Camping is becoming more popular than ever. In fact, more than 11 million U.S. households own an RV, and nearly 50 million people go camping each year. But, if you’ve never been, it can seem scary or intimidating. Plus, how do you even choose a campground, anyway?
In addition to choosing a campground, there’s a lot to consider, like when to visit and when to book a site, which type of site you want, and what to bring and do while there. But, with a little planning and preparation, you can have a camping trip you’ll remember for a lifetime.
To get you started, we’ve pulled together a list of our top three campgrounds that will not only get you interested in camping, but may actually convince you to book a campsite.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, MAINE
If you’re looking for a gorgeous campsite with endless scenic spots and photo opportunities, a campground in Acadia National Park is a great choice. This national park is made up of 17 million acres of forest, 6,000 lakes and ponds, and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams. And with 158 miles of trails, Acadia is perfect for hiking and camping.
Choose from one of the park’s three campgrounds: Blackwoods, Seawall, and Schoodic Woods. With nearly 3.5 million visits per year, it’s one of the 10 most-visited national parks in the U.S.
All campsites must be reserved in advance within a 60-day rolling window. You’ll need to make an account before you can reserve your site, so do this ahead of time to ensure you get the dates you want. Most camping sites are reserved for tents, but some sites can accommodate RVs. Flush toilets, running water, and dump stations are provided. Pets are also welcome to the park.
The park itself is stunning, overflowing with natural beauty of rocky headlines along the coast, forests, and hundreds of species of wildlife and plants. In addition to hiking, there are beaches to check out, boat tours, biking, birdwatching, swimming, and touring historic spots.
CAMPGROUND BY THE LAKE, CALIFORNIA
On the California side of Lake Tahoe, Campground by the Lake is a 178-campsite facility within walking distance of the shores of the lake. If you’re looking for a campground with more activities and less of a “camping” feel, this may be your spot.
Try out one of the many amenities, from the Recreation and Swim complex, baseball fields, basketball courts, and ice arena, to playgrounds, hiking and biking, or golfing. Other activities in the area include swimming, boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boating, and more. Or, head to El Dorado Beach for a day of sunshine and relaxation.
The Campground offers full-hook-up sites for RVs (though tent sites are available as well), modern restrooms with hot showers, and RV dump stations. Pets are also allowed. Directly across the street you’ll find a small convenience store, cafes, and sandwich shops.
Peak season is June through September, and non-peak runs from May to June and September through October.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA
If you’re looking for a remote campground to escape people and the hustle and bustle of life, but also one that is convenient to get to, try staying at one of Glacier National Park’s 13 campgrounds. Whether you want to tent camp or bring an RV or other vehicle, one or more of these campgrounds will work for you.
Glacier National Park is made of breathtaking melting glaciers, meadows, valleys, and lakes. With more than 700 miles of trails, you’re sure to rest and recharge in the fresh air. Other activities in the park include golfing, boat tours, horseback riding, road or mountain biking, ziplining, fishing, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, and more.
Campgrounds are available by reservation and can be booked online, and it’s recommended to do so before arriving at the park. Campsites become reservable on a rolling basis, six months in advance from the date you want to book your stay.