National park attendance is skyrocketing as travelers enjoy the natural and historic wonders of the parks. However, with the increase in traffic comes difficulty in finding available campsites.
Therefore, we’ve collected information on seven of our favorite national park campgrounds. Check out these uber-popular national parks and their respective campgrounds, then get your reservations early!
What Are National Park Campgrounds?
Some national parks have campgrounds within their boundaries. These can be improved campgrounds with or without water or electric hookups, and some may have amenities like flush toilets and showers. Many parks also have backcountry campsites for hikers. These require registration but are often free to use, and most are unimproved so that you can make a campsite within the park’s range.
Many improved campgrounds allow RVs and tent campers, but most have length restrictions, so check with the national park before making reservations.
Most popular parks require online reservations to hold a campsite, but a few still have sites on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, there is usually a limit of no more than 14 days on a campsite during peak season.
Are National Park Campgrounds Good for Big RVs?
Campers with big RVs should look for campsites at private campgrounds outside of national parks because most park sites can’t handle rigs longer than 30 feet. Still, it is worth researching each park’s campground specifications, as many of the sites on our list can take RVs that are 40 feet long.
Do All National Parks Have Campgrounds?
Not all national parks have improved campgrounds. However, those that don’t usually have some backcountry camping available. Several national historical parks or sites may be preserving a building or monument. In that case, there is no land on which to camp.
It is easy to discover which National Park Service properties have campgrounds by looking at their websites. When you do this, you may also find direct links to campsite reservations.
Can You Camp Anywhere in a National Park?
The government strictly regulates the land inside a national park. Campers can only camp inside official campgrounds or register for backcountry camping when officials allow it.
Regulations protect the land, wildlife, and flora within the park and the views for visitors. It also helps keep utilities and camping amenities in a central location.
The 7 Best National Park Campgrounds in the USA
Most of the parks we’ve compiled are in high demand with visitors. Because many of their campgrounds require reservations, we all have a chance to secure a scenic campsite in some of the most impressive national parks.
1. Elkmont Campground (Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
Address: Elkmont Campground Road A, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Season Dates: March 11 through November 27
Sites Available: 200 tent and RV sites with no hookups available.
Price: $25 to $27 per night
About: One of ten official campgrounds within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Elkmont is an overnight campground with no day-use facilities. It has flush toilets and water fixtures, and campsites have fire rings. There is no cell service at the campground, but you will find a seasonal camp store on site.
2. Moraine Park Campground (Rocky Mountain National Park)
Address: US Highway 36, Estes Park, Colorado
Season Dates: May 27 through October 11
Sites Available: Tent and RV sites
Price: $30 per night
About: With 244 total sites, 101 for tents, Moraine Park Campground can handle many campers. There are no hookups, but flush toilets operate seasonally, and pit toilets are available year-round. RV sites can handle up to 40-foot-long rigs, and although there is no cell service in the area, there is a dump station and potable water available.
3. Watchman Campground (Zion National Park)
Address: 1 Zion Park Blvd, State Route 9, Springdale, Utah
Season Dates: Open year-round
Sites Available: Tent and RV campsites
Price: $20 to $30 per night
About: ref: Sitting next to Zion’s Visitor Center, Watchman Campground has 176 campsites, with 95 offering electrical hookups. The RV sites can handle rigs up to 40 feet long, and there are flush toilets but no showers. Cell service is in the park, and you’ll need reservations for all campsites.
4. Upper Pines Campground (Yosemite National Park)
Address: 9024 Southside Drive, Yosemite National Park, California
Season Dates: Year-round
Sites Available: Tent and RV sites
Price: $36 per night
About: ref: Reservations work through a lottery system, as Upper Pines is a popular destination. Every 235 campsite includes a picnic table, a fire pit, and a food storage locker. The campground has flush toilets and water but no electricity or sewer hookups. There is cell phone reception and a dump station on site, and the maximum RV requirement is 35 feet.
5. Mammoth Campground (Yellowstone National Park)
Address: North Entrance Road, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Season Dates: Year-round with seasonal options
Sites Available: Tent and RV sites
Price: $25 per night
About: ref: Mammoth Campground has 85 campsites with no hookups. There are flush toilets but no showers on site. Cell service is available, as are food storage lockers. The longest RV that can fit in a campsite at Mammoth is 40 feet, and you’ll need reservations. Mammoth Campground occasionally closes due to flooding, so check their website before making plans.
6. Signal Mountain Campground (Grand Teton National Park)
Address: 1 Inner Park Road, Moran, Wyoming
Season Dates: May 13 through October 16
Sites Available: Tent and RV with and without full hookups
Price: $45 to $89 per night
About: The 81 campsites at Signal Mountain are by reservation only, but they offer sites with and without full hookups. There are seasonal flush toilets and coin-operated showers with laundry facilities and a camp store on site. Cell phone signals are strong, and each campsite has a fire grate and a picnic table. RVs have a 30-foot limit.
7. Hoh Campground (Olympic National Park)
Address: 18113 Upper Hoh Road, Forks, Washington
Season Dates: June 6 through September 21
Sites Available: Tent and small RVs
Price: $24 per night
About: 72 campsites with no hookups sit throughout the Hoh Campground. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and food storage lockers are available near the restrooms. You can reserve the campsites, but they are also first-come, first-served.
Which National Park Campground Will You Choose?
We have given you a head start in acquiring a campsite at some of our country’s most enigmatic destinations. The hard part is choosing which park to visit. However, why not make reservations at all seven? As your trip begins, you may want to grab a campsite at several more national parks. After all, traveling to these treasures is a gift that all of us should embrace!
Which campground will you visit first?
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