There's nothing like a night under the stars to restore the spirit. And the best campsites in the United States are in stunning and diverse landscapes, encompassing deserts, mountains, forests and coasts. Whether you drive an RV or pitch a tent, there's sure to be a great campsite for you in one — or all — of the following areas.
Adirondack Park, New York
The country's largest state-protected park also has some of the nation's best camping. With 6.1 million acres, Adirondack Park is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon national parks combined. It's centered on the Adirondack Mountains, including Mount Marcy (at 5,344 feet, the high point in New York), and flanked by several large lakes. It also has dozens of area campgrounds, including the Wilderness Campground at Heart Lake, with rustic cabins and lean-tos as well as campsites.
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Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming
Consisting of over 3 million acres in western Wyoming, Bridger-Teton National Forest is on the doorstep of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Its campgrounds offer plenty of peace and quiet as well as easy access to the national parks and their wonders. So, when you've had your fill of geysers and grizzlies and soaring peaks, you can be back at your out-of-the way campground in no time for a cookout and s'mores.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
There are few landscapes like that of Joshua Tree National Park, home to the distinctive tree — a member of the Agave family — that gives the park its name. This desert wonderland features a climate that's perfect for camping and hiking when other areas are knee-deep in snow. The best campsites here are in the thick of a Joshua tree forest, including Jumbo Rocks Campground.
Olympic National Park, Washington State
Take your pick at Olympic National Park: You can camp on a rugged coast, in view of majestic mountains or in one of the few rain forests in the U.S. Indeed, the best camping might just be at the year-round Hoh Campground, nestled in the lush, moss-covered rain forest of the same name. Here you'll have access to the Hoh River and a trail that runs all the way to the snowcapped peak of Mount Olympus.
Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
Padre Island National Seashore is on the world's longest undeveloped barrier island, and some of the country's best camping is on its 70-mile stretch of pristine beach. It doesn't get much more user-friendly: You can park your rig or pitch a tent nearly anywhere on the beach, or take your pick of a pair of developed campgrounds. Then it's just you and the sand and the sea and the sun. It's the perfect place to really and truly get away from it all.
See Also: AARP Online Community Group: Camping