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!

Photos

Rock Hopper

Rock Hopper

If your hound is the rugged mountaineering type, head to Acadia National Park on the craggy coast of Maine. Strung across a chain of islands, the oldest national park east of the Mississippi boasts nearly 150 miles of Fido-friendly trails and carriage roads. Rangy hikes yield sweeping views of the Gulf of Maine and scenic Bar Harbor. But watch out where the huskies go … leashed pets are welcome almost everywhere that is not a source of public drinking water.  960 1280

James Kaiser  

Cresting Canines

Cresting Canines

With over 300 miles of hiking trails soaring to an altitude of 12,000 feet, Rocky Mountain National Park is perhaps the country’s most stunning mountain region. Dogs are permitted, but you’ll have to shorten that leash. To protect both pets and native wildlife, Rover can’t roam the backcountry trails, but he is allowed anywhere vehicles are permitted. If park rules curb his enthusiasm, there are several nearby areas like Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Estes Park where he can stretch his paws. 960 1280

Paul Maynard  

Sweet Virginia

Sweet Virginia

When D.C.ers break out of the beltway, they head for the rolling hills of Shenandoah National Park. With 500 miles of hiking trails accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, it will take you a dog’s age to cover all the pet-friendly ground spread over 200,000 acres of parkland. Skyland and Big Meadows Lodges also each offer Pampered Pooch Package accommodations.   960 1280

  

The Road to Zion

The Road to Zion

It’s difficult to imagine anything more breathtaking than the rocky cathedrals and emerald pools of Utah’s Zion National Park, unless you happen to have four legs. Sadly, pets are forbidden on most hiking trails in Zion; however, you can throw Spot a bone and take him down the refreshing Pa’rus trail, a 3.5-mile walkway that skirts the Virgin River. Just make sure to leash up, lest Spot spook at the sight of a lounging mule deer.  960 1280

  

Above the Rim

Above the Rim

Nicknamed the “big ditch,” the Grand Canyon will certainly inspire your four-legged backhoe. While pets are not allowed into the canyon itself due to safety concerns, you and your furry digger can hike the perimeter, including the jaw dropping South Rim Trail. Always keep a firm grip on the leash; dogs have been known to leap before looking. If you want to hike the canyon depths, the park offers a boarding kennel. For pet-friendly lodging, try the Yavapai Lodge West.  960 1280

Dave Biagi  

World's Largest Dog Park

World's Largest Dog Park

Perhaps. While it’s designated a National Scenic Trail rather than a national park, the Appalachian Trail constitutes a 2,174-mile walk from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Northern Georgia. With the exception of three restricted areas, dogs are welcome the length of the trail. Only 40% of the route requires that dogs be leashed, but we recommend you always keep pets tethered in wilderness areas. Because bears.  960 1280

  

A Cautionary Tail

A Cautionary Tail

Because of their restrictive pet policies, we cannot recommend Arches National Park as a dog friendly destination, except for a fast photo op. While pets are allowed, or perhaps only tolerated in the campground, they must be leashed at all times and must not cause a ruckus. If you are visiting Arches, look into boarding options in nearby Moab. 960 1280

  

Bo Versus the Volcano

Bo Versus the Volcano

The iconic profile of Washington’s Mt. Rainier National Park has drawn visitors to the foot of the icy volcano long before it was declared a national park in 1899. Within the 236,381 acres of the park, pets are restricted to roads, parking lots and campgrounds. A great alternative: Dogs are welcome on all trails within the Crystal Mountain Trail system, which is a vigorous nine-mile loop sure to tucker out both two and four-legged friends. Leashed pets are permitted in the Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas, which share borders with North Cascades National Park. 960 1280

George Matthew Cole  

Border to Border (Collie)

Border to Border (Collie)

The one trail bordering Mt. Rainier that welcomes dogs is the Pacific Crest Trail. Accessed at the top of Chinook Pass on the park’s eastern edge near the historic Entrance Arch, the PCT stretches all the way down to Mexico. Bordering 7 national parks including Crater Lake National Park, Sequoia, Yosemite and Mt. Rainier, the PCT gives hikers the rare opportunity to camp out with furry friends.  960 1280

  

Way to Go, Ohio

Way to Go, Ohio

Just south of Cleveland, you’ll find the deep forests and tumbling hills of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The spacious Ohio preserve is decidedly pet friendly, welcoming dogs all throughout its 20,000-plus acres, including the 20-mile long Towpath Trail, which traces the route of the Ohio and Erie Canal. The only restrictions are that dogs are prohibited from buildings and trains, unless the conductor is Goofy.  960 1280

  

Go West, Young Cur

Go West, Young Cur

Yosemite is probably the most famous national park in the country, but its popularity among dogs is confined to the Wawona Meadow Loop, which is the only trail open to them. However, furheads are welcome on roads, sidewalks, bike paths and most campgrounds. When you’re ready to explore less dog-tolerant areas of the park, there is a kennel in Yosemite Valley that operates from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Insider scoop: The Wawona Meadow Loop, Chowchilla Mountain Road and Four Mile and Eleven Mile fire roads (but not the Four Mile Trail in Yosemite Valley) are dog friendly. At Hodgdon Meadow: Carlon Road from the trailhead to Hodgdon Meadow and on the Old Big Oak Flat Road from Hodgdon Meadow to Tuolumne Grove parking lot will also welcome your best friend.  960 1280

  

The Best of Friends

The Best of Friends

Kyle Rohrig and his dog Katana camp and hike together on a regular basis. They even wrote an inspirational book about their adventures called "Lost on the Applachian Trail." Don't worry, that's just a euphemism about finding yourself and Kyle did most of the typing.  960 1280

  

Arcadia National Park

Arcadia National Park

We asked about your favorite national parks, and Travel Channel Facebook fans responded. First up: Arcadia National Park in Maine where you can be one of the first people in the US to see the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain. 960 1280

EJ-J, Getty Images  

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park in South Dakota is partly managed by the Oglala Lokata tribe and includes 'Red Shirt Table,' the park's highest point at 3,340 feet. 960 1280

Andrew Nay / EyeEm, Getty Images  

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park in Utah is known for canyons, wildlife, rivers and natural arches like the one pictured here. 960 1280

JOHN ELK III, , Getty Images  

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Rim Trail's elevation varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet leading to Sunset Point in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. 960 1280

Ethan Miller, Getty Images  

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

Carved by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon in Arizona was one of the first national parks in the United States. 960 1280

Marka, Getty Images  

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

View from Clingman's Dome, the highest peak in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. Despite being at 6,643 feet, it offers a relatively easy, paved path to the observation tower. 960 1280

Darrell Young, Greenstock, iStock  

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Sunrise view of Long's Peak from Trail Ridge Road, which runs through the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. 960 1280

Jeff Goulden, iStock  

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Wild Goose Island in Saint Mary Lake, the second-largest lake in Glacier National Park, Montana. The park ranges from prairie to tundra, but only 25 active glaciers remain of the estimated 150 that existed in the mid-19th century. 960 1280

jam4travel, iStock  

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

The second runner-up? Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Valley makes up only 1% of the park area, but this is where most visitors arrive and stay. 960 1280

Gary C Tognoni, iStock  

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Known for its wildlife and geysers such as Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park was the fan favorite by far. Here the Great Fountain Geyser erupts on a perfect, sunny day. 960 1280

ziggymaj, iStock  

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

California or Tatooine? The desert landscape and stunning sand dunes of Death Valley National Monument ”— and its proximity to Los Angeles —have made it a popular location for movie shoots. In "Star Wars," Death Valley is the stand-in for many scenes on the fictional planet Tatooine. Parts of "Return of the Jedi," "Kill Bill: Vol. 2" and many other classic movies including "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," "The Greatest Story Ever Told," "King Solomon'€™s Mines," "Spartacus" and "Tarzan" were also shot in Death Valley. 960 1280

iStockPhoto.com/Ronoster  

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

In the opening sequence of the third "Indiana Jones" movie, a troop of Boy Scouts hikes under the Double Arch of Utah's Arches National Park. You'™ll see the same arch — and others -— in 2003'™s "The Incredible Hulk." Parts of "City Slickers" and "Thelma and Louise" were also shot in Arches. 960 1280

Kylie Pearse  

Redwoods National Park

Redwoods National Park

A spaceship lands in a forested area near a typical suburb, a set-up that brings us the adorable alien from "E.T." That forest is none other than Redwoods National Park. Also, further down California'™s coast, the redwoods of Muir Woods stand in as Endor, the home of the Ewoks in "Return of the Jedi." 960 1280

iStockPhoto.com/Michael Fitzsimmons  

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Kevin Costner rides across a stunning backdrop of prairies, badlands and buttes in the 1990 Oscar winner "Dances with Wolves." Parts of "Armageddon" and "How the West Was Won" were also shot in the Badlands. 960 1280

iStockPhoto.com/lightpix  

Denali National Park

Denali National Park

In "Into the Wild," a young man on a journey to find himself through nature winds up camping out in an abandoned bus in Alaska's Denali National Park. The wild landscape, flora and fauna are practically characters in this film, based on a true story. 960 1280

  

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Like "Into the Wild," the movie "Wild" is also based on the true story of a young person finding herself through a solo trek in the wilderness. Shot almost entirely on location on the Pacific Crest Trail in California and Oregon, a scene near the end of the film takes the main character through a moment of reflection at Crater Lake. 960 1280

  

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument

Is there any more iconic natural formation in the movies than Devils Tower, the center of alien activity in 1977's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"? The Wyoming location, America'™s first landmark designated a national monument, manages to evoke earthiness and otherworldliness at once. 960 1280

iStockPhoto.com/fstockfoto  

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Apparently, no landscape says rugged individualism more timelessly than Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. "Django Unchained," "Brokeback Mountain," "Shane" and "Rocky IV" all include scenes shot in the Tetons. 960 1280

iStockPhoto.com/dmathies  

Coconino National Forest

Coconino National Forest

"The Revenant," which is supposed to take place in South Dakota in the 1800s, was mostly shot in Canada, however, a need for a snowy mountain range brought the crew to the San Francisco Peaks, a volcanic mountain range that, while not a national park, is part of Cococino National Forest in Arizona, south of Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim. 960 1280

iStockPhoto.com/Jeff Goulden  

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

At the end of 2014's Oscar-nominated movie "Boyhood," famously shot over 12 years, the boy of the title, now a young man, is seen hiking a canyon at Big Bend. The Texas national park also represents in "Paris, Texas" and "No Country for Old Men." 960 1280

iStockPhoto.com/David Hughes  

Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest

The dystopian world of "The Hunger Games" is divided into districts, with distinct physical and natural characteristics. District 12, home to Katniss Everdeen, is a mining region surrounded by woods and rivers, shot in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest just east of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. "The Last of the Mohicans" was also shot in Pisgah. 960 1280

iStockPhoto.com/bluehorizonphotos  

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