The 15 Best Places to Camp in National Parks

This summer, check out the most spectacular spots to sleep under the stars in America's most beautiful outdoor spaces.

Slough Creek, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

View of Slough Creek (wolf habitat) under lenticular and cumulus clouds in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming USAHTurner/Shutterstock

From lodges and RV parks to tent sites and back-country camping, Yellowstone has every option available, depending on your idea of "roughing it." For those who want more amenities (like, say, flush toilets) and proximity to Mammoth village, stay at the popular Mammoth Hot Springs site. But our pick is just-off-the-beaten-path: Slough Creek. It's only two miles down a dirt road, but you'll feel like it's a world away. Still, there are picnic tables, fire pits, vault toilets, and bear-proof food boxes. Awesome views over Lamar Valley, fishing in the creek, and some of the best wildlife-watching in the park (you may even hear wolves howling at night) make this a near-perfect site to bed down. You may get the chance to snap one of the most amazing wildlife photos in Yellowstone. But as the small campground only has 16 spots and is first come-first served, get there in early morning, as it's often full by 8 a.m.

Seawall, Acadia National Park, Maine

Surf at Seawall during low tide. Location: Acadia National Park, Maine. Photographed on March 12, 2019. The bird is probably an adult non-breeding great black-backed gull.M.Bailey/Shutterstock

Acadia represents the finest of the Pine Tree State's natural beauty, with ocean vistas, rugged beaches, and evergreen forests in abundance on Mount Desert Island. The most popular campground is Blackwoods, but we prefer the 200-site Seawall, located in a quieter coastal area of the island close to hiking and biking trails. The ocean is just a short walk away from the wooded camp, and flush toilets, picnic tables, and campfire rings are available. Make reservations in advance, as spots fill up in summer. The park's other two camping options are Schoodic Woods, which is less crowded but located on the mainland farther away from the main area of the park, and the remote Duck Harbor, reached only by boat.

Wonder Lake, Denali National Park, Alaska

Denali Mountain and Wonder Lake at sunrise, AlaskaLijuan Guo/Shutterstock

For a true American adventure, there's no place like the wilds of Alaska. It's hard to go wrong with any of the park's six campgrounds, but our pick is the furthest from the entrance at mile 85, Wonder Lake. This 28-site tents-only campground is the closest to Denali itself, the highest peak in North America, which towers over the site's namesake lake. The campground is also a two-mile hike to Reflection Pond for iconic, Insta-worthy shots of the mountain. One of the secrets park rangers want you to know before your trip? Mosquitoes are fierce near the lake, so a head net is recommended. No fires are allowed so be sure to bring a camp stove, but there is potable water and toilets. You can make reservations in advance, although campgrounds in Denali don't always fill up.

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