12 Greatest Locations to Camp in State Parks Across the US

You might dream of seeing the geysers of Yosemite or the overwhelming greatness of the Grand Canyon, however chances are high you will have a handful of little wonders in your individual yard. State parks like Goblin Valley in Utah maintain their very own in opposition to the neighboring Arches Nationwide Park (or Canyonlands, for that matter), whereas Maine’s Baxter State Park is arguably simply as wild because the well-known Acadia Nationwide Park (Baxter does not even have working water!). Plus, state parks are typically much less crowded and extra reasonably priced, two issues that bode effectively for in a single day friends.

It does not matter if you happen to’re on the lookout for a well-developed RV web site with all of the bells and whistles or a wooded tent spot removed from any form of highway or improvement, there is a state park campsite for you. To help — there are over 10,000 state parks, in spite of everything — we have curated an inventory of a few of the greatest campsites in state parks which might be recognized for his or her recognition and sweetness. Earlier than we dive in, take a second to evaluation the next state park tenting suggestions.

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State Park Tenting Suggestions

State parks could not see the heavy site visitors of nationwide parks, however generally, you may nonetheless wish to plan forward to safe your tenting spot. Every state runs its personal reservation system, which can be on-line, through telephone, and even in-person. And a few parks — like Valley of Hearth State Park in Nevada — are first-come, first-served, so you will not wish to present up too late within the day.

Earlier than you pack up and head out, ensure that to analysis what facilities can be found — some state park campgrounds are extraordinarily primitive, requiring you to pack in your individual water and pack out your trash, whereas others have full RV hookups, sizzling showers, and shops.

And eventually, you’ll want to respect any wildlife you encounter, handle your campfire responsibly (you do not wish to be that man or gal), and comply with the ideas of Depart No Hint.

Goblin Valley Campground, Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

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Visually, it does not get extra spectacular than Goblin Valley State Park. The Mars-like terrain is dotted with rock hoodoos, and if you happen to’ve ever dreamed of mountain climbing in a slot canyon (a la Antelope Canyon), you may be pleasantly shocked with what Goblin Valley has on faucet. After a day of exploration, retire to one of many park’s 25 campsites (together with 14 RV areas and a gaggle web site). Simply consider there are not any electrical hookups.

Metropolis of Rocks Campground, Metropolis of Rocks State Park, New Mexico

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Think about parking your rig or establishing your tent in a literal metropolis of rocks. That is the vibe at Metropolis of Rocks State Park, a spot the place large, rounded volcanic rock formations (some as tall as 40 ft) come out of the Chihuahuan Desert. You may make your means by way of the community of roads and trails reducing amongst the rocks to search out your property for the evening, or safe your spot effectively upfront (there are each reservation and non-reservation websites). Both means, you may have entry to showers, loos, and water.

Southend Campground, Moran State Park, Washington

It is all about getting out on the water at Moran State Park, which is about within the Puget Sound on the beautiful Orcas Island. With over 5,000 acres of terrain, the actions are countless and the surroundings unbeatable (do not miss a journey up Mount Structure for views over the San Juan archipelago). The perfect spot to put your head is Southend Campground, the place each campsite is positioned proper alongside the shoreline. You will have entry to showers and loos, however if you wish to glam it up a bit, you’ll be able to ebook one of many campground’s canvas tents with actual beds.

Hen Creek Campground, Chugach State Park, Alaska

The large (like 495,204 acres, large) Chugach State Park has a bit of little bit of all the things — from oceanfront shoreline to glaciers and icefields. And whenever you’re within the nice wild of Alaska, you may wish to see all of it, which is why you need to arrange camp in Hen Creek Campground. Along with 24 campsites, bathrooms, water, and RV accessibility (for autos as much as 35 ft in dimension), Hen Creek is famend for its in-camp whale watching (paired with glimpses of bald eagles and moose).

Hammonasset Seashore Campground, Hammonasset Seashore State Park, Connecticut

Connecticut’s largest public seashore park has all the things you’d anticipate from a waterfront park — miles of shoreline for swimming and sunbathing, strolling trails, picnic areas, and a campground with 550 grassy campsites. Simply remember the fact that tenting is barely obtainable in the summertime months (often Memorial Day by way of mid-October). In the event you’re hitting the seashore out of your RV, the campground additionally has electrical and water hookups.

Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground, Minnewaska State Park Protect, New York

Simply two hours north of New York Metropolis is the dreamy Minnewaska State Park Protect, a hefty chunk of land on the Shawangunk Mountain ridge with waterfalls, lakes, and 50 miles of trails for mountain climbing and biking. The tent-only campground consists of 24 drive-in spots, 26 walk-in websites, a cooking space, and pavilion (no RV tenting is offered). Earlier than you pack up and head north, consider the campground is barely open between mid-Might and mid-November, climate allowing.

Atlatl Rock Campground, Valley of Hearth State Park, Nevada

Courtesy of Nevada Division of State Parks

With crimson arches carved out of rock, petroglyphs, and slot canyons, there’s greater than sufficient to see and do in Nevada’s Valley of Hearth State Park. And when it comes time to place up your ft, the Atlatl Rock Campground is the place you may wish to be. The campsites are close to the Atlatl Rock petroglyphs and embody RV spots (with energy and water) and showers. Simply remember the fact that all campsites (besides group websites) are first-come, first served.

Goose Creek Campground, Goose Creek State Park, North Carolina

It is all about water and wetlands at Goose Creek State Park, a coastal spot with strolling trails crisscrossing the wetlands, boating, fishing, and, after all, loads of tenting. You possibly can head to the park’s RV tenting space (providing 22 websites with full hookups) or proceed on to the 14 tent tenting websites. Every spot has its personal hearth ring, picnic desk, and entry to loos and water.

Middle Lake Campground, Custer State Park, South Dakota

Courtesy of South Dakota Recreation, Fish and Parks, Custer State Park

Set amongst the enduring Black Hills of South Dakota is Custer State Park, an enormous swathe of land (71,000 acres) with a bit of one thing for everybody. With granite spires nestled in thick forest and clear mountain lakes ripe for swimming, you’ll be able to spend the day mountain climbing, biking, fishing, or horseback driving (or the entire above!). When it is time to retire for the day, head to Middle Lake Campground, which is — you guessed it — proper subsequent to Middle Lake and has a mixture of tent and RV spots with showers and loos.

Colorado Bend Campground, Colorado Bend State Park, Texas

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You by no means know what you may encounter in Colorado Bend State Park, which is understood for its caves, springs, and sinkholes set amongst a lush, wooded panorama. The park is a straightforward two-hour drive from Austin and has a wide selection of campsites, together with hike-in choices, spots that may accommodate RVs, and group websites. Simply remember the fact that Colorado Bend manufacturers their in a single day choices as “back-to-nature tenting,” so ensure you pack alongside all the things you want for the evening — for instance, their “hike-in” websites do not have water or loos.

Roaring Brook Campground, Baxter State Park, Maine

All the things’s a bit of wilder in Baxter State Park, a 200,000-acre piece of land providing guests a really distant tenting expertise (the park has no on-tap water, paved roads, or electrical energy). Meaning tenting on the beautiful Roaring Brook Campground is primitive (and solely an choice in the summertime), so ensure that to pack alongside loads of water, meals, and headlamps. When you’re settled in, you may have easy accessibility to the Chimney Pond and Katahdin hikes out of your campsite.

Emerald Bay Boat Camp, Emerald Bay State Park, California

Courtesy of John Palmer/2022, California State Parks

With a fascinating location simply 12 miles north of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay State Park encompasses each an island, a 38-room mansion, and underwater shipwrecks. Campers will wish to head to Emerald Bay Boat Camp (open in the summertime solely), the place you’ll be able to dock your boat and camp on the picturesque lakefront. Simply consider websites ebook shortly, so you may wish to go browsing and reserve your spot the really useful six months earlier than your arrival.


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