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Best State Parks For Camping

Lake Havasu State Park Arizona

Our TOP 5 Favorite Florida State Parks for RV Camping

Arizona is a snowbirds haven between the boondocking near Quartzsite, luxurious RV resorts, and cheap state park camping such as Lake Havasu State Park on the Arizona-California border.

Lake Havasu State Park is open year-round on the Colorado River with a spacious RV campground and plenty of opportunities for water activities like boating, fishing, kayaking, and jet skiing.

The campground has spacious waterfront sites with 50-amp electric hookups and access to potable water, a dump station, and showers. Standard sites are $35 a night while beachfront sites are $40.

Lakeside campsite. Photo via RV LIFE Campgrounds user NJoy Travel

Hawaii: Kokee State Park

Kokee State Park offers tent camping and lodging with commanding views of the lush Kalalau Valley from 4,000 feet elevation. The state park offers access to hiking trails in a native rain forest and along the rim of Waimea Canyon trails from Kokee State Park lead into neighboring Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve and Puu Ka Pele Forest Reserve offering hikers amazing backcountry campsites.

Kansas: Deer Creek Valley Rv Park Topeka

Centrally located to shopping, restaurants, and Lake Shawnee just off Interstate 70, the Deer Creek Valley RV Park has entirely concrete sites with landscaping and trees on the grounds. Youll also find an in-ground pool open during the warmer months, a fenced pet play area, and a playground. There are also restrooms, showers, and a laundry, as well as LonnieQs BBQ restaurant just outside the park. Its pull-through sites with electric, sewer, water, Wi-Fi, and cable TV are $45 nightly.

via reserveamerica.com

Read Also: Shawnee National Forest Free Camping

Myakka River State Park Florida

Myakka River State Park can be found north of Fort Myers with wetlands and forests surrounding the Myakka River. The campgrounds make a perfect home base while you go kayaking on the river, hiking the parks trails, or exploring on one of their boat tours.

Collier-Seminole State Park. Photo via RV LIFE Campgrounds user KayakSmurf

The park has three campgrounds with 90 sites total, including Palmetto Ridge with full hookup gravel-based sites, and Old Prairie and Big Flats campgrounds with dirt-based sites. Camping fees are only $26 a night in addition to the reservation fee.

North Carolina: Grandfather Mountain State Park

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Grandfather Mountain State Park in western North Carolina features 12 miles of hiking trails from easy strolls to precarious cliff climbs and endurance treks over rugged peaks.

Must see: A visit to the park isn’t complete without a walk across Mile High Swinging Bridge. It’s one of America’s highest pedestrian suspension bridges at an elevation of 5,305 feet . The bridge offers 360-degree vistas of North Carolina’s backcountry.

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Emerald Bay Boat Camp Emerald Bay State Park California

With a desirable location just 12 miles north of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay State Park encompasses both an island, a 38-room mansion, and underwater shipwrecks. Campers will want to head to Emerald Bay Boat Camp , where you can dock your boat and camp on the picturesque lakefront. Just keep in mind sites book quickly, so you’ll want to go online and reserve your spot the recommended six months before your arrival.

Flint Ridge Backcountry Camp Redwood National Park

Picking the best campsite in a state like California can be next to impossible, with incredible biodiversity in every direction. One of my hidden favorites is Flint Ridge Backcountry Camp, a small spot in Redwood National Park just south of where the Klamath River pours into the Pacific. Head west from the eight wooded sites and a short but steep trail takes you to some of the best beachside bouldering in the countrythe north side of the beach is tribal land and off-limits to climbers. In the other direction, nearly ten miles of singletrack trails wind through towering old-growth redwoods. Backcountry camping is free with a permit from the National Park Service. Matt Skenazy, features editor

Read Also: Best Suv For Car Camping

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Ontonagon Mi

Sprawling across 60,000 acres, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is Michigans largest state park. Home to a 35,000 acre old-growth forest, waterfalls, 90 miles of hiking trails, and providing magnificent views of Lake Superior, Porcupine Mountains literally has something for everyone. Popular attractions include: the stunning Lake of the Clouds, the Summit Peak observation tower, an 18 hole golf course, skiing on the Porcupine Mountains, biking, and paddlesports. Sleeping accommodations include modern campsites, rustic campsites, backcountry camping, yurts, a lodge, and even a tiny home you can rent!

Lake Thunderbird State Park

Top 5 Texas State Parks RV Camping

Lake Thunderbird State Park in Norman, Oklahoma offers a great camping destination with a wide array of recreational and water activities. The state park also consists of two swimming beaches, nine boat ramps, and two marinas. Overnight accommodations at Lake Thunderbird include more than two hundred primitive campsites and RV campsites, including thirty with full hookups. There are also modern restroom facilities, picnic tables, playgrounds, and even an archery range. The parks campground is open twenty-four hours, every day of the year. Lake Thunderbird State Park also features equestrian, biking, and hiking trails, picnic shelters, and a nature center.

13101 Alameda Dr, Norman, OK 73026, Phone: 405-360-3572

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Massachusetts: Walden Pond State Park

Fans of Henry David Thoreaus Walden should visit Walden Pond State Park, home to the famously serene Walden Pond and Walden Woods. It’s ideal for a tranquil escape to contemplate life and its meaning. Visitors can walk or hike along trails circling the pond, swim, relax on the beach, birdwatch or canoe in the pond.

Must see: Thoreau enthusiasts can also visit a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s house.

Utah: Dead Horse State Park

Similar to Arizona’s Grand Canyon, the Colorado River also passes through Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab, Utah. Here the flowing water has carved out magnificent reddish cliffs up to 2,000 feet high. Explore the desert plateau or mountain bike along one of the many trails. Dead Horse Point also is an International Dark Sky Park perfect for stargazers. The park offers yurts for overnight stays, too.

Must-see: Some of the park’s eight overlook viewpoints, where you can snap epic photos of the magnificent scenery.

Also Check: Free Camping Near Tucumcari Nm

Wildcat Mountain State Park Ontario

This park is in the heart of Wisconsins Driftless Region, one of my favorite areas of the state, with enough outdoor activities to keep you occupied for more than a weekend.

More:Head west to explore three overlooked Wisconsin travel spots

The campground is perched atop one of the hills that define the Driftless, with views of the twisting Kickapoo River below. Most of the sites are wooded, some perched on the cusp of a hill. The best are the cart-in sites, which are large and private, some tucked into a pine plantation.

Trees mostly block the views from the campsites, but the park has a handful of overlooks that provide stunning vistas, including along the Observation Point Trail near the Upper Picnic Area. Down by the boat launch, the 1.3-mile Hemlock Trail climbs 1,220-foot Mount Pisgah for views of the river valley.

The river is known as the worlds most crooked in its nearly 130-mile journey from Wilton to the Wisconsin River, the Kickapoo covers just 60 miles as the crow flies. But that’s part of what makes it fun to kayak and canoe, along with the beautiful sandstone cliffs it passes along the way. The stretch from Ontario to La Farge is the most popular, with a handful of liveries in town that offer rentals and shuttles and keep the river clear of debris.

More:Canoe trip on Kickapoo River comes with many twists, turns

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Pennsylvania: Hersheypark Camping Resort Hershey

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Headed to Hersheypark? The Hersheypark Camping Resort is the official camping resort of the theme park with a free shuttle to take you there. Guests of the resort also get special Hersheypark perks like discounted pricing on tickets, and theres even a CampersApp with information about activities, real-time weather alerts, and a compass. The resort has 300 full-service sites with activities like movie nights, live entertainment, and Hershey character visits throughout the summer.

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South Carolina: Huntington Beach State Park Murrells Inlet

Known as one of the best places on the East Coast for birding, Huntington Beach State Park is a natural paradise along three miles of South Carolinas Atlantic Ocean beach. Bring your birding checklist to tick off a few, explore abundant nature trails, and enjoy excellent surf fishing. RV sites, which range from $21 to $62 nightly, come with water, electric, and complimentary Wi-Fi, with some sewer hook-ups available. Other park amenities include hot showers, restrooms, dog-friendly beaches, and a swimming area with a lifeguard.

Glamp At Millersylvania State Park

Olympia, 1.25 hours from Seattle | Luxury Tents, Lake Access, Beer Garden

The partys in Olympia: Not only does Millersylvanias seasonal boat rental shop also sling ice cream and nachos, but a historic wooden cabin down the lakeshore doubles as a beer garden, pairing craft brews with roasted peanuts. Six dolled-up canvas glamping tents from Pampered Wilderness, stocked with memory foam mattresses and electric heaters, permanently divorce the concepts of camping and roughing it.

Pictographs at Columbia Hills State Park.

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Camping In Iowa State Parks

Photo: Iowa Office of Tourism

Of the 83 sites managed by the Iowa parks service, 62 of those sites have campgrounds. And with more than 5,000 campsites total, guests never have to worry about being able to find a spot to pitch a tent. But non-campers will be happy to know that 18 Iowa state parks have on-site lodges, including the Honey Creek Lodge , which has a small indoor waterpark families with kids will appreciate having as a backup option on a rainy day.

Reservations for campsites at Iowa state parks open three months in advance and 75 percent are bookable online. The other quarter of the sites are first-come, first-served. Between November and March, all the sites in Iowa state parks are first-come, first-served, except for two campgrounds at Maquoketa Caves State Park and Walnut Woods State Park. Sites throughout the Iowa state parks system range from RV sites with electrical hookups to hike-in backcountry sites.

Visitors can also rent individual cabins in 20 Iowa state parks. Backbone State Park and Black Hawk State Park have deluxe family cabins, Springbrook State Park has a 12-person cabin, yurts are available at McIntosh Woods State Park, and more rustic cabins with fire pits are available at Iowa state parks like Green Valley, Lake Darling, and Waubonsie. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has a fantastic webpage laying out the details and process for renting each.

Cape Disappointment State Park

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Shunyu Fan/Getty Images

Although the British fur trader who named this wind-and-wave-battered headland at the mouth of the Columbia River may have been disappointed in his find, history buffs and those who love sensational coastal landscapes are sure to have a field day. Located on a peninsula where the Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean, the 2,023-acre Cape Disappointment State Park has numerous historical distinctions, like marking the end of Lewis and Clarks expedition. Its also the home of ruined World War II-era fortifications and steadfast lighthouses. Hiking through ancient forests, walking across briny beaches like Dead Mans Cove, harvesting clams and crabs, and soaking up the lore of this history-drenched park are just some of the ways to explore it while camping in the 137 available tent sites or 68 recreational vehicle spots. If youre lucky, you may even get to watch boat captains navigate the treacherous Columbia Bar or see waves jettison upwards against the cliffs on stormy days.

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

Visitors are welcomed by rippling, rust-colored sand arcs upon entering the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab, Utah. These arcs are contrasted by steep red cliffs, pinion pines and juniper trees, and blue skies, making the park an amazing destination for scenic drives, photography, camping, or even just playing in the sand. Coral Pink Sand Dunes has a campground with twenty-two campsites within a gorgeous desert environment of junipers and surrounded by the parks coral pink sand. The sand dune field of the Colorado Plateau is one geological feature visitors should make sure not to miss during their stay.

12500 Sand Dune Rd, Kanab, UT 84741, Phone: 435-648-2800

Cedar Hill State Park

A panoramic view of Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park

If you want to enjoy some nature, relax or explore a little, then this park is perfect for you! You can visit for the day or the weekend.

It is also an affordable option and is very cheap! However, you will still need to make reservations. Bring your tent along or your RV and truck camper. They also have showers on the camping spots.

This park is also quiet which is ideal for those who want to enjoy some peace. They also have picnic tables and grills.

Pack a picnic basket and relax by the lake! Or take a swim in it! Theres also a gravel swimming beach. But it is closed until 2022.

You can also enjoy the hiking trails on foot or on a bike. Explore 1200 acres of land! Please note that when the trails are wet, then it is closed. So, make sure to call the park in advance if you want to enjoy the trails.

Bring along your fishing equipment too! Enjoy fishing in the 7,500-acre Joe Pool Lake. Your kids can also enjoy some fishing in the perch pond.

This park also offers:

  • guided hikes in which you can learn about history and nature
  • outdoor skills workshops

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State Park Camping Reservations In The Finger Lakes Region

Now that you’ve seen all that the state parks in the Finger Lakes of New York have to offer, it’s time to figure out how you’d make a reservation to stay in one and explore this region.

Just keep in mind that each campground has different facilities, services, and programs. New York State Park Campgrounds also have varying schedules to open and close for the season.

East Coast State Parks That Will Blow Your Mind

Beavers Bend State Park: The Most Beautiful Campground In All Of Oklahoma

From the sandy shores of New Hampshire to the swampy bayous of eastern Louisiana, there’s so much to explore east of the Mississippi River. State parks not only protect a lot of these amazing historic and natural places, but they also open them up for exploration. Whether its the tallest waterfall on the East Coast, warm freshwater springs, wildlife havens, or historic castles, these East Coast state parks have special surprises and unique features that will totally blow your mind.

Also Check: Best Camping In Northern Virginia

Davis Mountains State Park

Davis Mountains State Park is a historic and beautiful park located up in the mountain terrain of Fort Davis in West Texas. Visitors can learn about the parks history and the nearby frontier fort, explore miles of hiking trails, and camp out beneath the starry night sky among several other outdoor recreation activities. The park provides a remote and unique destination for all kinds of adventures, whether its geocaching, stargazing, camping, scenic drives to take in the mountain scenery, horseback riding, mountain biking, backpacking, hiking, or simply enjoying nature. Accommodations include campsites and the 39-room historic Indian Lodge.

TX-118, Fort Davis, TX 79734, Phone: 432-426-3337

Most Affordable State Park Camping In The Northeast: West Virginia

Few places in the United States have garnered as poor a reputation as has this tiny sliver of the Appalachian Mountains, and it couldnt be less deserved. West Virginia is, in so many ways, a shining jewel in an otherwise completely overdeveloped corner of our nation.

West Virginians have a deep appreciation for all things camping

The mountains are still rugged, the towns are still small, and the back roads still dirt and winding through forests and valleys alike. Spend some time exploring the state parks here and youll learn to love the twang of Americana, discover fall foliage to make New England green with envy, and maybe even meet a like-minded soul or twoWest Virginians have a deep appreciation for all things camping and freedom in general.

To get started, Blackwater Falls State Park near the surprisingly hip small town of Thomas, West Virginia is a great place to hike to a beautiful waterfall in the morning and then relax at your shaded campsite come the afternoon as birds sing overhead in the black cherry trees and deer rustle through the bigtooth aspens. Or hop across the state to Beech Fork State Park to soak up that old fashioned summer camping experience with activities like canoeing, fishing, sitting around a campfire or even cooling off with an ice cream cone from the parks general store.

Read Also: Secret Camping Spots In Southern California

Desoto State Park Alabama

If you decide to do some camping in the fall, check out DeSoto State Park in Fort Payne, Alabama. Famous for its fall foliage, this park has an abundance of waterfalls and a seasonal swimming pool. There are 137 wooded campsites as well as pull-thru sites. Read more RV LIFE Campgrounds.

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