisos Basin Campground and enjoy some of the best views in the entire park. 

19. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

It stands to reason that one of the most beautiful lakes in the USA would also be home to some of the best camping locations, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula does not disappoint. The sandstone cliffs perched above the turquoise blue water of Lake Superior are hard to match when it comes to beautiful scenery, and once the fall rolls around and the leaves blaze orange, there is simply no beating this epic color show. 

There are a variety of campsites all along the 40-mile stretch of coast that is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, but one of the best is the Twelve Mile Beach Campground. This is one of the few campgrounds that actually boasts lake views, and waking up to a Lake Superior sunrise is something you’re not likely to forget. Those who want to camp as close to the water as possible would do well to pitch a tent at Chapel Beach, though you will have to endure a three-mile trek down to this rustic spot.  

20. Gunnison National Forest, Colorado

The peaks and plateaus of the Gunnison National Forest allow for stunning views of the Rocky Mountain backdrop no matter where you are in the 1.8 million-acre forest. There are over 3,000 miles of trails traversing this verdant chunk of land, and the landscape is as diverse as it is large. Depending on where you are, you’ll see meadows of wildflowers, crystal clear lakes, evergreen forests, and plenty of mountain peaks. 

The forest boasts over 30 campgrounds, so whether you’re hoping to camp lakeside, underneath the pines, or high up in the mountains, you’ll have no problem finding a site that ticks all the boxes. 

21. Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Valley of Fire State Park is unlike anywhere else on the planet, so don’t hesitate to make the trek out to southeastern Nevada to explore this ancient park. Its convenient location just 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas adds to the draw of the park, and once you arrive you can take a scenic drive between the Aztec red sandstone cliffs, discover ancient petroglyphs dating back over 2,000 years, or meander along the beautiful trails that weave their way through this area. 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful area to pitch your tent than below the dramatic red sandstone, and you’ll have two different campgrounds to choose from once you tire from the desert heat. There are sites for both tents and RVs, all of which are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

22. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

America’s West Coast is full to the brim of breathtaking campgrounds, but some of the best can be found at Crater Lake National Park. This Oregon Park features the country’s deepest lake, complete with a sleeping volcano. The photo options here are endless, and there are also plenty of trails to hike, boating and swimming opportunities, and of course, plenty of gorgeous scenery. 

You can pitch a tent in either Mazama or Lost Creek Campground, but RVers will have to stick to Mazama. There are also various backcountry campsites available, just make sure you secure a permit before heading out into the wilderness. 

23. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most unique in America, and it’s also one of the best places to camp in the entire country. Located on a series of islands in the Florida Keys, the national park boasts pristine beaches, protected coral reefs, and even an old military fort. 

You’ll rest your head right outside of the historic fort on Garden Key, but be aware that all campsites are primitive without water or electricity. Staying overnight is the best way to see the whole park, and by day you can take a ferry to and from each of the keys. 

24. Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

Known for its beautiful lakes, rivers, and hot springs, it should come as no surprise that Arkansas is home to one of the best locations for camping in the U.S. The Ozark National Forest is the cream of the crop in terms of countryside in Arkansas, and here you’ll find over 400 miles of hiking trails, thousands of acres of lakes and rivers, and nine beaches.

This pristine area is best enjoyed for multiple days at a time, and there are plenty of campgrounds around the forest for both tent and RV campers making it easy to find a place to stay.

25. Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware

Beach bums will be hard-pressed to find a better location for camping in the U.S. than Cape Henlopen State Park, located on Delaware’s southern coastline. This beautiful ocean-front park boasts over six miles of sand for you to sink your toes into, and it’s the perfect place for ocean swimming, fishing, clamming, kayaking, and any other water activity you can think of. Hiking and biking are also popular pastimes at Cape Henlopen State Park, especially around the Point Overlook. 

The campground is nestled amongst the pine-covered dunes, and there are sites for both tents and RVs available. There are even a few cabins situated within the park for those who prefer the ritz over the rugged.  

26. Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia

Sleep amongst the clouds at one of America’s best locations for camping – Cloudland Canyon State Park. Situated on the western edge of Lookout Mountain, this Georgian park is aptly named, and the rugged sandstone cliffs that dot the landscape offer sweeping views of the verdant canyons below. The park is also known for its numerous waterfalls that can be seen cascading down the mountainside, and there are plenty of trails that will get you up close to these pristine waters. 

Those interested in staying overnight can pitch a tent or park their RV in one of nearly 100 sites, or go all out and rent a yurt or a cottage for the weekend. 

27. Garden of the Gods Recreation Area, Illinois

Situated inside of the sprawling Shawnee National Forest, the Garden of the Gods Recreation Area is one of the best places for camping in the United States. While there’s no denying its beauty, this area of the forest is somehow never overcrowded, making it the perfect stopover for seekers of solitude. 

The Pharaoh Campground in particular is a great place to spend a night or two, and it’s amazing that the panoramic sunsets here don’t draw more of a crowd. That being said, there are only 12 sites, so even if the secret does get out this campground will continue to be a secluded sanctuary. 

28. Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park is mother earth’s sculpture garden, though some of these structures look as though they come from another planet. If you’ve ever wanted to see the famous rock structures of Arches up close and personal rather than through a screen, then make your way to eastern Utah for some of the best camping in the whole country.

Devils Garden Campground is the only one in the park, and the 50 campsites here are usually fully reserved during the busy season. You can try to snag one by making a reservation ahead of time, or head into the nearby city of Moab for more camping options. 

29. Devils Fork State Park, South Carolina

Don’t let the name of this South Carolina oasis fool you, because Devils Fork State Park is truly heaven on earth. Much of the park is undeveloped, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the spoils of this natural paradise. 

The lovely shores of Jocasta Lake provide much of the best scenery at Devils Fork, and it’s also the spot where much of the recreation in the park takes place. Beach bums spend the days here working on their tans, while scuba divers take to the water to explore the depths of this beautiful lake. Paddlers can hunt for clandestine waterfalls, and anglers can reel in fresh trout for dinner. There are also plenty of hiking trails in the forested areas surrounding the lake. 

30. Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, Massachusetts

Take a break from the city and enjoy one of the best locations for camping in the U.S. at Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Sandy coastlines, carpets of vibrant wildflowers, and secluded campsites await you, all just a short ferry ride away from the bustling Boston Harbor. 

Each of the four islands has its own draw. History lovers should head straight to Bumpkin Island and explore the Civil War-era Fort Warren, hikers can hit the scenic trails on Paddocks Island, beach bums can relax on the shores of Lovell’s Island, while those looking to beat the crowds can enjoy the seclusion of Grape Island. 

31. Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

Surrounded by some of the most beautiful small towns in Indiana and hugging the southern shores of the lovely Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the best locations in the U.S. for camping. The park boasts miles of golden sand beaches, making it possible to enjoy a tropical vacation right in the heart of the Midwest. 

Aside from all the classic beach-day activities like sandcastle building and suntanning, visitors to Indiana Dunes National Park can also explore over 50 miles of scenic trails, kayak along the Lake Michigan Water Trail, or cast out for a variety of fish. After a long day of exploring, the Dunewood Campground offers visitors a welcome reprieve from the sand. The campground is outfitted with 66 campsites, along with modern conveniences like hot showers and flush toilets.  

32. Great Basin National Park, Nevada

Nevada’s Great Basin National Park is criminally underrated, but those who have been there know that it is one of the best locations for camping in the whole United States. This hidden gem boasts breathtaking views of the mountains for which it was named, and the five developed campgrounds here are rarely overcrowded. 

Wheeler Park Campground is one of the most scenic spots to pitch a tent, and its convenient location makes it easy to hop on the Bristlecone Trail, which will lead you to some of the oldest trees in the world. 

33. Cheaha State Park, Alabama

You may not think of tall mountain peaks when you think of Alabama, but when you visit Cheaha State Park, expect the unexpected. Literally translating to “high peak” in the Creek language, Cheaha State Park offers visitors breezy views at over 2,400 feet above sea level. 

While you’ll feel far away from the hustle and bustle of big city life when you visit this Alabama state park, you can still revel in modern amenities thanks to the electric hookups for RVs, bathhouses, and fire rings. This park is especially popular with climbers, mountain bikers, and hikers, but even if you plan on just sitting at your campsite, this state park is not to be missed. 

34. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Seasoned campers on the hunt for a unique experience will find one of the best locations for camping at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, located on New Mexico’s southern border. This unique park is known for its enormous cave system, and over 100 caverns have been formed in this area as a result of sulfuric acid dissolving the limestone landscape. 

One of the best ways to explore the park is by attending a ranger-led moonlight walk, though beware that this experience is not for the faint of heart (mainly due to the colonies of bats that dangle from the cave ceilings). The ranger will entertain you with facts about the local wildlife, ancient folklore, and astronomy as you walk around some of the most enchanting areas of the park. 

Novice campers may want to stay clear of Carlsbad Caverns National Park as there are only backcountry sites available. 

35. Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

No matter what type of camper you are, you’ll be able to find a spot that is perfectly suited for you inside of Petit Jean State Park. Even the most high maintenance of campers will rest easy thanks to the abundance of options in this Arkansas state park. You’ll find basic tent and RV sites here, but you will also have the option of resting your head in a yurt, cabin, or even at the historic lodge hotel – complete with a swimming pool!

During the day you can hike out to beautiful waterfalls, visit the Mather Lodge for a meal overlooking the scenic Cedar Creek Canyon, fish from the lake, or learn about the history of the area from one of the ranger-led programs.

36. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Named for the president who decided to conserve these beautiful lands, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park is one of the best spots for camping in the U.S. Once upon a time the park was actually home to the former president, and you can still visit the cabin where he resided. 

This land is known as the spot where the Badlands meet the Great Plains, and the sprawling beauty here is truly endless. Spend some time meandering along the Scenic Loop Drive for some of the best overlooks in the park, and you’ll likely see some native wildlife along the way, too. 

When you’re ready to retire for the evening, consider pitching your tent at the Cottonwood Campground, perched aside the Little Missouri River. Not only are the views fantastic, but the wildlife viewing here is some of the best in the park. 

37. Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky

Revered by climbers but often overlooked by casual campers, Natural Bridge State Park in eastern Kentucky is not to be missed. Nestled along the stunning Red River Gorge, this state park is one of the most beautiful in the state. It also offers endless outdoor recreation opportunities to visitors, including hiking, rock climbing, boating, and picnicking. There’s even a cable car that will take you up to some of the best views in the park. 

Those staying overnight can choose between two campsites, Middlefork and Whittleton, or opt for a cozy cottage. 

38. Rocky Neck State Park, Connecticut

Situated on the Long Island Sound less than an hour away from New Haven is Rocky Neck State Park, one of the best places for camping in the U.S. This diverse park truly offers something for everyone, from the long stretches of white sand beach to the winding trails that meander through scenic salt marshes. 

You can spend your days here swimming or soaking up some sun from the beach, casting out for a variety of fishies, or picnicking at the historic Ellie Mitchell Pavilion. Once you’re ready to call it a night, you’ll find hundreds of wooded and open sites at the campground. 

39. Lake Bistineau State Park, Louisiana

Venture into the clear waters of Lake Bistineau for a truly southern camping experience. Enchanting stands of tupelo and cypress trees weighed down with Spanish moss make up much of the scenery in this Louisiana Park, and you’ll be able to see it all up close thanks to the series of boardwalks and water trails along the lake. Fishing for freshwater catches is another popular activity on Lake Bistineau, and you may even spot some of the various bird species that pass over the park as you cast out. 

The campground here has dozens of premium and improved sites, and there are also a few air-conditioned cabins available for rent if you feel like upgrading for a night or two. 

40. Yosemite National Park, California

Our list wouldn’t be complete without the famous Yosemite National Park, and while it is anything but a secret, this park is without a doubt one of the best locations for camping in the U.S. You’ll find 13 campgrounds scattered around the park, along with numerous backcountry sites for those who are looking to get well off the beaten path and away from the hordes of tourists. 

Yosemite is famed for its towering sequoia trees, verdant meadows, the much loved El Capitan and Half Dome granite cliffs, and perhaps most of all, the Tunnel View, which features iconic views of the scenic Bridalveil Fall. There are over 750 miles of trails within the park, so while it may be a popular destination, you’ll have plenty of space to wander.