Spending time outdoors can be a great way to de-stress, escape urban angst and elevate your mood while reconnecting with nature. And the good news is, you don’t need to be an experienced outdoorsman for you and your family to explore remote areas of the country.
In today’s modern world, there is a campsite designed for every camping level. So instead of being nervous about planning an outdoor adventure, give one of these 15 beginner campsites a try. From Nebraska to Florida, these American campsites offer modern amenities, breathtaking scenery and a chance to enjoy nature in a fun, safe environment.
These are the top 15 U.S. campsites for beginners.
1. Lake McConaughy
Why it’s good for beginners: If you want to take the family out on the water without the coastal crowds and expense, this campground on the lake is a perfect laid back alternative. Fishing, boating, water skiing and relaxing on white sand beaches are a few of the attractions around the water. You and the family can also head over to the Nebraska Sandhills, which aren’t too far away, to take a spin on a dune buggy or ATV.
2. Yogi Bear Jellystone Camp Resorts
Why it’s good for beginners: On 125 acres, this resort-style campground is open year-round and is the perfect spot for kiddos. In addition to fishing, ATV trails and gem mining, you can also head to the park’s water attractions that include a water slide, a lazy river and a splash pad. Folding tent campers are welcome here, and if you don’t feel like roughing it in a tent with the family, you can opt for a cabin or cottage rental to sleep more comfortably.
3. Adirondack Gateway Campground
Where: New York
Why it’s good for beginners: This RV resort features grass or dirt sites with amenities like restrooms, WiFi, showers and laundry, making it a good option for anyone seeking a multiple day stay. Swimming and boating on the lake will keep you plenty busy, but you can also head to the Hudson River for water rafting or go horseback riding in the nearby mountains. Tents and cabin rentals are also options.
4. The Vineyards Campground & Cabins
Why it’s good for beginners: This spacious campground features easy pull thrus and one of the most relaxing settings you’ll find anywhere. Lakefront views, helpful staff and modern, cozy furnished cabins are some of the unique features you’ll enjoy when you’re not fishing and swimming in the lake, or hiking on a nearby trail. And because of its urban location, you can also skip over to a winery or festival when you’re in the mood.
5. Catherine’s Landing at Hot Springs
Why it’s good for beginners: With a boat ramp, canoe and kayak rentals, this campsite is perfect for water lovers during the summer. This luxury campsite also has yurt and teepee rentals that can be a fun alternative to tent camping, and the disc golf course and all-new zip line will keep the family busy when you’re not out on the water.
6. Sugarloaf 2 Campground
Where: New Hampshire
Why it’s good for beginners: This site is a great choice for anyone seeking a more rustic, secluded environment away from RV sites. The grounds are all well-spaced with views of the nearby White Mountains. In addition to pristine forests and clear mountain streams, the campground is also minutes away from hiking, mountain biking and the Cog Railway—the latter of which will allow you to ascend the western side of Mount Washington by train. For gas, a general store and restaurants, head to the nearby town of Twin Mountain.
7. Chehalis RV & Camping Resort
Why it’s good for beginners: If you’re looking for the perfect blend of nature and modern comfort, this is the spot for you. The 300-acre Puget Sound campground offers private sites amongst maple and Douglas fir trees with beautiful views of Mount Rainier on the original Thousand Trails preserve. As for comforts and amenities, the resort offers a swimming pool and hot tub, a picnic BBQ area, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes, a game room and many beautiful nearby hiking trails.
8. Watchman Campground
Why it’s good for beginners: A convenient option for visitors of Zion National Park, this site is just minutes away from the main visitor center and the Zion Shuttle System which will provide access to many of the park’s legendary trails. Standard electric and non-electric sites are both available for tent or RV camping along with basic amenities like toilets, drinking water and picnic areas.
9. Elk Creek Campground
Why it’s good for beginners: While it won’t have as many glamping options as others on this list, we like this Idaho campground for its peacefulness and accessibility. The nearby Smokey Mountains are one of America’s best kept secrets, and we love the cool summer time temps, green scenery and wildflower landscape. When you’re not taking in the scenery, trout fishing in the Salmon River and mountain biking on the 750 miles of trail crisscrossing the valley are good options to keep you busy.
10. Big Creek Campground
Why it’s good for beginners: If you’re in the South, camping in the Great Smokey Mountains should be on your bucket list for its sheer beauty. While this campsite is somewhat off the beaten path, you won’t find many locations this secluded that still have modern comforts like toilets, running water, grills and trailhead parking. If you can’t snag a reservation for this 12-tent site, there are 10 other campgrounds available as well.
11. Fallen Leaf Campground
Why it’s good for beginners: Located a few miles off the south shore of Lake Tahoe, this 206-site campground is a less crowded but equally appealing option for the area. Yurts, cabins, RV sites and tent sites are available, and you’ll only have a short walk to enjoy crystal clear waters and views of Cathedral Peak and Mount Tallac. Shower facilities, paved parking, heaters and grills are also on-site.
12. Golden Gate Canyon
Why it’s good for beginners: A short drive from Boulder or Denver, this Colorado campground has big mountain appeal, plus extras like laundry, electricity and restroom facilities. For entertainment, the 12,000 acres of forest and meadows provide some of the best hiking trails and mountain bike trails in the U.S. Golden Gate Canyon is also a haven for fishing and hunting enthusiasts. Cabins and yurts can be reserved year-round while the tent sites are closed during the winter months.
13. Silver Falls State Park
Why it’s good for beginners: The foothills of the Cascade Mountains is the location for this Oregon treasure, less than an hour east of the state’s capitol. Aside from the park’s astounding beauty, the two available campgrounds feature 52 sites with electrical hookups, 45 tent sites, 14 cabins and two ranches with horse corrals. In addition to basic amenities, hiking and horse trails, you can also explore a nearby amphitheater and playground during your stay.
14. Leonard Harrison State Park
Why it’s good for beginners: With famous views of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, a scenic waterfall and the 62-mile Pine Creek Trail, this is a must-visit campsite. The area’s famed hiking trails range from beginner to difficult, offering something for everyone. When you aren’t on one of these epic trails, horseback riding, fishing, rafting and wildlife viewing are other popular activities. The modern campsite has top-notch facilities too, like a bath house, concessions, a first aid station, souvenir shops and overlook areas for photography.
15. Big Meadows
Why it’s good for beginners: For a true outdoor getaway, this 300-square-mile park in the Blue Ridge Mountains is beautiful year-round. Trails from the campsite lead to waterfalls deep in the forest and scenic overlooks perfect for unique plant and wildlife viewing. The expansive 200 campsites can accommodate large groups, and they feature modern amenities to keep your family comfortable when it’s time to settle down and relax around the campfire.
Marc Linsay, Tue May 22 2018