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The national parks of the United States are a treasure trove full of beauty, wild and endless wonders just begging to be explored. Home to some of the country’s most cherished and awe-inspiring natural landscapes, national parks are brimming with adventure zones, gorgeous places to pitch a tent, and cozy up beneath the stars.
With so much to see and do, campers across the country are keenly aware that a simple day trip isn’t nearly enough to capture the full glory of these wilderness playgrounds. So, whether your idea of camping includes pitching a tent or cruising in the comfort of your RV, there’s nowhere better to experience the great outdoors than in America’s national parks. Here are some of our favorite camping spots to unplug and create memories under spacious skies.
1. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Set up camp at the highest campground in the park where trees separate the campsites. Gaze up into the night sky with the complete absence of ambient light and enjoy the absolute magic of the cosmos. Peer back through time as you take in the spectacular views of the Bristle Cone Pines and listen as they whisper nature’s secrets to you through the breeze.
2. Acadia National Park, Maine
Capture the glory of the unparalleled sunrises and sunsets that light up the skies atop Cadillac Mountain. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the “thunder” of the ocean waves against the rocky shores of Maine at Thunder Hole. Stroll the beaches, hike varying levels of mountainous trails, glide across lakes, and enjoy the majesty of the cliffs; Acadia truly has it all!
3. Capitol Reefs National Park, Utah
Sink into the magnificent geological fold in the earth secluded in the peaceful desert of southern Utah. Check out the old settlement along Freemont River and pick some delectable fruit from the lush orchards that blanket the land below the steep red-orange cliffs. Marvel at the striking contrast between the green grass, farms, and the glowing red rock capitols.
4. Glacier National Park, Montana
Unplug and connect with nature in the far-reaching areas of Glacier National Park, where over 1,000 glaciers beg to be explored. Be sure to bring your fishing gear and binoculars if fishing and birdwatching are your passions. This Montana jewel is nothing short of spectacular. Campers can venture into the water and kayak throughout the gorgeous bay, take in the majesty of the glacial-carved valleys, ascend to the glorious peaks and hike the nearly 700 miles of hiking trails.
5. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Set up camp in a wildlife lover’s paradise where the prairie meets the badlands. Be ready with your camera and prepare to spy herds of bison and wild horses, elk, turkeys, and the ever-comical prairie dogs of the Peace Garden State. Walk-in the footsteps of President Roosevelt with a visit to Maltese Cross Cabin. Hop in the car and take a drive through the scenic loop. And for hiking, explore a variety of trails that stimulate your senses.
6. Olympic National Park, Washington
If you are looking for a non-traditional camping adventure, you can’t go wrong with this massive gem. Sink your toes in the sand and breathe in the salty air as you camp right on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Rialto Beach is nothing short of spectacular with its sea stacks, tide pools, off-shore islands, coastal forest, and magnificent rock formations. The massive park is home to the Hoh Rainforest and the Hall of Mosses, turquoise blue lakes, and glorious mountain peaks.
7. Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming
Pitch your tent in a wonderland of geysers. Marvel at the thermal and geological wonders of ‘Old Faithful,’ and ‘Morning Glory,’ within the 3,500-sq.-mile park that sits atop a volcanic hot spot. Explore this wilderness refuge and admire the vast array of wildlife such as including bears, wolves, bison, elk, and antelope. Find endless hidden gems from waterfalls and geysers to beautiful meadows, huge ravines, and deep canyons.
8. Yosemite National Park, California
Check “the most beautiful place on Earth” off of your bucket list and experience what millions of tourists are raving about. Take in the sought-after sights of the Half Dome, North Dome, El Capitan, and the always breathtaking Yosemite Falls and the Giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove. Gear up for a white-water rafting adventure, delight in the massive granite cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and beautiful views of meadows, valleys, and peaks.
The park is home to trails that match any fitness level and hosts lots of family programs. It has been said that everyone should visit Yosemite National Park at least once in their lifetime, so gather your camping supplies and check that box.