If you like pitching a tent amidst the American wilderness then read on, fellow traveler! The United States has a number of beautiful National Parks to explore. Here is a list of 15 of the most scenic campgrounds in the USA.
1. Northern Rim Campground, Arizona
No list of the most scenic campgrounds in America would be complete without this spot. After all, the famous Grand Canyon is on almost every traveler’s bucket list. )Indeed, your rovin’ writer has even hiked it rim to rim.
Located at the North RIm of this natural wonder, the views here are breath-taking. There’s even an added bonus. Since the less popular Northern Rim is a lot less developed than the South Rim you actually have a chance of taking in its natural beauty in relative peace and quiet.
2. Jumbo Rocks Campground, California
If you’re looking for a scenic place to camp in Joshua Tree, California, this is it. Veteran visitors say that while the park has multiple campgrounds, this spot is undoubtedly one of the best. It’s highlighted by the huge boulders that provide ample shelter from the wind. All 124 individual sites here are first come, first serve so if you don’t get there early enough, the next best place to set up camp is White Tank.
3. Sage Creek Campground, South Dakota
The famous Sage Creek Campground is reputed to be the most primitive of all the campgrounds in the state of South Dakota. Found deep within popular Badlands National Park, campers here have often awakened to the unmistakable sound of real live bison wandering by their tents. Indeed, it happens remarkably often here and is but one way this campground is quite memorable. Here one can also take in the sight of the prairie land turning gold at both dawn and sunset. At night you can even hear the hapless howls of the local foxes.
4. Watchman Campground, Utah
You will discover The Watchman Campground, also known as the NPS Campground, in Zion National Park. Pitch your tent right here and then go out and explore each day you’re there. More athletic visitors praise the hiking trails here if you’re so inclined.
This particular place is within walking distance of the park’s official visitor center and it’s normally open all year. While this is arguably the park’s most popular campgrounds, the individual sites are surprisingly spacious so you probably won’t feel too close to any of your neighbors. You can make reservations at their website.
5. Arch Rock Campground, Nevada
You’ll find this scenic campground ensconced in the scenic Valley of Fire State Park 55 miles out of sinful Las Vegas. While there are a couple of campgrounds in the park, this one is not only the quieter and more private of the two but is surrounded by rugged red sandstone as well. Indeed, the stone formations have been rather artfully eroded over time giving them an interesting appearance. You can easily get to both Atlatl Rock and Atlatl Rock from your campsite. The site and park entry fees are covered under one price.
6. Gros Ventre Wilderness, Wyoming
Here you can see the Grand Tetons off in the distance when you vacation here. One real draw is that (as this goes to press anyway) there are no real crowds here. Additionally, that means that there is a lot of wildlife.
Be on the lookout for bears, elk, marmots, and moose. Another selling point that makes this place better than other campgrounds is that you are not required to get a special permit for backcountry camping. Set up camp anywhere you choose! If you prefer some amenities, simply pitch your tent in the actual campground.
7. Assateague Island Campgrounds, Maryland
Thinking about visiting Maryland? Nine miles south of bustling Ocean City, you’ll find the Assateague Island Campgrounds.
This distinct destination is the place to set up camp. This park features 37 miles of oceanfront beaches. You’ll find an exceptional assortment of outdoor activities including (but not limited to) biking, beach camping, crabbing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, surfing, and swimming. Keep an eye out for the local wild horses too.
8. Bartlett Cove Campground, Alaska
The beauteous Bartlett Cove Campground is nestled in the very center of the well-known Glacier Bay National Park. While this particular place is indeed off the beaten path, veteran visitors confirm that these campgrounds are worth the extra effort needed to get to this spot. While the state of Alaska is rather remote and secluded, it’s certainly arguable that it’s one of the more rewarding destinations in the US to travel. If you’re into kayaking, and hiking this location is even more highly recommended. You can spot a lot of animals here too including elk, grizzly bears, wolves, and even humpback whales.
9. Piñon Flats, Colorado
The popular Piñon Flats located in the Great Sand Dunes National Park is reputedly the place to be for outdoor action in the state of Colorado. Look out the windows of your one way and you can see the stark snow-capped peaks of stunning Sangre de Cristo. Look the other direction and you’ll see the continent’s tallest sand dunes. This is the perfect place for adventurous hikers as the dunes are so close you can reach them by foot. More importantly, here you can attempt to hike up the famous Star Dune — North America’s tallest sand dune.
10. Garden Key Campground, Florida
This lovely locale in Dry Tortugas National Park is right next to the beach. This popular park is a collection of islands 68 miles west of Key West and you take a ferry to get to this campground. Here you’ll actually have one of the planet’s biggest barrier reefs practically right outside your own tent.
You can spend your holiday happily hunting for Nemo. Rent some snorkeling equipment or remember to pack your own. You can also relax on the beaches and visit Fort Jefferson. If you’re a fan of our flighty friends, then pack your binoculars as this is also a great place for bird-watching.
11. Sparks Lake, Oregon
The captivating Cascade Mountains surrounding this pretty place pretty much speak for themselves. But if you need more than such super scenery as the brilliant the Brocken Top Peaks and knockout North Sisters. There are plenty of places to explore in the surrounding area as well so be sure not to forget to pack your hiking boots and extra socks. If you set up camp at the right time of the year you might even be able to take in the sight of the Northern Lights too.
12. Second Beach, Washington
To get to the superb Second Beach campground you will need to take an unstressful 0.7-mile walk through the popular Olympic National Park. Here you will camp alongside a striking coastline dotted with several sea stacks. Enjoy the beach. Go swimming and at low tide check out the tide pools and the iconic Natural Arch. You can even have an old-fashioned campfire on the beach here. If you decide to do that though be sure to pick a spot that won’t be washed away by the high tide.
13. Bear Rocks, West Virginia
You should be ready to hike a relatively short distance to get to this cool campground. The further out you set up camp, the more secluded you will be there. Travelers who have been there say that camping in this place is like being in the Canadian wilds because of its location on a high-altitude plateau, complete with boulders and grassy meadows. Of course, the difference here is you can see the impressive Allegheny Mountains in the distance. It’s a truly breathtaking view. If you decide to hike the entire nearly 12-mile trail, you’ll have your choice of several backcountry sites and established campgrounds along the hike.
14. Kalalau Beach, Hawaii
Have you always wanted to go to Hawaii, (to see the birth state of yours truly)? Visit the isle of Kauai. Here you’ll discover the cracking Kalalau Beach campground. This spot is situated at the end of a memorable 11-mile trek within Na Pali Coast State Park.
According to the people at National Geographic, this trail is one of the world’s “most beautiful trails.” This is due in part to the fact that it is atop some cracking cliffs that provide people with incredible views above the island’s beaches. Additionally, the beach and waterfall found at the end of the trail provides a welcome treat to anyone needing to cool off.
15. Clarks Fork Camping, Wyoming
This peaceful place is off one of the country’s most scenic highways–Beartooth Highway. The entire area is exceptional and the campground is near famous Yellowstone National Park. This spectacular spot in wonderful Wyoming is perfect for fishing, canoeing, and swimming. The campground comes complete with a cascading waterfall only a brief stroll away. Make sure you do your homework on bear protection though as this place is infamous for its resident grizzly bears.
There you have it, readers — the 15 most scenic US campgrounds. Enjoy!