Each national park has extraordinary natural beauty, unique geological features, diverse ecosystems, and recreational opportunities. There are 63 national parks across the United States, all with different scenery waiting to be discovered.
And many activities to experience in the national parks, and hiking, fishing, and boating are among the top activity options. But the most popular and the best way to experience the park scenery is camping.
When you camp, you can immerse yourself in nature. And there's plenty of time to experience other activities. Imagine falling asleep to the sound of insects, streams, or wind. And then waking up the next morning to the sun and fresh air.
What a cool experience that would be. Don't worry about safety. The staff patrols the campgrounds and parks to protect visitors, wildlife, and the land. Have you started planning your 2023 National Park camping trip yet? This campground list will make your choice easier!
National Park Camping Gear Checklist
Camping tents and sleeping bags. The most important equipment in the camping trip, remember to choose waterproof material. Outdoor weather is changing, so it is important to stay warm. If you also want to improve comfort, the inflatable mattress can also be brought.
Canopy tent. If you want a shaded space to eat or rest, bring your canopy tent. Especially a pop-up canopy with sides, which provides both protection from the wind & rain and absolute privacy. When night falls, move your camping tent to the inside of the canopy tent. You will get more warmth.
（Quictent RV camping）
Rechargeable battery pack. Camping in the middle of a national park is bound to take a lot of pictures, or you want to make sure Google Maps is ready. If you need to charge flashlights and headlamps during your camping trip, you'll need a full backup battery pack.
Multifunctional knives. A utility knife helps a lot when you choose to camp on the road. Especially one with a wine opener.
Boots. With fall rains causing slippery roads, a pair of boots suitable for walking on forest ridges and mountains is crucial.
Waterproof jacket and backpack. Keep warm for those inevitable rainy days. Choose a backpack that is lightweight but large enough to hold your camera, jacket, and other equipment.
Gloves and hat. Bring gloves and a hat to keep you warm in the early morning or late afternoon.
Cash: Bring some cash in case of emergencies.
Binoculars. There is often wildlife in the park and some amazing scenes are best viewed with a little optical help.
Kitchen utensils. Some parks will have little stores where you can buy food, but it's a good idea to bring your cooking utensils just in case.
1. Cades Cove Campground - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This campground is steps away from the famous attraction cades cove loop. Wildlife such as bears and deer can be spotted here. The campground is open all year round and is divided into two areas, B and C. Some sections of B and C are open from early April to Thanksgiving weekend. In the off-season, from December to early April, only sites C1-12 and C26-61 are open for reservations.
（Cades Cove Campground）
This is one of the most popular campgrounds in the Great Smoky Mountains and reservations are best made two months in advance. cades cove campground has modern and convenient flush toilets and drinking water. The campground is surrounded by mountains, meadows, and streams.
The fireflies are in the meadows, streams, and trees. Compared to another famous campground in Elkmont, it is more open. There are more animals and it is convenient to stay here to see animals in the early morning and evening.
The price of the campground is $25 per night, and the maximum number of people who can stay here is 6, regardless of whether it is tent camping or RV camping. The location of this campground is 10042 Campground Dr, Townsend, TN 37882.
2. Ohanapecosh Campground - Mount Rainier National Park
Ohanapecosh Campground is located in the southeastern part of Mount Rainier National Park, surrounded by forests and rivers of snowmelt. But, the campground is closed during the winter months until late May to early October. Campgrounds are usually available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are available for loop B and loop C, so make your reservations now. This campground has drinking water, but no electric hookups.
The weather is cool and sunny in the summer, and it's easy to get to Paradise and Sunrise, so it's a great weekend getaway for hikers. A tip, if you want to visit the Sunrise and Paradise area, please try to avoid the rush hour or choose weekdays to visit. The parking lot is likely to be full by about 11 a.m., and there will be a long line at the intersection with the national park.
The campground costs $20 per night and can accommodate up to six people. The campground is located at Ohanapecosh Rd, Randle, WA 98377.
3. Mazama Campground - Crater Lake National Park
Mazama Campground, with 214 RV campsites and tent sites. Due to the high altitude of Crater Lake, the campground is only open from mid-June to the end of September each year. The campground is very close to the entrance of the park and has a lot of facilities inside, so it is difficult to make reservations.
Yet, a small part of the campground is available for visitors who come on the same day. So many visitors arrive early in the morning to try their luck. Some of the spots provide electrical connections, limited garbage collection, and barbecue grills. But the benefit is the provision of flush toilets and coin-operated showers. Here you will view the deepest lake in the United States, and a sleeping volcano. So there are plenty of photo opportunities for nature lovers here.
Tent camping is available for $21 a night, while RV camping ranges from $31 to $42. The address of the campground is OR-62, Crater Lake, OR 97604.
4. Kalaloch Campground - Olympic National Park
This is one of the few campgrounds in Olympic National Park that is close to the beach. You can look out over the Pacific Ocean from here. This campground, located on the Olympic Peninsula across from Seattle, is the largest campground on the Olympic Coast. The campground offers not only lush forested landscapes but also premier coastal water views.
170 campsites all located at the end of the ocean with walking access to Second Beach. Stroll along the beach at sunset as the sun slowly dives to sea level. This beautiful sight takes your breath away, leaving the hustle and bustle of the modern city behind, and everyone will linger. In winter, from November to April, some of the loops will be closed, but the camping sites are still open. If you want to camp in this campground, it is best to make a reservation now. There are toilets, drinking water, and a garbage collection point.
Please note that since the camping site is located on the coast, it is important to check the tides. The campground costs $24 per night and is located in Forks, WA 98331.
5. Mather Campground - Grand Canyon National Park
Mather campground is located in the southern part of the national park. There are lush trees everywhere, providing good air and natural shade. Besides the restrooms and drinking water, there are free wifi, laundry machines, showers, and dump stations. It is close to the visitor information center and the canyon village.
This is always a popular camping spot, so reservations are required in advance. Otherwise, the demand will outstrip the supply in the peak season. If you stay here, you can go to the West Canyon to watch the sunrise before dawn the next day. The world of colors from the sunlight slanting into the canyon is breathtaking! Afterward, you can also explore the historic rock formations in the park and head to Horseshoe Bay to see the unique river.
Mather campground is $18 a night at 1 Mather Campground Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023.
6. Gros Ventre Campground - Grand Teton National Park
The campground is located in Grand Teton Park. The most famous scenery in the park is Grand Teton Peak, with glaciers that have remained to this day. The glacial lakes scattered in the area are best known as Jenny Lake. The park has towering mountaintops covered with thousand-year-old glaciers. The park is home to herds of American bison, elk, and antelope.
（Gros Ventre Campground）
Gros Ventre Campground is one of the largest campgrounds in the area and can accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs. Close to the impressive Tetons Peak and many of Jackson Hole's famous attractions. Gros Ventre Campground is open every year from April until it closes in October, and visitors can use the nearby flush toilets and drinking water. Plus the presence of a generator makes this camping site even more convenient.
Gros Ventre Campground is not as hot as other campgrounds, so you can always make a reservation. The price per night is more expensive due to the full amenities. A standard spot is $50, while a spot with electricity is $77 a night. The address is 100 Gros Ventre Campground Rd, Kelly, WY 83011.
7. Upper Pines Campground - Yosemite National Park
Upper Pines Campground is located in one of the busiest areas of Yosemite, with stores, restaurants, and bathrooms nearby. Although none of these facilities are located in the campground, they are easily accessible by foot, bicycle, car, or park bus. The park has streams, waterfalls, and a wide variety of trees that attract more visitors.
（Upper Pines Campground）
Especially in February, Horsetail Falls will glow orange in the backlight of the sunset. So it would be a better idea to book in advance. Upper Pines is also the largest of the four Yosemite Valley campgrounds. With a total of 238 sites, each of which can accommodate up to two vehicles and six people.
Upper Pines Campground is $36 per night. The address is Yosemite National Park, CA 95389.
8. Blackwoods Campground - Acadia National Park
Blackwoods Campground is open from May to October, so make sure to reserve in advance. There are picnic tables and chairs at each tent location, and a fireplace with an iron stand on top of it. Free wood is provided, but there is a limit of one bundle per person. The campground is a short walk to the beach, and the park has thousands of acres of trees of all colors and richly colored foliage. This is also a great place to enjoy the leaf peeping every year.
Blackwoods Campground is $30 per night and is located at 155 Blackwoods Drive, Otter Creek, ME 04660.
9. Pinnacles Campground - Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park is the newest national park established in 2013. It is known for its volcanic terrain, including Pinnacle and Talus Cave. There are two entrances and the campground is located on the east side of the park, right next to the visitor center. There are 124 general campsites in the campground.
Due to its late establishment, it is easier to book than other famous national park campgrounds. The facilities are newer, and the campground has a swimming pool. The main attraction of the park is the Pinnacle Rock Formation, which is a mecca for rock climbers.
What's a little different is that the campground also offers tent cabins, which are $109 for non-electric and $119 for electric. Tent and RV camping are available for $39 and $55, respectively. Note that on weekends, there is an additional $10-$25 charge for each option. The address of the campground is Brooks Lake Rd, Dubois, WY 82513.
10. Many Glacier Campground - Glacier National Park
Because of the special weather in Glacier Park, the campground is open for the shortest period. From June to September every year, there are only four months. And the campground is not very big, with only 13 spots in total. Therefore, it is best to make a reservation in mid-February when it opens.
（Many Glacier Campground）
Many Glacier, where the campground is located, is considered by many to be the heart of Glacier National Park. This is because it has the most active glaciers, a great deal of wildlife, and some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Glacier National Park.
Restrooms and drinking water are available at the campground, and some sites have generators with limited hours of use. The cost is $23 a night and the address is Continental Divide Trail, Browning, MT 59417.
“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.” –Edward Abbey
As February draws to a close, the arrival of spring represents the beginning of the adventure. When you're ready, pack your bags and choose the campground on the list and head out!