Blooming nature, fresh trails, warm days and cool nights make spring one of the best times of the year to get outside and camp before summer crowds take over. Read on to discover the best places to camp across the country this season.
Written by Caroline Hughes
Acadia National Park, Maine
Rugged Acadia National Park, with its rocky coastline and granite peaks, is an East Coast camp site unlike any other. The park is home to trees, abundant wildlife and the highest point on the Atlantic Coast. You will hear waves crashing and birds signing as you hike along the coast. The nearby town of Bar Harbor is a good place to stock up on last minute supplies, or an idyllic destination to explore all on its own.
Arches National Park, Utah
The otherworldly landscape in Arches National Park contains over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, giving way to extensive hiking trails and consistently spectacular desert camping. Yucca, cacti and desert wildflowers coat this adventure playground in vivid color. Head a few miles southeast to check out Moab’s dinosaur tracks at Bull Canyon Overlook and Copper Ridge.
Assateague Island, Maryland
Reserve a camping spot on Assateague Island National Seashore and sleep on the sand where Virginia and Maryland meet the Atlantic ocean. The stunning beaches, marshes and forests make way for hiking trails and uninterrupted beach views. Watch the famous wild horses roam free and frolic at the water’s edge.
Lake McDonald, Montana
At 10 miles long and nearly 500 feet deep, Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park. Once occupied by the park’s namesake – glaciers, this area has is now filled with hiking trails, gorgeous vistas and an abundance of wildlife. Lake McDonald will take your breath away. The lake is a lovely home base for a night or weekend to explore the Montana’s beauty.
Mongollon Rim, Arizona
Mongollon Rim stretches across the Coconino National Forest and at some parts drops off nearly 2,000 feet, giving way to views of limestone cliffs. The expansive area above the Coconino National Forest makes for excellent hiking, but the real highlight is stargazing from this spectacular vantage point.
Olympic National Park, Washington
The towering ancient trees make Olympic National Park a magical place to pitch a tent. The temperate climate is ideal for late-season camping on the west coast. Hike to your heart’s content – miles and miles of trails lead to waterfalls and alpine lakes- and then return to relax to the sounds of the old growth forest.
Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
Waterfalls abound and lush greenery set the stage for hiking, biking and fishing in this park surrounding Asheville, North Carolina. If you are bold enough to brave the dropping temperatures, plunge into one of the region’s secluded swimming spots.
Watchman Campground – Zion National Park, Utah
Cream, pink and red cliffs collide with the brilliant blue sky in Zion National Park. Impressive monoliths and dazzling sunsets characterize Watchman Campground. Hop on a nearby shuttle from the campground and make your way over to The Narrows, one of the most coveted hikes on the Colorado Plateau.
Whitewater State Park, Minnesota
Camp right on the river to make the most of the excellent trout fishing in Whitewater State Park. Brown, brook, and rainbow trout are plentiful in the Whitewater River and Trout Run Creek. Located in the southeastern bluff lands area of Minnesota, rocky limestone bluffs, deep ravines and scenic overlooks make Whitewater State Park ideal for exploration.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone sits on one of the most active volcanic hot spots in the country. There are hundreds of geysers to explore in the park – and don’t miss the most iconic geyser of them all – Old Faithful. Spend the day hiking in pursuit of spotting the extensive wildlife, and then relax in the hot springs before retiring to your campsite for a night of stargazing.