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.
According to the North American Camping Report and the infographic below, the best places to camp are National and State Parks (40%), followed by privately owned campgrounds (25%), and then public or private land (boondocking) (20%.)
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.
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- Colorado: Colorado has 4 National Parks, 5 National Monuments, 42 State Parks, 25 Scenic and Historic Byways, and 58 mountain peaks over 14,000 ft. tall. Certainly a good deal to do for any outdoor enthusiasts.
- Missouri: Lake of the Ozarks boasts over 1150 miles of coastline. There are 49 State Parks, the Mark Twain National Forest, the Ozark National Scenic Riverway, and the Katy Trail, the country’s longest rail trail (225 miles.)
- Montana: Montana is wild and untamed. There are 2 National Parks, 51 State Parks, and abundant areas for hunting, fishing, rafting, and dinosaur hunting.
- New Mexico: A state of sheer natural beauty, New Mexico is the home of Carlsbad Caverns and it’s 119 caves, 35 state parks, and beautiful deserts and mountains.
- New York: New York is not only home to an amazing city with numerous historical sights, the state is home to the Adirondacks, the Catskills, the Finger Lakes, and Niagra Falls. There are also 4 million acres of Natural Preserves.
- 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.
- 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.
- Grand Teton National Park: Grand Tetons 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 2021?
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 2020 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.
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. New RV sales in the US, while slowing over the last 18 months or so, are still very strong. Through September 2019, annual delivery of new units has topped 309,000.
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!)