The best tent camping locations in the United States offer a wide range of environments in which to explore. Whether it’s the hot dry deserts of the western states of Arizona and Utah or the snow-covered mountains of Alaska, outdoor enthusiasts can pitch a tent in primitive campsites, modern campgrounds, or wander into the wilds of America’s backcountry. Explorers can visit remote barrier islands, climb massive rock formations, or hike through lush forests where they’ll encounter plunging waterfalls. Camping offers people the chance to reengage with nature and recharge their spirit while gaining a new appreciation for the simple life.
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park is best experienced by camping at one of the three campgrounds in the park. The first one, Blackwoods, is open year-round and has the closest access to Bar Harbor and the park’s best hiking trails. Each site is nestled in the woods and just a ten-minute walk to the ocean. Seawall Campground can be found on the western side of Mount Desert Island and offers almost 200 woodland campsites. This area features an oceanfront picnic area nearby. Schoodic Woods is the final campground in Arcadia Park and the newest. This campground is located on the mainland with less crowding and features hike-in campsites with ocean views.
Bar Harbor, ME 04609, Phone: 207-288-3338
2. Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park requires a reservation for camping at Devils Garden Campground. Each of the 51 campsites are tucked into the desert landscape among the outcropping of sandstone rock formations. The campground is a thriving ecosystem of juniper and pinyon pines. The area is dotted with flowering cacti and desert wildflowers. There is an abundance of hiking trails including Broken Arch Trail, a scenic loop that starts at the campground. Visitors to the park can take part in a guided hiking tour of the Fiery Furnace, an extreme terrain hike that is physically demanding and dangerously treacherous in areas of the maze-like labyrinth.
Arches Entrance Rd, Moab, UT 84532, Phone: 435-719-2299
3. Assateague Island National Park, Maryland
Assateague Island National Park calls for careful planning and packing of necessary gear in preparation for the harsh habitat of the barrier island. Reservations for campsites can be made up to 6-months in advance. Guests can choose between oceanside spots or campsites on the bayside of the narrow strip of sand and dunes. The highlight of the park is the two herds of wild horses that inhabit the island, descendants of 17th-century horses brought to the area by colonists dodging livestock taxes. The campground is open year-round and can accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs but there are no hook-ups or dump stations on site.
6915 Stephen Decatur Hwy, Berlin, MD 21811, Phone: 410-641-2918
4. Badlands National Park South, Dakota
Badlands National Park provides camping at two campgrounds and allows backcountry camping among its 224,000 acres. Cedar Pass Campground offers seasonal camping and is ideal for families, large groups, and RV camping. Electricity is available at the RV sites but there is no water or sewer hook-up onsite. Visitors interested in primitive camping can choose between Sage Creek Campgrounds or venture out into the wildlands of the backcountry. Fires are not allowed anywhere inside the park but camp stoves and charcoal grills are permitted. During the summer, visitors can enjoy ranger-led stargazing sessions at the Cedar Pass Campground Amphitheatre.
25216 Ben Reifel Road, Interior, SD 57750, Phone: 605-433-5361
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5. Big Bend National Park, Texas
Big Bend National Park has three developed front country campgrounds under the management of the National Park Service and one full-hookup RV campground managed by Forever Resorts. Chisos Basin Campground, found at the end of a narrow windy road, offers cozy primitive campsites surrounded by towering rocky cliffs. The Cottonwood Campground is named for the numerous shade trees in this quiet section of the park. The Rio Grande Village Campground is adjacent to the river and offers breathtaking views of the Chisos Mountain Range. The undeveloped backcountry offers primitive roadside campsites and the solitude of wilderness camping after a hike through the remote desert.
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834, Phone: 432-477-2251
6. Cayo Costa State Park, Florida
Cayo Costa State Park features nine miles of natural shoreline on this Gulf Coast barrier island in Charlotte Harbor. This well-preserved tropical ecosystem is only accessible by boat or helicopter and is a haven to shorebirds, manatees, and sea turtles. The park has 30 primitive campsites with picnic tables and fire pit rings. The campground has little shade available but is near the beach where guests enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Bathroom facilities are available offering flushing toilets and cold showers. Tram service runs during the day to take campers and their gear the mile-long trek from the dock to the grounds.
Captiva, FL 33924, Phone: 941-964-0375
7. Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California
Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park is an eight-mile section of rugged coastline in California’s Redwood National Forest and is home to one of the four developed campgrounds in the area, Mill Creek Campground. Open from mid-May until the end of September, this campground has 145 primitive sites suitable for tents and small RVs. Each campsite is well shaded by enormous maples, alders, and young redwoods and has a picnic table and fire pit bbq grill. The campground has restroom facilities with hot showers. The highlight of the park is Damnation Creek Trail, a steep two-milk hike leading down to tide pools and crashing waves.
Crescent City, CA 95531, Phone: 707-465-7335
8. Denali National Park, Alaska
Denali National Park is an enormous 6 million-acres of rugged mountains, lush valleys, crystal clear rivers, dense forests, and barren tundra. Year-round camping is only available at the park’s largest, most-developed campground, Riley Creek. The other five campgrounds are open from mid-May to mid-September depending on the weather and road conditions. Most campsites are spacious and spread out for added privacy and each campground varies in size and amenities. Tent-only camping is available at three of the park’s campgrounds, Sanctuary River, Igloo, and Wonderlake. Except for Riley Creek, each of the campgrounds offer spectacular views of Denali (formerly Mount McKinley).
Parks Hwy, Denali National Park and Preserve, AK, Phone: 907-683-9532
9. Devils Fork State Park, South Carolina
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Devils Fork State Park has two campgrounds and restroom facilities with hot showers on the shores of Lake Jocassee. The main campground has 59 paved spots and a 12x12 tent pad with electric and water hookups that can accommodate up to two tents on one site. The walk-in campsites are reserved for tent camping only and are limited to one tent per location. Every campsite in these two campgrounds is equipped with a picnic table and fire pit ring. Boat-in camping is accessible on the northern shore of the lake at the foot of Musterground Mountain and is open seasonally.
161 Holcombe Cir, Salem, SC 29676, Phone: 864-944-2639
10. Everglades National Park, Florida
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Everglades National Park has easily accessible front-country camping at its year-round campground, the Flamingo, and seasonal camping from November to May at Long Pine Key Campground. Long Pine Key is a first-come-first-serve campground close to Anhinga Trail and next to Long Pine Key Trail. The Flamingo Campground is an open expanse of land on the breezy Florida Bay. This campground has showers picnic tables, grills, and an amphitheater with performances during the winter months. Backcountry camping is available on the beach and on elevated platforms throughout Everglades National Park and is only accessible by watercraft. A permit is required for all backcountry wilderness camping.
40001 State Road 9336, Homestead, FL 33034, Phone: 305-242-7700
11. Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park consists of extraordinary mountains, alpine lakes, and 700 miles of backpacking trail utopia, Backcountry camping is restricted to the 65 campground areas of the park and requires a permit. Each campground has 2-7 campsites with a limit of four people with two tents per campsite. The park is split along the Continental Divide with the west side trail consisting of dense forest with more seclusion and the east side trail has little vegetation with more spacious open landscape. Trip itineraries must be approved in advance and extra precautions should be taken to ensure camper safety with an awareness of the natural dangers of the park.
Glacier National Park, Montana, Phone: 800-847-4868
12. Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont
Green Mountain National Forest lets campers choose between three campgrounds, Hapgood Pond, Moosalamoo, and Chittenden Brook. The first campground has about six sunny campsites with aspen, willow, and hemlock trees and another half dozen campsites in the densely forested section of the loop. Moosalamoo Campground is a flourish of shade trees like sugar maples, beech, and birch. The landscape is filled with wildflowers and ferns creating privacy among the sites. The third campground is frequented by hikers and mountain bikers who enjoy rugged wilderness experiences. The forest of shade trees and hilly terrain provide a welcome challenge to adventure seekers.
Rutland, VT 05701, Phone: 802-747-6700
13. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park features two small drive-in campgrounds and eight backcountry campsites. Namakanipaio Campground is a spacious open park with grassy lots and towering eucalyptus and ?ohi’a trees. Each site has a picnic table and a fire pit grill. This campground also features cozy cabins that sleep up to four people. The cabins have a picnic table, bbq grill, fire pit and require reservations. Kulanaokuaiki Campground has nine campsites with picnic tables and a tent pad. This campground does not have running water and only has vault toilets. This campground does not allow pets, especially dogs, in order to protect the endangered nene bird.
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718, Phone: 808-985-6101
14. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree National Park has become a highly popular weekend destination from October to May. Jumbo Rocks Campground is aptly named for the enormous boulders and rock formations throughout the landscape. The campground has 124 campsites that each accommodate a maximum of six people with no more than three tents and two vehicles if room allows. At the center of the campground is an amphitheater where local artists perform for a full house. The campground also features access to the Skull Rock Nature Trail, a popular walk to the famed granite rock formation through desert wildflowers and sandy terrain.
74485 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277, Phone: 760-367-5500
15. Kaibab National Forest, Arizona
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Kaibab National Forest is divided into three regions and has a total of seven campgrounds to choose from. The North Kaibab District has primitive sites at Indian Hollow Campground that is open year-round. The other two campgrounds in this district, DeMotte Campground and Jacob Lake Campground, are only open from mid-May to mid-October. The Tusayan District has a peaceful forested campground, Ten X, that is open from mid-May to late-September, depending on weather and road conditions. The Williams District has three campgrounds open from late-April until late-September, Douglas Lake, Kaibab Lake, and White Horse Lake. The lakes serve as the city’s water supply so there is no swimming.
800 S 6th St, Williams, AZ 86046, Phone: 928-635-8200
16. Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
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Lake McConaughy is Nebraska’s biggest recreation reservoir and its white sandy beaches are a popular spot for tent camping. Visitors enjoy the more than 100 miles of shoreline on this nearly 35,000-acre lake. The lake has over 15 campgrounds available each with basic amenities like picnic tables and fire pits. Some of the more developed campgrounds have playgrounds, restrooms, and RV hookups. There are over 200 campsites available around the shores of Lake McConaughy. In addition to camping along the water’s edge, guests take to the water for windsurfing, scuba diving, water skiing, sailing, and swimming. Nature lovers enjoy the hiking trails flush with songbirds and woodland wildlife.
1475 Highway 61 North, Ogallala NE 69153, Phone: 308-284-8800
17. Ludington State Park, Michigan
Ludington State Park offers three modern campgrounds with 360 campsites to choose from. Pines Campground has modern restrooms and several campsites with electric hook-up. This campground features access to a 2-mile bike path and over 20-miles of hiking trails. Cedar Campground features a separate loop for tent-only camping. This campground has access to the park’s 4-mile canoe trail. Beechwood Campground, like Pines and Cedar, features one mini-cabin available that is furnished with two sets of bunk beds, a dining table, and chairs. All of the campsites and cabins have a picnic table and fire pit ring.
8800 W. M-116, Ludington MI, 49431, Phone: 231-843-2423
18. Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New York
Minnewaska State Park Preserve has 50 campsites on its 50-acres of top-rated camping facilities, Samuell F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway Campground. Constructed in 2014, this tent-only camp is mere minutes from the climbing cliffs of Mohonk Preserve. Campers enjoy the majestic views of the Shawangunk Mountains while socializing at the pavilion and cooking area. The campground has 24 drive-in campsites as well as 26 walk-in sites. Each campsite can host up to four people with two tents. The campground features showers and dish-washing sinks for added convenience. Camping season at Minnewaska State Park Preserve runs from mid-May to mid-November, weather permitting.
5281 Route 44-55, Kerhonkson, NY 12446, Phone: 845-255-0752
19. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park has added a new way to experience the sacred land of the Navajo. This iconic desert American West features rugged landscape for hiking, horseback riding, and guided tours of the valley. The wilderness campsites are located on the cliff-side of the park and provide guests with awe-inspiring views of the landscape. The campground area has a full restroom with showers for campers to use. The night skies come alive in this isolated desert getaway making for optimal stargazing experiences in an area filled with the energy and spirit of the Native Americans of the land.
Monument Valley, UT 84536, Phone: 435-727-5555
20. Olympic National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park has 14 campgrounds available with primitive sites ideal for simplistic tent camping. Each campground’s availability varies with some being open year-round, some are seasonal, and others become walk-in only sites during heavy snows. Campgrounds range in size from large 170 site grounds to smaller cozy campgrounds of 9 campsites. Water availability and restroom facilities vary by campground as well as by season. A few campgrounds offer reservations and some have spaces large enough to accommodate RVs. Several of the campgrounds are in close proximity to the lakes and rivers found in Olympic National Park.
600 E. Park Avenue Port Angeles, WA 98362, Phone: 360-565-3130
21. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a reservation-only system of three campgrounds, Little Beaver, Hurricane River, and Twelvemile Beach. The campgrounds are primitive tent pad sites with a picnic table and fire pit grills. Little Beaver Lake Campground has a ramp to launch small electric motor boats. Hurricane River Campground features the North Country Trail that travels passed shipwreck remnants to the famed Au Sable Light Station. Twelvemile Beach Campground offers elevated campsites with popular lake view sites. This campground has a two-mile trail that starts and ends at the campground and access to the North Country Trail.
Munising, MI 49862, Phone: 906-387-3700
22. Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania
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Pine Grove Furnace State Park can be found at the north end of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a place called South Mountain. This 696-acre park is rich with history and overflowing with natural beauty. The park is comprised of Laurel and Fuller Lakes, the Appalachian Trail, and is surrounded by Michaux State Forest. The campground has 79 campsites, 46 of which are electric. Campsites can accommodate up to five persons and pets are allowed at most campsites in the park. Each site has a picnic table and a fire pit ring. The campground has an amphitheater and a swimming beach with concessions in the summer.
1100 Pine Grove Road, Gardners, PA 17324, Phone: 717-486-7174
23. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Shenandoah National Park offers 200,000-acres of backcountry exploration and five developed campgrounds that open at different points during the season. Mathews Arm Campground boasts nature trails including Overall Run Falls trail that leads to the park’s tallest waterfall. Big Meadows Campground is central to most park facilities, many of the popular hiking trails, and is steps away from three waterfalls. The smallest campground is Lewis Mountain while the biggest one is Loft Mountain Campground. Dundo Group Campground offers three campsites that are suitable for groups of 7-20 people. The park operates a camp store, laundry facilities, and maintains modern restrooms and shower facilities.
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, VA 22835, Phone: 540-999-3500
24. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire-Maine
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White Mountain National Forest provides camping at any number of modern campgrounds as well as backcountry campsites with full wilderness immersion. The park is divided into three sections, Androscoggin District, Pemigewasset District, and the Saco District, each with its own long list of campgrounds. Each district also has its own list of wilderness campsites available to backpackers visiting the park. Campfires are allowed in designated areas throughout the park. Outdoor activities at White Mountain National Forest include fishing, hiking, and climbing. Campers need to be aware that the park is inhabited by bears and to take necessary safety precautions.
71 White Mountain Drive, Campton NH 03223, Phone: 603-536-6100
25. Wyalusing Hardwood Forest, Wisconsin
Wyalusing Hardwood Forest is one of the oldest parks in Wisconsin and has campsites for families and two large group camps, one indoors and one outside. The park activities include hiking and canoe trails, sightseeing, birdwatching, and the site of Native American burial grounds. The two family-friendly campgrounds, Wisconsin Ridge and Homestead, have a combined 109 standard campsites with 38 of those sites offering electric hook-up. Each campground has modern restrooms with showers and a playground. The park has a boat ramp available and a beach is located nearby at Wyalusing Recreation Area.
13081 State Park Lane, Bagley WI 53801, Phone: 608-996-2261
What are the 25 Best Tent Camping Spots in the United States?
The 25 Best Tent Camping Spots in the United States according to local experts are:
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Arches National Park, Utah
- Assateague Island National Park, Maryland
- Badlands National Park South, Dakota
- Big Bend National Park, Texas
- Cayo Costa State Park, Florida
- Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, California
- Denali National Park, Alaska
- Devils Fork State Park, South Carolina
- Everglades National Park, Florida
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
- Joshua Tree National Park, California
- Kaibab National Forest, Arizona
- Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
- Ludington State Park, Michigan
- Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New York
- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah
- Olympic National Park, Washington
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
- Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania
- Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
- White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire-Maine
- Wyalusing Hardwood Forest, Wisconsin