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Sometimes you just have to get away from the complexities of life, and the best way to do that is by camping. Camping in a RV or camper can be fun, but nothing gets you closer to nature than camping inside a tent. But where are the best places to go tent camping. Here’s a list of the top 10.
1. Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon plays host to some of the most beautiful nature and scenery known to humankind. The park has two different campgrounds and also allows backwoods camping with a permit. Mazama Campground charges $22.00 a night for tents and $31.00 a night for RVs. Lost Creek Campground charges $10.00 a night for tents. It should, however, be noted that the Park only allows summertime camping on their campgrounds. Backwoods camping can be done year-round, but isn’t recommended due to heavy snow and cold.
2. Yosemite National Park
A beautiful location with terrific hiking opportunities, Yosemite National Park plays host to 13 different campgrounds. These campsites range anywhere from $6.00 to $26.00 a night, with 7 of them operating on a first-come, first-served basis. The other 6 campsites require that you make reservations beforehand. If you want to hit the wilderness and get away from the hustle and bustle of traffic, Yosemite is a great place to go.
3. Shenandoah National Park
Located in Virginia, Shenandoah National Park is home to a section of the Appalachian Trail, which many hikers camp along amidst their travels. In addition to this free permit-required backcountry camping, the park also possesses a number of designated camp sites. These sites are available for prices between $15.00 and $25.00 a night for tent campers. If you want to experience Appalachia, Shenandoah National Park is the place to camp.
4. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is located in Monterey County, California and is centered around the Big Sur River. Known for its redwood groves and many hiking trails, it’s frequented by casual campers and avid hikers alike. There is one campground on the park premises, costing around $25.00 per night. It should, however, be noted that the park sees a great deal of visitation. Make reservations as early as possible.
5. Zion National Park
Located in southwest Utah, Zion National Park plays host to a bevy of steep, red cliffs and canyons as well as a number of waterfalls and waterways. The park contains three different camp sites which are available for prices between $20.00 and $130.00. They fill up quickly and are booked solid almost constantly through the summer and fall months. Backcountry camping is also possible with a permit.
6. Haleakala National Park
If you’ve got the time and money to make it out to Hawaii, you should consider heading to Haleakala National Park. In Maui, the park contains dormant volcanos, waterfalls, mountains, and a number of other interesting sites. The park plays host to two wilderness campsites, both of which are free with a permit. They work on a first-come, first-served basis, so try to get there plenty early in the day.
7. Badlands National Park
If you ever feel the need to get away from all civilized life, you should head out to Badlands National Park. Located in the barren grasslands of South Dakota, the park hosts a bevy of canyons, rock formations, and wildlife. The park contains two different formal campsites: Cedar Pass Campground and Sage Creek Campground. Cedar Creek costs $22.00 a night while Sage Creek is free of charge.
8. Sawtooth National Forest
Sawtooth National Forest covers over 2 million acres of land in Utah and Idaho. Filled with bountiful forests, majestic mountains, and beautiful valleys, it’s a great place to pitch a tent and spend a couple of nights. There are tons of campgrounds in the forest, costing anywhere from $6.00 a night to $25.00 a night.
9. Ozark National Forest
Located near Russellville, Arkansas, Ozark National Forest plays host to a bevy of wildlife and geographic formations, including caves, rivers, and forests. Camping is plentiful in the forest, with 23 developed campgrounds to set up in. Available for between $4.00 and $10.00 a night, it’s one of the cheapest places you’ll ever find to camp. Backcountry camping is also available free of charge.
10. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The most visited national park in the United States, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in both North Carolina and Tennessee. The park allows both frontcountry and backcountry camping. Frontcountry camping is beyond plentiful with 10 locations available. Nightly camping fees at designated campgrounds run from $14.00 to around $23.00.
Image Courtesy of Flickr User Eric Savage