The Dyrt’s 2022 Camping Report found that it is 3x harder to book a campground now than in pre-pandemic years. While over 8 million new people joined the camping community last year, the capacity of popular National Parks hasn’t increased much, making finding a campsite harder than ever – especially on busy holiday weekends like Labor Day.

Don’t cancel your long-weekend camping trip just because the park you were going to visit is fully booked! Consider the alternative of booking a private campground near the park instead. We’ve made a list of some great private alternatives to often-fully-booked National Parks:

Salt Pond Perfection by Lakeisha A.

Acadia National Park

Planning a long-weekend getaway to the rocky beaches of Acadia National Park? Don’t panic if there aren’t any reservations left in the Park. Salt Pond Perfection has you covered. This campground is located right on the Atlantic ocean and has no shortage of natural beauty. Take a kayak out on the private tidal cove or go fishing to catch your dinner! This campground is just 45-minutes from Acadia National Park, but once you get here you might not want to leave. 


Yosemite National Park

Listen up, animal lovers! Not only is Shooting Star Sanctuary and Retreat the ultimate base camp to Yosemite, it’s also home to over 100 puppies, goats, sheep, chickens, ducks, mini-pigs and kittens! When you’re done hanging out with your new furry friends, there are 100-acres of ranch offering plenty of hiking and biking trails. Camper Hannah P. said in her review on The Dyrt, “This [campground] was by far the most amazing place we have stayed. We were blessed enough to hang out with all the animals including baby goats and kittens. [The host] was beyond kind and generous and had a full kitchen set up outside just for campers!”


Big Bend National Park

The battle for booking a campsite at Big Bend’s Chisos Basin campground can be a hard one to win. However, stunning views of the Chihuahuan Desert and stargazing free of light-pollution can be found outside the Park at Eco Ranch Sustainable Living Educational Center. Eco Ranch offers both tent sites and RV sites as well as amenities like a kitchen facility and bathhouse. Only 25 miles from the entrance of Big Bend National Park and surrounded by mountain views on all sides, this campground is sure to impress. 


Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Wanting to go leaf-peeping in the Smoky Mountains now that fall is fast approaching? You’re not alone! If you find that Great Smoky Mountain National Park is fresh out of campground reservations, Simple Life Campground is a more-than-ideal alternative. With 13 tree-house cabins, a 6-person bunk house, 2 RV sites and 6 tent sites, this campground has something for every type of camper. Enjoy the iconic east-coast fall foliage right from camp or head up to one of the most visited National Parks in America, Great Smoky Mountains. 


Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is one of America’s most popular National Parks, which means it can be hard to snag a coveted campsite reservation. With just a 35-minute drive to West Yellowstone and private river access right from camp, Madison River Campground is a great option whether you’re in a tent or RV. This property offers excellent fly fishing as well as many of the same amenities you would enjoy at National Parks, including showers, laundry facilities, great views and more. 


Grand Canyon National Park

There is perhaps no more iconic National Park than The Grand Canyon. 5.9 million people visit The Grand Canyon each year, so, as you can imagine, being one of the lucky few to reserve a campsite can be difficult. Gopher It Acres is just 24 miles from the South Rim of The Grand Canyon and offers two separate off-grid campsites. You can enjoy mountain views and world-class stargazing right from your private campsite. There is a bathhouse onsite with hot showers and biodegradable natural personal products for your use

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