The United States is packed with natural beauty and sprawling with high quality road networks. This combination of traits makes the U.S. feel like heaven for campers, hikers, explorers, and nature lovers. Every state has its own unique terrain and culture, and wide open roads connect them all so you can reach every amazing place easily by car. Whether you are backpacking for a few days or venturing around the entire country in a mobile home, these campsites should definitely have a place on your bucket list.
- Yosemite National Park, California
This incredible conglomeration of rich, diverse wilderness is perfect for sightseeing, hiking, and camping. Located in the impressive Sierra Nevada Mountains, the terrain is famous for its massive, ancient sequoia trees. The granite cliffs, waterfalls, and panoramic views will overwhelm the senses and overwork the camera lenses, but this epic national park is not to be missed.
The best place to camp at Yosemite is along Highway 120 at Harden Flat Road, and here you can camp for free thanks to the U.S. Forest Service. Free camping can be hard to come by, and you can camp for up to 21 days here. But you do need a permit, which you can get on Highway 120 at the Stanislaus Ranger Station.
- Glacier National Park, Montana
Deep in the Rocky Mountains you will find Glacier National Park, home to dramatic views and 700 miles of hiking trails. This park is famous for its 50 mile long Going-to-the-Sun Road, which brings drivers through gorgeous wilderness on a tight, winding road. The wildlife here is diverse and thriving; campers often catch glimpses of mountain goats, elk, sheep, beavers, and bears. Hidden Lake is the perfect photo opportunity tucked away deep in the park, and you can reach it by hiking or cycling.
With hundreds of camping spots at affordable prices, a journey out west would not be complete with a stop at Glacier National Park. Each camp site differs in price and you can reserve spots in advance, just research availability beforehand. For popular campsites like Apgar, Rising Sun, Sprague Creek, Avalanche and Two Medicine the fee is $5.00 per person, per night.
- Acadia National Park, Maine
Venture to this gem of the East Coast to witness beaches, mountains, and forests all within the same area. Visit Cadillac Mountain for thrilling hiking trails and glacial peaks covered in granite. Visit Jordan Pond for a peaceful picnic where you may catch a glimpse of moose or bears in the surrounding woodlands. Visit one of the many beaches to whale watch and fill up on delicious Maine lobsters. You can end your trip in the famous Bar Harbor to enjoy fresh New England seafood.
The fees for camping vary based on the time of year and the location. Prices increase during the popular summer months, with group campsites costing around $60 and walk-in sites costing between $20 and $30. Winter costs are as low as $15 for a walk in campsite, but the harsh Maine winters are not ideal for camping so it worth paying extra to visit in summer.
- Badlands National Park, South Dakota
With one of the most unique landscapes in the country, Badlands National Park is a treat for the eyes. Full of interesting rock formations, challenging hiking trails, ancient fossils and artifacts, and wild animals including bison, prairie dogs, badgers, rabbits, and bighorn sheep, you will never have a dull moment here. For mountain climbers and daring hikers, the deep canyons and rugged rock towers are exhilarating to climb. For more mellow explorers who want to take some breathtaking pictures, Badlands has a scenic lookout spot around every corner
The two main campsites are Cedar Pass and Sage Creek, both of which are open year round with a 14 day limit. Cedar Pass costs $22 per night per campsite, and campfires are forbidden due to the risk of forest fire. Sage Creek is designated for big groups, so the cost is $4 per person with a minimum total cost of $40 per night.
- Olympic National Park, Washington
To explore the multiple ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, visit Olympic National Park. Climb the monstrous, glacier-topped Mt. Olympus for a difficult but rewarding adventure. Hike through the rainforest for an immersion in dense greenery. Meander along the Pacific coastline for a chance to see some whales.
The park has countless campsites, some of which take reservations and others which are first come, first served. You must reserve a spot in advance for the group camp sites, which cost around $40 a night. The other campsites cost anywhere between $15 and $20 a night. You could also pitch a tent anywhere in the forest if you buy a backcountry camping permit for $5.