17 of the best campsites across the US for a scenic outdoor getaway
When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.
As states continue phased reopenings, many people are starting to think about vacations again and future trips. The possibility of hitting the road with nothing but open fields and endless trails sounds especially appealing right about now for many who have spent several months self-isolating.
Research shows that most Americans are looking to travel domestically first, and camping offers a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while continuing to social distance. Additionally, tour operators and travel agents are seeing an uptick in interest from many travelers looking to explore nature and national parks.
But before you dive headfirst into making grand camping plans, it’s important to consider health and safety concerns.
While the National Park Service (NPS) has been increasing access and reopening parks around the country in what they’re calling a “phased approach” in response to Covid-19, it’s imperative to check the website of any park and campsite to understand if, and how, they’re still operating. You should also check state and local websites for information on enhanced cleaning protocols for campground reopenings.
With many states currently seeing spikes in COVID-19 cases, it’s vital to keep in mind that circumstances are quickly changing and evolving right now. It’s also important to follow all CDC guidelines and refer to their specific guidelines for camping safely, here. You should not only consider your own health risks when thinking of any future travel plans, but also the health and safety of locals anywhere you may be considering going.
Also consider that while camping minimizes many interactions that come with stays in hotels, it does not necessarily mean you won’t have any risky interactions. Many campgrounds still have shared amenities like bathrooms or shower facilities. Plus, some amenities that make certain campgrounds extra attractive, like swimming pools or boat rentals, may be impacted by COVID-19.
With all that in mind, for those who are looking to safely pitch a tent or sleep under the stars, there’s no shortage of amazing campsite options, from a horse farm in Kentucky to the red rock mesas in Nevada’s Valley of Fire. We chose top campsites based on our own travels, reviews from sites like Trip Advisor, The Dyrt, and PitchUp, as well as input from colleagues and outdoor enthusiasts who have been camping for decades. Camping is also extremely affordable with sites ranging from free up to around $50 per night for those loaded with amenities.
Once you know where you’re going, we’ve even got your essential camping packing list covered.
Looking for more outdoor vacation ideas?
These are 17 of the best campsites in the US, sorted by price from low to high.
River’s End Campground & RV Park — Tybee Island, Georgia
Book Rivers End Campground & RV Park starting at $0 per night
Yes, starting at $0 per night.
Just 16-miles outside of Savannah, Georgia, Tybee Island’s River’s End Campground & RV Park offers a unique camping experience that is fully immersed within nature. Choose from RV and tent sites or stay in budget-conscious cabins. A communal pool, beautiful beaches, a charming general store, and its idyllic island locale draw campers back to Tybee time and again. Best of all, it’s completely free if you want to camp at Tybee Island — just bring your own tent to pitch.
Just south of Tybee and only accessible by kayak or by boat, Little Tybee Island is an uninhabited nature preserve that often goes overlooked by those visiting the area. It’s a great place to post up for a picnic or set up camp away from the crowds.
Cranberry Lake Campground — Deception Pass State Park, Washington
Book Cranberry Lake Campground starting at $12 per night
Deception Pass State Park in Northwest Washington State has long been revered by campers and outdoor enthusiasts for its beguiling views within the Puget Sound. It also happens to be one of Washington’s most-visited state parks and has a little bit of everything, including rugged mountains, forest hiking trails, and a beach at Cranberry Lake Campground where you can fish, swim, or go boating.
With three campgrounds in the vicinity, campers especially love Cranberry Camp due to its reasonable price point and beautiful waterfront location. Don’t miss the lookout point at Deception Pass Bridge. Connecting Whidbey Island with Washington State, this 180-foot tall bridge offers incredible views of the surrounding area.
Hancock Campground — Lincoln, New Hampshire
Book Hancock Campground starting at $12 per night
With 56 drive-to campsites, including 21 walk-to sites along the Pemigewasset River, Hancock Campground sits at the western end of the Kancamagus National Scenic Byway and is an excellent launch pad for exploring White Mountain.
Campers will enjoy its close proximity to the mountain, as well as the abundance of nearby swimming spots and picnic areas.
Fall Creek Falls State Park Campgrounds — Spencer, Tennessee
Book a stay at Fall Creek Falls State Park Campgrounds starting at $15 per night
Fall Creek Falls State Park Campgrounds offers 222 campsites across five different scenic areas. Spread across 26,000 acres, this is a great place to bring a tent or an RV, but it also offers plenty of backcountry campsites for more serious hikers.
Campsites come with tables, grills, water, and electricity and are served by six bathhouses. Hike through unique rock formations, cascading waterfalls, and tranquil watering holes.
Bridalveil Creek Campground — Yosemite National Park, California
Book Bridalveil Creek Campground starting at $18 per night
There’s no shortage of incredible camping in Yosemite National Park, however, Bridalveil Creek Campground offers truly spectacular views.
Situated on Glacier Point Road at an elevation of 7,200 feet, this is a favored spot for campers of the world looking for a picturesque place to enjoy everything from hiking and rock climbing to horseback riding.
Mather Campground — Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
Book Mather Campground starting at $18 per night
The number one rated camping site according to the US Campground review platform, The Dyrt, Mather Campground in Grand Canyon National Park offers 327 campsites equipped for both traditional tents and RVs. Each one comes with a campfire ring with a cooking grate, a picnic table, parking space, and room for up to three tents.
The campground is nestled in a wooded area that has access to thousands of miles of nearby hiking trails and canyon views. Located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona, campers looking for a more isolated spot will appreciate the wide-open spaces and more than adequate spacing between each site amongst the pine grove of trees. Free shuttle service to the nearby visitor’s center is an added bonus.
Atlatl Rock Campgrounds — Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Book Atlatl Rock Campgrounds starting at $20 per night
Just an hour outside of Las Vegas and surrounded by 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone rock formations, Valley of Fire State Park is the type of location that camping lore and legends are made of.
With two campgrounds and a combined total of 72 units, Atlatl Rock Campgrounds comes equipped with shaded tables, grills, and fire pits. In addition to the ethereal scenery, campers will love exploring the ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 3,000 years. As an added bonus, there’s little to no bugs or humidity.
Camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis and tends to be more on the primitive side, so read up to make sure this is the best spot for you.
Platte River Campground — Empire, Michigan
Book Platte River Campground starting at $22 per night
Platte River Campground in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of Michigan’s most illustrious camping destinations. Within walking distance of the Platte River, there are 147 sites with accommodation types including tents, trailers, and RV spots, as well as primitive backcountry sites.
In addition to access to the Platte River and hundreds of miles of trails, one of the coolest features of camping here has to be the sand dunes, which rise 450 feet above Lake Michigan. Fronting 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the park is a wonderfully water-oriented destination, so don’t forget to bring a paddleboard or kayak.
Letchworth State Park Campground — Leicester, New York
Book Letchworth State Park Campground starting at $24 per night
Considered to be the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Letchworth State Park is famous among campers for its scenic locale along the Genesee River.
Roaring with three major waterfalls and set within cliffs as high as 600 feet, campers can choose between campsites or secluded cabins. Amenities include showers, food concessions, picnic tables, pavilions, playing fields, a playground, and a swimming pool. Many areas are pet friendly.
Surrounded by lush forests, hikers can wander among 66 miles of trails, with more available for horseback riding and biking. Letchworth also offers nature and history programs, guided walks and tours, whitewater rafting, kayaking, hot air ballooning, and a museum.
Northern Nights Campground & RV Park — Glenallen, Alaska
Book Northern Nights Campground & RV Park starting at $28 per night
There’s nothing like a night spent under the stars in the Alaskan wilderness, and despite dozens of campgrounds to choose from, Northern Nights Campground and RV Park in Glennallen is a local favorite.
Just a stone’s throw from the Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve, the campsite offers breathtaking views of three of Alaska’s major mountain ranges.
Spend long afternoons fishing for salmon in the Copper River or hiking in the Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Reserve. Campers can embrace the wilderness and great outdoors without sacrificing comfort or everyday amenities like Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and shower houses.
Assateague Island National Seashore Campground — Berlin, Maryland
Book Assateague Island National Seashore Campground starting at $30 per night
If wild horses roaming the shoreline and falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves sounds absolutely magical then Assateague Island National Seashore Campground is for you.
Set along a stretch of a 37-mile long barrier island located off the eastern coast of a peninsula in Maryland, it offers basic camping on a first-come, first-served basis. Book early, but be aware this isn’t a place teeming with amenities. However, there’s no shortage of things to do from crabbing and clamming to swimming and kayaking.
Watchman Campground — Zion National Park, Utah
Book Watchman Campground starting at $30 per night
Zion National Park is one of the most majestic parks in the US, and at Watchman Campground, you can sleep surrounded by its famed sandstone cliffs and the Virgin River.
Watchman Campground is a perennial favorite for those looking for a tried-and-true, classic camping experience. Named for the rocky peak that rises above it, Watchman is open year-round. Due to its popularity, it’s best to make reservations far in advance as campsites tend to book up quickly.
San Elijo State Beach Campground — Cardiff, California
Book San Elijo State Beach Campground starting at $35 per night
Set in what is undeniably one of California’s coolest beach towns, San Elijo State Beach Campground in Cardiff is beloved for its scenic views over the Pacific Ocean and close proximity to local restaurants and shops.
Just off the 101 with 157 campsites in total, San Elijo is a great spot for families and avid surfers alike due to its beachfront access and world-famous surf break.
Kentucky Horse Park Campground — Lexington, Kentucky
Book Kentucky Horse Park Campground starting at $35 per night
Book a stay at the 1,200-acre Kentucky Horse Park Campground, which offers 260 spacious sites for tents, RVs, and trailer campers. It also features two bathhouses and tennis and basketball courts.
All sites are 55-foot paved back-ins with fire rings and picnic tables, making it ideal to enjoy your meals outside. With plenty of activities ranging from painting, journaling, and outdoor fitness, to observing the park’s majestic horses, this is a great option for families, especially since the campground is pet friendly. Campers shouldn’t miss the Legacy Trail, a 12-mile paved walking and biking trail.
Emberglow Outdoor Resort — Blue Ridge Foothills, North Carolina
Book Emberglow Outdoor Resort starting at $40 per night
Set on 72 acres in the Blue Ridge Foothills just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, Emberglow Outdoor Resort is an adventure-lovers paradise. One of the biggest perks for campers is that you can pick your own memorable lodging experience (or bring your own). Yurts, airstreams, and treehouses are all available, or you can BYORV or pitch your own tent.
The site is located within a beautiful private valley complete with spring-fed creeks and an unpolluted night sky for stargazing. The campground also features a resort-style pool, sand volleyball, community fire pits, private bathrooms, nature trails, a dog park, and sports fields.
Basecamp 550 — Ridgway, Colorado
Book Basecamp 550 starting at $48 per night
Nestled in the San Juan Mountains of Western Colorado, Basecamp 550 is a mom and pop owned campground with a steady mix of lodging options that range from tiny homes and RVs to van camping, canvas tents, and cabins. This is a great spot for campers of all stripes and experience levels because it truly provides a little something for everyone.
Campers here also enjoy extra perks that include a community bathhouse and canteen area, as well as sweeping views of the surrounding mountain range.
Sandy Pines Campground — Kennebunkport, Maine
Book Sandy Pines Campground starting at $56 per night
One of Maine’s most venerable camping locales, Sandy Pines Campground in Kennebunkport offers everything from glamping tents and cottages to kitted out airstreams and covered wagons, as well as traditional RV and tent sites.
Easily one of the most beautiful campsites along the New England coastline, a stay at Sandy Pines also includes amenities ranging from a heated saltwater pool, kids’ camps, and lawn games to bike rentals, paddleboards, and laundry facilities.
Source: Read Full Article