Camping really is the sh*t.

After a day spent wandering wooded paths, admiring breathtaking views, and dipping your toes into a crystal clear creek, you huddle around a campfire to look up at the glowing stars, crack a beer, and enjoy some s’mores — ahh, peace and quiet.

Then you zip up into your tent for a few (mosquito-free) hours and wake to the faint hint of early morning sunlight and the sweet sound of birds chirping.

This is the pure essence of camping. Isolation without loneliness, distance from society and routine, and the impressive and comforting embrace of nature.

In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th birthday, we rounded up the best places to camp in the country. You’ll learn the coolest features of each natural wonderland, how much it costs, and the best time of year to visit.

We’ve also made sure each of these is open and accessible in a post-COVID tourism landscape. We’ll let you know how opening and availability have changed due to the pandemic.

So what are you waiting for? Find your park, then grab your tent, bear-proof cooler, and a few friends for a mind-blowing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Your summer and fall are about to get in-tents (yes, we went there).

1. Acadia National Park, Maine

Why it’s cool: Maine is known as the Pine Tree State for a reason: It’s covered in 17 million acres of forest. Plus it has 6,000 lakes and ponds and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams — basically a camper’s paradise.

Located on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is the ideal destination for nature lovers of all skill levels.

Looking for a unique experience? Hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain (the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard) during dawn and be the first person in the U.S. to see the sun rise that morning.

Where to camp: The park has three campgrounds:

  • Blackwoods (5 miles from Bar Harbor)
  • Seawall, a more rustic, less touristy environment
  • Schoodic Woods, which is surrounded by water on the Schoodic Peninsula

While visitors can enjoy hiking throughout the entire park, the authorities only allow camping in these designated areas (backcountry enthusiasts, take note).

When it’s open: Blackwoods campground is open year-round, although people need a permit to camp here from December to March.

Seawall is open from late May through September.

Schoodic is open from late May until early October. (COVID-19 note: The park is undergoing a phased reopening and is running limited operations, so be sure to check conditions before you go.)

Cost: Blackwoods costs $30 per site per night from May to October and $15 in April and November. It’s free December to March.

Seawall and Schoodic will set you back $22 for a walk-in site, plus an extra $8 to $18 for drive-up tent, camper, and motor home sites.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

If “take a hike” is more of a helpful suggestion than an insult, here’s our compendium of the best hikes in the country.

2. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

Why it’s cool: If you’re looking for a more rustic, remote experience in the Northeast, the White Mountains are your best bet.

The hiking’s pretty rugged in this section of the Appalachians, but it’s totally worth it (if you’re up to the challenge). The sights here are particularly stunning in the fall when the foliage turns shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Where to camp: While the forest does have 24 drive-in campgrounds (with a holy-sh*t-inducing combined 800 campsites), the 8 walk-in state park campgrounds in the northern part of the state are where the action is really at.

Developed campsites require reservations. Backcountry tent camping is also allowed (except in specified no-camping areas). And there are log lean-tos scattered throughout the trails, although a small fee may apply. More info, including trail conditions, can be found at the Appalachian Mountain Club.

When it’s open: The forest is accessible year-round, although visitor center hours vary.

Cost: Much of the forest is free to camp in, but some parts require daily passes, which are available for $5.

Annual passes are $30 for an individual, or $40 for a household. Some campgrounds and other areas may require additional fees.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

We hiked the Appalachian trail (sort of), and it was totally worth it.

3. Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont

Why it’s cool: Vermont’s Long Trail is one of the Green Mountain National Forest’s biggest draws, so try finding a camping spot close by to hike a portion of it during your stay (or all of it, if you’re a complete maverick.)

Aside from being stunning, the 270-plus miler is the oldest long-distance trail in the U.S. It follows the ridge of the Green Mountains through Vermont from the Massachusetts border to Canada.

Where to camp: The forest offers five developed campgrounds.

There are no electrical hookups or dump stations, so arrive prepared, and be ready to completely unplug. Campground accessibility varies by season, and some require a reservation — which is, surely, one of the most awesome things about camping anyway.

Dispersed or backcountry camping is allowed anywhere in the park unless specifically posted.

When it’s open: You can access the park year-round. Visitor center and campground accessibility vary by season, but at least one campground is always open.

Cost: This is the best part: There are no entrance fees, and most campsites are free too.

The Green Mountain Club maintains about 70 campsites along the Long Trail, all with a water source and privy (which require a small fee in summer and fall).

For more information, visit the park’s website. Here’s why you should get off the beaten track this summer.

4. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Why it’s cool: D.C. area readers, get prepping and packing. A stunning getaway is just 75 miles away. We know some people that would drive this distance for a taco.

The park contains more than 500 miles of trails, some of which lead to magnificent viewpoints or waterfalls, and others that wind through miles of quiet, peaceful wilderness.

The 8-mile hike to Old Rag Mountain is the toughest route in the park (and also one of the most popular) and rewards hikers with spectacular views from its peak.

Where to camp: The park’s four campgrounds are open in spring, summer, and fall. Reservations at any site are recommended, but some first come, first served spots may be available if you strike it lucky. Backcountry camping requires a permit, but this is free.

When it’s open: Year-round. Portions of road might close during bad weather and at night during deer-hunting season (mid-November through early January). Visitor services, however, are typically open from March to November only.

Cost: The entrance fee is $30 per vehicle and stays valid for 7 days. For more information, visit the park’s website.

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5. Minnewaska State Park Preserve, New York

Why it’s cool: Located just 94 miles north of New York City, the Minnewaska State Park Preserve is the perfect escape for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers.

The park sits on the dramatic Shawangunk Ridge (aka The Gunks, one of the oldest climbing spots in the country), which rises more than 2,000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by rugged, rocky terrain.

Featuring 35 miles of carriage roads and 50 miles of footpaths on which to bike, walk, hike, or simply enjoy, it’s home to natural rock formations, several waterfalls, three crystal clear lakes, densely wooded forests, sheer cliffs, and ledges opening onto breathtakingly beautiful views.

Seriously, every inch of this place is ‘grammable. Plus you can try horseback riding or technical rock climbing (if you’re experienced). The activities are endless.

Where to camp: Check out Samuel F. Pryor III Shawangunk Gateway for a minimalist but high-quality camping experience. The tent-only campground includes a pavilion and cooking area, bathhouse, restroom facilities, and trails.

There are 24 drive-in spots (limited to one vehicle per site) and 26 walk-in spots. All sites accommodate up to two tents (and four people) per pad, so reservations are a good idea.

When it’s open: Camping is open mid-May through mid-November, weather permitting. (COVID-19 note: As of 2020, parking may be limited due to the pandemic and the construction of a new visitor center.)

Cost: Entry costs $10 per vehicle.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

6. Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Pennsylvania

Why it’s cool: Located in south-central Pennsylvania, the scenic park sits at the northern tip of the Blue Ridge Mountains — yes, those of “Take Me Home (Country Roads)fame — in an area known as South Mountain.

It’s confusing, we know. But true beauty often is.

The Appalachian Trail, perhaps the most famous foot trail in the world, runs through the forest, which is home to the trail’s halfway point.

While around 3,000 people attempt to hike the entire 2,186-mile trail each year (and about a quarter actually finish), between 2 and 3 million people hike or walk a portion of it.

Whether you cover 2 miles or 20, it’s still cool to say you’ve done it. If you’ve still got some time after the hike, check out the Appalachian Trail Museum, located near its midpoint.

Where to camp: The forest has a mix of 70 tent and trailer sites (mostly rustic) that are available from late March to mid-December. You can make reservations up to 11 months in advance. Electric and water hookups are available for a fee at specific sites.

When it’s open: Year-round. Campgrounds are open from April to December. However, the site authorities don’t allow overnight hikes.

Cost: There’s no entrance fee. Prices for backpacking and river camping range from $4 to $5 per night, while basic campsites start at $15 per night. For more information, visit the park’s website.

Here are some ideas for those hungrier moments while you’re camping — s’mores excluded.

7. Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

Why it’s cool: If you love beaches and camping, this is the spot for you. Assateague is a barrier island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia that’s covered in sandy beaches, salt marshes, forests, and coastal bays.

There’s even a community of wild horses, which we all know, deep down, is measurably the best thing ever.

Enjoy relaxing or hiking along Assateague’s 37 miles of beach by day, and then plant your tent near the crashing waves for a night under the stars.

Where to camp: Camping is allowed only on the Maryland side of the island. From November 16­ through March 14, the sites are first come, first served. Two campsites are also open for horse camping during this time for a fee of $50 per night.

From March 15 through November 15, you’ll need to make a reservation. However, you can make them up to 6 months in advance, and they cost $30 per night.

Backcountry camping is allowed ($10 with the requirement for a 7-day permit), but it’s only accessible by backpacking or water.

When it’s open: Year-round. The opening hours of the visitor center and ranger station vary seasonally. (COVID-19 note: While much of Assateague Island National Seashore has reopened, a few facilities may still be closed, so check conditions before you go.)

Cost: Vehicle entrance fee is $25 and is valid for 7 days.

The campsite fee is $30 per night depending on season and location. For more information, visit the park’s website.

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8. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Why it’s cool: It’s a tough climate to trek through (it’s literally called Badlands, what were you expecting?), but the scenery is absolutely beautiful.

Tall- and short-grass prairies lie between a variety of rock formations. And be on the lookout for fossils: The Badlands have one of the most complete build-ups of fossils in North America, providing a glimpse into the area’s ancient ecosystems.

The park is also ideal for stargazing and even hosts an astronomy festival in early August.

Where to camp: There are two campgrounds in the park.

Cedar Pass has some amenities (running water, electricity, etc.). Sage Creek is your more rustic option, with bison often wandering through. However, it doesn’t have water on-site. Permits are not necessary for backcountry camping, but you do need to register before heading out.

When it’s open: Park and campgrounds are open year-round. (COVID-19 note: The park is undergoing a phased reopening and some locations may be closed, so check conditions before you go.)

Cost: There’s a $30-per-vehicle entrance fee, which is valid for 7 days. Annual and national passes are also available.

Campsites at Cedar Pass start at $23 per night. Sage Creek campsites are free.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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9. Denali National Park, Alaska

Why it’s cool: Six million acres of open land? Check.

Unbelievable wildlife? Check.

Trails to please even the most experienced of hikers? Check.

It doesn’t get cooler than Denali — literally (Alaska represent). The central draw to the park (especially for mountaineers) is Denali itself, aka Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest peak.

Still, the park offers hikes for pros and beginners alike. Most trails start near the visitor center and are of easy-to-moderate difficulty. A few trails start deeper in the park, beyond the first 3 miles of the access road.

Be sure to do your research before embarking on any backcountry camping trip here — this park is not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted. Beautiful as all heck, though.

Where to camp: The park has six established campgrounds with a combined 291 sites and also allows backcountry camping with a free permit.

Riley Creek is the only campground reachable by car (and requires a minimum 3-night stay to reduce traffic). The other two sites are reachable only by bus.

One campground is also open year-round, and no fees are charged in winter.

When it’s open: It depends on the weather. Parts of the park are open year-round, but generally, the park opens to private vehicles in mid-April.

A summer bus service begins May 20 and operates through the 2 weeks after Labor Day.

Fall and winter may bring some road closures, but there’s still plenty to do in the park, from skiing to dog mushing. Updates on the park’s conditions appear here.

Cost: There’s a $15 entrance fee per person, and entry remains valid for 7 days. Annual and national passes are also available and accepted.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

We took a closer look at the benefits of outdoor exercise.

10. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Why it’s cool: Glacier Bay National Park is mostly water. The bay itself serves as the passageway to the inner section of the park, which is (awesomely enough) a glacier.

After spending the night under the stars, try cruising the bay on a tour, charter, private boat, or via kayak tour. There are no marked trails in the park, so backpacking can be pretty strenuous.

Rafting one of the park’s two rivers is a great alternative that allows campers to easily tow supplies. However, if you’re an inexperienced camper, make sure you’re with someone who knows what they’re doing.

Park rangers also lead a variety of tours and talks daily during the summer.

Where to camp: The park has only one campground in Bartlett Cove, which has outhouses, a warming shelter, and safe food storage.

Permits are free but necessary for using the campgrounds and backcountry between May 1 to September 30.

When it’s open: Year-round, but accessibility and services are very limited in winter. The visitor center is open late May to early September. Updates on the park’s conditions appear here.

Cost: There are no entrance or camping fees for private visitors. Reservations are required, however, for boating, camping, rafting, and other visitor services.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

Tai chi next to a glacier? We’ll take it.

11. Yosemite National Park, California

Why it’s cool: Nearly 95 percent of this breathtaking park is designated wilderness — meaning no cars, no structures, no roads, and no electricity. And that means no stress, for a least a few blissful days, before you head back to the spreadsheets.

After a night spent under the stars, hike up to Glacier Point, which overlooks the park’s famous Yosemite Valley, Half Dome (a rock structure revered among climbers), and the High Sierra peaks (which your Mac operating system is named after).

The Four-Mile Trail route takes about 3 to 4 hours each way. Looking for an even greater challenge? The Panorama Trail is about twice as long.

Where to camp: There are 13 popular campgrounds scattered throughout the park, and it’s strongly recommended that you make a reservation from April to September.

However, seven campgrounds operate on a first come, first served basis year-round. Backcountry camping is also allowed but requires a free wilderness permit (which can be reserved ahead of time).

When it’s open: Year-round. Campground availability varies by season, however. Some roads tend to close over winter so check conditions before you go. (COVID-19 note: Yosemite is undergoing a phased reopening with limited services and required reservations.)

Cost: It costs $30 per vehicle for a 7-day pass, but this drops to $25 from November to March. Campsites range from $6 to $26 per night.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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12. Joshua Tree National Park, California

Why it’s cool: We know, camping in the desert doesn’t sound like much fun. But the nearly 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park is so much more than sunburn and sand in your shoes.

The park sits at the intersection of two very different ecosystems. To the east is the low-lying Colorado Desert. To the west lies the slightly higher, cooler, wetter Mojave Desert (home to the park’s namesake, the Joshua tree).

The park also has 10 mountain peaks that reach more than 5,000 feet in elevation, making it a popular rock-climbing destination. Just be sure you know what you’re doing first. Hiking at this altitude will quickly leave you breathless if you normally live at sea level.

Where to camp: The park is home to nine established campgrounds, some of which require reservations from October to May. The rest of the sites operate on a first come, first served basis.

Backcountry camping is permitted, but campers must register in advance at a designated backcountry registration board.

When it’s open: Year-round. Visitor center and campground opening hours and status vary by season.

Cost: The entrance fee is $30 per vehicle, and this remains valid for 7 days. Annual passes are available for $55, and national passes are accepted.

Camping costs $15 per site per night without water or $20 with potable water.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

One of our writers lived without artificial light for a week — did it help?

13. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California

Why they’re cool: It’s impossible not to feel small (in a good way) standing next to giant sequoias.

Like the sky-piercing trees that grow only in this part of the world, Sequoia National Park’s scale is ancient and epic, and exploring this park (as well as Kings) is likely to expand your perspective on life.

Waking up surrounded by massive, majestic scenery will make you feel like you’re in a world of make-believe. You’ll enjoy day hiking through the forest and setting up camp in scenic solitude.

Where to camp: There are 14 main campgrounds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Most campgrounds are first come, first served, but you can make reservations up to 6 months in advance.

If you’re looking for a more secluded area, most people car-camp, so pack your gear on your back and take one of the narrow paths to a private piece of grove or pitch your tent along the Kings River.

When it’s open: It’s accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, but July and August are the most popular months to visit.

Cost: You’ll pay $35 if you drive or $20 for an individual pass if you arrive on foot or bicycle. Both are valid for up to 7 days.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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14. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California

Why it’s cool: Big Sur has been inspiring writers and artists for decades, so naturally, this coastal California hotspot had to make our list.

Located along scenic Highway One approximately 140 miles south of San Francisco, the popular park sits along the western slope of the Santa Lucia Mountains.

Once you get your campsite settled, you’re just a short drive or hike away from Pfeiffer Beach, a must-see alcove.

Pfeiffer Beach is not a California State Park, however, so there’s a separate entrance fee for access.

Where to camp: Pitch your tent along the Big Sur River, which winds its way through the state park, for the best views.

There are more than 175 RV and tent sites situated on or near the river, including two group tent sites and a hike/bike site, both of which are free of RVs.

Since this spot is so popular, sites fill up quickly. As a result, reservations are highly recommended. You can make one up to 7 months in advance.

When it’s open: Big Sur is open year-round, but peak season runs March to September.

Cost: The camping fee for a standard site is $35. A premium riverfront site will cost you $50, plus a $8 reservation fee.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

Here’s how to stay safe if you hit the beach.

15. Olympic National Park, Washington

Why it’s cool: You’ll encounter three different ecosystems in one park.

Head to the Quinault Rain Forest, a temperate rain forest (one of only three in the Western Hemisphere), to see the largest Sitka spruce tree in the world. There’s a 30-mile road that loops through the trees, but we think hiking is a better option.

End your trip at Ruby Beach, where you can see mountains, glaciers, and rain forests right from the shore — or at La Push, the northernmost beach in Washington, where you can view whales off the coast during migration season (yes, that La Push as in from “Twilight” fame).

Where to Camp: The park has 16 National Park Service-operated campgrounds with a total of 910 sites.

Backcountry camping is allowed, but a permit ($5) is required — and, sometimes, reservations are necessary. If you’re not a tent enthusiast, you can stay in one of the rustic lodges.

When it’s open: The park is open year-round. Camping availability varies, but there are some primitive spots open year-round as well.

Cost: The entrance fee is $30 per vehicle, which is valid for 7 days. Campground fees range from $15 to $22 per night, depending on season and location.

A wilderness camping permit is required for backcountry camping; it costs $6, plus $8 per person per night.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

One of our writers hit up a… slightly different type of camp. Welcome to Sex Ed Camp.

16. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Why it’s cool: Who wouldn’t want to hang out in a sleeping volcano?

Take a morning dip in Crater Lake and relish the fact that — at 1,949 feet — you’re swimming in the U.S.’s deepest lake. Scientists say it’s also one of the cleanest and clearest bodies of water in America.

Where to camp: You can choose between Mazama and Lost Creek.

  • Mazama is 7 miles south of Rim Village and has a few electric hookups for RVs.
  • Lost Creek is tent-camping-only, but it has many of the same amenities.

Backcountry camping is also allowed, but campers must get a permit from the Park Headquarters, visitor center, or ranger station.

When it’s open: Mazama is open from June 3 to October 9, while Lost Creek’s open season ranges early July to mid-October. Backcountry camping has a shorter time frame due to snow, but you can typically visit between mid-July and September.

Cost: It’s $30 per vehicle or $15 individually if you arrive on foot or by bike. This stays valid for up to 7 days.

Mazama costs $21 per night for tent sites and $31 per night for RV sites (or $35 for those with the electric hookup).

Lost Creek charges $5 per night.

For more information, visit the park’s website. We spoke to a CEO who likes climbing volcanoes.

17. Haleakala National Park, Hawaii

Why it’s cool: The focus of the park is the 10,023-foot dormant volcano, the summit of which has incredible views of the landscape and is an ideal spot for stargazing.

Also, it’s another sleeping f*cking volcano. As established in the last section, that’s just the coolest.

And don’t miss the Kīpahulu District with its postcard-perfect scenery. Just be sure to check the weather first.

Where to camp: You’ve got a few choices:

  • Kīpahulu has a drive-up campground.
  • The Summit Area offers both drive-up and wilderness camping.
  • The Wilderness Area allows tent camping and cabin rentals (but be sure to book in advance).

When it’s open: You can access the park year-round, although parts of it close during severe weather. (COVID-19 Note: the park is undergoing a phased reopening, and some areas and activities remain off-limits. Check conditions before you go.)

Cost: The cost comes to $30 per vehicle for a 3-day pass or $55 for an annual pass.

Campsite space is first come, first served, and you can only stay a maximum of 3 nights per 30-day period.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

You will no doubt love Hawaii. Try recreating some Hawaiian cuisine when you get back.

18. Gunnison National Forest, Colorado

Why it’s cool: Gunnison National Forest has 3,000 miles of trails, 1.6 million acres of public land, plenty of places to fish, and some of the best views of the Rocky Mountains.

Don’t leave without checking out Black Canyon. It’s an incredibly steep, beautiful gorge that has a killer view of the Painted Wall, Colorado’s highest cliff.

Where to camp: There are 30 campsites in Gunnison National Forest that offer a variety of landscapes, including open meadows, evergreen forests, mountains, and lakes.

If you want to get off the grid, Gunnison also allows dispersed camping.

When it’s open: Campgrounds vary by season and location. You can try dispersed camping all year round.

Cost: Prices also vary per campground but typically run around $18 per day. Dispersed camping, however, is free.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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19. Zion National Park, Utah

Why it’s cool: With massive sandstone cliffs, brilliant blue skies, and a plethora of plants and animals, this almost otherworldly park is a national treasure.

After spending a night in the woods, hike the Kolob Canyons in the northwest corner of the park. The 5- and 14-mile trails make perfect 4- or 8-hour trips.

The longer trail takes you to Kolob Arch, one of the largest (and most remote) natural arches in the world.

If you’re traveling in the summer and score a permit ($5), explore The Subway, a unique tunnel structure sculpted by a creek, without a rattling, rat-infested train in sight.

Where to camp: The park has three established campgrounds, which are full every night during summer.

Wilderness permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips, and you can reserve them up to 3 months in advance. Before you go, read through the Zion wilderness guide, as it’s pretty unique and takes some adapting to.

When it’s open: Year-round. Some services and facilities may reduce hours or close at various points during the year.

Cost: A stay here costs $35 per vehicle for a recreational 7-day pass. Wilderness permits will set you back $15 to $25 depending on the size of the group.

Campsite fees range from free to $15 per person.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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20. Glacier National Park, Montana

Why it’s cool: With more than 700 miles of trails through forests, meadows, and mountains, this park is a dream come true for hikers.

You may have heard of Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile stretch that winds through the mountains, but that’s only fun if you’re in a car. To experience the majestic beauty on foot, head to Logan Pass and Many Glacier. There are several trails, many of which offer spectacular views of stunning lakes.

Where to camp: There are 13 developed campgrounds with a whopping 1,009 established sites.

Most operate on a first come, first served basis, except for three that require reservations. Backcountry camping is also allowed, but a permit is required and you can only camp in designated campgrounds.

When it’s open: Year-round. Visitor facilities are open late May to early September. (COVID-19 note: Some areas remain closed.) Check conditions before you go.

Cost: Summer entrance fees are $35 per car for 7 days, but this drops to $25 in winter. Annual and national passes are also available.

Campsite fees vary from $10 to $23 per night during the summer season.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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21. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Why it’s cool: Located just north of Jackson Hole, Grand Teton is home some impressive Rocky Mountain peaks, majestic lakes, and incredible wildlife.

Nestled in the valley is the National Elk Refuge, where, depending on the time of year, you can get up close and personal with hundreds of elk and other endangered and rare animals.

There are a ton of hiking trails ranging from easy to very strenuous, so choose your own adventure and get excited.

Where to camp: Stay at one of the six campgrounds in the park (Signal Mountain earns enthusiastic reviews).

All backcountry camping requires a free permit and is available to walk-ins on a first come, first served basis. You may also be able to register online depending on the time of year, but it will cost you $25. And free is better. Obviously.

When it’s open: Year-round. Visitor center hours vary by season, but at least one visitor center is always open.

Cost: Fees vary every year, but expect around $35 per vehicle, valid for 7 days.

All entrance fees cover access to both the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. In the winter, there’s a winter day-use fee of $15. Some national passes are also accepted.

Campground fees vary by site, but they’re generally around $30 per night per site, and less if you arrive on foot or by bike.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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22. Arches National Park, Utah

Why it’s cool: It’s a red-rock wonderland, boasting more than 2,000 natural stone arches and a variety of easy, moderate, and long trails.

One of the most popular, the Delicate Arch Trail, takes you to the spectacular arch of the same name (don’t miss the photo op!).

Alternatively, take a ranger-guided hike through the Fiery Furnace, an area of sandstone canyons with no marked trailheads and an absolutely terrifying name.

Where to camp: The park has one developed campground: The Devil’s Garden, which has 50 campsites.

But there are also campgrounds located outside the park in the Moab area. Since the park is relatively small, there’s little land for backpacking.

To do so, you need a free permit, and you should know how to read a topographic map and identify safety hazards. Basically, it’s not for camping n00bs.

When it’s open: Year-round. The visitor center is open daily except on Christmas, but the opening hours change by season. (COVID-19 note: While the park is undergoing a phased reopening, some locations remain closed. Be sure to check conditions before you go.)

Cost: A pass to the campground is $30 per vehicle per night. Annual passes are also available.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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23. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Why it’s cool: Have you ever wondered what a geological wrinkle on the earth’s surface looks like?

OK, maybe not, but you’re definitely going to want to see it.

The Waterpocket Fold is a nearly 100-mile-long warp in the Earth’s crust that formed between 50 and 70 million years ago. Capitol Reef sits in the most scenic part of the fold.

Where to camp: The Fruita campground holds 71 sites and is the only developed campground at Capitol Reef.

If you’re into roughing it, Cathedral Valley and Cedar Mesa are in more remote parts of the park and have pit toilets but no water. Backcountry lovers are going to need a permit for camping.

When it’s open: The park is open year-round, Fruita often fills by early to mid-afternoon during the spring and fall seasons. Sites are first come, first served, and reservations and site saving are not allowed.

Make sure you arrive super early, basically, or you’re not getting a spot. People seem to love their geographical wrinkles.

Cost: There’s a $20 fee per vehicle on the Scenic Drive past the Fruita Campground, or $10 per person on foot or bike. Fruita has a nightly fee of $20. Access to Cathedral and Cedar Mesa, as well as backcountry permits, are free.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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24. Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho

Why it’s cool: We like to think of this spot as one of America’s best-kept secrets.

The Smoky Mountains (part of the Rocky Mountains, not to be confused with the Southeast’s Great Smoky Mountains) are so steep and majestic, they look like a vista straight out of Europe.

This is especially true in the summertime, when the wildflowers speckle the scenic views with splashes of color.

Where to camp: There’s a laundry list of campgrounds available at Sawtooth, but we recommend the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, specifically by Redfish Lake.

When it’s open: The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is open year-round, with attendance peaking during the summer months.

Plan your camping trip between May and September, and you’ll enjoy extra-long days, with the sun setting as late as 10 p.m.

Cost: Prices vary per campground, so call ahead once you’ve mapped out your visit and take it from there. For more information, visit the park’s website.

If you feel sick when you get back from vacation, this is probably why.

25. Peninsula State Park, Wisconsin

Why it’s cool: There’s something for everyone here.

Recreation options include an 18-hole golf course, volleyball courts, boating, hiking, or simply enjoying the peace and quiet of the great outdoors.

Eight miles of shoreline (right on Green Bay) call right out to water lovers and boaters, while miles of bike trails make for a more rigorous workout before spending the night under the stars.

Where to camp: The park has five campgrounds with a mix of electric and non-electric sites. Reservations are required and backcountry camping is not allowed.

When it’s open: Access is available year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. — except for campers, who are obviously allowed to stay overnight, because, otherwise, what’s the point? (COVID-19 note: The park is open with special conditions for campers.)

Cost: A vehicle admission sticker is required for park entry. Daily stickers are available for $7 (with WI license plates) or $10 (for out-of-staters), while annual stickers are available for $25 and $35 respectively.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

Hole in your camping gear? Never fear, duct tape is here.

26. Ludington State Park, Michigan

Why it’s cool: This 5,300-acre park is sandwiched right between two lakes (Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan) in western Michigan.

You’ll find everything from sand dunes and shoreline to marshlands and forest, plus eight separate trails covering 21.5 miles.

Canoeing offers gorgeous, up-close views of the water, and you can also bike on the designated 2-mile trail.

Where to camp: Choose from three modern campgrounds with a total of 355 campsites that provide showers and bathrooms, plus three mini-cabins. There are also 10 remote sites that belong to a hike-in-only campground.

When it’s open: Year-round. However, camping is only allowed from mid-May to late November.

Cost: There’s an $11 fee to purchase the required Michigan State Park Recreation Passport.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

Looking for sleep during a sweltering night in the wild? We’ve got plenty of tips for sleeping in hot weather.

27. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Why it’s cool: The park offers something different every season:

  • Summer and spring are perfect for water activities.
  • Fall turns the park into a hiking paradise.
  • Winter calls to cross-country skiers, snowshoers, snowmobilers, and ice fishermen.

The park mostly consists of water, so if you enter without your own vessel, try a guided boat tour (which you’ll need to reserve in advance).

There are also a wide variety of hiking trails, accessible by both car and boat. However, this is definitely more geared toward boating enthusiasts and water-lovers.

Where to camp: The park features 220 free, designated campsites, but they’re accessible only by water on a first come, first served basis. Backcountry camping is also allowed anywhere in the park (unless otherwise stated).

When it’s open: Year-round. Visitor center hours vary by season.

Cost: Entrance is free, but there’s a $10 daily fee for private boating. There are no charges or reservations for individual campsites, though a free permit is required.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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28. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Why it’s cool: Do you really need a reason? It’s the heckin’ Grand Canyon.

The South Rim is more popular, accessible, and busier, while the North Rim is harder to get to but offers a more secluded stay (and is not far from Utah). Both areas are gorgeous, so you really can’t go wrong.

Backcountry hiking is one of the most popular activities, but it can be super tough (yet equally rewarding). Whitewater rafting trips on the Colorado River are always a crowd-pleaser.

As is the Grand Canyon. It is the Grand Canyon. Go here.

Where to camp: Reservations are recommended for two of the three developed campgrounds during the summer. Backcountry camping is also allowed with a permit.

When it’s open: The South Rim is open year-round, but some facilities close during winter. The North Rim is open mid-May through mid-October. (Note: As of 2020, the North Rim campground is closed for water line replacement and paving.)

Cost: Access is $35 per private vehicle, which stays valid for 7 days. Annual passes also available. Campground fees start at $12 per night.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

Wait, a camping blanket you can fit in your back pocket? Sign us up.

29. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

Why it’s cool: For those curious as to what a night sky looks like without the unwelcome addition of light pollution, Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the spot.

The Park hosts full moon walks, where rangers answer questions about the nocturnal creatures in the area, cultural folklore, and astronomy.

If you’re there between Memorial Day and October, it’s totally worth checking out the Bat Flight program, in which hundreds of thousands of bats exit the caves during dusk to eat dinner.

Where to camp: Only backcountry camping is available, and all campers are required to obtain a permit at the visitor center.

When it’s open: Winter hours run from Labor Day to the day before Memorial Day, and summer hours from Memorial Day to the day before Labor Day. (COVID-19 note: The park has reopened with several changes in place, including limited ticket sales.)

Cost: Anyone over the age of 10 must pay a $15 fee to enter the caverns, but there are several fee-free days throughout the year.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

While you’re appreciating nature, here are 10 fitness brands that don’t eff up the environment.

30. Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Why it’s cool: Hike, canoe, fish, kayak, or just walk around and enjoy the splendor that is Congaree. This is where you go to get that classic Southern landscape.

While you’re less likely to see a seersucker-clad gambler on a riverboat, you will be able to check out the expansive bottomland hardwood forest.

Where to camp: There are two campsites at Congaree: Bluff and Longleaf.

When it’s open: Congaree is open year-round, but we suggest visiting during spring and fall. (COVID-19 note: While Congaree has been reopening in phases, both the Bluff and Longleaf campgrounds may remain closed. Backcountry camping permits, however, are still an option.)

Cost: Backcountry camping is free, but the park’s two sites will make you pay as and when they reopen. Fees are $5 per night for a regular tent site at Bluff and $10 per night at Longleaf. Book a reservation before you visit.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

Here’s why kayaking is dope.

31. Big Bend National Park, Texas

Why it’s cool: The Rio Grande runs right through Big Bend, so rafting, canoeing, and kayaking trips are an incredible way to experience the park. Also, it’s big and bendy. What’s not to love?

If staying dry is more your style, there are also trails covering desert, mountain, and river terrain for day hikes or backpacking trips. One popular desert hike is Devil’s Den, a moderate 5.6-mile route along the rim of and down into a limestone slot canyon.

Another beautiful hike is the Santa Elena Canyon Trail, a moderate 1.7-mile round-trip hike that provides both top-down and bottom-up views of the canyon.

Oh, and don’t forget to look up at night — The park’s remote location provides gorgeous views of the starry sky.

Where to camp: The park operates three developed campgrounds. You’ll also find primitive roadside campsites for backcountry camping scattered throughout.

When it’s open: Year-round. (COVID-19 note: The park has reopened for day use. Check conditions before you go.)

Cost: The access fee is $30 per vehicle, valid for 7 days. Annual passes are also available. Developed campground fees are $16 per site per night, while backcountry campsites require a $10 per night permit.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

If you’re backpacking, here’s how you can bear a heavy load without causing yourself injury.

32. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Why it’s cool: The country’s most-visited national park is known for its variety of animals and plants, its mountain views, and its storied past.

More than 70 structures remain from the prehistoric era, and the park now contains the largest collection of historic log buildings in the eastern United States.

The park is also packed with waterfalls, which make for perfect day hikes before pitching your tent under the night sky.

Where to camp: The park has 10 campgrounds, all with running water and toilets (happy camping poop times ahoy!).

Only one campground requires reservations. The rest operate on a first come, first serve basis. Backcountry camping is allowed at designated sites, but a permit and advance reservations are necessary.

When it’s open: Year-round. Some roads, campgrounds, and visitor facilities close in winter, but Cades Cove and Smokemont campgrounds are open year-round. (COVID-19 note: Some locations remain closed amid the park’s phased reopening, so check conditions before you go.)

Cost: There are no entrance fees to get into the park. But to stay there, campsite fees range from $14 to $23 per night, and backcountry permits cost $4 per person per night with a maximum charge of $20 per person.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

Waterfalls play a cameo role in pink noise — sounds that help you sleep. So you could get the R&R you need just by being around them.

33. Carson National Forest, New Mexico

Why it’s cool: Surprise — New Mexico is not all desert! 😱

Carson National Forest offers relatively cool summer temperatures, as well as a great environment for fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking.

In the winter, there’s even enough snow for skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. You can also hike the 16-mile round-trip trail up to New Mexico’s highest point, Wheeler Peak, for a challenging but rewarding adventure.

Where to camp: You’ll find 35 established camping areas scattered throughout the park.

Backcountry camping is also allowed. Langua Larga offers four campsites right on the water’s edge and a range of great areas for dispersed camping a bit further from the lake.

When it’s open: The forest is accessible year-round. Campground availability varies by season and location.

Cost: There’s no entrance fee. Campsite prices range from free to $30, depending on location, the time of year, and the size of the group you’re with.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

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34. Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

Why it’s cool: There are hundreds of trails throughout the Hemlocks region that offer a diverse range of hikes and backpacking opportunities.

Just an hour from Asheville, NC, the Pisgah Forest is known as the Land of the Waterfalls (because of all the waterfalls), so any trail you choose, regardless of difficulty, will provide ample opportunities to check out some gorgeous falls.

The forest also contains four long-distance trails, including portions of the Appalachian Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail. The Art Loeb Trail is one of the toughest (30.1 miles) in the forest but also one of the most popular.

There are plenty of campsites along the trail too, making it a great path for a weekend backpacking trip.

Where to camp: Check out the park’s camping guide to find out which sites are first come, first served, and which require reservations. Dispersed camping is allowed only at one of the forest’s designated camping areas.

When it’s open: Forest is accessible year-round. Campground availability varies by season.

Cost: There’s no general entrance fee. Campsite cost varies by location. Some passes and permits may be required, depending on how busy the park is.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

You can add fruit to s’mores to cheat yourself into eating healthy while you camp. We found this and 42 other genius health hacks.

35. Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

Why it’s cool: Fun fact — the Ozarks served as the setting for “Where the Red Fern Grows” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” (But, oddly, not “Ozark.” It’s a strange world.)

You’ll find more than 200 camping and picnic sites, nine swimming beaches, thousands of acres of lakes and steams, and 400 miles of hiking trails.

The 218-mile Ozark Highlands Trail is one of the best-known hikes, but the amazing living cave systems at Blanchard Springs are also a huge draw.

Where to camp: The park offers space for everything from RV to tent camping thanks to 23 developed campgrounds with a combined 320 sites. Primitive camping is also allowed almost anywhere in the forest, unless there’s a sign stating otherwise.

When it’s open: The forest itself is accessible year-round. Some campsites are also open year-round, but others are only open May through October. (COVID-19 note: Some sites in the area were closed throughout lockdown and may still be reopening or have reduced services, so check the status before you go.)

Cost: There’s no entrance fee. Camping can vary from free to $15 per night per site. Some day use areas, such as those used for swimming, charge fees generally around $3 to $5.

For more information, visit the park’s website.

Here are some wonderful, healthy picnic ideas.

36. Everglades National Park, Florida

Why it’s cool: The park is the third largest in the lower 48 states, covering 2,400 square miles, so you definitely won’t get bored, especially with a wide range of hiking trails, campgrounds, and ample opportunities for biking.

You can also canoe and kayak even farther into the park’s mangrove forests, freshwater marshes, and the Florida Bay. If you’ve had enough of doing the work yourself, you can check out one of the guided tours.

And keep an eye out for rare wildlife species, including manatees, alligators, crocodiles, dolphins, and even the endangered Florida panther. (Wouldn’t go about offering hugs to any of these, however.)

Where to camp: The park has two drive-in campgrounds: Flamingo and Long Pine Key. Most backcountry campsites are reachable only by canoe, kayak, boat, or particularly adventurous hikers, and require a $10 permit.

When it’s open: Year-round.

Cost: The entrance fee is $30 per vehicle, and this stays valid for 7 days. Campsite fees vary from $16 to $30. For more information, visit the park’s website.

If you give a f*ck about the wildlife you meet, look after them by reducing how much packaging you use in daily life.

Oh, boy. What a beautiful country. You’ve got tens of thousands of acres to explore here, so pack up that tent, steel your thighs for some full-on hikes, and get ready to explore the Great Outdoors.

It’s important to note that all cost and camping information is for individual, private, small groups. The rules vary by park, and more information is available on each park’s website, which we’ve linked at the bottom of every section.

The Find Your Park movement celebrates the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and encourages everyone to get out there and connect with their park. There’s something to love in each of them.

If you’re enticed by the wilderness but aren’t that accustomed to camping, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. And, hopefully, so does your tent.