No doubt about it, camping in some of the US national parks is some of the best camping anywhere. But yet, it can be very frustrating! Some campgrounds within the parks are only first-come, first-served. Others are available through reservations, but many folks are locked into certain vacation days and may find nothing available at the time they can go. At RTA, we recommend that you keep calling back for reservations, as you never know when someone else's plans have to change and leave that spot open.
If you can't get a reservation, try staying outside of the park in a private campground, or one of the national forest or state park campgrounds that may be fairly close to the park. Then go into the National Park around 9 in the morning and queue up for a first-come, first serve, available spot. Or, just stay outside the park and go on day trips to the park. (This is useful for smaller parks, but it means a lot of driving for parks that are huge, like Yellowstone!)
Here are listings for the US National Parks, their websites, and other public campgrounds that are located close by.
Northeast National Parks (Acadia),
Mid-Atlantic National Parks (Congaree, Shenandoah),
Southeast National Parks (Biscayne, Everglades, Great Smoky Mountains)
Great Lakes National Parks (Indiana Dunes, Isle Royale, Voyageurs)
Midwest National Parks (Cuyahoga Valley, Mammoth Cave, Hot Springs, Gateway Arch)
Great Plains National Parks (Badlands, Wind Cave, Theodore Roosevelt )
Rocky Mountain National Parks (Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier)
Utah's Mighty Five National Parks (Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion)
Southwest National Parks (Great Basin, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Saguaro, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, Big Bend)
Pacific Northwest National Parks (Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic)
California's National Parks (Channel Islands, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Pinnacles, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Redwood)
Alaska's and Hawaii's National Parks (AK-Denali, Glacier Bay, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Kobuk Valley, Lake Clark, Wrangell-St Elias, HI-Haleakala, Hawaii Volcanoes)
US Territories' US National Parks (American Samoa, Virgin Islands)