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Best Places to Pitch a Tent

Posted on June 1, 2017

Hike, swim, relax and enjoy the company of friends in the great outdoors. Plan a camping trip to one of these best places to camp in the U.S. With breathtaking views and low costs, have a camping trip of a lifetime at one of these parks and forests around the U.S.

Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont:

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Aside from being stunning, the 270-plus miler is the oldest long-distance trail in the U.S.! It follows the ridge of the Green Mountains through Vermont from the Massachusetts border to Canada.  The forest offers five developed campgrounds. There are no electrical hookups, so arrive prepared. On the plus side there are no entrance fees, and most campsites are free too!

Gunnison National Forest, Colorado:

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Gunnison National Forest has 3,000 miles of trails, 1.6 million acres of public land, plenty of places to fish, and some of the best views of the Rocky Mountains. Don’t leave without checking out Black Canyon. It’s an incredibly steep, beautiful gorge that has a killer view of the Painted Wall, Colorado’s highest cliff. There 30 campsites with a variety of landscapes: open meadows, evergreen forests, mountains, and lakes. If you want to get off the grid, Gunnison also allows dispersed camping.

Olympic National Park, Washington:

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You’ll encounter three different ecosystems in one park. Head to the Quinault Rain Forest (one of only three in the Western Hemisphere) to see the largest  spruce tree in the world. End your trip at Ruby Beach, where you can see mountains, glaciers, and rain forests right from the shore—or at La Push, the northernmost beach in Washington, where you can view whales off the coast during migration season. The park has 16 National Park Service-operated campgrounds with a total of 910 sites. Backcountry camping is allowed, but don’t worry If you’re not a tent enthusiast, stay in one of the rustic lodges.

Acadia National Park, Maine:

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Maine is known as the Pine Tree State for a reason: It’s covered in 17 million acres of forest. Plus it has 6,000 lakes and ponds and 32,000 miles of rivers and streams—basically a camper’s paradise. Located on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park is the ideal destination for nature lovers of all skill levels. The park has three campgrounds: Blackwoods (closer to the island’s town center, Bar Harbor), Seawall (a more rustic, less touristy environment), and Schoodic Woods (surrounded by water on the Schoodic Peninsula).

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia:

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A stunning getaway is just 75 miles away from the heart of D.C. The park contains more than 500 miles of trails, some leading to magnificent viewpoints or waterfalls, and others through miles of quiet, peaceful wilderness. The park’s four campgrounds are open in spring, summer, and fall. Reservations at any site are recommended, but some first-come-first-serve spots may be available. Backcountry camping requires a free permit.