Nothing screams summer like spending time in the great outdoors. Whether you’re into pitching a tent in the wilderness, hooking up an RV or booking a luxe yurt, there’s a camping style for every type of person. With that in mind, here’s some of the most fabulous places in America to get in touch with nature.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – CA
When I think camping, I tend to think woods. But there are lots of fantastic beach campsites, and you’ll find many in California. For camping enthusiasts, scoring one of the coveted two spots available at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is no easy feat—it’s typically booked six months in advance. It’s quite rustic, and campers must hike in with all their gear as there’s no adjacent parking or running water. But who cares if you haven’t showered in a few days—no one will be looking at you, they’ll be checking out the incredible views. Roll the dice and try to make your reservation by calling 1-800-444-7275 or visiting Reserve California.
Prefer the glamping life? Make a reservation at Tree Bones Resort, home to some of the most beautiful yurts, autonomous tents and even twig huts and human nests (!). It’s far from a traditional camping experience, but a great option for newbies, people who like hot showers or simply those of us who don’t like to travel with all our camping gear.
Those traveling with an RV should check out Fernwood Big Sur. Nestled in the red woods along the Big Sur River, it’s near the parks but feels tucked away from everything. The campgrounds offer bathrooms, showers, a tavern, laundry and more. There’s even a general store onsite. Cabins, motel rooms, permanent tents and tent sites also available.
Rhode Island — East Beach, Charlestown
While RVing is fantastic, you do often trade privacy for convenience. Not so at East Beach. Here, you’ll find an undeveloped beachfront campground open exclusively to RVs! Granted, you’ll need your rig outfitted with four-wheel drive to make it to the secluded three-mile barrier beach. If you can physically make the trek to one of the 20 RV camping spots, you’ll be rewarded with what’s almost your own private beach.
No RV? No problem. Pitch your tent or reserve a rustic cabin at nearby Burlington State Campground. This spacious campground (3,100 acres!) along the rocky Watchaug Pond features over 700 rustic campsites and 20 cabins, restrooms with shower facilities, a playground, arcade, freshwater beach, canoe rentals and hiking trails.
Washington — Second Beach, Olympic National Park
Pitching a tent right on the sand at Second Beach is the camping trip of my dreams. Make a bonfire, cuddle up under a blanket, and maybe even invite your friend who knows how to play the guitar. A singalong around the campfire is a must! Camping here does require an easy .7-mile hike, but it’s worth every step. Please be mindful of where you pitch your tent—the tide is a thing here and you don’t want all your gear to wash away! Wilderness camping permits and bear cans are required and may be picked up at the Olympic National Park Visitors Center in Port Angeles. You’ll also want to bring your own potable water and lots of layers—it cools off at night.
Prefer to visit Second Beach as more of a day trip? Set up camp at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort—perfect for tent and RV campers, as well as those who consider staying in a beautiful lodge as roughing it. Located on the edge of the backcountry in the heart of the park, you may take a dip in its famed hot spring pools, or set off on an incredible hike right from your site.
Wyoming — Jenny Lake Campground, Grand Teton National Park
Sites often fill by 8am at this coveted campsite in the Tetons, and it’s easy to see why. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to craggy mountain views reflected on a smooth as glass lake? It’s like a Bob Ross painting come to life! Spending the night here sets you up for one of the best hiking experiences in the park—the trail from the campground to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. It’s the most trekked trail in the park, and setting out early in the morning is your best bet for at least pretending you have the place to yourself. Keep in mind there’s lots of wildlife here. Elk, moose and yes, grizzly bears often frequent this area. Lock up your food and be mindful of your surroundings.
Adirondack Lakes Region Island Camping, NY
Spanning more than six million acres, the Adirondack Region is home to the largest protected natural area in the lower 48. With 12 distinct regions to choose from, picking one can feel overwhelming. For the most iconic and wild experience, head to the Sarnacs for island camping. Though a few sites can be reached without a boat, 79 campsites along the chain of three lakes are only accessible from the water. Wake up to gentle waves quietly lapping on the shore of your own private island.
For something less rustic, head to Lake George for RV and tent camping that’s both near hiking, biking and fishing, as well as amusement parks, golf courses, restaurants, breweries and more. Turn your camping trip into drool-worthy Instagram photos at Posh Primitive. Their log-embellished canvas wall tents feature queen-size beds with fresh linens, cozy comforters and Pendelton wool blankets, a wood stove and firewood.
What’s your favorite place to camp? Share in the comments!
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