photo: Big Bend National Park, TX

105 years young and perpetually amazing – our National Parks system is a great jumping off point to get outdoors and discover new places. From National Park devotees to new explorers of the 63 National Parks in the US, campers are drawn to experience the beauty, wildlife and culture of the Parks system.

The Dyrt helps you plan a roadtrip and find camping inside or adjacent to national parks –  for the best outdoor experiences and launching new family traditions.

In this guide to national park camping, we’ll explore:

  • Planning Your National Park Camping Trip
  • Reservations and Reviews
  • 7 Top-Reviewed Camping Opportunities in or Near National Parks
  • Tips and Resources

Planning Your National Park Camping Trip

Some campers say that planning a roadtrip is just as much fun as the actual journey. That’s why PRO Trip Planner was added as an upgraded experience on The Dyrt. Choose your route, camping style, driving preferences, and find the best campgrounds along your route.

Here’s a sample camp trip I made, to visit two parks from Denver:

 

Give PRO Trip Planner a spin >

 

 

Reservations and Reviews

Many National Park camping areas are first come, first served. Sites that accept reservations are typically managed via https://www.recreation.gov/

Campers regularly provides updates on The Dyrt from the field, so you’ll have website links, phone numbers, email contact info and detailed campsite reviews, photos and videos to help score the best camping at the parks.

Here are a few examples of practical tips from campers on The Dyrt:

Fairholme Campground – Olympic National Park

Lake Crescent – By far my favorite campsite I’ve been to in WA…we chose a walk in spot right on the water and WOW!! More reviews

The campground sits on the side of a hill, so if you’re in an RV, van, or tent trailer, bring your levelers. More reviews

 

FR117 Dispersed – Dixie National Forest (~ 15 miles outside of Bryce Canyon National Park)

Best dispersed camping. There is a gas station (connected to a paid campground) with bathrooms, showers ($4), and supplies about 2 miles up route 12 towards Bryce from the campsites. More reviews

 

Cosby Campground – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

No Electric, No Cell Service, and No Showers! What a good feeling to be totally disconnected.More reviews

Plenty of trailheads to discover that have creeks and views very close (perfect for kids).More reviews

 

 

7 Top-Reviewed Camping Opportunities in or Near National Parks

1) Acadia National Park – Blackwoods Campground

photo by The Dyrt camper Jennifer D.

Campers liked:

“Gorgeous, spacious campground…we were able to access the Cadillac South Ridge Trail directly from the campground, and although we didn’t take the Acadia shuttle buses, they also stop at the campground.” Learn More >

 

2) Grand Canyon National Park – Saddle Mountain Dispersed Camping

photo by The Dyrt PRO camper Matt D.

Campers liked:

“Excellent views. If you want the step out tent/van view, get there early. We camped there in mid June and it was still 39 degrees that night with a nice breeze. Stunning sunset and sunrise.” Learn More >

 

3) Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Cades Cove Campground

photo by The Dyrt PRO camper Katrin M.

Campers liked:

“Cades Coves Loop was awesome. So much history, trails, and creeks to play in. We even saw a momma bear and her cub on the way down the mountain.” Learn More >

 

4) Joshua Tree National Park – Jumbo Rocks Campground

photo by The Dyrt PRO camper Chad M.

Campers liked:

“Dynamic, interactive environment: This is a playground for adults and kids alike. Climb on the rocks, hike through the drainages, and explore to your hearts content.” Learn More >

 

5) Yellowstone National Park – Mammoth Campground

photo by The Dyrt camper Zach H.

Campers liked:

“Perfect for anyone who wants a guaranteed experience with wild life. There is a large herd of elk that bed in the middle of the camp and it is absolutely breathtaking.” Learn More >

 

6) Everglades National Park – Flamingo Campground

photo by The Dyrt PRO camper Deborah C.

Campers liked:

“Eco tent glamping! Nice array of overnight options: tent camping, new canvas eco tents with electricity, camper sites and even 6-person houseboats to rent (next time!)…saw manatee, osprey and crocodile.” Learn More >

 

7) Denali National Park – Wonder Lake Campground

photo by The Dyrt PRO camper Lazy C.

Campers liked:

“Million dollar views… you simply have to go experience it yourself. Humbling to say the least. Excellent drinking water and, surprisingly, flush toilets. Two shelters for cooking.” Learn More >

 

Camping Tips & Resources

Ready to go National Park Camping this summer or fall? I know I am. Here are a few additional tips and links to help get you out there – with some articles dedicated to specific regions:

Find free camping on National Parks, Bureau of Land Management, and National Forest land. (note: NPS back country camping is possible, but please obtain a permit first).  Learn more >

15 Best Canyonlands Camping Opportunities. Learn More >

Go RV camping in Pinnacles National Park. Learn More >

The ten best national parks for kids. Learn More >

Reserve your next camping adventure in a National Park. Learn More >

 

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