Camping is a fantastic outdoors experience, many people find just getting back to nature in a tranquil, scenic environment an amazing experience, especially in the U.S.A. Here in America, we have some of the most diverse terrain, climates and landscape in the entire world! With a vast spectrum of wildlife, to observe you will surely have a memorable experience.
However, finding the perfect location to pitch up your tent or drive your RV camper van to requires some thought & a real sense of what type of experience you would like!
In the United States of America, we have a vast range from coastal retreats, mountain regions, and deserts to snowy winter camping destinations!
To help you on your adventures, at Town and Tourist we have compiled together the most unique range of camping destinations, state by state from Texas to Maine.
21. El Cosmico – Texas
Located just outside Marfa, Texas you will discover a truly unique camping destination, El Cosmico. Imagine a quirky, vintage charm with an artistic influence!
At El Cosmico you will have a range of sleeping arrangements to select from, starting with your standard tents, to teepees, yurts and even vintage trailers. For such an off the beaten track location like Marfa, El Cosmico is perfect camping spot.
20. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park – Maryland
The hilariously named “Yogi Bears” is an awesome adventure camping park, great for Families! Located in Hagerstown, Marland, you will find a massive range of fun activities specifically geared towards your little ones!
With a well organised setup it feels much like a theme park! You have nearly 80 camp sites to choose from so plenty of selection.
19. Joshua Tree – California
For something a little more adult, head to the vast desert landscapes of Joshua Tree, California. Here you can observe a range of wild scenery from Spiky Cacti to Mountain peaks. Temperatures are usually pleasant & don’t really get too cold.
Insider Tip: Be sure to pack plenty of water as the desert air can be a little dry! Especially if you have a pre existing, respiratory condition. I also like to bring a lightweight scarf for my face, stops the dust on a windy day and also makes you look like a cool bandit!
18. Padre Island National Seashore – Texas
An all seasons campground, Padre Island is most famous for containing the longest stretch of natural barrier island in the entire world! Spanning over 70km, of stunning terrain.
How was the Barrier Island Formed?
Many scientist theories, suggest that the barrier island longest stretch was formed 18,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice age. When the glaciers melted, the sea levels rose and the currents swept sediments from beach ridges out into the ocean to form the unique barrier islands.
Wildlife at Padre Island:
Padre Island is located on the central flyway making it’s a prime spot for over 380 migratory & resident birds! Which is nearly half of all documented species in North America!
Camping at Padre Island:
As you might have guessed, Bird Island Basin is a popular spot, just on the waters of the Laguna Madre. Here campers can enjoy, kayaking, boating, fishing and of course Bird watching!
For those of you which like water sports there is a windsurfing area which is ranked “best flat water sailing site in the entire U.S.A, by windsurfing magazine! Source.
Other camping sites include, Malaquite Campground, South Beach or Yarborough Pass and North Beach.
17. Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts
If you like plenty of FREE outdoor activities and some interesting history to add to your camping experience, then head down to Boston Harbor Island, in Massachusetts.
For the Civil War buffs among you, there are plenty of campsites offering Civil war history tours of the area. This can give you some really interesting background, into where you will be laying your head to rest.
With plenty of natural tide pools, & a wondrous landscape dotted by lighthouses and other features, you will find plenty to keep your eyeballs engaged!
Hoping on stand up paddle-board, is a perfect way to explore the surf.
16. Carlsbad Beach Camping
South Carlsbad State Beach Camping, are fantastic spots offering picturesque ocean views as standard. Located north of Encinitas & just south of Oceanside.
To access the campsite, head to Poinsettia Lane and Carlsbad Boulevard. From there you will see the Camping sites arranged uniformly, with the ocean front row (Premium) costing $50 and the standard camp sites just ($35).
If you have an RV or camper van, you will find Hooks ups on site.
An on site seasonal camping store (April-October) sells basic goods, including Ice & firewood. Laundry machines are also available there.
Other popular Beaches at the Northern end include Carlsbad City Beach (Ocean street to Elm) and Carlsbad State beach (Tamarack beach)
RV’s which span greater then 35 feet are not admitted!
15. Yosemite National Park, California
It would have been rude to talk about scenic camping destinations without mentioning the prized jewel of California.
Yosemite National Park is real wilderness, perfect for those who want a remote camping experience & don’t care about all the extra on site amenities, more built up campsites offer.
The only negative is, if you have any problems or need help it can be difficult to get. So play it safe & bring everything you need with you.
Cost: Cost per vehicle is $30
14. Acadia National Park
Situated on the prized Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park offers 17 million acres of lush forests, 6000 lakes and 34,000 miles of rivers. This means Acadia is a natural wonder perfect for hiking & camping.
Three Campgrounds are at the park:
- Blackwoods (near to Bar Harbor),
- Seawall (the less touristy alternative),
- Schoodic Woods (on the Schoodic Peninsula).
13. Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
If you really want to treat, yourself and bask in some luxurious natural spas then head over to Hot Springs National Park, in Arkansas. Located of in the Ouachita Mountains, you will find the hot spring and a relaxed atmosphere with a few tours on offer.
Price: $10 per night
12. Out ‘n’ About Treehouse Resort – Oregon
Who doesn’t love a magical treehouse? From kids to adults, we all secretly just wan’t to get away from it all in your very own peter pan treehouse!
As the sun rises, clamber down from the tree top and discover Siskiyou National Forest and even try out the zip lines to really feel like your in Jungle book!
11. Ludington State Park – Michigan
Finding the perfect family Camping destination, which will satisfy all your families hopes, needs and desire no matter what the age can be a challenge! (Believe me I know!)
But, your in luck! Ludington State Park really does come through with a perfect camping spot in Michigan. With a vast array of terrain on offer from forests for hikes, to sand dunes, for beach walks there is plenty for everyone. Activities here include: Swimming in Lake Michigan, Renting Kayaks and even Jet skiing!
With year round & seasonal accommodation on offer, it’s a great place for families to check out.
If you have pets, be aware they are quite tough with the rules. So check with the park before traveling.
10. Glacier National Park – Montana
The crown jewel of Montana, Glacier National Park is an epic wilderness with plenty of scenic hiking trails. The National Park is great if you really would like an off the grid, survival adventure! Other great activities to try here include, rafting or even Packrafting which is really popular at the moment!
Hiking Trails are mostly unmarked here, so plan before hand and if camping with kids, research the best trail for their ability/age. Oh and bring bear spray (You may need it!)
9. Pipestem Resort State Park – West Virginia
Pipestem Resort State Park is highly cherished family adventure resort, located in West Virginia, on the east of the Bluestone River Gorge. In between Summers & Mercer counties, lies 4,050 acres on nature!
Camping at Pipestem Resort State Park
At the park there are 26 cabins & 2 mountain lodges, which can ONLY be accessible via the parks Aerial Tramway! Located at the bottom of Bluestone River Gorge. The aerial Tramway feature is a really unique aspect to this camping destination.
Pipestem resort State Parks offers a vast array of activities to keep everyone smiling! From adrenaline pumping zipline adventures, to rock climbing, Mountain bike tours and even guided trout fishing excursions!
Head down to the adventure splash park, or try out kayaking, stand up paddling or even tubing on Bluestone River!
Head just down the road & you can discover even more at fun Bluestone State Park.
Interesting attraction nearby include the Hinton Railroad Museum, which outlines West Virginias immense rail history from 1873 to today.
The Museum is open June to August, closed out of season!
The National Coal Heritage Trails Interpretative center is housed in a train depot at 100 station square in Bramwell.
8. Ingalls Homestead – South Dakota
Fancy sleeping in a Vintage Wagon?
Well if the answers YES! Try out this authentic pioneer experience at Ingalls Homestead, in South Dakota.
Aswell as the unique experience, there are various fun family activities on offer, from making your very own Corn cob doll to checking out a one room school.
7. San Jacinto Mountains – Snow Camping
Snow Camping at the San Jacinto Mountains, California is a truly unique experience! Ascend 2.5 miles to a snowy playground on the worlds largest rotating tramcar!
From the top you will find breath taking panoramic views of Palm Springs & Coachella valley. A peaceful atmosphere, with crisp air it has been dubbed as Californias last wilderness.
This is great fun for families, as you can hop on the tram car and have some fun in the snow! Let the snowballs fly, make snow angels and just have a winter wonderland experience in California!
Cross Country Skiers:
If you a cross country skier, then this is a great place to experience some fun & challenging terrain! You can bring your own equipment or rent from the Adventure Center..
Day permits can be acquired at Ranger Station located in Long Valley.
6. Crater of Diamonds State Park – Arkansas
With many camping destinations all over Arkansas, Crater of Diamonds stands out as being one of the most unique.
As the only “Finders Keepers” diamond area in the U.S.A, you never know what jewels you may find while camping! You can even rent mining tools at the park visitor center.
According to KTLA: “It is not clear how much the diamond is worth but Oklahoman Tara Clymer sold a 3.85-carat diamond she found at the park last year for $20,000.”
Not too bad for a few days camping!
If you ask nicely, the park visitor center may give you some hints on where to find the best diamond!
5. Shenandoah National Park
Not to far from Washington D.C you will find Shenandoah National Park, a lush paradise of forests & waterfalls, with 500 miles of trails on offer!
If your a Hiking enthusiast head up Old Rag Mountain on the 8 mile trail, a real memorable experience. Four nice campsites are located in the park.
Seasons: Open Spring, Summer and Fall.
4. Arches National Park – Utah
A highlight of the Red Rocks of Utah is Arches National Park. With challenging trails and a host of instagrammable photo opportunities, its a great place to pitch up the tents. There are limited onsite camp sites, however you can find a few close by.
It can be fun to just backpack around, however, you can easily get lost so make sure your prepared!
Price: $10 per vehicle
3. Assateague Island Campgrounds – Maryland
Oh Maryland, the maritime home of the U.S.A. For great camping head just nine miles to the south of Ocean City. There you will find Assateague Island Campground, offering nearly 40 miles of seaside beaches great for camping out! It’s so nice to be able to fall asleep while listening to the waves crash!
Great activities here include, Biking, Kayaking, Swimming, paddle boarding, Crabbing and even WILD HORSES!
How to Get to Assateague Island
There are two route to access Assateague Island. From the North head via Route 611 just under 10 miles south of Ocean City, Maryland. From the South head to Asseateague Island via Route 175, just two miles east of Chincoteague, VA.
2. Olympic National Park – Washington
With a vast range of Campgrounds, Olympic National Park is a true Campers dream and Ecological Marvel!
The evergreen landscape has a vast array of places for the outdoor enthusiast from great hiking, walking in the rainforest (thats right a rainforest!) and even whale watching during migration season!
The number of camp sites here is huge, so feel free to take full advantage, or pay $5 for a backcountry permit.
Top Tip: It can be pretty treacherous for solo hikes so be careful and always prepare.
1. Camping in Hawaii
Hawaiis landscape punctuated by Volcanoes and offering liquid fire glimpses! How much more unique can you get!
Although not usually thought of as a camping area, the Volcanoes National Park, is a great spot to pitch up. By the days take advantages of some easy hikes & trails and by night put your eyes to the sky and watch the lava light up the darkness majestically!
A real unique & bucket list camp site is the Namakanipaio Campground , three miles beyond Volcano House and 4000 feet above sea level, this is really is a one of kind, theatrical camping experience.
The Namakanipaio Campground is a rustic campsite featuring 10 one-room wooden cabins, nestled in the scenic landscape.
For full camping, you can rent a tent inside the Volcanoes National Park. Tour operators nearby offer full setup & take down, which is nice if your feeling lazy.
Overall Camping in Hawaii is a real historic and unique “Hot spot” fusing a colorful island with a thrilling outdoor experience.
Hawaii Campsites are expensive and can sell out fast, so book in advance for your best chances. Having said this, it’s definitely worth if your after a bucket list experience. Thats why it’s our Number one unique camping experience!
Check out this fantastic article! Incredible winter camping destinations
Also, check out the 16 Bucket list Dog Sledding retreats in the U.S.A!