Are you looking for the best places to camp in the USA? You can’t go wrong with this list of the most popular camping spots in the US. Camping is such a great way to spend time with your family, get out in nature and enjoy the fresh air.
Camping brings people together and gives them a chance to relax, explore new places, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you are looking for an adventure or just somewhere quiet to sit back and enjoy nature, there are plenty of amazing places all over the United States where you can park your RV!
As more and more Americans hit the road to RV adventure each year, we are continuously asked, “Where are the best places to camp?” So we took the initiative to scour the statistics for you and come up with this list of Americas favorite camping spots.
From National Parks, to lakes and state parks, we found some of the best places for you to go on your next camping trip.
According to the North American Camping Report and the infographic below, the best places to camp are National and State Parks (40%), followed bypublic or private land (boondocking) (29%), and then privately owned campgrounds (23%) This was a massive shift from 2019 towards boondocking on public land. The causes for this shift are the rapidly rising campground costs, and the increase in RVing overall caused by the pandemic.
The popularity of camping continues to trend upward as more families take to the wilderness in search of adventure instead of utilizing the traditional theme parks, or hotels. The infographic below shows that Mellennials and Gen X’ers are driving this trend more and more.
Where Are The Best Places To Camp?
Camping is such a great way to experience the beauty of nature, connect with friends and family, and just have fun! If’s not surprising that the North American Camping Report states that State (24%) and National Parks (16%) are by far the most popular places to camp. Think Grand Canyon National Park, or Big Bend National Park, or one of my favorites Yosemite National Park.
“Where are the top states to camp in the USA?” This is a common question that we get asked all of the time. Are you planning a road trip across America? Are you looking for some new places to explore and discover? We did a lot of research and found the top 5 states for camping!
- Rhode Island: The size of Rhode Island was definitely a part of why it made the top of this list. This state does pack a punch in a small package- loads of natural beauty, ocean coast, proximity to many great spots. Also, RI won top honors for safety!
- Utah: No great surprise here. 5 awesome National Parks, hiking, biking, skiing. Utah is a nature lovers paradise with no end to the adventures you can find. The state is over 60% government land so there is a TON to choose from.
- Maryland: For an East Coast state, Maryland offers a great deal. From the mountains and forests in the western part of the state, historic sites in the center, and crabbing fishing and clam digging on the coast- there is something for everyone.
- New Hampshire: With towering mountains, expansive woodlands, and even a teeny weenie bit of coastline, New Hampshire ticks a lot of boxes. A true 4 season state, you can always find an adventure here.
- New Mexico: A state of sheer natural beauty, New Mexico is the home of Carlsbad Caverns National Park and it’s 119 caves, 35 state parks, and beautiful deserts and mountains.
While I do respect the opinion of InsureMyTrip, a close look at the measurements will show some sku in certain areas. For instance, the lowest state in their survey- Wyoming (the home of Yellowstone NP.) So while we take it all with a grain of salt- it is still interesting to look at some of these top performing states and consider what there may be for us.
- Rocky Mountain National Park: With over 415 square miles of incredible mountain views, hiking, biking, snow, fishing etc, “ROMO” offers something for everyone. There are 4 campgrounds to choose from. Contact the park to get specifics on opening times, RV size limits, etc. The Rocky Mountains at its best!
- Arches National Park: Arches is a hikers paradise, with over 2000 natural arches, pinnacles, rock fins and balanced rocks to visit. There is only one campground in the park, but is is a beauty, situated deep into the landscape. Reserve early to get a spot except November to February when it is first come, first served.
- Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone has so much to offer, you just can’t beat it. Crazy volcanic action, awesome scenery, and world class animal viewing. There’s a reason Yellowstone was Americas first national park. Yellowstone has 12 campgrounds with over 2000 campsites. Still Book early. It is REALLY popular during the summer. We visited during fall and it was perfect, contact the national park service to check out openings.
- Grand Teton National Park: Grand Teton sits just south of Yellowstone and is easy to visit during the same trip. The mountains here are abrupt and amazing and there are over 200 miles of trails to explore. RV Camping is limited so reserve early to get into one of the park spots.
- Glacier National Park: With over 700 miles of hiking trails, Glacier offers spectacular views of mountains, lakes, meadows and glaciers that you cannot find anywhere else. Animal viewing is fantastic at higher elevations, such as the area around the Logan Pass Visitors Center. There are 13 campgrounds- 7 of which offer RV camping. Book early as this park is very popular during the summer months.
What Are The Best Campgrounds To Visit in 2022?
Each year, Good Sam lists all of it’s top rated campgrounds. If you are looking for great amenities and top notch service, these will be the best places to camp. Here is the 2022 list.
Is Camping Still Popular?
As a matter of fact, camping popularity is at an all time high. This may be due to the fact that younger people- Mellenials and GenXer’s are moving into the past time more and more. Not only do these groups make up the bulk of new campers, but they are also driving up the frequency of camping trips.
The pandemic has also had a major effect on the industry as recoed setting numbers of new campers hit the road in 2020 and 2021.
Which National Park Is The Most Popular?
Top 15 National Parks By Visitors
The recent upturn in RVing interest has also led to a large increase in National Park visitation. Here are the 2021 top 15 most visited National Parks.
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina / Tennessee
Great eastern park, with loads of established campgrounds and camping sites, hiking and biking trails, designated wilderness, and the Appalachian Trail running right through the middle!
2. Zion National Park, Utah
Some really awesome hiking that you can’t get anywhere else. Very crowded though so plan ahead. Both RV and tent camping available.
3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming / Montana / Idaho
2.2 million acres, loads of rv sites, hiking trails, natural thermals, and animals galore! There are 12 developed campgrounds and backcountry camping in abundance. Also very near to Grand Tetons NP and the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole
4. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of Americas favorite locations. There are plenty of campgrounds in and around the park, backcountry campsites, walk in campsites, and awesome views of the Colorado River. For the more adventurous, try the North Rim campground. Much less developed than the South Rim.
5. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
6. Acadia National Park, Maine
One of the East Coasts best camping destinations, Acadia’s rocky coast os one of the first places in the US to see the sun rise each day. Along its 158 miles of hiking trails, you can see Cadillac mountain, the highest peak along the east coast.
7. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
8. Yosemite National Park, California
9. Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
Who knew you could find huge sand dunes along the shores of Lake Michigan, just a few miles from Chicago. One of Americas newest National Parks, Indiana Dunes has already become one of its favorites.
10. Glacier National Park, Montana
11. Joshua Tree National Park, California
12. Olympic National Park, Washington
13. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
14. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
15. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Great hikers park. Loads to see within walking distance of the 2 main campgrounds.
How Many Americans Go Camping Each Year?
KOA says that In 2018 over 78 million households reported having at least one camper in the home. The growth trend continues. In 2018, 1 in 20 campers described themselves as being first time campers.
How Many Americans Own an RV?
According to RVIA (RV Industry Association) 25 Million Americans go RV’ing every year. 10 million people own RV’s and 1 million live in RV’s full time.
RV sales took off in 2020 capping the year with over 430,000 units sold. In 2021 sales exploded finishing the year with over 600,000 new RVs sold on the US.
How Do I Find Good Camping Spots?
Finding a great camping spot can be a bit of a chore. As camping and RVing becomes more popular, campgrounds are becoming more crowded, and reservations more difficult.
Booking National and State Parks
As Americas top choices for best places to camp, National Parks and State Parks can be hard to book. Depending on the locations and times of year, advanced reservations (sometimes more than a year) may be necessary.
For instance booking a site within Yellowstone in July will require many months of planning. Information on National Parks can be found at the NPS website. For State Parks, just look up the parks and recreation page for the state you wish to camp. Recreation.gov is another great resource for finding these parks.
That being said, many National and State Parks hold some RV spots as FCFS (First Come, First Served) These spots turn over every few days and can be gotten with proper planning. Usually a call to the campground will garner you some really good information as to when you should arrive and what your chances are of securing a spot.
Booking Privately Owned Campgrounds
There are any number of online resources for finding and booking privately owned campgrounds. We have found that an early start is always better, again depending on length of stay and time of year.
Cost is another factor as private campgrounds in very popular locations tend to be a bit pricey- especially in the busier seasons.
Most parks have online reservation systems, but we have always preferred using a Google Maps search for the area we want to stay, and then contacting individual parks directly so we can ask questions about availability, amenities, etc.
Public/ Private Land
Using public or private land without hookups is called boondocking (or dry camping). It is a type of camping that is growing in popularity as camping costs increase, because dry camping is typically free.
Boondocking requires that you bring everything you need (including electricity and water) with you, but the benefits as far as locations and proximity to attractions can far outweigh any lack of amenities.
Credit to our readers. Karen and Jeff- who reminded us in the comments below about military campgrounds (this is why we love our readers!) The US Military operates campgrounds at many if not most bases, as well as some other recreational areas. These are very affordable and only usable by military personnel.
Book well in advance as many fill up- especially during the summer months. Here are some links to look them up (thanks again!)