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7 Places to See UFOs When Camping

The world is full of mysteries, some of which are in the skies. We call them unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Maybe these UFOs have a rational explanation, or perhaps they indeed are from out of this world.

There are a few so-called hotspots around the United States where you can do some investigating on your own.

These are places where you might just be more likely to have some kind of close encounter. Are you ready for the lowdown on where to try and get to the truth behind UFOs?  

Let’s go!

Where Do UFO Sightings Happen Most Often?

Reports of unexplained aerial phenomena go back hundreds of years, and they may be on the rise. The National UFO Reporting Center has fielded more than 150,000 reports since 1974.

The eyewitness accounts vary widely. They don’t all involve alien abductions or wrinkled gray figures zipping around in flying saucers. Some stories are of strange shapes moving oddly in the sky or quick flashes of intensely colorful lights.

Many of the alleged sightings do have a common thread – dark skies. Most sightings of UFOs occur in rural areas with very little light pollution.

Crashed UFO display
Alien lovers will love UFO spotting while camping.

7 Places With the Best Chance Of Seeing A UFO

To see a UFO, you have to be in the right place at the right time. There’s no single “ground zero,” but a handful of communities have baffling stories to reveal. Some play up their notoriety with museum exhibits and special events that draw enthusiasts.

1. Sedona, Ariz. 

When the clear desert skies turn dark, adventure seekers turn to night-vision goggles to help them observe Sedona’s mysteries. Many visitors claim that Sedona has strange and inexplicable energy vortexes. Some believe that a place called Bradshaw Ranch is the location of some kind of portal to another dimension. 

There have been many sightings of UFOs and mysterious orbs of light here. The weirder legends involve Bigfoot-like creatures and even modern-day dinosaurs prowling the grounds. True or not, Sedona is a popular destination for paranormal researchers.

Camping Spots

Sedona is just 30 miles south of Flagstaff. Here are two camping options for taking in the famous red rocks scenery and scanning the skies for atypical activity.

Chavez Crossing Campground

This U.S. Forest Service campground offers group camping near the creek in sycamore groves and cypress trees. The campground can accommodate travel trailers and smaller motorhomes. Amenities are basic: drinking water, vault toilets, and picnic tables.

Camp Avalon

For a more immersive experience, Camp Avalon is a spiritual nature retreat five miles outside Sedona. Located along Oak Creek, the camp offers communal camping and yoga, tai chi, meditation, and worship services. The primitive sites are for tents or RVs.

2. Roswell, N.M.

With a history that goes back to July 7, 1947, it’s still probably the most famous UFO site of all. The hubbub started when a rancher named Mac Brazel reported the crash of a strange object on his land. At first, the Air Force confirmed it was a “flying disc,” but quickly backtracked and called it a weather balloon.

Later, some Roswell residents claimed they saw alien bodies being removed from the crash scene. Today, the incident is a unique calling card for Roswell. The city has a popular museum, an annual festival, and even a McDonald’s shaped like a spacecraft.

Pro Tip: While in Roswell you must stop at This Extraterrestrial McDonald’s.

Camping Spots

Roswell has a population of around 47,000, but in some ways, it seems much smaller. Once you get outside of town a bit, there’s hardly anything to distract you from the night skies.

Red Barn RV Park

Less than three miles from the museum, this iconic red barn doubles as a community space. You can relax in a rocking chair on the porch or watch TV inside. There are 14 spacious sites, most of them shaded, with full hookups. Extras include a dog run, WiFi, and cable TV.

Bottomless Lakes State Park

A longer drive (about 13 miles) out U.S. Route 380 takes you to a beautifully rustic state park. The “bottomless lakes” are actually sinkholes, and the deepest one is around 90 feet. There are 32 campsites, some with full hookups and some with just water and electricity. There is also a dump station.

3. Placerville, Calif.

The allure of gold brought prospectors to California nearly a century ago, and maybe aliens and their UFOs are drawn to it, too. That’s one explanation for what may be strange activity in the skies over this community east of Sacramento.

Back in the day, Placerville was a productive mining site during the Gold Rush. Today it’s also known for wine production – and as a place where you might see unusual sights overhead. Some reports refer to them as sudden bright lights or a fireball vanishing into thin air.

Camping Spots

The incredible landscape around Placerville includes mountains, forests, and lakes. While searching the skies, you may also spot a few bald eagles.

Finnon Lake Recreation Area

This private campground, owned by the volunteer fire department, has 10 sites in a gorgeous lakeside setting. Each dry camping site has a picnic table and fire ring and can accommodate rigs up to about 25 feet. There’s a small beach on a lake stocked with bass, trout, and bream. There are bathrooms, too, and a restaurant nearby.

Sly Park Campground

Owned by a utility company, this campground has 191 sites along a lake. Amenities are limited to water, vault toilets, fire rings, and tables, but a dump station is on the premises. Hiking around the lake is an eight-and-a-half-mile trip, with a waterfall about three miles in from the trailhead. The terrain here is hilly, so not all sites are level.

4. Stephenville, Texas

Until 2008, this city in north Texas outside Fort Worth was mostly known for its cowboy culture.  A strange sighting, reported by dozens of people, gave the city a different identity. Astounded gawkers reported a huge aircraft slowly hovering over Stephenville before racing away in the blink of an eye. One man, a pilot, described it as being “bigger than a Wal-Mart.”

Camping Spots

That cowboy lifestyle lives on in these two quiet, friendly places on the outskirts of town. Both are clean, well-maintained, and dog-friendly.

Lonesome Dove RV Park & Campground

Lonesome Dove has 28 spacious and level sites with full hookups in a relaxed ranch setting. There are shade trees on the grounds, and the pull-through sites and drives have a gravel (caliche) surface. They also have a 5,000-foot dog park and offer horse boarding nearby.

The Getaway Campground

Located near U.S. Route 281, The Getaway has 10 sites in a pleasant, peaceful setting. Like Lonesome Dove, it has a homey feel and is close to town. There are full hookups, and it can accommodate big rigs. There are no restrooms, but there is a laundry room.

5. Mount Rainier, Wash.

Two weeks before the infamous incident in Roswell, a pilot named Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine UFOs flying erratically in a diagonal pattern.

This was on June 24, 1947, and his account was the first to use the phrase “flying saucer.” Arnold was a highly experienced pilot, and he stood steadfastly by his detailed account until he died in 1984. But even if he was somehow mistaken, this area southeast of Seattle has a unique claim as a birthplace of sorts. 

Camping Spots

The high elevation here puts you closer to the stars and other celestial bodies, if not extraterrestrials. Here are two sweet places to land.

Cougar Rock Campground

This national park campground with five campsites is a popular observation area for Mount Rainier, which rises to 14,411 feet. The campground is amid an old-growth forest on the Nisqually River. It has drinking water, picnic tables, and flush toilets. There are 193 sites here with asphalt pads.

White River Campground

This is first-come, first-served dispersed camping near Sunrise, on the park’s eastern side. The area is a steep canyon about six miles east of State Route 410. You may be able to score a secluded spot within earshot of the rushing river. Cell service is limited in this beautiful area.

6. McMinnville, Ore.

There are a few photos of UFOs that are considered iconic, and some of them are from McMinnville. A farmer named Paul Trent snapped a few shots from his yard in 1950. The local newspaper published them, and LIFE magazine soon followed suit, giving them much wider exposure. Trent caught the silhouette of an object that he and his wife, Evelyn, described as a silver and bronze disc. Their hometown welcomes visitors to its UFO Fest each May.

Camping Spots

We can see why aliens – or anyone else – would want to visit the lush Willamette Valley outside Portland. This is a great country area for riding horses and bikes. The scenic rivers mean terrific recreation opportunities, as well.

Flying M Ranch

On a historic stagecoach route, this family-owned horse ranch has 10 sites with power but no other hookups. The ranch also has three small rustic cabins for rent, large enough for two people. If you’d like to go on a trail ride, they can saddle you up for that, too.

Champoeg State Heritage Area

For more comforts, but still in a natural setting, this state park has 21 sites with full hook-ups and 54 with partial hook-ups. In addition, there are tent sites and cabins and yurts for rent. You’ll enjoy hot showers and flush toilets, and incredible access to the Willamette River.

7. Rachel, Nev.

This is the site of the infamous Area 51. More accurately, it’s about as close as you can get to it without possibly being booted out by military police. Rachel is a tiny desert town with a cottage industry surrounding the alleged goings-on at the highly secretive Air Force Base.

The actual Area 51 is off-limits to outsiders, of course. You can gather intelligence instead at the quirkily named bar called Little A’Le’Inn.

Pro Tip: Learn more about Where Is Area 51 and Is It Legal to Visit?

Camping Spots

This part of Nevada is also attractive to boondockers. If you know where to find them, there are many federal lands with free campsites. Here are two of them.

Upper Lake Campground

Does free camping on a lake sound good? There are 15 primitive sites here at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge available on a first-come, first-served basis. The sites can accommodate tents or RVs, but there are amenities other than vault toilets. Sites are level with dirt pads.

Dave Deacon Campground

These free campsites are close to Dacey Reservoir and inside a federal wildlife management area. They have fire rings, picnic tables, and vault toilets. There is a dump station on-site, and water is available. There are even stations where you can clean the fish you’ve caught. You can stay here for up to eight days.

Consider Having Your Own UFO Experience

You may never see UFOs, but maybe you’ll have a greater chance in a place that has a track record. Just keep your eyes open and trained on the mysterious skies. And it probably helps to have an open mind, as well. In your quest for the truth, you may not find any answers, but you can certainly have fun trying. 

One of the great things about traveling is meeting people who share your interests. There’s a strong possibility that by visiting any of these seven hotspots, you’ll run across others who have a fascination with UFOs. 

Have you ever seen a UFO? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

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