Last updated on January 24th, 2024 at 09:00 pm
For people who enjoy the great outdoors, state park campgrounds are a great deal! A better value than most commercial campgrounds and RV parks, they offer several advantages, including access to natural wonders, and interesting history. Combine that with often larger and more private campsites and you’re in for a vacation of a lifetime.
There are thousands of state parks across the United States, but we’ve got recommendations from the most seasoned road trippers who say the following 28 state parks are among the best to camp at in the country! Check out their advice!
- Bahia Honda State Park (Big Pine Key, Florida)
- Bottomless Lakes State Park (Roswell, New Mexico)
- Cape Henlopen State Park (Lewes, Delaware)
- Carolina Beach State Park (New Hanover County, North Carolina)
- Cherry Springs State Park (Coudersport, Pennsylvania)
- Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (Kanab, Utah)
- Curry Hammock State Park (Marathon, Florida)
- Custer State Park (Custer, South Dakota)
- Emerald Bay State Park (Lake Tahoe, California)
- Fort Yargo State Park (Winder, Georgia)
- Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park (High Springs, Florida)
- Goblin Valley State Park (Green River, Utah)
- Hunting Island State Park (Beaufort County, South Carolina)
- Koreshan State Park (Estero, Florida)
- Kodachrome Basin State Park (Cannonville, Utah)
- Lake Wenatchee State Park (Leavenworth, Washington)
- Leo Carillo State Park (Malibu, California)
- Lost Dutchman State Park (Apache Junction, Arizona)
- Mississippi Palisades State Park (Savanna, Illinois)
- Oliver Lee Memorial State Park (Alamogordo, New Mexico)
- Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (Monterey County, California)
- Robert H. Treman State Park (Ithaca, New York)
- San Elijo State Beach (Encinitas, California)
- Shenandoah River State Park (Bentonville, Virginia)
- Silver Falls State Park (Silverton, Oregon)
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park (Paradise, Michigan)
- Unicoi State Park (Helen, Georgia)
- Valley of Fire State Park (Moapa Valley, Nevada)
- Watkins Glen State Park (Watkins Glen, New York)
Bahia Honda State Park (Big Pine Key, Florida)
Located along the shimmering shores of the Gulf of Mexico deep in the Florida Keys, Bahia Honda State Park offers a beautiful and peaceful retreat for campers. Not only is the entire park stunning but there are so many activities for every member of the family to participate in! From fishing, kayaking, and swimming in the turquoise waters to snorkeling or taking a boat tour to a nearby island, there is no shortage of ways to spend the perfect day at Bahia Honda State Park. When you’re ready to get out of the water, enjoy hiking trails, guided nature walks, and a historic bridge which is great for getting a bird’s eye view of the Florida Keys.
The park offers three campgrounds with a total of 80 campsites for tents and RV’s with many located directly on the sandy beachfront with views for miles. Amenities include shaded picnic areas, restrooms with showers, multiple changing stations, and a camp store with basic supplies. Overall, Bahia Honda State Park Campground is a great destination for nature lovers, water enthusiasts, and anyone looking for a peaceful camping experience in the Sunshine State!
– Recommended by Erin of The Simple Salty Life
Bottomless Lakes State Park (Roswell, New Mexico)
Bottomless Lake State Park and Campground combine the beauty of New Mexico with a little bit of folklore, giving visitors an enchanted experience. Located just 30 minutes from downtown Roswell, there is so much to love about this area.
Descending into the canyon is breathtaking. As the road narrows, the colorful walls are so close you can almost touch them. The scenery is outstanding. A chain of nine lakes ranging in depths from 17 feet to 90 feet makes up the Bottomless Lake State Park. From the visitor center, you can drive or hike to each one of the lakes. The gorgeous blue water looks inviting and the towering canyon walls create a secret sanctuary.
The campground is located in the Lea Lake Recreation Area. During the summer, Lea Lake is a favorite spot to cool off. The sandy beach and picnic area are perfect for family fun. There are 30 sites for tents or RVs with water and electricity that range from 35’ to 60’ in length. The campground offers an additional 10 tent-only campsites. Amenities include covered picnic tables and fire rings at each site, as well as conveniently located flush toilets and outdoor showers.
– Recommended by Maureen of The Stromads
Cape Henlopen State Park (Lewes, Delaware)
Escape to the untouched wild beauty of Cape Henlopen State Park, a picturesque spot situated at the convergence of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean! With miles of stunning beach, abundant fishing opportunities, an extensive biking trail system, and a rich history to explore, it’s no wonder the park is one of Delaware’s hidden gems.
With over 17 miles of multi-use trails, including a 3-mile loop, you can easily tour the park on foot or by bike. Be sure to visit the nature center to learn more about the marine and wildlife located in the park, then head over to the long pier to watch the day’s catch being reeled. Originally named Fort Miles, the park was once a crucial piece of the country’s WWII coastal defense. Today you can tour remnants of the old base and batteries.
The campground is a short 15-minute walk to the Atlantic Ocean and offers something for everyone including 120 sites with water and electricity for RVs or tents. Additionally, there are 12 cabins for rent and two separate tent-only sections. Bathrooms with hot showers are available and a camp store is centrally located.
– Recommended by Julie & Sean of Chickery’s Travels
Carolina Beach State Park (New Hanover County, North Carolina)
Carolina Beach State Park is a perfect camping spot for all ages of outdoor enthusiasts. It is located on the tidal Cape Fear River south of Wilmington, North Carolina. The park has 9 miles of hiking trails through maritime forests and along the river. The amazing Fly Trap trail is a favorite. It leads to marshy areas filled with the unique carnivorous plant, the Venus Flytrap.
The park is near many of the outdoor areas of Carolina Beach. Miles of swimming beaches on the Atlantic Ocean are a short drive. Kayaking to Masonboro Island or Shark Tooth Island are other activities not to miss.
The campground has 79 wooded campsites: ten with full hookups (water, electric, and sewer) and 69 with no hookups. They are laid out in two loops and each one has a bathhouse with showers. The park also has four camping cabins that sleep up to six people in two rooms, one with a queen bed (sleeps two) and one with two sets of twin-sized bunk beds.
– Recommended by Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler
Cherry Springs State Park (Coudersport, Pennsylvania)
Camping in Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania, offers an unparalleled experience for nature lovers and stargazing enthusiasts. This remote park is located in Potter County and is renowned for its exceptionally dark skies.
The main highlight of visiting Cherry Springs State Park is witnessing stunning night skies. Designated as a Gold Level International Dark Sky Park, it boasts some of the darkest and clearest skies in the eastern United States. Campers are treated to a mesmerizing display of stars, planets, and even the Milky Way – all visible to the naked eye! Whether you’re an amateur astronomer or simply appreciate the beauty of a starry night, this park offers an unforgettable celestial experience.
During the day, visitors can explore the park’s hiking trails, which wind through the lush forests and provide scenic views of the surrounding landscapes. Enjoying nature by day and the Milky Way by night is the perfect way to spend the day.
The no-frills camping facilities in Cherry Springs State Park are well-maintained. The rustic campground offers dry camping sites (no water, power, or sewer): 11 RV campsites and 18 tent campsites. The restroom facilities are also primitive with no showers. If you have astrophotography equipment, you can also tent camp in the astronomer’s field which does not allow for any white light or campfires.
– Recommended by Pamela of The Directionally Challenged Traveler
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (Kanab, Utah)
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is a gorgeous camping destination in Southern Utah. As you might have guessed from the name, the main draw to this state park is the unique coral-pink sand. While many of the photos you’ll find online have been edited to exaggerate the colors, the sand is beautiful in person and is quite colorful.
There is only one campground in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, so make sure you make advanced reservations before your visit. You can RV camp or tent camp here and 12 of the 34 campsites have water and power hookups. The campground also offers bathrooms (including hot showers), an RV dump station, and potable drinking water.
With so much to do at this state park including sandboarding, hiking in the dunes, and even ATVing, it should definitely be on your list of Utah bucket-list locations!
– Recommended by Janae of Adventures With TuckNae
Curry Hammock State Park (Marathon, Florida)
Curry Hammock State Park in Marathon, Florida is undoubtedly one of the best campgrounds in the Sunshine State. Nestled between the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, this coastal paradise offers a remarkable camping experience that will leave you longing for more.
There are so many reasons why Curry Hammock State Park holds a special place in the hearts of visitors. Firstly, the park has a beautiful beach that invites you to unwind on its fine white sands and cool yourself in the turquoise waters. You can kayak and paddleboard through the mangrove woods and tidal lagoons of the park to get a close-up look at the tranquil coastal habitat.
When it comes to the best campsites in Florida, Curry Hammock State Park is a top contender. The park boasts 28 spacious campsites with power and water hookups, each thoughtfully designed to provide privacy and stunning views of the surrounding natural beauty. Each campsite provides a gravel space for cars and RVs to park as well as a nearby sandy area where tents can be set up.
– Recommended by Trijit Mallick of Budget Travel Buff
Custer State Park (Custer, South Dakota)
With over 71,000 acres in South Dakota’s Black Hills, Custer State Park should be high on everyone’s bucket list. It boasts eight gorgeous campgrounds with tent and RV sites, as well as cabins and lodges. Some of the cabins were adapted for guests with mobility problems making camping for the disabled easier.
Staying in Custer State Park allows convenient access to many of the most popular sites including Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Hill City (where the 1880 train ride departs from). In addition, the park itself offers plenty of incredible things to do such as hiking around Sylvan Lake, taking a scenic drive on Needles Highway, and watching wildlife like bison, wild burro, and pronghorn.
While staying in the park, you should definitely plan to allow time for hiking (there are many trails of varying difficulty) as well as exploring some of the lesser visited areas such as Coolidge Mountain (you can see the famous memorials from the summit) and the Badger Hole Historic Site. Make sure to spend at least a day exploring all that this incredible state park has to offer.
– Recommended by Kristin of World on Wheels
Emerald Bay State Park (Lake Tahoe, California)
Centered on Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay, Emerald Bay State Park is renowned for its rugged shoreline and blue-green water. This incredible park offers stunning views of the famous lake and provides visitors with access to sandy beaches like Emerald Bay Beach. Additionally, visitors will love the multitude of epic Emerald Bay hikes that can be found within the park, including the Emerald Bay Trail, the Rubicon Trail, the Vikingsholm Trail, the Emerald Bay Viewpoint Trail, and the hike to Eagle Falls.
However, if you would like to camp here then you can use one of two sites, the Eagle Point Campground and Emerald Bay Boat Camp. Because the Emerald Bay Boat Camp is accessible by boat only, we used the Eagle Point campground and did a bit of tent camping while we were here. Although, we do know many people who have used their vehicles and RVs while visiting.
And if you can, try to visit in the fall since the weather is still warm but the crowds are gone. You also won’t have to worry about Highway 89 since this road around Emerald Bay can close during bad weather conditions.”
– Recommended by Meg of Fox in the Forest
Fort Yargo State Park (Winder, Georgia)
Just 30 minutes west of Athens and an hour east of Atlanta, Georgia, is Fort Yargo State Park. What makes this state park special is its 260-acre lake that has a public beach, water sports, and the most serene lakeside camping. When you’re not at your campsite, you can also enjoy learning about settlers who built the fort in the park in 1792. Outdoor recreation is also plentiful with hiking and biking trails around the entire park!
Camping at Fort Yargo State Park comes with many options for every type of camper including 46 RV/tent campsites, 12 walk-in tent sites, six yurts, and seven cottages! No matter what accommodations you choose, this is a place where you can really get in tune with nature and enjoy the serenity of the lake. When you’re exploring the many things to do in Georgia, be sure to add Fort Yargo State Park to your list!
– Recommended by Alanna from Periodic Adventures
Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park (High Springs, Florida)
Known for being the newest state park in the sunshine state, Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is centrally located in northern Florida and is a top pick for the best camping in Florida. The park is located on a network of springs and features Gilchrist Blue, one of the best natural springs in Florida that releases 44 million gallons of freshwater that flow into the Santa Fe River. The crystal clear water is a fabulous place for swimming, snorkeling, paddling, and kayaking. Additionally, because the water is so clean and clear, you’ll be able to see a wide variety of local wildlife including turtles, fish, invertebrates, and more. If you can, plan to spend your time on the water early in the morning since the state park gets quite crowded as the day goes on.
This small no-frills campground only has 23 sites: 16 RV/tent campsites with 30 amp power and water, as well as seven tent-only primitive campsites. On the plus side, if you’re lucky enough to get a reservation, at night you’ll feel like you have the place all to yourself! What the campground lacks in amenities it makes up for in location…all of the campsites are within a 2-3 minute walk to the main spring!
– Recommended by Victoria of Florida Trippers
Note: If you’re looking for a full hook-up campground adjacent to another one of Florida’s freshwater springs, check out Rainbow Springs State Park in Ocala, Florida.
Goblin Valley State Park (Green River, Utah)
Goblin Valley State Park is just a 1-hour drive from Capitol Reef National Park and 1 1/2 hours from the popular town of Moab and Arches National Park. Named for the unique mushroom-shaped ‘hoodoo’ rocks, the park offers six miles of family-friendly trails and biking opportunities. For something a little different, try your hand at the disc golf course as you admire views of the Henry Mountains and Valley of the Goblins.
The campground offers 25 campsites: 14 RV sites, 10 walk-in tent sites, and one group site able to accommodate up to 35 people. One of the best things about the campground is that the valley has amazing views of the sky at night with very little light pollution, so it’s a great place to see the stars.
Keep in mind that this park is located in the desert where high temperatures can be extreme. For that reason, you may want to plan your visit for spring or fall.
– Recommended by David & Intan of The World Travel Guy
Hunting Island State Park (Beaufort County, South Carolina)
Get the best of South Carolina’s Southern charm and the natural wonders of the Lowcountry at Hunting Island State Park located just outside of Beaufort. The picturesque park is jam-packed with things to see, including a historic lighthouse, an enchanting driftwood beach, and miles of trails and boardwalks that wind through stunning marsh areas, lush maritime forests, and a saltwater lagoon.
After you’ve gotten your ‘nature fix’ exploring Hunting Island, the charming coastal town of Beaufort is less than 30 minutes away. Walk the quaint downtown streets, grab a bite at Blackstone’s Cafe (a local favorite), and soak in the historical sites and views along the riverfront. The Port Royal Farmers’ Market is a must if you’re in town on a Saturday.
There are a lot of options for campers at Hunting Island State Park. RVers and tent campers can choose a campsite with water and power in the main campground nestled in palm trees a short walk from the beach. You can also choose a primitive walk-in tent site right off the beach dunes or reserve the cabin near the lighthouse.
– Recommended by Morgan Youngblood of The Home That Roams
Koreshan State Park (Estero, Florida)
Just south of Fort Myers, Florida is Koreshan State Park, one of the most interesting campgrounds in the country. This national historic site is home to nearly a dozen immaculately restored buildings erected by the Koreshan commune between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The unique history of Koreshan State Park stems from a fascinating settlement started by a group known as the Hollow Earthers in the swampy wilderness of southwest Florida. At the core of their beliefs was that the earth is hollow and that human beings actually lived inside the Earth, a wild notion, even considering the remoteness of this part of Florida at the time. The history of the community is on full display at the campground with well-preserved buildings and original furnishings. Visitors can see the living quarters, bakery, print shop, stables, metal and carpentry shops, and even the theater to put on concerts and plays.
There are 60 campsites for both RVs and tents with power and water, and an additional 12 tent-only sites adjacent to the Estero River. Campground amenities include hot showers, flush toilets, and laundry facilities. The river flows through the property which leads directly to the Gulf of Mexico, and offers unparalleled padding for kayakers.
– Recommended by Lori of Travlinmad
Kodachrome Basin State Park (Cannonville, Utah)
If you’re looking for a unique and picturesque but lesser-known destination, consider visiting Kodachrome Basin State Park in Utah. With 67 towering sandstone chimneys and stunning orange and red rock formations, it’s a nature lover’s dream. Plus, it’s conveniently located just 20 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park, making it a great alternative to Bryce when accommodations are full.
Kodachrome is also a great base camp for exploring Escalante and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, as it’s only 40 miles away. Additionally, the park boasts exciting hiking trails, bike rentals, and horseback riding options. The best hiking trails include the Panorama Trail, the Cool Cave Loop, and the Angel’s Palace Trail.
Kodachrome Basin State Park offers three campgrounds with a total of 62 sites, 28 of which have power and water. The sites are a mixture of first-come, first-served and reservation-only. The Basin Campground is the largest and is the only one that has restrooms with flushing toilets and showers. This campground is also the closest to the hiking trails while allowing you to enjoy stunning views of the spires from your tent or RV. It’s open from March 1st to December 1st. Arch Campground is ideal for RVs, vans, and motorhomes and is available year-round. Lastly, Bryce View Campground provides sheltered sites with excellent views of Bryce Canyon and is open year-round. For those who prefer not to camp, bunkhouses are available for rent.
– Recommended by Agnes from The Van Escape
Lake Wenatchee State Park (Leavenworth, Washington)
Lake Wenatchee State Park has two gorgeous campgrounds mere feet off the shores of Lake Wenatchee in central Washington. The two campgrounds – North and South- offer nearly 200 combined sites. The campsites can accommodate tents or RVs (larger RVs should use the north campground for longer pull-through sites).
Once you arrive, you won’t want to leave. The beautiful lake, plus the towering mountains of the Central Washington Cascades, make it feel like you’re in a fairytale. For families with younger kids or people who want to take it easy, you can spend time in or around the lake doing short hikes, kayaking, paddleboarding, or swimming. For more adventurous people, you can spend the long summer days windsurfing or hiking in the stunning Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
One unique aspect of Lake Wenatchee State Park is that it offers winter camping with heated restrooms and showers. The park boasts over 30 miles of groomed cross-country and ski trails, a groomed sled hill and ski trails, 12 miles of marked snowshoe trails, and winter camping with heated restrooms and showers.
While you’re there, but sure to explore the local area and check out some of the best places to eat in Leavenworth.
Leo Carillo State Park (Malibu, California)
Situated on Malibu’s rugged coast, Leo Carillo State Park caters to a wide range of outdoor enthusiasts. With 1.5 miles of pristine beach, visitors can indulge in an array of water activities including swimming, surfing, windsurfing, and surf fishing. If you’d rather stay on shore, it’s also a great spot for beach combing and exploring the fascinating tide pools and coastal caves.
What sets Leo Carillo apart is its ability to satisfy both beach lovers and hiking enthusiasts. In addition to its expansive shoreline, the park offers an abundance of backcountry hiking trails, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the park’s diverse landscapes. This is unique from many of the other beachside campgrounds in California that tend to exclusively feature coastal activities.
The campground has 131 sites for tents and RVs up to 31’ in length offering picnic tables and fire pits to enjoy a beach bonfire. There are token-operated showers, restrooms, and drinking water stations available as well. Leo Carillo State Park’s perfect blend of coastal and backcountry attractions makes it a sought-after destination for those searching for a unique and exciting adventure!
– Recommended by Janelle of Make the Trip Matter
Lost Dutchman State Park (Apache Junction, Arizona)
Embark on a journey of exploration and adventure by visiting the stunning Lost Dutchman State Park outside Phoenix, Arizona! Surrounded by the beauty of the Superstition Mountains and lush Saguaro cacti, this park is sure to give you an unforgettable experience. With miles of hiking and biking trails, there is something for everyone from the flat ¼ mile Natural Plant Trail to the top of Flat Iron via the 5.4-mile strenuous Siphon Trail.
While there, don’t miss the opportunity to traverse the rugged Apache Trail! This slightly terrifying dirt road follows a historic Pony Express trail above the Salt River from Canyon Lake to the Roosevelt Dam. Step back in time at Tortilla Flat, a recreation of an Old West Town, or on the Dolly Steamboat.
Enjoy camping beneath the star-filled night skies at one of the campground’s 138 sites. Perfect for RV or tent camping, half of them provide electricity and water. An adjacent loop offers five rental cabins.
– Recommended by Sean & Julie of Chickery’s Travels
Mississippi Palisades State Park (Savanna, Illinois)
Located in the northwest corner of Illinois near the confluence of the Mississippi and Apple Mississippi Rivers, Mississippi Palisades State Park features fascinating rock formations and high limestone bluffs. It’s such a remarkable landscape, it was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973.
The campground offers 241 sites for tents and RVs (100 of them have electricity) providing the perfect place to relax when you aren’t enjoying the plethora of outdoor activities. Home to 15 miles of hiking trails, you can hike through wooded ravines covered with ferns to the tops of the bluffs boasting a panoramic view of the Mississippi River and into Iowa. If you go in January and Given its location, fishing, boating, and kayaking are also popular activities.
Situated on the Great River Road in Illinois, it is also the perfect base for a road trip around the area.
– Recommended by Theresa of The Local Tourist
Oliver Lee Memorial State Park (Alamogordo, New Mexico)
This majestic state park located in the Sacramento Mountains is a nature-lovers paradise! With over 120 miles of trails for biking, hiking, or horseback riding, and an old historic house from the early 1900s that gives insight into the area’s rich history, Oliver Lee State Park has something for everyone.
Tours are available of the restored Dog Canyon Ranch house. Oliver Lee was a colorful historic rancher known for his efforts to bring water and the railroad to this Basin. You’ll discover springs in the Canyon under the cottonwood trees that have supplied water to the area for centuries.
Another benefit of this park is its proximity to White Sands National Park. Visit the national park and miles of great hiking trails in the Lincoln National Forest from the campground at Oliver Lee. Choose from 15 sites with water and power or the 24 dry sites. Amenities include dispersed water stations, a dump station, and bathrooms with showers. The campground in New Mexico’s Oliver Lee Memorial State Park sits on a ridge overlooking the Tularosa Basin. The view over the expanse of cacti is particularly gorgeous as the sun sets over the desert. You won’t be alone in standing on the campground’s edge with your camera in hand.
Oliver Lee Memorial State Park is located 30 minutes from Alamogordo. It is busiest from October through April before the summer heat turns the desert inhospitable.
– Recommended by Ladona Stork of Walking the Parks
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (Monterey County, California)
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is located along the scenic Big Sur Coast of California. The park is known for its many old-growth coastal redwoods. Big Sur is the furthest south you can find the towering coastal redwood trees.
The Big Sur River bubbles through the park on its way to the ocean, and some hiking trails allow you to walk along the river, hearing the water as you walk. There are several hikes in the park that enable you to see the redwoods up close, including the easy River Path and Nature Trail, a favorite stroll for visitors to the park.
The campground at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park offers 189 RV and tent camping sites on or near the river. There are no hookups at any of the sites, but fresh water, hot showers, and toilets are located throughout the campground. If you prefer other options, they have a cabin for rent as well. As you might imagine, this campground is very popular. If you want to camp here, be sure to make your reservation as soon as possible!
– Recommended by Dhara of Roadtripping California
Robert H. Treman State Park (Ithaca, New York)
If you have a love for waterfalls, then Robert H. Treman State Park in New York is an absolute must-visit. This state park boasts an impressive collection of some of the best waterfalls in New York.
Visitors adore this state park for numerous reasons, but the main one is its unique and breathtaking swimming area. Not only does the swimming hole have a picturesque waterfall that feeds into it, but it also has diving boards, adding another fun element to the natural swimming area. In addition to the swimming area, Robert H. Treman State Park has plenty of breathtaking hiking trails, several of which showcase waterfalls. On top of that, the state park’s home of Ithaca, NY, and close proximity to Watkins Glen allows easy access to even more stunning hiking trails and waterfalls.
The campground offers 14 cabins and 70 campsites for tents and small RVs. A limited number of sites have electricity. The campground is located in the lower falls area with the swimming area. It’s an easy 5-min drive (or 4-mile hike) to the upper falls.
– Recommended by Melissa of Hello Wanderlust Family
San Elijo State Beach (Encinitas, California)
For those looking to do a bit of camping along the Southern California coastline, one of the best areas to do so is at San Elijo State Beach in Encinitas. With convenient staircases from the bluffs, it takes 2 minutes to reach the beach from your campsite. This is amazing for those craving a beach day full of sand, surf, and gorgeous scenery.
San Elijo also has an unbeatable location on the Southern California coast which almost always guarantees perfect weather! Not to mention, it’s very close to lots of delicious food to eat in San Diego! Drive down the scenic highway 101 to rent bikes in Solana Beach or explore the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve.
After a day out exploring, come back to this fantastic campground overlooking the ocean. Perfect for both tent camping and RV camping, there are 156 campsites, some with hookups. Plus, each site includes a fire pit and picnic table, so it’s easy to make the most of your time outdoors.
– Recommended by Kristin of Global Travel Escapades
Shenandoah River State Park (Bentonville, Virginia)
Situated on 5.2 miles of river shoreline, Shenandoah River State Park is the perfect place for your next getaway. This breathtaking property with its steep slopes and wooded forests offers a stunning view of both Massanutten Mountain and Shenandoah National Park. Whether you’re looking to take in the area’s natural beauty or enjoy activities like fishing, camping, canoeing, or kayaking, there are plenty of reasons to visit this wonderful state park. Off the water, there are 24 miles of trails for horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking.
The park offers a campground with 3 yurts, 4 one-room camping cabins, 9 two-bedroom cabins, and 32 sites suitable for tents or RVs. also offers centrally located bathrooms with hot showers and flush toilets. Best of all, it is only steps away from the river.
– Recommended by Sean & Julie of Chickery’s Travels
Silver Falls State Park (Silverton, Oregon)
Silver Falls State Park has an absolutely dreamy landscape, with towering pine trees, impossibly green moss, and enormous primeval ferns. It’s so otherworldly-looking, in fact, that it was used as a shooting location for the Twilight movies! While you hopefully won’t find any moody teen vampires here, you will find what the park is most famous for—waterfalls! In fact, it’s actually home to the aptly-named Trail of Ten Falls, where you’ll get to pass a variety of stunning waterfalls, four of which you can actually walk behind!
Silver Falls is the largest state park in Oregon with an area of more than 9,000 acres, and it includes more than 24 miles of nature trails, 14 miles of horse trails, and a 4-mile bike path.
The forested campground itself is quite nice, with several different types of campsites to choose from (including 48 RV sites with electricity and water, 43 tent sites, 5 horse sites, and 14 cabins). The sites are surrounded by the park’s lush greenery and thus, feel quite private. Reservations can be made up to 9 months in advance and are highly recommended.
– Recommended by Jess of Uprooted Traveler
Tahquamenon Falls State Park (Paradise, Michigan)
Tahquamenon Falls State Park, extending over 50,000 acres in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is a perfect place to experience nature and the outdoors. The main attraction, Tahquamenon Falls, consists of two distinct waterfalls that drop over 50 feet. The beautiful scenery is also made up of crystal-clear streams, large forest areas, and other waterfalls that provide the perfect opportunity to see the white-tail deer and other wildlife that call this area home.
Whether you are looking for a romantic Midwest getaway or a family vacation, there is something for everyone. The park has miles of trails and hiking is one of the best activities, particularly to the Upper Falls viewing decks which provide an amazing panoramic view of the Tahquamenon Falls themselves. Other outdoor recreational activities include fishing, canoeing, biking, and kayaking.
You will also find multiple campgrounds ranging from rustic to modern campsites that accommodate both tents and RVs. The Lower Falls Campground is one of the best. It has two loops, Hemlock & Portage, with electricity. Hemlock has more shade, is about a mile from the Lower Falls, and has access to the park’s hiking trails. Portage is near the river and only a quarter of a mile from the Lower Falls.
– Recommended by Rai of A Rai of Light
Unicoi State Park (Helen, Georgia)
Are you looking for a unique camping experience that immerses you in nature and offers a range of outdoor activities? Nestled in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, Unicoi State Park in Georgia boasts stunning campsites and a wide array of recreational opportunities that every nature lover will enjoy. From scenic hiking trails to fishing and boating, there is something for everyone at this picturesque state park.
Located in Helen, Georgia, a uniquely beautiful town known for its unique Bavarian architecture and German-inspired traditions. The town was transformed in the 1960s to resemble a traditional Bavarian village, complete with half-timbered buildings, cobblestone streets, and colorful flower boxes. You can find plenty of German restaurants, breweries, and shops in the town, as well as attend the annual Oktoberfest celebration, which attracts visitors from all over the country.
Valley of Fire State Park (Moapa Valley, Nevada)
Located almost exactly an hour north of Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park has incredible, almost otherworldly scenery with deep, deep red boulders and rocks that are piled up along the roadways and trails, which contrast with the colorfully striated rocks found deeper in the park.
While there are many gorgeous things to do in Valley of Fire, the most famous spot that you definitely shouldn’t miss is the Fire Wave. This somewhat conical-shaped rock formation has large, saturated bands of red, pink, tan, and white, and will take your breath away.
There are two campgrounds in Valley of Fire that are close to each other, and both are nestled in and among the characteristic red-orange boulders of the park, making an incredible backdrop to your camping setup. The 72 campsites have power and water and are great for RVs or tents. Another great feature is their shaded picnic tables, a must in this desert landscape.
– Recommended by Stephanie of The Unknown Enthusiast
Watkins Glen State Park (Watkins Glen, New York)
Watkins Glen State Park on the southern tip of Seneca Lake is situated in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of New York. This picturesque park features peaceful meadows, lush forests, and breathtaking waterfalls– an ideal way to reconnect with nature. Known for its spectacular waterfalls, the hiking trails at Watkins Glen State Park are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. Afterward, cool off at the large swimming pool (rare for a state park).
This is a large campground with nearly 300 sites and nine cabins that are separated into 6 different loops. This creates the feel of a much smaller campground experience. The sites are mostly shaded and situated along wooded areas, creating more privacy. The best part about camping in Watkins Glen State Park is that you can access the stunning gorge trail without having to move your car, if you’d like. Parking can fill up quickly on the weekends, so being in close proximity and getting out to the trail early in the morning or later in the evening is the best way to go.
– Recommended by Samantha of PA on Pause
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