25 Most Scenic Places to Camp in the United States
When you find a campsite you love, it can feel like a second home, even if you only go once a year. Details become familiar, similar to the murmur of the creek or the smell of sage in the morning. When you find the best campsite time and time to return, packing and planning are simple, and you can quickly get into vacation mode. While it's impossible to make a list of all the beautiful locations in America and confusion regarding what to do while camping arises, the following list will inspire you to explore this fantastic land.
1. Desoto State Park-Alabama
DeSoto State Park offers campers the opportunity to embrace nature in northeastern Alabama. Waterfalls and wildflowers create a scenic camping experience, with activities ranging from hiking to swimming in the park's seasonal pools. There are 94 full hookup sites, huts, cabins, and even two backpacking sites for those who want to get away from the more developed things.
2. Havasu Falls-Arizona
Getting a permit for the Havasu Falls campground is not easy. But those who do, get a desert paradise with red rocks, blue pools, and picturesque waterfalls. Located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon, it's a sacred and vulnerable place, so it's imperative to know that the area doesn't leave any traces while camping. Even after getting the permit, Havasu needed some legwork to get there. Campers must hike 8 miles to reach Supai Village and then 2 miles to reach the campsite. Most people when camping wonder "how to shower while camping?" unfortunately, there are no hookups or showers available, but who needs amenities once you get to one of the most beautiful places in the world and the best campground in Arizona?
3. Petit Jean State Park-Arkansas
Campers interested in geology and history will have plenty to explore in Arkansas' Petit Jean State Park, which sits atop a mountain. More than 1,000 years ago, Native Americans lived in a cliff shelter that is now part of the park, accessible to campers via the Rock House Cave Trail. Inside the natural rock shelter are ancient hieroglyphs painted with minerals from the area, so if you were confused about what to do, camping offers several different activities such as exploring the natural rock shelter, etc.
4. Jumbo Rocks Campground-California
The surroundings of this Joshua Tree National Park campground are precisely what the name suggests. "Boulders" are part of what makes the park so popular with climbers, and they provide the campground with a unique skyline and piles of rocks that cast shadows and changing colors under the desert lights. Campgrounds are available for reservations during the busy winter months and on a first-come, first-served basis during the typically hot (and sometimes unbearably) summer months. There are 124 sites suitable for tents or R.V.s, but no connections are available. Jumbo Rocks is a camper favorite, but check out other campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park.
5. Chatfield State Park-Colorado
Chatfield State Park is a popular vacation spot for residents near Denver, but campers will go even further with this boating, hiking, and camping destination. There are four separate campgrounds and 197 campsites, all with electric connectors and some with complete connectors. Visitors can also go horseback riding, cruise along the bike trails, or have dinner at the floating restaurant.
6. Rocky Neck State Park-Connecticut
Rocky Neck State Park is a popular seaside destination with rolling hills along the Long Island Sound. Step back from the water, and you'll find shaded and open sites for tents and R.V.s, but no hookups. Visitors can try crabbing or fishing or sit back and watch the many birds, including cranes, herons, and mute swans, that call the area home.
7. White Mountain National Forest-New Hampshire
If you're looking for a more rustic, remote experience in the Northeast, White Mountain is your place.
The hike in this part of the Appalachian Mountains is pretty rough, but it's worth it (if you can take the challenge). The view here is incredibly stunning in the fall when the leaves turn red, orange, and yellow.
8. Green Mountain National Forest-Vermont
Can you camp in national parks? Yes, Vermont's long trails are one of Green Mountain National Forest's biggest draws, so try to find a campground nearby and hike some (or all, if you're a total maverick) during your stay).
In addition to being stunning, this 270-plus-mile long-distance trail is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States, and it follows the ridge of the Green Mountains through Vermont, from the Massachusetts border to Canada.
9. Shenandoah National Park-Virginia
D.C. Regional Readers, Prepared and Packed. A stunning resort just 75 miles away. We know some people who will drive the distance to eat a taco.
The park contains more than 500 miles of trails, some leading to stunning viewpoints or waterfalls while others are meandering through miles of peaceful and peaceful wilderness.
The 8-mile hike to Old Rag Mountain is the hardest (and one of the most popular) trails in the park, and hikers can enjoy stunning views from the summit.
10. Minnewaska State Park Preserve-New York
Located 94 miles north of New York City, Minnewaska State Park Reserve is the perfect haven for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers.
The park sits on the striking Shawangunk Ridge (aka The Gunks, one of the oldest climbing sites in the country), rising over 2,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by rugged, rocky terrain.
With 35 miles of roads and 50 miles of sidewalks for biking, walking, hiking, or just enjoying, it has natural rock formations, several waterfalls, three clear lakes, dense forests, sheer cliffs, and open walls with breathtakingly beautiful views.
Seriously, every inch of this place is "writeable." Also, you can try horseback riding or technical rock climbing (if you have experience). The activities are endless.
11. Pine Grove Furnace State Park-Pennsylvania
This scenic park is located in south-central Pennsylvania at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains—yes, those mountains known for "Take Me Home (Country Roads)"—in an area known as the South Mountains.
It isn't evident, we know. But true beauty is often.
Perhaps the most famous hiking trail in the world, the Appalachian Trail, cuts through the forest, and this is where the trail's halfway point is located.
While about 3,000 people attempt to hike the entire 2,186-mile trail each year (about a quarter actually), between 2 and 3 million people hike or walk part of it.
Whether you run 2 miles or 20, it's still cool to say you've done it if you have time after your hike, head to the Appalachian Trail Museum, located near its midpoint.
12. Assateague Island National Seashore-Maryland
If you like beaches and camping, this is the place for you. Assateague is a barrier island off the coasts of Maryland and Virginia, covered by sandy beaches, salt marshes, forests, and coastal bays.
There's even a Mustang community that we all know, deep down, is the best thing that can be measured.
Relax or hike along Assateague's 37 miles of beaches during the day, then pitch your tent near the rough waves and spend the night under the stars. And you need to know how to keep a tent cool. So if you have a question about what material the tents are made of, don't worry; the material is strong enough to stay through rough waves! But are these materials strong enough – can you live in a tent? No, these materials aren't strong enough that you can stay for weeks or months in a single tent.
13. Badlands National Park-South Dakota
It's a harsh climate (called the Badlands, what are you expecting?), but the scenery is breathtaking.
Tall-grass and short-grass grasslands are located between various rock formations. And keep an eye out for fossils: The Badlands has one of the complete fossil collections in North America, giving you a glimpse into the region's ancient ecosystem.
The park is ideal for stargazing and even hosts an astronomy festival in early August.
14. Denali National Park-Alaska
Six million acres of vacant land?
Can even the most experienced hikers find a trail that suits them? Check.
It doesn't get any cooler than Denali - literally (for Alaska) – so you can leave the "how to stay cool in a tent" worry behind and enjoy your camping here!
However, you would have to think about warming up the tent.
So, how to make a tent warmer? Here's how:
- Use a reflective blanket or tarp as an extra layer of insulation
- Keep your sleeping bag from touching the ground
- Use a sleeping pad to raise your body off the ground
The park's central attraction (especially for climbers) is Denali itself, or Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America.
Still, the park offers hikes for professionals and beginners alike. Most trails start near the visitor center and range in difficulty from easy to moderate. Several trails begin deep in the park beyond the first 3 miles into the road.
Do your research before embarking on any backcountry camping trip here - this park is not for the inexperienced or the faint of heart. Still, it's beautiful.
15. Glacier Bay National Park-Alaska
Glacier Bay National Park is mostly water. The bay itself is the gateway to the park's interior, a (great) glacier.
After a night under the stars, try exploring the bay on a tour, charter, private boat, or kayak. There are no marked trails in the park, so backpacking can be pretty strenuous.
One of the two rivers in the Rafting Park is a great option, allowing campers to tow supplies easily. However, if you are an inexperienced camper, make sure you are with someone who knows what they are doing.
Park rangers also lead various tours and talks every day during the summer. And you need to know how to stay warm when camping.
16. Acadia National Park-Maine
Known as the crown jewel of the North Atlantic Coast, Acadia National Park embodies the rugged and wild natural beauty of Maine and northern New England. Located on the highest rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the United States, the park attracts 3.5 million visitors annually to its 45 miles of roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 27 miles of historic motorway.
17. Waiʻanapanapa State Park-Hawaii
Waiʻanapanapa State Park is a magical place where azure blue waters wash coal-black beaches made of volcanic sand. The tide pools there turn red year-round with the arrival of large numbers of tiny shrimp, but local folklore says it is the blood of an ancient princess who was murdered in a nearby cave. Campers aren't alone -- seabirds have settled much of the park -- but they can explore natural stone arches, freshwater caves, blowholes, and lava tubes.
18. Glacier National Park-Montana
Stretching over 700 miles of trails, Glacier National Park is an extraordinary wilderness set in the wild, rugged continental divide landscape. Those who camp in icy clear lakes, ancient forests, towering mountains, and alpine meadows can be adventurous or alone.
19. Dead Horse Point State Park-Utah
Dead Horse Point State Park is located in the desert 2,000 feet above a sharp bend in the Colorado River. Perched over massive vertical cliffs, campers see them disappearing beneath them and into vast canyons below, sculpted by billions of years of erosion. Plants and animals that make a living in harsh environments are some of the world's toughest survivors.
20. Coyote Yurts-Idaho
Perched on a ridge at 8,700 feet above sea level, Coyote Yurts is a full-service lodge camping experience deep in the Idaho wilderness. This is the starting point for a network of hiking and biking trails, and the location offers the best views of the Pioneer and Boulder Mountains.
21. Zion National Park-Utah
A Mars-like landscape of enormous red, pink, and cream sandstone cliffs is a signature feature of Zion National Park. There are campgrounds throughout the park, which are home to some of the country's most unique flora, fauna, and geological formations - most of what you see there you won't see anywhere else.
22. Valley of Fire State Park-Nevada
Valley of Fire State Park is a 40,000-acre landscape carved from red Aztec sandstone and tan and grey limestone. The landscape is ancient and rugged, but the accommodation is modern. Campsites are located throughout the park, complete with grills, water, and shade tables.
23. Big Bend National Park-Texas
Big Bend National Park is located in southwest Texas near the Mexican border and is known for its ancient river canyons, mountains, and vast deserts. Hundreds of bird species live on the park's hills, Big Bend has the most diverse cactus populations in the country, and the night sky is perfect for a panoramic view of the stars.
24. Lake Mead National Recreation Area-Arizona
Lake Mead National Recreation Area spans more than 1.5 million acres of rugged red canyons, valleys, two massive blue lakes, and purple mountains. Few attractions are as breathtaking as Arizona's Lake Mead National Recreation Area along the Nevada State Line. Visitors come face-to-face with Joshua trees, wander the stunning slot canyons, and enjoy fishing, hiking, swimming, and boating with their families. The park features 16 different campgrounds and established campgrounds, or if you prefer something more primitive, backcountry camping, shoreline camping, and horseback camping.
25. Skidaway Island State Park-Georgia
If you drive along Georgia's pristine coast toward Savannah, you'll find Skidaway Island State Park—a picturesque park you'll want to get up at dawn to make sure you don't miss any landscape. The trail winds its way through forests and salt marshes, and there's an observation tower for stunning views from above. You need to book 87 campsites and 3 air-conditioned rental cabins in advance. The park features an outdoor fitness area, and its nearby attractions include Fort McAllister and the beautiful city of Savannah.