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  1. #1
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    Default Camping In/Near US National Parks

    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)

    Last edited by DonnaR57; 11-17-2019 at 06:51 PM. Reason: adding links

  2. #2
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    Default Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast National Parks

    NORTHEAST: Acadia

    Acadia National Park (Maine)
    Lemoine State Park


    Mid-Atlantic National Parks: Congaree, Shenandoah

    Congaree National Park (SC)
    Note: Both the national park website, as well as another RV focused site, make the statement that these campgrounds are meant for tents.
    Poinsett State Park, Wedgefield
    Note: Near Congaree National Park.

    Shenandoah National Park (VA)
    Sherando Lake Recreation Area Family Campground, George Washington NF, Lyndhurst
    Note: Located south of Shenandoah along the Blue Ridge Parkway.


    Southeast National Parks: Biscayne, Everglades, Great Smoky Mountains

    Biscayne National Park (FL)
    Note: Two campgrounds: Boca Chita Key and Elliott Key. But these are only available by boat!
    Otherwise, nearest public campgrounds are within Everglades NP.


    Everglades National Park (FL)
    Big Cypress National Preserve Midway Campground
    Note: The closest public campground to the Everglades.

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN/NC)
    See also the Blue Ridge Parkway since the southern end is in GSMNP.
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 11-15-2019 at 09:32 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Great Lakes, Midwest and Great Plains States National Parks

    Great Lakes National Parks: Indiana Dunes, Isle Royale, Voyageurs

    Indiana Dunes National Park, IN
    Note: The National Park has a small campground, but it is not anywhere near the beach. You are best off staying at the nearby state park with the similar name:
    Indiana Dunes State Park

    Isle Royale National Park, MN
    Note: All the campgrounds are walk-in or boat-in, as you must take a boat to the park from the mainland. Your vehicle must stay behind.
    Click here for a list of nearby campgrounds on the mainland.

    Voyageurs National Park (MN)
    Note: All camping within VNP is accessible only by boat. For those in an RV, please read on.
    Kabetogama State Forest
    Note: Has 2 shoreline campgrounds to choose from.
    City Beach Campground, City of International Falls
    Note: Tents only.
    Echo Lake Campground, Superior NF, Orr


    Midwest National Parks: Cuyahoga Valley, Mammoth Cave, Hot Springs, Gateway Arch

    Cuyahoga Valley National Park (OH)

    Mammoth Cave National Park (KY)
    Nolin Lake State Park, Mammoth Cave

    Hot Springs National Park (AR)
    Lake Catherine State Park, Melvern/Hot Springs

    Gateway Arch, St Louis (MO)
    Note: Located near the Mississippi River in St Louis, there is no camping at this new (2018) national park.
    Lewis & Clark State Memorial Park, Hartford IL
    Note: On the other side of the river, and about 17 miles from the Arch.


    Great Plains National Parks: Badlands, Wind Cave, Theodore Roosevelt
    Note: Wind Cave is near Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Jewel Cave National Monument, so one camp site can serve as a central point for a Black Hills visit. Badlands is about 50 miles from the Black Hills area.

    Badlands National Park (SD)
    Note: Though listed here, you're better off taking a commercial park in Wall or Medora, rather than driving back and forth from Custer State Park (if you can't get a site at Badlands.)
    Custer State Park

    Wind Cave National Park (SD)
    Custer State Park

    Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND)
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 12-07-2019 at 06:57 PM. Reason: Indiana Dunes upgraded to a national Park!

  4. #4
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    Default Rocky Mountain National Parks

    Rocky Mountain National Parks (Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier)

    Black Canyon of the Gunnison (CO)
    Note: Three reasonably nearby parks:
    Curecanti National Recreation Area
    Snowblind Campground, Sargents
    Soap Creek Campground, Gunnison

    Great Sand Dunes National Park (CO)
    Note: Two campgrounds reasonably nearby:
    Zapata Falls Campground, BLM
    Note: BYO Water!
    San Luis Lakes State Wildlife Area (former state park)

    Mesa Verde National Park (CO)
    Note: Two campgrounds reasonably nearby:
    Mancos State Park
    Note: Reservations absolutely necessary!
    Target Tree Campground, San Juan NF, Hesperus

    Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
    Note: Somewhat nearby:
    Pawnee Campground, Roosevelt NF, Ward
    Note: Personal experience with this campground: Pretty! But only a little nearby to RMNP. Good for a place to stay the night before trying to get a first-come first-served spot in RMNP. Otherwise, there's good hiking nearby.

    Grand Teton National Park (WY)
    Note: Four reasonably nearby campgrounds:
    Turpin Meadow Campground, Bridger-Teton NF, Moran
    Hatchet Campground, Bridger-Teton NF, Moran
    Crystal Creek Campground, Bridger-Teton NF, Jackson
    Curtis Canyon Campground, Bridger-Teton NF, Jackson

    Yellowstone National Park (WY/MT/ID)
    Note: See also two other forum posts regarding camping around Yellowstone:
    See US-20, MT and WY
    See US-89, WY and MT

    Glacier National Park (MT)
    Note: There are two reasonably close-by campgrounds, plus another forum post regarding camping near Glacier.
    Murray Bay Campground, Flathead NF, near Essex, MT
    Devil Creek Campground, Flathead NF, near Essex, MT
    See US-2, MT

  5. #5
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    Default Utah's Mighty Five National Parks

    Utah's Mighty Five National Parks (Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion)
    Note: No doubt about it, these 5 deserve their own post in this thread!

    Arches National Park (UT)
    Canyonlands National Park (UT)

    The Moab/Monticello Area, near Arches and Canyonlands

    Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab
    Moab Area BLM Campgrounds UT-128
    Note: Goose Island, Grand Staff, Drinks Canyon, Hal Canyon, Oak Grove, Big Bend, and Upper Big Bend Campgrounds.
    Moab Area BLM Campgrounds UT-313
    Note: Horsethief Campground, Cowboy Campground
    Moab Area BLM Campgrounds UT-179
    Jaycee Park Campground, William's Bottom Campground, Gold Bar Campground
    Moab Area BLM Campgrounds, Kane Creek Road
    Note: Kingsbottom Campground, Moonflower Campground

    Capitol Reef National Park (UT)
    Note: One campground near the Visitor Center.

    Other campgrounds near Capitol Reef

    Lower Bowns Campground, Fishlake NF, Torrey
    Singletree Campground, Fishlake NF, Torrey
    Sunglow Campground, Fishlake NF, Bicknell


    Bryce Canyon National Park (UT)

    Other campgrounds near Bryce Canyon NP

    Red Canyon Campground, Dixie National Forest, Bryce
    Kodachrome Basin State Park, Cannonville
    Note: Three campgrounds: Basin, Bryce View, and Arch! Arch is limited to small units. None are open year-round.
    Tom's Best Spring Road
    Note: This is one man's blog about boondocking on this site near Bryce Canyon, but it is mentioned on a number of other sites.


    Zion National Park (UT)

    Other Campgrounds near Zion

    Campgrounds run by BLM.
    Note: This is a downloadable brochure about BLM camping near Zion, near I-15 and northwest of town. Red Cliffs Campground is the closest to Zion.
    BLM Camping south of Hwy 9
    Note: This is a downloable map about dispersed BLM camping south of Zion.

    Note: There are some commercial parks nearby. The closest is Zion Canyon Campground and RV Park, which is right on the other side of the river from Zion NP's Watchman Campground. We stayed in ZCC years ago, as our final camping trip in a tent. We had a site right on the water and watched it rise when there was rainfall upstream on the Virgin River. The River went from a nice place to sit and soak, to a raging mess! So keep that in mind if you stay in Watchman or ZCC.
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 11-16-2019 at 10:53 AM. Reason: fixed HTML

  6. #6
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    Default Southwest Parks (NV, AZ, NM, TX)

    Southwest National Parks (Great Basin, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Saguaro, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, Big Bend)

    Great Basin National Park (NV)

    Camping Outside of the Park, NPS link
    Ward Mountain Campground, Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, Ely
    Timber Creek Campground, Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, Ely
    East Creek Campground, Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, Ely
    Cherry Creek Campground, Humboldt-Toiyabe NF, Ely
    Garnet Hill Dispersed Camping Area, BLM, Ely
    Note: BLM recommends no trailers or RV's. Two websites state that this is a dangerous area for RV's to be entering. It is locally known as “Honey Hill” because of the lucrative business done towing people with RV's and trailers out of there.


    Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim (AZ)
    Note: South Rim campgrounds are Mather, Desert View, and Grand Canyon Trailer Village. Please note which ones are year-round, and realize that you will be camping at 7000' elevation. That can be very cold in winter!
    Pine Grove Campground, Coconino NF, near Flagstaff
    Dairy Springs Campground, Coconino NF, near Flagstaff
    Bonito Campground, Coconino NF, near Waputki and Sunset Crater NM
    Note: Probably the closest public campground to the Desert View (east) entrance of the South Rim of the GC.
    Locket Meadow Campground, Coconino NF
    Note: Locket is not recommended for trailers and motorhomes.
    Kaibab Lake Campground, Kaibab NF, near Williams
    Note on Kaibab Lake: This is the closest campground to the South Rim from I-40 in Williams.
    Note: Do take note about which campgrounds are open when you plan to visit.


    Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim (AZ)
    Note: North Rim has one campground. The approach road shuts down between December and mid-May, because they get a LOT of snow. Services, including that one campground, are only open between mid-May and mid-October. The park is open during November, but one must be completely self-sufficient: fuel, food, lodging and camping are shut down.
    Kaibab National Forest (North Rim) Dispersed Camping – BYO Everything
    Note: This is a downloadable/printable document about KNF boondocking.
    DeMotte Campground, Kaibab NF, between Jacob Lake and the CG North Rim
    Jacob Lake Campground, Kaibab NF, Jacob Lake


    Petrified Forest National Park (AZ)
    Note: There are no designated campgrounds within PFNP. There are no other public campgrounds within a 30 mile radius, either. This is one place where you'll have to rely on private campgrounds. Fortunately, it's only a 2-3 hour drive through the park (with stops). Holbrook has the nearest RV parks; going east, Gallup has the nearest ones.


    Saguaro National Park (AZ)
    Note: There is no car-campground in either section of SNP. Also, remember that this is the desert, and it gets HOT, even at night, in the summer months!
    Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson
    Note: This is the closest public campground to the western portion of SNP.
    Rose Canyon Campground, Coronado NF, Tucson
    Molino Basin Campground, Coronado NF, Tucson
    Catalina State Park, Tucson
    Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, Tucson
    Note: Four campgrounds. Three are located on the Catalina Highway. The other is located 15 miles southeast of Oracle on Forest Service Road 38. Molino Basin CG (Mile 6 on the Catalina Hwy) has reservable spots, as does Peppersauce CG on FS Rd 38. None of the campgrounds on the Catalina Hwy have drinking water, so BYOW!


    Carlsbad Caverns National Park (NM)
    Note: This park has no campgrounds. The website states that the park is surrounded by BLM land where permit-free RV/tent camping is available, but you must bring your own everything! Guadalupe Mountains National Park, 40 minutes away, has camping available (See the next listing).


    Guadalupe Mountains National Park (TX)


    Big Bend National Park (TX)
    Big Bend Ranch State Park
    NPS site for camping options outside the park
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 11-17-2019 at 10:52 AM. Reason: added link for Big Bend and Grand Cyn South

  7. #7
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    Default Pacific Northwest Parks (WA and OR)

    Pacific Northwest National Parks (Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, Olympic)

    Crater Lake National Park (OR)
    Stewart State Recreation Area
    Natural Bridge Campground, Rogue-River Siskiyou NF, Prospect
    Union Creek Campground, Rogue-River-Siskiyou NF, Prospect
    Note: Years ago, my husband and I tent-camped in either Natural Bridge or Union Creek, because Crater Lake was full (no reservations at that time at all). These were pretty close to each other and had everything we needed except a shower!
    Huckleberry Mountain Campground, Rogue-River Siskiyou NF, Prospect


    Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
    Note: If tent-camping in Cougar Rock CG, watch out for the tree roots. They are still a problem for tenters, as they were years ago!
    Big Creek Campground, Gifford-Pinchot NF, Ashford
    Clear Lake South Campground, Okanogan-Wenatchee NF, Naches
    Note: Packwood RV Park in Packwood, is now a commercial park, located across from a museum and next to the Library. At one time, it was owned by the City of Packwood. We stayed there on a short trip with our fifth wheel trailer.


    North Cascades National Park (WA)
    Stehekin
    See Also US-2, WA


    Olympic National Park (WA)
    See also US-101 WA.

  8. #8
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    Default California's US National Parks

    California's US National Parks (Channel Islands, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Pinnacles, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Redwood)

    Channel Islands National Park (CA)
    Note: This is one of those boat-in then hike-in NPS sites. No vehicles!


    Death Valley National Park (CA)
    Note: There are nine NPS campgrounds within the park, but not all are open year-round (closed in the SUMMER due to the extreme heat). There are also three commercially-run parks within park boundaries. See the website for more information.


    Joshua Tree National Park (CA)
    Camping outside of the park on BLM Land
    Note: Campfire permit is necessary.


    Pinnacles National Park (CA)


    Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks, CA
    Note: A lot of campgrounds here, but they fill quickly!
    Hume Ranger District Campgrounds, Sequoia National Forest


    Yosemite National Park (CA)
    McCabe Flat Campground, Sierra NF/BLM, Mariposa
    Note: No potable water. Not recommended for trailers over 18'.
    Millerton Lake State Recreation Area, Friant
    McClure Recreation Area, Merced Irrigation District, Merced
    Note: Use this website to access three other campgrounds on Lake McClure.


    Lassen Volcanic National Park (CA)
    Hat Creek Campground, Lassen NF, Hat Creek
    Note: In this area for sight-seeing, there is the Spatter Cones area as well as Subway Cave. Interesting! Also note that Shingletown has a couple of RV parks, both privately owned.


    Redwood National Park (CA)
    Patrick's Point State Park, Trinidad
    Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Orick
    Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, Crescent City
    Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Crescent City
    Note: Personal experience with this park. We loved it!
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 11-17-2019 at 03:26 PM. Reason: Added info about Hat Creek area; fixed link

  9. #9
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    Default AK's and HI's US National Parks

    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)

    Alaska

    Denali National Park
    Riley Creek, J-0.3 Savage River, J-12.8
    Teklanika, J-29.1 (bus in only) Sanctuary River, J-22 (bus in only)
    Igloo Creek – J-34.2 (bus in only) Wonder Lake – J-84.7 (bus in only)
    Note: If you have a 3-night minimum stay, you can drive to Teklanika in your vehicle or RV. J-is from the junction with the Geo.Parks Hwy.

    Denali State Park Campgrounds
    Denali View South. A-134.8
    Kesugi Ken, A-135.6
    Lower Troublesome, A-137.2
    Byers Lake, A-147
    Denali View North, A-162.6
    (A- indicates the mileage marker from Anchorage, along the George Parks Hwy.)



    Glacier Bay National Park
    Note: Has only one campground, and that's a hike-in.


    Katmai National Park
    Note: This national park is only accessible by boat or plane. Camping is all hike-in!


    Kenai Fjords National Park
    Note: Exit Glacier Campground is for tents only.
    For camping in the Seward area, click here.


    Kobuk Valley National Park
    Note: For hikers/backpackers only.


    Lake Clark National Park
    Note: Only accessible by boat or plane. Camp anywhere, but bring everything with you and take it all out too.


    Wrangell-St Elias National Park
    Along the McCarthy Road
    Along the Nabesna Road


    HAWAII

    Haleakala National Park and Surroundings
    Note: The island is small enough to stay anywhere and be able to see the park.


    Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Surroundings

  10. #10
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    Default US Territories (Samoa and the Virgin Islands)

    US Territories' US National Parks (American Samoa, Virgin Islands)


    American Samoa National Park (Samoa)
    Note: You have to really want to get to this park. Flying in is even a challenge! Camping is prohibited within the park. It is recommended that you either use island lodging, or take advantage of a “homestay” with a local family, to absorb the culture.


    Virgin Islands National Park (VI)
    Note: Sadly, Hurricane Irma damaged the accommodations and campground at Cinnamon Bay.
    US Virgin Islands Camping
    Note: You may not just “camp anywhere” in the USVI. Stick to the known/open campgrounds. However, once again, Hurricane Irma caused much destruction. It might be awhile before things are back up and running!


    And this is it.....

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