With the summer months in full swing, it’s the perfect time to begin planning your yearly camp-out at a National Park. Although many campgrounds fill up quickly, early planning improves your chances of gaining the perfect camp out reservations. Consider one of these 7 amazing National Parks for an unforgettable camping season.
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park (California)
Located in the beautiful and historic Californian Gold Country, Sequoia and Kings Canyon offer a uniquely diverse wilderness experience no one should do without. These tandem parks lie east of the San Joaquin Valley in the Southern Sierra Nevadas. These parks offer a wide variety of natural beauty including steep mountain, miles of wilderness trails, deep canyon gullies, and gushing rivers. These parks also hold the honor of being home to a world-famous grove of giant sequoia trees. At 274.9 feet, General Sherman, one of the most famous trees in this grove is a favorite that many flock to visit each year.
Between these twin parks, there are a total of 14 campgrounds to choose from with up to 6 people per campsite. Because most operate on a first-come-first-serve basis, plan to come early to claim your spot. If you plan to bring a larger group, consider calling ahead for reservations for the Potwisha, Buckeye Flat, Lodgepole, Dorst Creek, Sunset, and Sentinel campgrounds. For more information on planning your stay, visit their National Park info page.
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Established in 1916, this park holds the honor of being the first National Park founded in the Eastern United States. It is home to 47,000-acre Atlantic coast including Mount Desert Island. Visitors love hiking through the scenic and rugged shores and the steep granite cliffs of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast. Bicycling, bird watching, tide pooling, and fishing are just a few of the popular guest activities this park offers. “EarthCache” is another unique activity where guests can explore the park on a GPS-led treasure hunt.
Acadia offers 3 main campgrounds to choose from, including larger group campsites. The largest campground, Seawall, is a visitor favorite. For a more primitive camping experience, the backwoods Duck Harbor campground on Isle Au Haut is a beautiful and unforgettable experience. This private campground is only accessible by boat and reservations. Plan your reservation with their application process.
Assateague Island National Seashore (Maryland)
This protected barrier island lies just off the coast between Maryland and Virginia. Founded in 1965, this park is home to a unique coastal habitat for the famous Chincoteague ponies as well as protected migratory seabirds. This park also houses the authentic 19th century Assateague Lighthouse. May marks the start of the ponies’ foaling season. Schedule a kayaking trip or island cruise to catch a glimpse of these amazing wild ponies and their foals in their natural, undisturbed environment.
This national park offers 300 camping sites as well as primitive back-country camping and backpacking trails. Campsites are accessible for tent-camping, RVs, and trailers with included fire-pits and grills.
Cedar Breaks National Monument (Utah)
Located in rural Cedar City, Utah, this national monument is a 3-mile long canyon amphitheater 2,000 feet in depth. Eroded limestone, shale, and sandstone form beautiful sheer canyon cliffs and prehistoric rock spires and plateaus. The rich canyon colors from the embedded iron oxide deposits earned it the nickname “Circle of Painted Cliffs” from local Indians.
Most guests enjoy staying at the Dark Sky Park campground located adjacent to the canyon amphitheater. This park is famous for being one of the “darkest” parks in the US. This unique feature makes it perfect for unforgettable start-gazing. The high-elevation gives visitors a unique astral experience far away from the clutter of city lights. The park’s star parties are visitor favorites that easily become fun, yearly traditions.
Zion National Park (Utah)
Established in 1919 in Southwestern Utah, this national park is a “geological relative” of Cedar Breaks National Park. Similarly, Zion National Park also houses beautiful sheer cliffs of pink, tan, and red sandstone cliffs. Its proximity to the famous Mojave Deserts gives the park a beautiful but stark desert landscape. Still, this park houses a wide variety of plants and animals in “micro-climates” of desert, woodlands, and mountain zones. The unusual rock formations and cliffs make this park a hiker’s dream. Sheer cliffs, plateaus, and buttes create a challenging maze-like effect resulting in many memorable hikes and adventures. Angels’ Landing, The Narrows, and Upper Emerald Pools are some of the more famous and well-loved hiking experiences.
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort offers a more luxuries camping experience with a huge assortment of guest activities, lodging options, and amenities. However, for a more traditional camp experience, the park itself offers 3 basic campgrounds with several private options a short drive out of the park. All campsites are tent, RV, and trailer accessible. The desert climate and lack of shade is definitely something to consider. Early reservations improve your chances of getting a partially-shaded site or a riverside site near the Virgin River that cuts through the canyon.
Big Bend National Park (Texas)
Avoid the crowds and seasonal hustle and bustle at this scenic backwoods national park in Southwestern Texas. Big Bend National Park shelters the entire Chisos mountain range as well as a large portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. Despite its desert climate, this 801,163-acre park is home to upwards of 450 species of birds, 56 types of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. Not all of its species are still alive; this park also houses an array of prehistoric fossils, earning it the honor of being a “Paleontological Paradise” for scientists.
Because this park includes the large bend of the Rio Grande, rafting and river running are popular guest activities. This park also offers 150 miles of wilderness trails for horseback riding, hiking, and bicycling. No trip to this park is complete without sampling the scenic nightlife of campfire concerts and local songwriter nights at the Lajitas’ Thirsty Goat Saloon, a venue within the park’s historic ghost town.
Rio Grande Village, Chisos Basin, and Cottonwood Campground make up Big Bend’s 3 campgrounds. Each site is accessible for tent camping, RV’s, and trailers. For a more comfortable experience, The Chisos Mountains Lodge & Cabins offer guest cabins and a restaurant lodge nestled in the Chisos Mountains.
Planning your Trip
Planning your camp-out is much easier if you start early. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to find pleasant reservations and good camping sites. In order to plan a fun and unforgettable campout, keep these simple tips in mind:
- Call ahead
Never assume anything about a camping ground. Call early for park information and reservation questions. Checking early allows you to gain important information on road closures and park repairs. It also helps you see what sites are best.
- Team up
Getting the desired reservations is easier if you have more people in your group working together. If you aren’t able to reserve the right spot, someone else in your “camping team” might be able to by calling at a different time. Building a larger camping group also allows more fun and memories together. Bring family and friends along on your camping adventure!
- Shop early
Waiting until the last minute for needed supplies and equipment often results in huge shopping bills and missing items. Although many stores offer summer camp-out “discounts,” you aren’t always getting the best deal. Shop early at a variety of stores, including online vendors, to ensure you find everything at the best price.
Camping at one of our National Parks is by far one of the best and most memorable ways to celebrate the camping season. Call today and begin planning your next summer adventure!