Ah, car camping. Whether you’re pulling up to a campsite in an RV, a towed camper, or the family station wagon, spending a few nights exploring, cooking, and sleeping under the stars in some of America’s most scenic parkland can be an amazing (and affordable) way to experience the great outdoors. So prep the propane stove and sharpen those s’mores skewers! Here are 4 of our favorite drive-up camping spots in the U.S.
A note before you go
Check in with individual campgrounds before you depart on your trip to get the 411 on any specific regulations they may have. In particular, you’ll want to find out what their site selection and registration policy is (many campgrounds will take reservations months in advance to secure a campsite). Other things to inquire about include: potable water availability, campfires, bathroom facilities, and limits on group size.
Come for the rugged peaks, carved valleys, crystal clear water, and 25 active glaciers. Then stay awhile at one of 13 different campgrounds this park has to offer. Pro tip: With over 700 miles of hiking trails to enjoy, be sure to check in with a park ranger at the visitor center to steer you in the right direction (literally) before you set out.
Ever wanted to camp among the tallest natural sand dunes in North America? Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve boasts an incredibly diverse mix of natural beauty (see everything from dunes, to conifer and aspen forests, to alpine lakes), history (it’s a sacred location for the Navajo), and once-in-a-lifetime activities (sand sledding, anyone?). The National Park Service maintains the Piñon Flats Campground (open April to October), located just a mile north of the Visitor Center.
Known as the “red-rock wonderland,” this incredible place will dazzle you with its stone arches, spires, and sunsets. Make your reservation early (up to 6 months in advance) to snag a coveted spot at Devils Garden Campground, a drive-up campsite located inside of Arches National Park. Take note: the park is located in the high desert, which means hot summers and cold winters, so pack and plan accordingly.
With incredible rocky outcroppings, caves, and stone formations shaped over 20 million years ago by volcanoes, the otherworldly landscape of Pinnacles National Park is an incredible destination for the car camper looking for well-appointed drive-up campsites surrounded by nature. In addition to its breathtaking natural surroundings, this place is also home to some rare wildlife, including the endangered California Condor. Pinnacles has some truly lovely campgrounds (located on the eastern side of the park), which even boast a swimming pool (open through April through September).
Ready to hit the pavement? Before you set out on your next car camping adventure, remember to make sure your car is protected. Get a free quote today.