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When you’re set to pitch a tent, stoke a fire, and grab the bug spray you know that you’re living the dream in the great outdoors. Americans have a thirst for camping and do so more than any developed nation on the planet. While we strive for bigger televisions, smarter smart phones, and that oh-so-great juicer that you just swear you’ll use more than once (the one sitting in your cabinet collecting dust) it turns out what we might need is just a little dose of outdoor therapy.
If you’ve got the travel bug, we’ve got a great list for you of some of the absolute best places to camp in the U.S.
Washington – Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park has to go first because it’s not often that you can actually choose an ecosystem to camp in, pack up, and then go to a different ecosystem the next day – all within the same park. Olympic National Park has three different ecosystems in one park – including a rainforest – which makes camping in Washington one of the most diverse places you can pitch a tent in all of the United States.
Maine – Acadia National Park
If you’re a nature lover that happens to live in the Northeast, Acadia National Park is the place for you. The park is home to two campgrounds, Blackwoods and Seawall, which offer easy access to the parks trails including the amazing hike to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest point on the east coast. Grab some coffee and a granola bar and summit Cadillac early in the morning just in time for sunset. It makes camping in Maine life changing.
Wyoming – Grand Teton National Park
Just north of Jackson Hole, Wyoming you can park the car and pitch a tent at any of the five campgrounds at Grand Teton National Park, or you can pack a bag and head off into the wilderness for some backcountry camping in Wyoming. The park itself features the always-impressive Rocky Mountains, an abundance of wildlife (including elk, deer, wolves and bears), pristine lakes and miles upon miles of unspoiled forest. The park is open year-round, although conditions are obviously pretty brutal in the winter.
New Mexico – Carson National Forest
Many believe that New Mexico is all desert wasteland, but a quick jaunt to Carson National Forest will prove otherwise. The park itself looks like it could be home to a Bonanza rerun and offers fishing, hunting, hiking, camping and even skiing in the winter. For the brave outdoorsman, try the 16-mile round trip hike to New Mexico’s highest peak, Mt. Wheeler, which is an exercise in endurance and not for the faint of heart.
North Carolina – Pisgah National Forest
Anyone who has ever been to North Carolina can tell you just how beautiful the wilderness can be. Pisgah National Forest is no different. There are literally hundreds of different trails as well as connections to other trails that zigzag throughout the mountainous regions just about an hour outside of Asheville. Pisgah National Forest is known as “Land of the Waterfalls” and for good reason. The gorgeous falls allow you a wonderful opportunity to hike one of the many trails and picnic next to a beautiful waterfall on a pristine-looking stream right in the heart of North Carolina. The park is open year-round, but the website warns that availability is dependent on season, so you may want to call ahead to ensure that you can get a campsite – or, you can always pack a bag and head into the woods for some truly rustic and authentic back country camping. If camping isn’t your thing you may want to visit the 10 best beaches in the world or our top 10 vacation destinations to visit.