“What are the best places to camp near me?” you may be wondering. One of the best parts about traveling around the United States is that there are so many wonderful places to camp. During a weekend (or longer) camping trip, nature lovers can enjoy the fresh air, magnificent mountains, and clear lakes and streams. You can not only pitch a tent in these picturesque locations, but you can also enjoy plenty of picnic areas, hiking trails, fishing, swimming, and other activities in the vast wilderness. Your ideal outdoor adventure awaits, from the piney woods of Maine to the crisp lakes of Alaska.
While many of these parks have distinct, built-up camping grounds with running water and electricity for RV parking (ideal for road trips), more seasoned outdoor enthusiasts can also find plenty of locations for backcountry camping where they can truly rough it.
Acadia National Park, located on Mount Desert Island, is the natural jewel of the Pine Tree State. The park has 17 million acres of forest, 6,000 lakes and ponds, and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams to provide a picturesque backdrop for hiking and camping. There are three campgrounds in the park where you can pitch your tent: Blackwoods (close to Bar Harbor), Seawall (less touristy), and Schoodic Woods (on the Schoodic Peninsula). Acadia is reopening in stages; campgrounds will not open until July 1, but many hiking trails are already open. For more information, visit the Acadia National Park website.
If you’re looking for a challenging hike, look no further than the Appalachian Valley’s northernmost reaches. The scenery is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaf-peeping season is at its peak. In addition, the forest has several campgrounds with hundreds of campsites. Several campgrounds, climbing areas, and shelters are currently closed.
This state park reserve is only 94 miles from New York City and is located on Shawangunk Ridge, which is more than 2,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by rocky terrain. That’s a lot of space to hike, bike, and enjoy the scenery. The park is currently at capacity, and some facilities are closed; the adjacent campground is also temporarily closed.
Shenandoah National Park, a short drive from Washington, D.C., has 500 miles of trails, including an eight-mile hike up Old Rag Mountain that is a must-do for avid hikers. This magnificent park offers lush views of forests and waterfalls. It has five campgrounds to choose from and is open in the spring, summer, and fall. The park has reopened, but the campgrounds are currently at capacity.
The campgrounds on Assateague Island are only nine miles south of Ocean City, and there are 37 miles of beaches for camping, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, crabbing, biking, kayaking, and spotting wild horses. Some campgrounds at Assateague Island National Seashore reopened on June 15, but group campgrounds and some facilities remain closed.
In this beautiful park, you can have one of the world’s largest barrier reefs right outside your tent. Campers can rent snorkeling equipment and spend the day at the beach or exploring Fort Jefferson. This area is also excellent for bird watching, so bring a pair of binoculars. The campground is currently open, but fort tours and ranger-led programs are on hold.
Big Bend National Park along the Rio Grande is an excellent place to go rafting, canoeing, and kayaking. Hiking and backpacking trails run through the park’s desert, mountain, and river landscapes. There are three developed campgrounds as well as backcountry camping. The park is currently open, with one campground operating at a reduced capacity, but other facilities, including visitor centers, remain closed.
Arkansas has a lot of beautiful countrysides that is often overlooked. There are nine beaches here, as well as thousands of acres of lakes and streams and 400 miles of hiking trails. Campers can choose from a variety of developed RV and tent campgrounds. Many campgrounds and recreational areas remain closed, though some have reopened with restrictions.
Don’t underestimate the Badlands’ beauty. The weather may be harsh, but the scenery is stunning. There are prairies and places to look at ancient fossils among the many rock formations you’ll see there. There are two campgrounds to choose from Cedar Pass (which has amenities like running water, electricity, and so on) and Sage Creek (which does not have running water but is frequently visited by bison). Trails and campgrounds in the park’s north unit are open, but the visitor center and the park’s south unit are still closed.
The steep Smoky Mountains provide breathtaking views, almost like something out of a Bob Ross painting. There are dozens of campgrounds in this national forest, but Sawtooth National Recreation Area is one of the best. Some recreational areas have reopened; use this map to see which remain closed.