What is your idea of “roughing it?” It always makes for an amazing trip to load up the camping gear up for a little sleeping under the stars. The last week in June is designated as National Campout Week, but camping is a great activity just about any time of the year. If you’re thinking about camping at Yosemite, Yellowstone or Grand Canyon National Parks just know that they can get extremely crowded over the summer. To get a true camping experience you might want to travel off the beaten trail at these wonderful campgrounds:
Acadia National Park, Maine
For some incredible pine tree action, you’ll want to head up north to the Pine Tree State. That would be Maine. Maine has 17 million acres of forest, 6,000 lakes and ponds and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams. If you can’t find a place to camp here, then you’re not really looking. Acadia National Park has two official designated camp areas: Blackwoods and Seawall. The first is closer to Bar Harbor, which is nice to nip into for forgotten supplies. The later is a big more rustic. Bears and coyotes? Yes, indeed and also the occasional moose. Be prepared.
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland
This is a barrier island on the Atlantic coast between Maryland and Virginia. Here you can do some super beach camping among a community of wild horses. Every year, those horses are round up and brought to the mainland. Stay away from that event… too crowded. Pick a time in early summer and you could have a stretch a beach all to yourself and the horses. As an added bonus, you’re not that far from Ocean City, Maryland. Terrific fun for the whole family.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Have you ever caught yourself saying, “Gee I wish I could camp out in a rainforest but I don’t want to travel to the Amazon?” You’re in luck. Olympic National Park is home to three distinct ecosystems including a rainforest. That would be the Quinault Rainforest that you can drive along the 30-mile looping route. Better yet, get out and hike. However, you might want to pitch your tent at Ruby Beach or La Push. In either spot, you can glaciers and the occasional migrating whale. How’s that for a campsite?
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Remember the movie where James Franco had to cut off his arm because it got stuck in a rock? That didn’t happen here, but there are a lot of beautiful rock formations at Badlands National Park. It also happens to be home to the country’s largest deposit of fossils. Who knows what you could dig up? Hazards to watch out for: sun, heat, rattlesnakes and venomous spiders… but it’s really fun!