Spring and summer aren’t just the “warm seasons”, they’re also the “vacation seasons” for many of us. Sure, there are tons of cities you can go visit, but what better backdrop than canyons, mountains, boulders and geysers? That’s right – we’re thinking camping for this year’s vacation, but not just camping in any old campground. How about a national park to unwind and escape from the world? Here are the best national parks for camping, a.k.a. your summer bucket list.
Voyageurs National Park
While there are tons of campsites scattered throughout Voyageurs, getting there is an experience in and of itself. Voyageurs National Park is located in Minnesota and has hundreds of little islands within its borders. Not only do many of these islands have individual campsites, but the only way you can get to them is by boat. Aside from the beautiful forest views, you and your travel buddies can rent paddleboats and go island hopping – all without leaving the continental U.S.
Grand Canyon National Park
An oldie but a goodie! There are plenty of campgrounds at Grand Canyon, but depending on the kind of camper you are you’ll want to plan for either the North Rim or the South Rim. The South Rim has the park’s RV campground and is closer to the area’s major cities. It’s much more crowded, but it’s also better for beginners. The North Rim is much more secluded. It’s open during a shorter season, but if you’re a camping aficionado, this is where you’ll want to pitch your tent.
Capitol Reef National Park
A lesser known (and less traveled) National Park, camping Capitol Reef will completely change the way you think of the southeastern United States. Capitol Reef is located in Utah, but the specific campground to visit is the Fruita campground. Like you may have guessed from the name, this developed campground is filled with fruit (thanks to a past agricultural settlement) and is part of a historic district of the same name. You’ll find campsites lined with orchards apples, cherries, and apricots. What better afternoon snack is there?
Acadia National Park
You might not think of Maine as a beachy state, but the ocean views from Acadia National Park say otherwise. Acadia has opportunities for all of your favorite outdoor activities ranging from rock climbing to whitewater rafting to birdwatching (and more). You’ll want to reserve your campground in advance, but each of the four main campgrounds offers a completely different experience (a.k.a. four totally different vacations).
Hawai’I Volcanoes National Park
When you think of a Hawaiian vacation, camping may not be at the top of your list – but what about camping alongside a volcano? Yes, even though it’s in the name, it’s worth repeating anyways – you can watch volcanoes, hike up volcanoes, and witness volcanoes in action at Hawai’I Volcanoes. You don’t need to be a scientist to appreciate the volcanic activity (or inactivity), but you should plan on getting a tour guide to show you the hotspots (no pun intended).