It’s camping season, so get set for alfresco adventures, fascinating wildlife and inspirational vistas. Here are ten superb U.S. destinations that’ll make you want to pitch your tent.
Denali National Park, Alaska
This magnificent wilderness park has six campgrounds, five of which are summer-only. Wonder Lake campground offers 28 tent pitches and basic facilities in a remote and scenic lakeside position. On clear days you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Denali, at 20,310 feet the highest peak in the U.S. Keep an eye out for resident moose, caribou, eagles and grizzly bears. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
Yosemite National Park, California
A stunningly diverse landscape of towering sequoia groves, jutting peaks, and plunging waterfalls, 95% of which is designated wilderness. Yosemite’s 13 campgrounds are hugely popular and you currently need an advance reservation. For a true out in the wilds experience, apply for a permit to wild-camp in the park’s backcountry. Activities span hiking, horse-back riding, climbing, boating, fishing and swimming.
Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho
With 81 campgrounds, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Sawtooth National Forest. Surrounded by pine trees, Bonneville campground sits on a bluff at 4,700 feet on the forest perimeter, with picturesque views over Warm Springs Creek. Once you’ve pitched your tent, relax in natural hot spring pools, or enjoy white water rafting, kayaking and trout fishing on South Fork Payette River.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
A mile deep, 18 mile wide gouge of the Colorado River, the mighty Grand Canyon is a geological megastar and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The layered hues of rock reveal its history and formation over millions of years. Six campgrounds operate within the national park. At 8,200 feet, North Rim campground is higher, more rustic and substantially quieter than its South Rim counterpart. Along with spectacular views you’ll find excellent hiking trails, and wildlife including bison, elk and bighorn sheep.
Carson National Forest, New Mexico
Whilst you may not expect greenery in the heart of New Mexico, Carson National Forest boasts verdant terrain, 6,000 feet high campgrounds and cool summer temperatures. This 1.5 million acre expanse is home to elk, cougar, antelope and black bear plus 13,161 feet high Wheeler Peak, New Mexico’s highest mountain. Enjoy hunting, horse riding and hiking amidst fir and aspen forests and fishing in trout filled rivers. Seven tent and RV campgrounds offer cooking facilities, toilets and picnic tables.
Assateague Island, Maryland
A magical two mile wide barrier island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, famed for sandy beaches, tranquil maritime forests, and resident wild horses that roam the sand dunes. Hike or bike along 37 glorious miles of Atlantic shoreline. Enjoy swimming, fishing and crabbing, or rent a canoe or kayak. Pitch your tent at one of the ocean side campsites in the island’s Maryland district.
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Escape to a landscape of dense forest, rushing streams and alpine meadows carpeted in wildflowers. Dwarfing the landscape is Mount Rainier, the 14,410 feet high active volcano which last erupted over a century ago. This glacier cloaked peak is the highest in Washington State and the Cascade Mountains. A choice of campgrounds includes rustic Cougar Rock, convenient for the Paradise visitor center, and close to hiking trails and beautiful waterfalls.
An idyll of glorious golden sands, soaring mountains and verdant rainforest, Kauai is unsurprisingly a popular camping destination. The island has 13 beach and inland campsites, and you’ll need a permit to pitch a tent. Anini Beach Park on the north shore offers 12 acres of oceanfront campground. Protected by a two mile reef, this family friendly spot has tranquil waters ideal for swimming and snorkelling. You’ll find showers, picnic tables and toilets on site.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
This dramatic, rugged landscape contrasts colourful buttes, soaring geological pinnacles and miles of expansive prairie. Hike the Notch and Castle trails and encounter pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, golden eagles and bison. The park has two NPS campgrounds: Cedar Pass, and remote Sage Creek where you’ll need to bring your own water. Pitch up for a true sense of escape, and enjoy spectacular sunsets over breath taking terrain.
Biscayne National Park, Florida
A short hop from vibrant Miami, Biscayne is a tranquil haven of unspoilt islands, coral reefs and turquoise waters teeming with fish, sea turtles and dolphins. The park is 95% water, and popular for boating, canoeing, kayaking, snorkelling and diving. Biscayne’s two campsites are accessible only by boat. Boca Chita Key has basic facilities and wonderful sea views, whilst serene Elliot Key offers jetty and shoreline fishing along with maritime forest hiking trails.
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