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Mikah Meyer's 8 favorite camp sites in the U.S.!

By: Mikah Meyer + Save to a List

Camping offers a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy a night under the (hopefully) stars! Here are eight of my top favorite campsites across America.

A field with a large bison in the foreground and a baby bison drinking from it's mother in the background.
Image by Kelley Dodge.

1. Cottonwood Campground - Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota

Another great way to avoid crowds, and save money while traveling costs are high, is in the Dakotas. Theodore Roosevelt National Park provides copious recreation opportunities, from hiking to biking, horseback riding and family-friendly musicals about the scenic west, all in a very-affordable Upper Midwestern package. Camp along the Little Missouri River in this scenic spot.

2. Split Mountain Campground - Jensen, Utah

Dinosaur National Monument has some of the most scenic and unique geology in America, but only receives 7% as many visitors as nearby Rocky Mountain and Zion National Parks. This campground gives you access to the myriad trails and waterways that showcase the park.

3. Sage Creek Campground - Wall, South Dakota

Fans of the Oscar-winning Best Picture “Nomadland” will recognize this site. Just south of North Dakota, South Dakota’s Badlands are a not-to-be-missed section of the state that also includes nearby Mount Rushmore National Monument and Wind Cave National Park. Not only will this campground give you access to some of the most consistently beautiful sunsets in America, but you’ll also be near the Badlands National Park anchor town of Wall, SD (a tourist stop in its own right) along with the main visitor center for nearby Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.

A rocky outcropping in the ocean has trees growing out of the top. The sun is rising or setting and there is a sandy beach with other rocks in the foreground.
Photo by Michael Matti.

4. Second Beach - Olympic National Park in Forks, Washington

Enjoy one of the most famous, and often photographed, areas of Olympic National Park by making camp on this chilly but wildly scenic section of the multi-entrance park.

5. Hosmer Grove - Haleakala National Park in Kula, Hawaii

Watching the sunrise above the clouds in Haleakala National Park is an iconic National Park Service moments. Yet, the switchback-filled drive from any of the resorts, or even Maui’s airport city of Kahului, is a long one to make in the pre-dawn morning. Escape the warm temperatures of the island for a cooler campground in elevation, and save yourself an hour of driving before seeing the sun’s rays rise over Haleakala.

6. East Cape - Homestead, FL

If you’re chasing tropical locations but want to skip the flight, jump on a kayak and make your way to the Florida Keys. With the majority of Atlantic Coast Florida developed and lined with hotels and restaurants, this seclusion offers you the chance to experience Florida long before it became an international tourist hub.

Overlooking rounded, tree-covered mountains and a lake.
Image by Noah Twining.

7. Abol Campground - Millinocket, Maine

You’ll likely smell them before you see them, because the finale of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (AT) ends at the summit of Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park and is full of hikers completing the months-long thru hike. Abol Campground allows you easy access to this stunning summit hike, that when visited in early fall lets you witness hikers finishing their epic journeys.

Two people are seated around a lantern at a rocky campsite. They're looking up at the sky which is dark blue and full of stars. There are rocky mountains in the distance.
Image by Scott Kranz.

8. Chisos Basin Campground - Big Bend National Park, Texas 

Saving the best of this list for last, Chisos Basin Campground in Big Bend National Park is one of the most ideal places to spend a night in a camp site. Nestled in the cool-temperature mountains of this desert park, you’ll be centrally located to everything from the natural hot springs of the Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River to the massive Santa Elena Canyon, spread across the only National Park with a complete mountain range inside its borders. Spend your day in the desert heat, then retreat to this campground at elevation for a lodge-restaurant dinner overlooking your campsite, and a charming night of stargazing.

Feature image by Scott Kranz.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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