15 Awesome National Parks for Camping This Spring from 15 Awesome National Parks for Camping This Spring
15 Awesome National Parks for Camping This Spring
Wouldn’t you want to be in the wilderness for a week where you can take a real break, relax and unwind after a long and stressful week at the office? Replace phone calls and spreadsheets for hiking along wooded paths, soaking in inspiring panoramas, and having dinner by a campfire. Isn’t that what life should be all about anyway? Be an intrepid wanderer and discover why “America the Beautiful” is not just a song.
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
This is where you go for world-class beach camping. Assateague Island, where wild ponies travel the beaches of this 37-mile uninhabited island near Chincoteague, is split between Virginia and Maryland. However, camping is only allowed in the part in the Old Line State. Some of the campsite locations have changed. Reservations are required from March 15 through November 15.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Imagine waking up and the first thing you see are the hoodoos, tall rocky spires. It's a stunning view. But this is not all Bryce Canyon National Park offers. The park reaches 2,000 feet. Take the opportunity to camp in unique forests. There are separate ranges with spruce, Ponderosa and Pinyon pines. Some hiking trails can be easily handled by beginners. All sites in the two campgrounds are limited to 10 people.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina
See astonishing trees, such as giant hardwoods and towering pines, primeval forest landscapes, and diverse plant and animal life up close. The park offers both front and backcountry camping opportunities. Reservations for the two campgrounds – Longleaf and Bluff – are required. Nominal fees range between $5 and $20. You need a permit if you want to camp in the backcountry.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree National Park is the right choice for adventurers who really want to connect with nature and the wilderness. Imagine sleeping directly under the starry night sky and witnessing some of the most stunning nighttime views in the Golden State? There are nine different campgrounds offering about 500 developed campsites all suitable for people traveling alone or with big families, the NPS says. Campgrounds usually fill on weekend nights from October through May. Most sites are first-come, first-served.
Everglades National Park, Florida
There are two drive-in campgrounds accessible from the Homestead entrance of the park: Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground, according to NPS. Both accommodate tents and RVs. Hiking, biking, canoeing, and kayaking opportunities in the huge park of more than 2,400 square miles will keep you entertained. In fact, you may have to use one of these options to reach most backcountry camping sites. Be on the lookout for manatees, alligators and crocodiles.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park is not your average camping destination. It’s ideal for backcountry camping fans. You have about a million acres at your disposal and plenty of chances to go deep. Weeks of exploring the unmarked trails, some of which are remote and hidden, won’t be enough. With 13 different campgrounds and more than 1,000 sites to choose from, options are abundant. Most campgrounds are first-come first-served with the exception of Fish Creek, according to NPS.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Camping at Carlsbad Caverns National Park is allowed only in the backcountry, and only west of Rattlesnake Canyon trailhead off the Desert Scenic Loop Road and south of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail to the park boundary for approximately two miles. After that, camping is allowed both north and south of the trail. You need a permit, but it’s free to get one. Explore a whole new world over 700 feet below the ground made up of 117 known caves. Spring is the time to go for the best chance to see bats.
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
The Voyageurs National Park is not the most famous place for camping because most campsites are quite remote. You will actually need a boat to reach them. So if you’re looking for peace of mind, isolated camping and a copious number of water activities, consider this park. If you don’t have your own vessel, go on a guided boat tour to see the natural beauty of the park. Backcountry camping is also permitted anywhere in the park.
Rocky Mountains National Park, Colorado
Moraine Park Campground is the only one open year-round. The camp, which is also one of the more popular wildlife-viewing spots in the region, offers some of the best sights of the park, famous for its high peaks and pine forests. Mule deer and elk are a regular presence. You may also get a chance to encounter coyotes, black bears (this is how to survive an attack), bighorn sheep, and moose.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
There are four campgrounds in Shenandoah National Park but most of the park, including its wilderness, is open to backcountry camping (for which you need a permit). You have 196,000 acres of wilderness and over 500 miles of trails to explore, according to NPS. In early spring, Big Meadows, Mathews Arm, and Loft operate on a first-come, first-served basis only. They switch to a combination of reserve-able sites and first-come, first-served sites in early May.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Kalaloch is the only campground that accepts reservations in the summer. All other campgrounds are first-come, first-served, according to NPS. Consider camping at Deer Park, which boasts mountain views worth the climb and starry skies like few other places since it’s at 5,400 feet in elevation. If you want to experience secluded tenting, Dosewallips Campground is your spot. Go hiking and explore the rugged glacier-capped mountains, wild Pacific coast, or lavish rainforest.
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
The “American Spa,” which has healing and soothing thermal waters, has more than 25 miles of trails boasting stunning wildlife and creeks. Go camping in this beautiful and unique national park before the summer brings hot temperatures and unbearable humidity. All camping at Gulpha Gorge Campground costs $30 per night, unless you have a special pass. All sites can accommodate tents or RVs. All sites, which are available on first come basis, have full hookups and water and sewer connections, according to NPS. No reservations.
Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee
Deep Creek Campground is an adventurous place to stay for a few days. It’s all about the water. This 92-site campground is ideal for all kinds of freshwater activities, some of which are more intense than your usual workout. Also, you are very close to Juney Whank Falls, Tom Branch Falls and Indian Creek Falls. The stunning views make for perfect day hikes.
Yosemite National Park, California
If you have an RV and want to go on a long camping trip, Yosemite is your destination. It has 13 popular campgrounds. Reservations are recommended for many of them, especially if you plan to go between May and September. You won’t see cars or roads in most of the park. Go on a hiking trip to Glacier Point for a stunning view of the famed Yosemite Valley and Half Dome, which is one of the most dangerous places in the region.
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
This is a park you didn’t know you had to see. Backcountry, group, remote, primitive or developed camping – all options are available. The developed Fruita Campground often fills daily spring through fall. The no-fee Cathedral and Cedar Mesa Primitive Campgrounds, located in more remote parts of the park, have pit toilets and picnic tables, but no water, the NPS says. The Utah park is little-known, but it actually offers more variety of rock formations than any other national park on the Colorado Plateau.