Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
Read full bio
From coast to coast, America is filled with diverse landscapes and beautiful natural areas that just beg to be explored. Day trips and hiking excursions will introduce you to what this land has to offer, but the best way to really immerse yourself in the outdoors is to plan a camping trip.
Fortunately, each one of the 50 states has some amazing camping opportunities to hook up your RV, pitch your tent, or stay cozy in glamping accommodations. As an avid camper in the United States, I know how important it is to choose the best campground for your needs. Here are examples of beautiful campgrounds in every state to inspire your next adventure.
Alabama’s Gulf State Park proves that there are amazing coastal camping destinations beyond just the East Coast and West Coast. This park has a spacious campground, as well as a new lodge, two miles of beaches, educational opportunities at the nature center, a swimming pool, and other recreation too. You can make your campground reservation online or look into the cabins and cottages for more of a glamping experience. The campground has 496 sites for both tents and RVs, 11 modern bathhouses, full hookup sites, waterfront sites, picnic tables, and grills. The towns of Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, and Fairhope are all close by.
Glacier National Park is home to the Bartlett Cove Campground, which is a walk-in campground with outhouses and a warming shelter. This spot offers a rustic camping experience for outdoor enthusiasts who don’t mind roughing it. The sites are among the trees and have views of a cove with whales. It’s fun to join a wildlife-viewing boat tour when you camp here. Overall, this national park is an awesome place to get in touch with nature and see everything from glaciers to mountains, coastlines, fjords, and rainforests for yourself. The park spans over 3.3 million acres and is a must-visit destination for all nature enthusiasts.
There are several campgrounds in Arizona, including the Manzanita Campground in Sedona that is perfect for family recreation. The red rock views here are nothing short of amazing, and the outdoor recreation opportunities extend to everything from hiking to fishing and swimming. Manzanita is a year-round campground that is small and just for tents. This is a popular spot that fills up quickly in the Coconino National Forest. Your best bet is to get a campsite on a weekday because Oak Creek Canyon nearby is typically crowded on weekends. These four first-come, first-served sites have picnic tables, campfire rings, and grills. Pit toilets are located nearby.
Located among the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, the Cove Lake Recreation Area has a lovely campground for both RVs and tents. The sites here have picnic tables, campfire rings, and grills. Nearby, you’ll find flush toilets, hot showers, and drinking water. At this park, you can spend your days enjoying paddleboat rentals, canoeing, mini-golf, and picnicking. Book a site here to be by the shore of the 160-acre mountain lake and 2,700-foot-tall Mount Magazine in Arkansas. Make sure to take the scenic drive to the top of Mount Magazine, which is a 10-mile drive from Havana, Arkansas.
The Big Sur area of California is an incredible place to set up camp, especially if you’re up for a rustic adventure. The Andrew Molera Trail Camp is a hike-in campground about a quarter-mile from the parking lot. It has 22 standard tent sites and two hike/bike-in campsites. You’ll be in a meadow near the Big Sur River here and have access to flush toilets and drinking water, but no showers. The sites here can be reserved in advance but often book up at least six months in advance, even during the off-season. Andrew Molera State Park is the largest Big Sur state park and popular for its beach and over 20 miles of hiking trails.
There are so many beautiful camping spots in Colorado, and one that’s definitely worth mentioning is at Maroon Bells. This is a set of peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation by Maroon Lake and a place that is especially scenic in the fall with the colorful leaves. There are three national forest campgrounds at the Maroon Bells Scenic Area: Silver Bar, Silver Bell, and Silver Queen. Silver Bar is a small, primitive campground with four sites, Silver Bell has 14 sites, and Silver Queen has five sites. Campsites can be reserved online or by phone. Vault toilets, drinking water, and trash facilities are offered at the campgrounds here.
It’s fun to camp by the lake in Connecticut at the West Thompson Lake Campground, which is in the northeastern part of the state. Nestled among white pine, red oak, and hickory trees, this is a popular area for camping, boating, kayaking, hiking, and fishing. You’ll find 11 campsites with water and electric hookups here, as well as 11 primitive sites with no hookups and a couple of lean-to shelters. Campers can use the flush toilets, showers, and dump station. The area also features a playground, basketball court, interpretative trails, and an amphitheater. Also, check out the 18-hole disc golf course!
There are great camping opportunities at Delaware Seashore State Park that are just a short walk from the beach and by the Indian River Inlet Bridge. The north campground has 88 full-hookup sites for RVs, while the south campground has 151 full-hookup sites, 86 non-hookup sites, and 33 tent-only sites. This 2,825-acre park has nice areas for swimming, surfing, sunbathing, crabbing, and sailboarding. The facilities here include a camp store, food concessions, and a bait and tackle shop. You can view a campground map on the Delaware State Parks website to select your site and reserve it online.
Camping in Florida is a special experience, so consider pitching your tent when you visit Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys. Here you can find hike-in, tent-only campsites along the Atlantic Ocean. The sites do not have water or electric hookups, but you will have a picnic table, grill, and hammock stand at your site. Cold outdoor showers are available here, and pets are allowed to camp with you. Camp here for easy ocean access and to enjoy lots of water recreation, such as year-round sport-fishing, paddling, snorkeling, and swimming.
The best way to experience the Georgia islands is to camp on one of them, such as Jekyll Island. You’ll find the Jekyll Island Campground on the north end of the island. Situated among the oak trees draped with Spanish moss, it is suitable for both tents and RVs. There are 179 campsites here, which includes 167 full hookup sites and 12 primitive tent sites. From here, you can walk to Clam Creek and Driftwood Beach. There are many amenities provided at this pet-friendly campground, including free Wi-Fi, bike rentals, a general store, laundry facilities, and two bathhouses with hot showers and toilets.
The Punalu’u Beach Park is known for its black sand beaches that are so unique and beautiful. You can camp in a tent here while seeing the sea turtles and going snorkeling nearby. This is also a popular park for fishing. The amenities provided here are pretty basic but include restrooms, outdoor showers, drinking water, and a pavilion. The pavilions are for day use only and not for camping. Pets are not allowed in this park. Visitors should also know that the campsites are in a grassy area above the tide pools and not right in the sand.
The Salmon River Campground is a national forest campground with two sections. It has 30 campsites, including a double site, and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. You’ll be camping among lodgepole pines and sagebrush here, with easy access to hot springs. The town of Stanley is close by, as well as the Casiono Creek trailhead for hiking and fishing. This camping area is only for tents and comes with access to vault toilets and drinking water. The Sawtooth Mountains provide a lovely backdrop while you view wildlife and enjoy mountain biking, fly fishing, and horseback riding nearby.
There’s more to Illinois than just farm fields, and Shawnee National Forest proves it. There are a few different camping experiences you can have here, including spots for RVs at the Lake Glendale Recreation Area, campgrounds at the Hidden Springs and Mississippi Bluffs ranger districts, and dispersed camping. RVs up to 40 feet can stay at Johnson Creek Group Campground, Oak Point, Tower Rock, and Camp Cadiz. These national forest campgrounds do not take reservations and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Indiana Dunes State Park offers a unique spot for campers to stay all throughout the year. The campground is less than a mile from the beach and walkable from the South Shore Rail Station. The sites here have electrical hookups, and there are shower facilities and modern restrooms available onsite too. It is a very popular place to camp, so make reservations as early as possible. You can book your site online through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website and choose your own site based on size, whether you’ll be coming with a tent or RV, and if you want a back-in or pull-through site.
There are two campgrounds at Backbone State Park in Iowa to help you make the most of a trip to this geologically unique area. The park spans 2,001 acres and is wooded with oak and maple trees. The South Lake Campground has electric and non-electric sites, two shower buildings, a dump station, and a playground. Meanwhile, the Six Pine Campground is more basic and has only non-electric sites and pit toilets near the west entrance of the park. Overall, the park offers a 21-mile multi-use trail system, rock climbing, access to a 130-mile bike route, fishing opportunities, picnic shelters, and cabins that are equipped with heat and air conditioning.
The El Dorado State Park in Kansas spans 2,000 acres of parkland and 4,000 acres of wildlife area around 8,000 acres of water and 98 miles of lake shoreline. For camping, the park offers four primary campgrounds that include nearly 1,100 campsites, five camping cabins, group picnic shelters, modern showers, and laundry facilities. Book a site in the Frontier or Eagle Pass loops of the Walnut River Area or the Quail Run Loop of the Bluestem area if you want 50-amp electrical service. At the park, you’ll also enjoy the swim beaches, equestrian trails, and hiking trails while enjoying the natural environment of Kansas.
Mammoth Cave is an amazing place to take a tour in Kentucky to see an underground world that’s unlike anywhere else on Earth. To stay for more than just a day here, book a site at the Mammoth Cave Campground, which has 111 campsites and a mix of tent-only, RV, and group sites. The campground is only a quarter-mile from the visitor’s center. Seasonally, the campground offers a camp store, laundry facilities, drinking water, a dump station, trash/recycling collection, and fire and ice for sale. There are other overnight opportunities a bit further away at the Maple Springs Campground, Houchin Ferry Campground, and in the backcountry.
Situated along Lake Pontchartrain in Southern Louisiana, the Fontainebleu State Park is a well-known destination for family beach trips. Check the state park’s website for the most up-to-date information about reopening after damage sustained from Hurricane Ida. This is a 2,800-acre park is bordered by water on three sides and a major habitat for birds. Camping offerings at the park typically include glamping tents, premium campsites with full hookups, sites with just water and electricity, and primitive no-hookup sites. The park also has a water playground, hiking trail, and nature trail to explore.
You can choose between a couple of great campground options at Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, depending on what you’re looking for. The Blackwoods Campground is closer to Bar Harbor, while the Seawall Campground is quieter and more peaceful, both are open from mid May to mid October. RV and tent sites are offered in both campgrounds. Reservations must be done online and can be made up to two months in advance to secure your site. Meanwhile, the Schoodic Woods Campground is the only camping spot on the mainland section of the park, and the Duck Harbor Campground is accessible by mailboat from the mainland and on the Isle au Haut. It’s fun to camp at one of these places to experience the scenic drives, 158 miles of hiking trails, and stunning scenery. Check out the other top campgrounds near Bar Harbor, Maine.
In Maryland, you can camp at Assateague State Park, which offers 342 campsites and is the only oceanfront park in the state. It’s famous for the wild horses that live here. Campsites offer picnic tables, fire rings, and electric hookups in two campground loops. Sites are available between April and October, with some sites allowing pets to camp with you. There are rules that you’ll need to follow if you plan to use a generator in your RV while camping at the state park.
Myles Standish State Forest has nearly 400 campsites and also yurts that you can stay at while spending time in Massachusetts. There are no electrical hookups at the campground, but there is a dump station for RVs. Each camping loop has flush toilets and showers. This park is located in Southeastern Massachusetts and has campsites along ponds throughout the forest. In addition to camping facilities, it also has 13 miles of hiking trails, 15 miles of paved bike trails, and 35 miles of horse trails. There is a limit of four pets per campsite, and you’ll need to keep pets leashed at all times. Nearby attractions include the Forefathers Monument, Pilgrim Memorial State Park, and Bay Farm Conservation Area.
Campers will enjoy staying at the Twelvemile Beach Campground along Lake Superior and within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This campground has 36 sites, including two accessible sites. You’ll have pit toilets, drinking water, fire rings, and picnic tables here. The maximum RV/trailer length is 42 feet because of the limited turning radius in the area. These are drive-in campsites that do not have hookups, and there is also typically no cell phone reception. This park is known for the mineral streaks along the cliff faces of rocks, waterfalls, sandstone formations, hiking trails, and springtime wildflowers. The North Country Trail passes through the campground, and guided boat tours and boat rentals are available nearby.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is a stunning place to visit and see waterfalls, lighthouses, and scenic views of Lake Superior. There are tent camping and cart-in campsites here, with the backpack sites between a half-mile and two miles from the parking lot and cart-in sites within 2,000 feet of it. The park typically offers showers from May through October, as well as flush toilets and vault toilets. Check the park’s website for updates about the new Shipwreck Creek Campground coming soon with 46 electric drive-in sites. Gitchi-Gami State Trail is a fun trail for hiking and biking, with a paved part that ends in Beaver Bay. Fishing and wildlife viewing are also popular activities here.
In Mississippi, a great place to camp is Tishomingo State Park, which is at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It’s a park filled with archeological history and natural beauty where you can learn about Native American life and geology. For camping, the park has 62 RV campsites, an area for primitive camping, six cabins, a cottage, and a group camp area. You’ll be near Haynes Lake and in a wooded setting when you book an overnight stay. There are park events scheduled throughout the year and also area attractions, such as the highest point in Mississippi (Woodall Mountain), Natchez Trace Parkway, and J.P. Coleman State Park.
Camping in the Ozarks of Missouri is always a memorable time, so consider an overnight trip to Lake of the Ozarks State Park. At this park, you’ll find basic and electric campsites, as well as family campsites with a little more space. There are four sections of the campground, which are open year-round but have showers and water available only between April and October. You can reserve campsites here up to a year in advance. There is also a camper store that’s stocked with supplies near the campground entrance. Overall, this park offers excellent opportunities for cave tours, fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, and horseback riding.
You can camp in Glacier National Park at the Apgar Campground to be near Lake McDonald and amidst unbelievable scenery. It’s a family-friendly spot in a great location by the park’s west entrance. Therefore, you can easily rent kayaks and canoes or visit the sandy beach nearby. In total, there are 13 campgrounds at this national park and over 1,000 sites. Several campgrounds, including Apgar, have evening programs where you can learn more about the park from a ranger.
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park offers camping in Nebraska with full hookups. There are 148 campsites here in total between the Lakeside Campground and the Little Creek Campground. Lakeside is by the Owen Marina and Baright Lake, while Little Creek is close to laundry machines, a playground, and a basketball court. Both of them have showers, modern toilets, and drinking water. Tent campers can set up in the grassy areas by the concrete pad for RVs. Families love this park because of the aquatic center, treetop ropes course, indoor rock climbing, ice skating, sledding, and lodge/cabin accommodations too.
Not far from the bright lights of Las Vegas, you’ll find the epic red rocks of Valley of Fire State Park with its 40,000 acres of impressive geology. This park has two campgrounds with 72 total sites, all of which are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Arch Rock Campground is a small and primitive campground with dramatic views and a quiet vibe. Upper loop sites typically offer the most privacy. The park also has RV sites available with power and water hookups.
Hikers love staying at the Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia Notch State Park because it makes a great home base for exploring the region on foot. This campground has 97 wooded tent sites, 88 of which are available by reservation only. The sites have picnic tables, open fireplaces, and car parking. You’ll find a camp store with supplies here and also coin-operated showers. This camping spot is in the heart of the White Mountains and is popular for rock climbing, biking, fly fishing, and riding the aerial tramway.
One of the best places to camp in New Jersey is at High Point State Park, which is on the Kittatinny Ridge summit and 1,803 feet above sea level, making it the highest elevation in the state. You’ll enjoy the views from here and also learning about the local history. The park has 50 family campsites along Sawmill Lake, which can accommodate small trailers and tents. There are flush toilets within walking distance. The campsites are available between April and October. Certain sites are pet-friendly, alcohol is prohibited, and New Jersey residents can camp here for a discounted rate.
Located along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, Cimarron Canyon State Park is a beautiful place to camp when you’re looking for peace, quiet, and inspiring scenery. The Maverick Campground has flush toilets and running water but no showers. This is a small campground with fishing ponds but no electric sites. The sites at Maverick are a bit close together, so plan your stay for a weekday if you want a chance at more privacy. Bird watching, horseback riding, and fishing are popular activities to do in this area. Overall, there are four campgrounds and 94 developed campsites at the state park.
If you enjoy fishing, canoeing, and boating, then a stay at the Eighth Lake Campground might be just what you’re looking for in New York. This campground is near the shorelines of both Seventh and Eighth Lakes, and boat and canoe rentals are available. Tents and trailers are welcome here, and the sites have picnic tables and fireplaces. The campground also offers hot showers, flush toilets, a dump station, a recycling center, a sand beach, a swim area, and hiking trails. The New York State Parks website offers virtual tours of the campground on its website.
There are some wonderful private campgrounds across the U.S. as well, such as the Surf City Family Campground in Topsail Beach, North Carolina. It has been managed by the same family for over 40 years and is a quiet, family-friendly spot along the ocean. The nightly rates are $45 for tents, $50 for pop-up campers, $60 for 30-amp sites or for campers less than 32 feet, and $65 for 50-amp sites or campers longer than 32 feet. Basic amenities and a bathhouse are provided for guests. For more adventure, check out some of the other top places to camp in North Carolina.
When you visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park, consider staying at the Cottonwood Campground inside the park. It’s the only campground in the South Unit. Half of the sites are first-come, first-served, while the rest are available by reservation. Although both tents and RVs can stay in these sites, but there are no hookups. Drinking water and flush toilets are available seasonally, while vault toilets are accessible year-round and there are no showers.
Hocking Hills is a scenic region in Ohio that is right next to Old Man’s Cave and has direct access to hiking trails. At this campground, there are full hookup sites, non-electric sites, paved pads, fire rings, picnic tables, and cabins. For a more rustic vibe, you can stay at the hike-in campground, which requires a half-mile of hiking to access. Other features of the campground are flush toilets, hot showers, a dump station, a fill station, a campground store, a volleyball court, a horseshoe pit, and playgrounds.
A cool place to camp in Oklahoma is the Red Rock Canyon Adventure Park, which is close to the OKC metro area. In this place, there is tent camping, RV sites, shelters, and glamping option. There are actually three different campgrounds here: Canyon Campground, California Road Campground, and Walnut Grove Campground. Activities available at the park include a swimming pool, fishing, hiking, and picnicking. The park used to be operated by the State of Oklahoma but is now privately owned.
Known for its rock formations, climbing opportunities, canyons, and mountain biking, Smith Rock State Park is an epic place to visit in Oregon. Outdoor enthusiasts love camping at the Bivy Campground, which is a walk-in campground that is open year-round. The fee to camp here is just $8 per night, but RVs are not allowed. There are restrooms and showers nearby, and pets are welcome as long as you follow the pet rules. Consider taking a hot air balloon ride above this park when you camp here!
Spread across over 13,000 acres in Pennsylvania, Ricketts Glen State Park features numerous waterfalls, including the 94-foot Ganoga Falls. You can stay at the campground here, which has flush toilets, a food concession/store, and deluxe camping cottages if you prefer glamping. Popular things to do here include hiking the Falls Trail System, swimming in Lake Jean, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
There’s a camping area at this Rhode Island park that is on the shores of the Bowdish Reservoir. It is a primitive camping facility with 45 spacious sites for tents, trailers, and RVs. There are no electrical hookups, but campers will have water spigots, flush toilets, and shower facilities. You can camp here between April and October. Hiking, biking, and fishing are popular activities to do while camping at George Washington Management Area.
A private campground to check out while you’re in South Carolina is the Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort and Marina. In this spot, you’ll find 200 sites here with full hookups, Wi-Fi, cable TV, showers, a restaurant, laundry facilities, a store, and a tennis court. It’s certainly not “roughing it,” but you’ll love the easy access to water sports and rentals while camping here. Waterfront sites are available at this family-friendly resort that also has pools, a hot tub, and a fitness center.
One of the most scenic places in South Dakota is Custer State Park, which is filled with granite peaks, peaceful streams, and rolling plains. This park has numerous campgrounds to stay at when you visit and enjoy the region. These are the Bluebell Campground, Center Lake Campground, French Creek Natural Area, French Creek Horse Camp, Game Lodge Campground, Grace Coolidge Campground, Legion Lake Campground, Stockade North Campground, Stockade South Campground, and Sylvan Lake Campground. You can find a camping opportunity for everyone here in a tent, RV, cabin, or even hotel rooms at the Custer State Park Resort.
Elkmont is the largest and most popular campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is just eight miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It sits at an elevation of 2,150 and has a moderate climate. There are 200 RV/tent campsites here that come with tent pads, picnic tables, and fire rings. There are also 20 additional walk-in tent sites available in the woods. Campers should know that the Elkmont Campground does not have hookups for RVs or a dump station, but it does have flush toilets and cold running water. It’s busy here in the summer and in October.
To experience the wide-open spaces of West Texas, set up camp at the Chisos Basin Campground in Big Bend National Park, one of the state’s best places to go camping. The park has multiple campgrounds and backcountry areas where you can camp as well. The Chisos Basin Campground is open year-round and accommodates trailers up to 20 feet and RVs up to 24 feet. It’s a first-come, first-served campground with flush toilets but no showers. This park is a beloved spot for wildlife viewing, hiking, and finding solitude among the mountains and canyons.
The Moab area of Utah is filled with unforgettable camping spots, including the Kayenta Campground at Dead Horse Point State Park. There are hiking and biking trails at this state park to take in the views, and the trails lead right from the campground to major points of interest. The campground has 21 sites that are all equipped with electrical hookups. Modern restrooms are located onsite, and Canyonlands National Park is close by too.
At Woodford State Park in Vermont, there are 76 RV/tent sites, four cabins, and 20 lean-tos. This is a lovely spot to camp to experience hiking in the southern Green Mountains and to watch birds and other wildlife. The campground has coin-operated showers, hot and cold running water, drinking water, and a dump station. However, there are no electrical hookups here for campers. Woodford has the highest elevation campground of any park in the state.
It’s fun to stay at the Big Meadows Campground when you’re backpacking along the Appalachian Trail or taking a road trip along Skyline Drive. Many people come to this area in the fall to see the colorful autumn foliage. This particular campground is nestled among the trees and rolling hills to give you a secluded vibe. It’s a family-friendly camping area that you can book online through Reservation.gov. It is also in a central location in the park, which gives you easy access to all the top places to visit, such as Dark Hollow Falls and the Byrd Visitor Center.
To experience Mount Rainier National Park at your own pace, spend some extra time here and camp at the White River Campground. You’ll have some of the best views in the park from here and also be close to Sunrise Point. July and August are popular times to camp here after the snow melts and when the wildflowers are in bloom. Choose a campsite on the river for the best views and easy access to hiking on the Wonderland Trail and Glacier Basin Trail.
Best known for the towering 57-foot waterfall of Blackwater Falls, this West Virginia Park has so many photogenic locations to check out. There are 20 miles of hiking trails and other famous spots, including Pendleton Point Overlook and Lindy Point. The campground is open from April to October and has 65 sites for tents and trailers. All of the sites have electric hookups, and there’s a bathhouse with hot showers, laundry facilities, and a dump station here too. Alternatively, lodges and cabins are available for overnight guests.
One of the best Midwestern getaway spots is Devil’s Lake State Park, which isn’t too far from the Chicago Metro Area and a hot spot for rock climbing and water recreation. The Quartzite Campground actually used to be a nine-hole golf course, so it’s open and grassy. There are electric and non-electric sites here, as well as a playground, modern showers, and a dump station. This is a good place to camp for large RVs because the sites are spacious. However, only limited shade is available, so keep this in mind on hot days.
The shore of Jenny Lake is just a few hundred yards away when you stay at this small campground in Grand Teton National Park. It’s a place just for tents, as trailers and RVs are not allowed. You’ll enjoy the views of Teewinot Mountain, Cascade Canyon, and Mount St. John across the lake from here. There are flush toilets and seasonal, coin-operated showers for campers to use. Discounted rates are offered to campers who arrive on foot or by bike.