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8 Best National Park Campgrounds in the U.S.

July 25th, 2017|Tags: |


By Allie Wisniewski, American Forests

Whether you’re drawn to the wilderness of the backcountry or the amenities of more civilized outdoor sites, there’s a national park out there that will satisfy your camping criteria. Let’s take a look at the best of the best: the 10 most amazing national park campgrounds in the United States.

Glacier National Park, Montana

With crystal-clear alpine lakes and looming snow-capped mountains, Glacier National Park is an ideal location for a backcountry getaway. These primitive spots include pit toilets, spaces to pitch tents, and a designated area for food preparation. How luxurious! If you do plan to venture off the grid, however, be sure to check out the park’s Backcountry Camping Guide, which is updated yearly.

Piñon Flats, Great Sand Dunes National Park, New Mexico

Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

This unique campground is nested right smack in the middle of the park, boasting extraordinary views of North America’s tallest sand dunes as well as Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountain range. When visited in the spring, the Medano Creek flows through the site — a perfect spot to beat the heat, swim and relax.

Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Are you an avid climber? Being the closest campground to the tallest peak in North America, the 20,310-foot Denali, this site is deep in the wilderness and provides the amazing opportunity to enjoy a world-class view without the constant hum of generators. That’s right — Wonder Lake campground is tent-only. In addition to the unmatchable views, the site boasts wetland trails and great fishing and bird-watching.

Namakanipaio, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawai‘i

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

There are few places in the world where you can take in the humbling majesty of active volcanoes. This campground happens to be one of them. The site is perched on the mountainside at 4,000 feet and is just a short drive from the hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the Kīlauea Caldera. For those whose preferences lie more in the arena of “glamping,” the campground offers 10 cabins in addition to plenty of tent sites.

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

Assateague Island is home to some particularly unique residents — more than 300 wild Chincoteague ponies! With over 37 miles of pristine beach, this area provides the unique opportunity to view a variety of wildlife, hike through pine forest and salt marshes, and fall asleep to the sound of the waves. While the park is located in both Maryland and Virginia, camping is only available on the Maryland side of the island.

Tuweep, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Credit: John Fowler

It’s no secret that the Grand Canyon’s North Rim is far less congested than its southern counterpart, and this campground is a testament to that reality. Practically isolated, it’s located 212 miles from the South Rim and requires visitors to travel 56 to 91 miles along potentially impassible dirt roads. Needless to say, if you’re looking for seclusion, this is the site for you. Be warned, however, that there are absolutely no amenities provided — you’re on your own as far as food, water, gas and lodging.

Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Park, California

Lovingly dubbed “The Galapagos of North America,” the Channel Islands are home to 145 plant and animal species you won’t find anywhere else. The campground can only be reached by boat, but the trip will be well worth it once you reach the site itself, which is perched atop rugged cliffs and offers incredible views of the coast. The park also features great spots for hiking, swimming, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling and more.

Gulpha Gorge, Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Credit: Brandon Rush

Hot Springs National Park is located on the north end of the city of Hot Springs (creative, huh?), and is home to 47 natural springs, many of which have been transformed into bathhouses for visitors to enjoy. Experience the park’s healing thermal waters and enjoy Gulpha Creek, which runs along Gulpha Gorge’s campsites.

July 25th, 2017|Tags: |0 Comments

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