Best National Park Camping Sites in America

Embrace nature, and sleep under the stars in one of the country's great national parks. Whether you're looking for beach, backcountry, RV, forest or isolated camping spots, we've got something for everyone!

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Deer are among the many animals you can spot in Washington's Olympic National Park. 960 1280

  

Owls may also give you a long look in Olympic National Park. 960 1280

  

Bighorn sheep are among the largest animals in Montana's Glacier National Park. 960 1280

  

Watch out! In Florida's Everglades National Park, the crocodiles have big mouths. 960 1280

  

For elk-watching, you can't go wrong at Glacier, Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Park. 960 1280

  

There are many places to see moose. Try Yellowstone, Katmai, King Salmon, Grand Teton, Isle Royale or Denali National Park 960 1280

  

Golden Eagles soar at Olympic National Park. 960 1280

  

Go north to Glacier Bay or Katmai National Park in Alaska for a sea otter fix. 960 1280

  

Grizzly bears and their cubs hang out in Denali, Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks. 960 1280

  

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are the places to go for bison-watching. 960 1280

  

Caribou roam at Katmai and Denali National Parks. 960 1280

  

Photos

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

It's not likely you'll plan a spur-of-the-moment trip to the Gates of the Arctic National Park: It requires serious planning to venture into this wild Alaskan spot above the Arctic Circle. 960 1280

By National Park Service, Alaska Region (Remote river in Gates of the Arctic) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

The remote park is accessible by bush plane, air taxi and, for the truly hardcore, on foot. Hikers may approach the park from Dalton Highway, but there are multiple river crossings along the way and no trails. 960 1280
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve

Once in the park, visitors are rewarded with sweeping valleys and rugged mountains, the tallest rising 8,510 feet at Mount Igikpak at the headwaters of the Noatak River. 960 1280

By National Park Service, Alaska Region (Noatak River) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

Washington state has its share of glaciers with more than 300 mountain glaciers in North Cascades National Park. Get your bearings at any of the park's 6 visitor or service centers where maps and exhibit rooms can help you plan excursions.  960 1280

By Walter Siegmund (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

The Ross Lake National Recreation Area is a popular starting point for the 400 miles of trails that meander through the valleys and cut through the mountains with switchbacks and rocky terrain. 960 1280
North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

The mountains are dotted with the glaciers as well as more than 127 alpine lakes and cascading waterfalls. The most popular waterfalls can be found at Gorge Falls along State Route 20 in between Newhalem and Diablo and Rainbow Falls in Stehekin Valley. 960 1280
Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park is a diverse spot with quiet deserts, caves and dense forests filled with 5,000-year-old bristlecone pines. It's remarkable that this is one of the least-visited national parks, often dismissed as a wasteland. 960 1280
Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park

Go underground at Lehman Caves, an ornate marble cave filled with stalactites, stalagmites and over 300 rare shield formations. 960 1280
Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park

Stargazers will delight in the view from Great Basin, one of the darkest spots in the country after the sun goes down. You'll want to spend the night so you can marvel at the Milky Way and constellations in the deep night sky, a rare treat as light pollution blocks the view from many cities around the country. 960 1280
Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

The state of Florida gets hordes of visitors each year, but somehow Dry Tortugas plays host to only a small fraction of them. This cluster of 7 islands is just 70 miles west of Key West, but its quiet island pace sets it apart from its nearest neighbors. 960 1280

By Joe Parks from Berkeley, CA (Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

The waters around the islands are filled with coral reefs teeming with interesting marine life that are perfect for a snorkeling trip.  960 1280
Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park

Scuba divers explore the Windjammer Wreck, a complete wreck site featuring an impressive sailing ship that sank in 1907. Back on the beach, sea turtles build nests in the sand where they lay their eggs along these protected sandy shores. 960 1280
Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park

Michigan's remote Isle Royale National Park is accessible only by boat or seaplane, so leave your car behind, and set sail from Houghton or Cooper Harbor in Michigan or Grand Portage in Minnesota. 960 1280
Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park

Once there, get ready for a day of backcountry hiking or navigating the lakes, bays and islands in a kayak or canoe. If you're not an experienced paddler, avoid the frigid water and possible squalls on a guided boat tour. 960 1280
Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park

To extend your trip, spend the night at the Rock Harbor Lodge, found in the island's northeast corner, with simple rooms and cottages overlooking the lake. 960 1280
Independence Hall

Independence Hall

Visit the Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where George Washington was appointed command in chief of the Continental Army in 1775; the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776; the design of the American Flag was agreed upon in 1776; and the US Constitution was drafted in 1787. 960 1280

techfun, Flickr  

Liberty Bell

Liberty Bell

Take a tour to see the 2,080-pound Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. A group of abolitionists adopted the Bible verse inscription and the Bell as a symbol of their cause to abolish slavery -- the first to call it the “Liberty Bell.” Built in London, England, the Bell was retired -- 2 cracks later -- after the final fatal crack during George Washington’s birthday celebration in 1846. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

American author Edgar Allan Poe lived in several houses while living in Philadelphia from 1837 to 1844, but this is the only one that remains standing. National Park Rangers provide a 30-45 minute guided tour or you can tour the residence on your own and see the author’s rare books and letters, and discover how Poe influence other authors, including Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. 960 1280

Midnightdreary, Wikimedia Commons  

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site

National Park Rangers provide a 30-45 minute guided tour of the Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site or you can tour the residence on your own. See the author’s rare books and letters, and discover how Poe influenced other authors, including Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. 960 1280

RTLibrary, Flickr  

Hopewell Furnace

Hopewell Furnace

Passing through Elverson, PA? Then make a stop at the Hopewell Furnace National Historical Site, a 19th century rural iron plantation, which includes a blast furnace, ironmaster’s house, blacksmith’s shop, company store and several worker’s houses. Ironmaster Mark Bird founded Hopewell Furnace in 1771. A shift in iron-making techniques changed causing the site to halt its operations in 1883. 960 1280

Sdwelch1031, Wikimedia Commons  

Valley Forge

Valley Forge

Travel to Valley Forge, PA. See the military camp of the American Continental Army from 1777 to 1778, during the American Revolutionary War. Explore the Park’s trails Washington Memorial Chapel, National Memorial Arch and Isaac Potts’ house, General George Washington’s Headquarters (pictured) in the winter of 1777. 960 1280

  

Valley Forge Railroad Station

Valley Forge Railroad Station

The Valley Forge Train Station is also part of the National Park Site. The Reading Railroad completed the station in 1911. It was the point of entry into the park for travelers who came by rail through the 1950s, from Philadelphia. The station overlooks the site of Washington’s Headquarters. 960 1280

Doris Rapp, Flickr  

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church in South Philadelphia is the oldest church in Pennsylvania, and among the oldest in the US. The church, built between 1698 and 1700 for Swedish settlers, was initially a Swedish Lutheran Church for almost 150 years before it became part of the Episcopal Church in 1845. 960 1280

B. Krist for GPTMC  

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church

Gloria Dei Episcopal Church

Nils Collin, a Swedish pastor who served Gloria Dei from 1784 to 1831, was a close friend of Benjamin Franklin. In fact, the remains of an early lightening rod -- visible on the church’s exterior -- are the result of their relationship. Collin remained neutral in the Revolutionary War. Rumor has it that his extensive writings about the King of Sweden are buried under the floor of the church. 960 1280

B. Krist for GPTMCS  

Thaddeus Kosciusko National Memorial

Thaddeus Kosciusko National Memorial

Explore the life of Thaddeus Kosciuszko at this National Park Site. The Polish freedom fighter was instrumental in engineering military structures and forts to hold off British troops during the American Revolution. History buffs can visit his preserved home on 301 Pine Street in Philly to see where he met infamous visitors, including Thomas Jefferson and Chief Little Turtle. 960 1280

Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC  

Deshler-Morris House

Deshler-Morris House

The Germantown White House aka the Deshler-Morris House is the oldest official presidential residence. The historic mansion, located in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, was shelter for US President George Washington when the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 struck the city. The following year, President Washington and his family returned to the house for a summer vacation. The house takes its name from the first owner, David Deshler, and the last owner, Elliston P. Morris. 960 1280

Historic Germantown, Flickr  

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

Ellis Island was the gateway for more than 12 million immigrants to enter into the US between 1892 and 1954. Although most of the island is in New Jersey, the island is located in New York Harbor. Tourists and history buffs alike can visit the historic island and museum to hear inspiring stories and view photo collections about the people who passed through what was once the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Fire Island Seashore

Fire Island Seashore

Fire Island -- a barrier island located on the south shore of Long Island, NY -- is a popular tourist destination during the summer, but it’s also a great place to visit during its off-peak season. Visit the Fire Island Lighthouse, explore the island’s wildlife, take a stroll through Sunken Forest, go camping at Watch Hill or go fishing on the pier at Barrett Beach. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

African Burial Ground National Monument

African Burial Ground National Monument

The African Burial Ground National Monument is where the remains of more than 400 Africans were buried in the late 17th and 18th centuries. It is part of what was once the largest colonial-era cemetery for free and enslaved Africans. The burial ground, located in Manhattan, was rediscovered in 1991 after plans were underway to build a Federal office building in the same area. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill

Sagamore Hill is the home of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. Roosevelt lived at his “Summer White House” from 1885 until his death in 1919. Although the home is closed for renovations, the park grounds are open. 960 1280

David Smith, Flickr  

Castle Clinton

Castle Clinton

The history of New York City began here at Castle Clinton -- initially built to prevent a British invasion in 1812. The circular sandstone fort is located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island. It is best remembered as America’s first immigration station where more than 8 million people arrived in the US, from 1855 to 1890. Before becoming a national monument, the castle served as beer garden, exhibition hall, theater and public aquarium. 960 1280

Jazz Guy, Flickr  

Grant National Monument

Grant National Monument

The Grant National Monument is the final resting place of President Ulysses Simpson Grant and his wife, Julia. The largest mausoleum in North America commemorates the life of the man who ended the bloodiest war in American history as Commanding General of the Union Army and then, as the 18th President of the United States. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Federal Hall National Memorial

Federal Hall National Memorial

Take a trip back in history to see where George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States. The Federal Hall National Memorial is the birthplace of American government -- home to the first Congress, Supreme Court and Executive Branch offices. The building now serves as a museum to President Washington and the beginnings of the United States of America. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace

Take a guided tour through the recreated birthplace and home of US President Theodore Roosevelt, the only US President born in New York City. From 1858 to 1872, the brownstone -- located at 28 East 20th Street in Manhattan -- was home to Roosevelt and his family. After the neighborhood became more commercial, the Roosevelts moved uptown to West 57th Street. The house was opened and restored as a museum in 1923. 960 1280

Wally Gobetz, Flickr  

Hamilton Grange National Memorial

Hamilton Grange National Memorial

Visit the Harlem home of one of America’s founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of Treasury. The home was named “The Grange” after Hamilton’s grandfather’s estate in Scotland.it was the only home ever owned by the American politician and it remained in the family 30 years after his death. Insider Tip: We suggest taking the ranger-guided tour which allows tourists access to the historically furnished floor. 960 1280

Jim.Henderson, Wikimedia Commons  

Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area

Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area

Explore the beautiful Hudson River Valley. This national park site stretches from New York City to Albany. Uncover the history of the American Revolutionary War, visit scenic parks and gardens and see the world’s largest kaleidoscope at Mount Tremper. Through the Hudson Valley there are dozens of tourist attractions, including the Neuberger Museum of Art, Donald Kendall Sculpture Garden, Stony Point Battlefield and Playland Amusement Park. 960 1280

EJP Photo, Flickr  

Governors Island National Monument

Governors Island National Monument

Explore the history of Governors Island as it evolved from a colonial outpost to regional administrative center for the US Army and Coast Guard. Visit Castle Williams, the sandstone fort that has stood watch over New York City for over 200 years. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Saint Paul's Church

Saint Paul's Church

Saint Paul’s Church, located in Mount Vernon, NY, is an 18th-century that was used as a Revolutionary War hospital, a historic cemetery with headstones dating to 1704 and remnant of a Village Green that was the site of the Election of 1733, which raised issues of freedom of religion and press. Aside from its historic past, the church apparently has ghosts that still lurk through the halls. Visitors have heard what sound like heavy chains being dragged across the basement floor. 960 1280

Anthony22, Wikimedia Commons  

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Take a trip with the family out to Liberty Island to the iconic national treasure, the Statue of Liberty. Given as a gift from France to the US, the statue represents a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and designated as a national monument in 1924. We suggest tourists make their way up to the crown of Lady Liberty to get the best view of NYC and its beautiful skyline. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

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