Best Camping Sites of 2015 Where You Must Pitch a Tent in 2016

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At Wanderu, we are staunch supporters of exploring new places and spending quality time outside of one’s comfort zone. What better way to do that than to immerse yourself into Mother Nature’s wild embrace? Whether you’re a skilled camper or a newbie with a budding desire for memorable adventures, you must be aware of the best places to put those skills you learned as a boy or girl scout to good use. Lucky for you, we looked all over the U.S. and found the best camping destinations of 2015 that you should definitely check out in 2016!

Green Mountain National Forest (Vermont)

The Green Mountain National Forest offers some of the most picturesque landscapes you will ever get to witness in the wild forests of the U.S. There are numerous camping grounds available on a first-come, first-served basis. In case those are all taken, don’t fret as the forest allows you to camp pretty much anywhere as long as there aren’t any explicit signs forbidding you from doing so. How’s that for an adventure?

There are two features that definitely make it an attractive destination for your next camping trip. The first one is the Long Trail which is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the U.S. It runs along the length of the state, starting from Massachusetts in the south and going all the way north to the Canadian border. As it is 272 miles long (hence its name), the trail is impossible to complete in one single take but the good news is that it offers a very wide variety of gorgeous views giving you the opportunity to camp near different portions of it and have a brand new experience every time.

The other feature you should totally check out is the Thundering Falls. Streaming down from a height of 140 feet, the falls make for a magnificent visual experience and the accompanying hiking trail around them allows you to marvel at nature’s majesty from numerous eye-catching perspectives.

When to visit
The Green Mountain National Forest is open year-round but, before you head out there, make sure you are familiar with the necessary passes and permits you need to have in your possession to enter.

The amenities
The Green Mountain National Forest is very rustic when it comes to amenities as there are no electrical hookups or dump stations. On the bright side, that will provide for quite the authentic camping experience!

The cost
There’s no entrance fee and the campsites can be used free of charge as well. How awesome is that? However, if you are looking to pitch your tent along the Long Trail, make sure to check with the Green Mountain Club first as they maintain around 70 campsites near the trail that come with a water source and they charge a fee for using those. You can visit the Green Mountain Club website by clicking here.

How to get there
Take a bus or train to Rutland, VT where the the Green Mountain National Forest is located.

Chiku Tip
While entrance is free and so are the majority of campgrounds, there are a number of passes and permits that you need to have with you in order to camp at the national forest. Find out what those are here.

North of Highland Camping Area (Massachusetts)

While the Green Mountain National Forest is the perfect destination for camping in the fall or early winter, the North of Highland Camping Area is the ideal spot to experience The Northeast in the spring and summer. And what better place to do that than Cape Cod?

Apart from being located mere minutes away from the beach, the North of Highland Camping Area is famous for its campsites that are uniquely shaped to the natural contour of the Cape Cod landscape. Indeed, each site has its own character giving you a one-of-a-kind exclusive experience. Also, North of Highland’s campsites are famous for being some of the cleanest and best maintained camping grounds in the U.S.

When to visit
The North of Highland Camping Area is closed during the winter and the majority of spring and it will re-open on May 27, 2016, so plan your visit for the summer.

The amenities
Each site has its own picnic table and parking for at least one vehicle
Restrooms with flushing toilets, drinking water spigots and drinking bubblers
Shower facilities with 24 hot metered showers
Laundry facilities
Camp store
Recreation building with a fireplace, two pool tables, 4 ping pong tables, 2 foose ball tables and picnic tables.
Chidlren’s playground with a Merry-Go-Round, monkeys bars, and balancing beam, among other things.
Adult quiet room

The cost
The base rate for two people and one vehicle is $40/night. Each additional adult and/or vehicle gets charged $14/night and the rate for each additional child is $4/night. Check out the full cost breakdown, along with discount specials, here.

How to Get There
Hop on a bus to Hyannis, MA or Barnstable, MA and then grab a cab to take you to the camp grounds.

Chiku Tip
Keep in mind that fires are not allowed within the campground to avoid forest fires. However, beach fires are allowed at Head of the Meadow Beach in the evenings with a town fire perfmit available for free from the Truro Town Center. The team at North of Highland Camping Area will even provide you with free firewood!

North Cascades National Park (Washington)

The North Cascades National Park is equipped to meet your camping cravings whether that involves pitching a tent, hanging out in an RV, or sleeping directly under the starry sky. What’s especially awesome, though, is the fact that there are 25 boat-in camps that outline the backcountry shorelines of the North Cascades National Park. If you decide to camp with your boat, you’ll have the opportunity to explore numerous hidden coves, islands and bays created by the dams of the Skagit Hydroelectric Project on Diablo and Ross Lakes. Also, the park is famous for having over 300 glaciers – more than any other park in the 48 states.

When to visit
The North Cascades National Park is open every day of the year but, for the best camping experience, it’s recommended that you plan your visit for the period between late May and October.

The amenities
The different campgrounds boast different features. Some come equipped with portable water, flush toilets and a dump station, while others don’t. For a complete list of amenities for each campground, click here.

The Cost
Prices vary between campgrounds, but they stay within the $16-$25/night spectrum. Make sure to visit the park’s official website for most up-to-date pricing information.

How to Get There
Take a bus or train to Mt. Vernon, WA and then rent a car or an RV to get to the park.

Chiku Tip
During the spring, prior to the official commencement of the summer season on May 22, access to a number of the campgrounds is free of charge, so keep that in mind if you’d like to save some $$.

Glacier National Park (Montana)

Sprawled across the Canada-United States border, Glacier National Park encompasses the American state of Montana and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. While there are 13 different traditional campgrounds with 1,000+ sites to choose from, the even more exciting thing here is the opportunity to go backcountry camping at one (or more) of the private campsites found along the criss-crossing trails of the park. That way, you get to enjoy the stunning nature and unforgettable landscapes that Glacier National Park is famous for around the globe on your own terms and, if everything works out, you may even find and claim your own personal secret spot. Before you embark on your adventure, though, make sure you’re familiar with the rules and regulations you gotta abide by for safety reasons. You can find them here.

When to visit
Glacier National Park is open to visitors year-round but be aware that, during winter months, weather conditions may prevent you from accessing certain parts of the park. Also, during fall and winter, weather tends to dictate when most visitor facilities open and close, so make sure to check with the park staff if you’re planning your visit between October and May.

The amenities
While you are pretty much on your own if you decide to go backcountry camping, most traditional campsites come with the following extras:
Fee showers
Dump stations
Vault toilets

The cost
In the summer, entrance fee is $25/car for seven days. During the winter, the price is $15/car. Campsite costs vary in between $10 and $23 per night depending on location and season. The park also offers annual and national passes.

How to get there
Take a bus or train to Essex, MT or West Glacier, MT and you’ll be right there.

Chiku Tip
If you don’t feel like coming up with your own fun agenda, take advantage of the various guided tours offered by the park staff.

Barrel of Monks Brewery (Boca Raton, FL)

Fort Yargo State Park is your best bet if you want to get in touch with nature but don’t intend on roughing it up too much. Campers can choose between fully equipped cottages or well-maintained and cozy campsites. The park also offers lakeside yurts for those of you in search of a more unique experience. In case you don’t know, yurts are like extra big tents with a wooden base and covered with a canvas. They all come fully furnished, with electricity available inside, and equipped with a fire ring, a picnic table and a grill outside. See, we told you camping here is not too hardcore!

Aside from fancy forest lodgings, Fort Yargo State Park boasts a number of attractions to keep you occupied, including a golf course, a racetrack and stunning botanical gardens, among other things.

When to visit
The park is open all year long and has a very user-friendly online reservation system. You can check it out here.

The amenities
Amphitheater
Restrooms
Showers
Sewage dump station
Tennis courts
Swimming pool
Playground

The cost
Depending on the type, campsites’ costs vary in-between $25 and $75 per night. Cottages and cabins are rented out for $135-$165 per night. Yurts are available at $85 per night.

How to get there
Take a bus or train to Athens, GA and then rent a car and drive to Winder, GA.

Pisgah National Forest (North Carolina)

Known as the “Land of the Waterfalls,” Pisgah National Forest is bound to deliver countless gorgeous views and opportunities for memorable waterfall-related experiences (but it’s up to you to make the best of them). The forest also yields hundreds of hiking trails, allowing you to go on your own adventure looking for the most picturesque fall.

In terms of lodging, the forest has campsites that operate on a first-come, first-serve basis, as well as ones that require prior reservation. Dispersed and RV camping is also allowed but only in specifically designated areas. For those of you not scarred by horror movies, there are also cabins that you can rent for a short-term stay.

When to visit
While the Pisgah National Forest is open throughout the year, campsite availability varies by season.

The amenities
Depending on the campsite that you choose, the following amenities may be available:
Picnic area
Amphitheater
Restrooms
Showers
Drinking water
Dump station

The cost
Pisgah National Forest doesn’t have a general entrance fee but campsite costs vary by location, so make sure to check out the forest’s website for most up-to-date information on what you’ll need to pay to camp out there.

How to get there
Take a bus or train to Asheville, NC and then rent a car for a short 45-mile drive north to the forest.

Yosemite National Park (California)

Without a doubt, Yosemite National Park provides some of the most phenomenal settings for camping and hiking in the world. As 95% of it is pure wilderness devoid of any non-natural structures, including roads, this park is as close you can get to nature as possible.

The park boasts 13 campgrounds that can accommodate tents and RVs, as well as a number of cabins and yurts for those seeking a tad bit fancier experience. In addition, you are able to go backcountry camping but make sure you got all the necessary permits first.

When to visit
Yosemite National Park is open year-round but some campgrounds are closed in different portions of the year.

The amenities
Different campgrounds come with different amenities but, unless you go camping in the wilderness, you can expect restrooms and showers, as well as small grocery stores near some camping sites.

The cost
Campsites range from $6 to $26 per night and there is also a fee of $30 per vehicle for a seven-day pass. The vehicle fee is brought down to $25 during the winter season.

How to get there
Take a bus or train to Fresno, CA. If you are in the Bay Area, take an Amtrak train to Merced, CA. From there, you can use the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) to get to the park. Check out the YARTS schedules here.

Chiku Tip
As Yosemite National Park is 95% wild nature, there are also many wild animals in the area. If you decide to camp in the park, you need to be particularly aware of bears, so take a second to familiarize yourself with the various ways to avoid bear confrontations here.

Now that you know where you need to go, we can get you there! Go to Wanderu.com or download the FREE Wanderu app to find the cheapest bus and train tickets and embark on your fun adventures among nature!

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About the author
Staffo Dobrev

Staffo Dobrev

Having lived in some of the greatest cities in the world, Staffo has always had a soft spot for travel and adventures. Instead of hitting the usual tourist attractions, though, Staffo prefers to make friends with local people and check out fun places and activities that are not in the travel books.
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