20 of the Most Scenic Places to Camp in the United States in 2023
Looking for the best camping spots near you in the U.S.? From coast to coast, the country is home to breathtaking natural beauty and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.
Whether you’re seeking the serenity of a pine forest in Maine or the excitement of swimming and fishing in Alaska’s crisp lakes, there’s a campsite for every nature lover. Plan a weekend getaway or longer trip and enjoy tent camping, picnicking, hiking, and more at some of the most picturesque locations in the country.
List of Nature’s Best: 20 Stunning Camping Destinations in the U.S. for 2023
Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park is a natural gem located on Mount Desert Island. With 17 million acres of forest, 6,000 lakes and ponds, and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams, this national park offers stunning scenery for hiking and camping. Choose from three campgrounds – Blackwoods, Seawall, and Schoodic Woods – to pitch your tent and enjoy all that Acadia has to offer.
The park is currently undergoing a phased reopening, with campgrounds expected to open no earlier than July 1.
Many hiking trails are currently open, so be sure to check the Acadia National Park website for the latest updates and information before planning your visit.
White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire, and Maine
Experience the beauty of fall foliage while hiking through the rugged Appalachian Valley in the north. The stunning sights are not to be missed during the peak leaf-peeping season.
With hundreds of campsites at multiple campgrounds within the forest, you can make a trip out of it. However, please note that some campgrounds, climbing areas, and shelters are currently closed.
Minnewaska State Park Reserve, New York
Escape the city and explore the beautiful natural surroundings at this state park reserve just 94 miles outside of New York City.
Located on Shawangunk Ridge, the park sits at an elevation of over 2,000 feet and features rocky terrain perfect for hiking and biking. While the park is operating with reduced capacity and some facilities are closed, the stunning views are not to be missed. Please note that the adjacent campground is also temporarily closed.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Located just a short drive from Washington D.C., Shenandoah National Park is a nature lover’s paradise with 500 miles of trails, including the popular 8-mile hike up Old Rag Mountain.
The park features stunning views of forests and waterfalls and is open for the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Choose from five campgrounds to set up your tent and fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty. Please note that the park has reopened, but campgrounds are currently operating at reduced capacity.
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
Escape to the beautiful beaches of Assateague Island, just nine miles south of Ocean City. This national seashore offers 37 miles of shoreline for camping, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, crabbing, biking, kayaking, and the chance to spot wild horses.
Some campgrounds on the island reopened on June 15, but group campgrounds and certain facilities are still closed. Check the official website for updates and plan your visit accordingly.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida
Camp among the world’s largest barrier reefs at this beautiful park. Rent some snorkel gear and spend your days exploring the stunning reef, relaxing on the beach, or visiting Fort Jefferson.
This area is also great for birdwatching, so don’t forget to bring your binoculars. The campground is currently open, but tours of the fort and ranger-led programs are temporarily suspended.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Big Bend National Park along the Rio Grande offers a variety of outdoor activities such as rafting, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking or backpacking through the park’s desert, mountain, and river landscapes.
The park has three developed campgrounds as well as backcountry camping options. Currently, the park is open and one campground is operating at reduced capacity, while other facilities, including visitor centers, remain closed. Check the official website for updates and plan your visit accordingly.
Ozark National Forest, Arkansas
Arkansas has a lot to offer for those who love the outdoors, with nine beautiful beaches, thousands of acres of lakes and streams, and 400 miles of hiking trails. Campers can choose from a variety of developed campgrounds for RV and tent camping.
Please note that while some campgrounds and recreational areas have reopened with restrictions, others are still closed. Check the official website for updates and plan your visit accordingly.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
The rugged beauty of the Badlands should not be overlooked. Between the stunning rock formations, prairies, and opportunities to view ancient fossils, this national park has a lot to offer. Choose from two campgrounds
Cedar Pass with amenities like running water and electricity, or Sage Creek where you may spot wandering bison but no running water. While trails and campgrounds in the north unit of the park are open, the visitor center and south unit of the park remain closed.
Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho
Experience the breathtaking views of the steep Smoky Mountains at this national forest, home to dozens of campgrounds.
One of the best spots to pitch your tent is Sawtooth National Recreation Area. Some recreational sites have reopened, but it’s a good idea to check this map to see which sites are still closed before planning your visit.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park offers beautiful views of glaciers and over 1,000 campsites at 13 developed campgrounds to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty. Hikers can also enjoy 700 miles of trails through forests, meadows, and mountains. Please note that the opening dates for the park’s campgrounds have not yet been determined.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon by camping at one of the park’s three developed campgrounds. Reservations are recommended for the summer season, especially at the South Rim which can get crowded.
If you prefer a more secluded stay, consider the North Rim, although it may be more difficult to access. Backcountry camping is also allowed with a permit. The park is currently undergoing a phased reopening, with campsites on the South Rim gradually starting to reopen with restrictions. The North Rim campground is closed until July.
Gunnison National Forest, Colorado
The Rocky Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to Gunnison, which boasts 3,000 miles of trails and 1.6 million acres of public land. Among its 30 campsites, visitors can choose from a variety of landscapes, including open meadows, evergreen forests, mountains, and lakeside locations.
Some campgrounds and facilities are open with reduced capacity, while others are currently closed. A complete list of open campgrounds can be found on the Gunnison National Forest website.
Arches National Park, Utah
Experience the beauty of freshly fallen snow against the red rocks of Arches National Park by camping at The Devil’s Garden, the park’s only campground with 50 campsites.
The Delicate Arch Trail is a must-see, offering breathtaking views and plenty of photo opportunities. While the roads and trails are open, the campground and visitor center remains closed. Alternatively, there are other campsites available in the Moab area.
Arch Rock Campground, Nevada
Escape the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas and visit Arch Rock Campground, located within the beautiful red sandstone formations of Valley of Fire State Park.
The park is currently open, as are the two campgrounds, which are operating at reduced capacity. Enjoy a peaceful stay at this quiet campground just 55 miles from Las Vegas.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is a must-see destination for its breathtaking views. During the summer, it is recommended to make reservations at one of the three developed campgrounds, two of which are currently accepting reservations.
Backcountry camping is also available with a permit. While the South Rim is more easily accessible, it can become crowded.
For a more secluded experience, consider camping at the North Rim, which is currently closed until July but offers a more secluded stay. The Grand Canyon is undergoing a phased reopening, and South Rim campsites are gradually reopening with restrictions.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a great destination for nocturnal adventures, offering full moon walks led by rangers who share information about the local wildlife, folklore, and astronomy.
Late summer and early fall are also great times to spot bats in the caves. However, please note that Carlsbad Caverns only offers backcountry camping, and all campers are required to obtain a permit. Due to social distancing concerns, the park’s Bat Flight Programs are currently paused, but the caverns have reopened with new safety measures in place.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Olympic National Park is home to 14 different campgrounds with a range of breathtaking coastal and rainforest locations. Currently, the park is undergoing a phased reopening and all campgrounds and visitor centers are closed.
There’s no better way to experience the beauty of this coastline, marked by impressive sea stacks, than by camping within the park.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
Crater Lake National Park, home to the United States’ deepest lake and a sleeping volcano, is a nature lover’s paradise. The park offers two campgrounds: Mazama, which accommodates RVs and tents, and Lost Creek, which is tent-only. Backcountry camping is also available with a permit.
While the park has reopened, some activities have been canceled and park information centers are closed. The park has not yet announced an opening date for the campgrounds, which typically open for the season in June or July.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Jumbo Rocks Campground is a popular choice for camping at this park, known for its large boulder rocks that provide shelter from the wind. Alternatively, choose from over 100 first-come, first-serve campsites scattered throughout the park’s 800,000 acres. Please note that campsites are currently open at the park, but all programs have been canceled.
This article provides a list of 20 scenic places to camp in the United States in 2023. The list includes a variety of national parks and other natural areas, such as Acadia National Park in Maine, Minnewaska State Park Reserve in New York, and Big Bend National Park in Texas.
The article provides a brief description of each location, as well as information on what amenities and activities are available and whether the park or campground is currently open.
The article notes that many parks and campgrounds are undergoing phased reopenings or have reduced capacity due to COVID-19, and advises readers to check the official websites for updates and plan their visits accordingly.