Though the world is slowly opening up as more people become vaccinated and COVID-19 cases drop, many are still hesitant about hopping on an airplane and heading to crowded tourist destinations. Or they've simply fallen in love with the road trip approach to group travel. If you're ready to pack your bags for the Great Outdoors and bask in the realm of Mother Nature, you should set your sights on these amazing campgrounds and campsites. Between Texas and California, Georgia and Montana, there are so many destinations that will offer summer fun, adventure, and bonding experiences for family and friends.
Chisos Basin Campground in Big Bend National Park, Texas
Picture this: You and your favorite people are staring up at the sky as tall, jagged, rocky cliffs surround you. That's exactly what you'll experience at Chisos Basin Campground that sits confidently at an elevation of 5,400 feet. Because of this height, it not only has incredible views, but also maintains a cooler temperature compared to other toasty areas in Texas. Just be mindful as you make the trek up to the grounds since the route has steep, sharp turns. Because of this, RVs longer than 24 feet and trailers longer than 19 feet are not permitted.
Kirk Creek Campground in Big Sur, California
If you've never ventured to this iconic region of California, you're in for a treat. Big Sur sits along the infamous State Route 1, which wraps around seaside cliffs, and offers some of the most beautiful sights in the state. Kirk Creek Campground is located 100 feet above the Pacific Ocean and nestled on an open bluff. Several sites are available here, all of which can fit up to eight people and two vehicles. As a bonus, it's a cool 30 minutes from the surf town of Big Sur, so you can pop in for a bite to eat or an ice cream to go.
Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn, Georgia
Summer is made for adventure-seekers. And if you want your kids to roll up their sleeves and try something new, Georgia's Cloudland Canyon State Park may be your best bet. It features many wonders of the earth to explore: crazy-looking cliffs, rushing waterfalls, and canyons that run a thousand feet deep. And if you aren't exactly a skilled camper (yet), you can also book one of Cloudland Canyon's 16 cottages, ten yurts, or 30 walk-in campsites, where everything is provided for you. For more confident campers, choose from 15 backcountry options tucked far into the woods.
Blackwoods Campground in Acadia National Park, Maine
Hiking fans and mountain lovers flock to Acadia National Park in Maine. Blackwoods Campground is part of the 47,000-acre wonderland along the Atlantic Coast and filled with jaw-dropping views and a variety of terrain. From granite peaks and rocky beaches to lush forests, there's a new sight around each corner. For travelers who want to camp for part of their trip and stay in a city for the rest, this destination fits the bill. Blackwoods is only five miles from the town of Bar Harbor, while still feeling remote and wooded.
Many Glacier Campground in Glacier National Park, Montana
Montana is known as the Big Sky state-and for a good reason. It's full of mountain ranges, wide, open spaces, and so many dazzling stars at night it takes your breath away. For campers new to this part of the country, start your vacation at the highly recommended Many Glacier Campground on the eastern side of Glacier National Park. You'll be pitching a tent at an elevation of 4,500 feet and only a short 12-mile journey from the nearby town of Babb. The campsite offers plenty of excursions, like boat rides or hiking markers, so even novice campers will feel right at home. And if you time it right, you could even explore actual glaciers.
Watchman Campground in Zion National Park, Utah
If you crave the comradery of a big camping community, Utah's Watchman Campground is the park to choose. It features 190 camping sites for tents and RVs, so you'll likely meet other families and fun groups on their summer vacations, too. What's preferable about this campground is the shade it offers, thanks to the oversized Cottonwood trees that surround it. Plus, its central location gives you access to dozens of hiking trails. You'll need to make a reservation in advance, so do some planning and research before you book.
Dunewood Campground in Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana
Nope, you don't need to venture to the Middle East or South America to witness remarkable sand dunes. You can find them right here in the U.S. at Dunewood Campground at Indiana Dunes National Park. It stretches along 15 miles of Lake Michigan's sandy beaches and encompasses 15,000 acres total. It offers over 50 miles of trails that challenge you and your travel crew to different terrains: prairies, wetlands, dunes, rivers, and forests. This particular campground offers 66 campsites along two loops. Camp out near the beach or in the woods, depending on your preference. (Bonus: There are also flush toilets and showers as a perk, so you don't totally have to 'rough it' if you don't want to.)
Ricketts Glen State Park Campground in Benton, Pennsylvania
Spanning three Pennsylvania counties, the 13,193-acre wonderland at Ricketts Glen State Park Campground will absolutely wow you. If you're a particular fan of waterfalls, you'll be stunned by 22 rushing bodies of water. The highest of them all is Ganoga Falls with a peak of 94 feet. Most hikers prefer to trek along the Falls Trail System for a glimpse of several of the famous falls, rugged mountains and gorgeous greenery. This campground sits on the top of a peninsula hanging above Lake Jean, so even while you sleep, you'll be soothed by the water.