The Best Places to Go Camping: Part 2
Nearly 40 million Americans* will pack up tents, hitch up the RV or open the door to a rustic cabin this year. They’re exploring new campsites or returning to old family favorites, and they are traveling an average of 200 miles to get there. Whether it’s the desire to get back to nature or take a breather from a plugged-in world, there are plenty of ways to go camping this summer.
Since people have different ideas of what makes for a good camp-out, check out Part 2 of our Top 10 places you’ve always wanted to see, and places you’ve probably never heard of. There are perfect places for you and your sweetheart, the family, and even the family pet. And right now our partners at Kmart are offering a coupon for 10% off camping accessories. You’ll sleep even better at night under those starry skies.
Best Scenery: Arches National Park – Moab, Utah
Seeing the red rock formations in pictures is one thing; sleeping and waking next to them is quite another. Arches makes for an almost surreal experience for the entire family. Plan a relaxing camp-out or fill your day with activities packed with natural wonders.
The park has more than 2,000 natural sandstone archways – the world’s largest grouping. See rocks perched on rocks in gravity-defying balance, impossibly tall spires and majestic towers visible from its 51 campsites.
The Devil’s Garden makes good home base to set up your camp. Unfold your comfy Craftsman Heavy Duty Fold Up Camp Chair and watch the spectacular sunset reflecting off of nature’s wonders.
Cruise the 36-mile Scenic Drive to take in all the sites. Hike or ride the many trails such as Park Avenue Trail, Tower Arch, Double O Arch, Landscape Arch and Delicate Arch.
There’s a good mix of accommodations for all group types. Fifty campsites sleep up to ten people each. Got a group of 11 or more? The Juniper Basin area can handle up to 55 at once; the Canyon Wren site can accommodate up to 35. No RVs or trailers are allowed in the group sites.
Amenities include picnic tables, potable water, grills, flush, fire rings and pit toilets. Be prepared: there are no dump stations, showers, or water, sewer or electric hookups for recreational vehicles.
Arches National Park is best for RVs 30 feet long or less. Reservations must be made between 180 and four days in advance.
Cost: $3 per person per night with a $33 per night minimum.
Make reservations at Arches National Park.
Best for Kids: Aqualand Camp Resort – Sister Bay, WI
If you long for your kids to experience the kind of carefree summer you once had – fishing, swimming and climbing trees – Aqualand Camp Resort offers a nostalgic experience. Run by a family for families, it’s 67 acres of peace and quiet; yet Door County shopping, festivals and attractions are right down the road.
Once home to an old-fashioned petting zoo, Aqualand was completely reimagined a few years ago as a place where families can still commune with nature. The giant porthole-view aquarium is still there, and the name is the same, but the activities are much more in keeping with modern sensibilities.
Some families are into their fourth generation of camping here. Parents and grandparents still feel free to let kids explore tree groves, sandboxes and play areas; and accompany them to fish in a stocked trout pond or swim in the heated outdoor pool. The campground is pet-friendly, too, as long as you keep your dog on a leash.
Whether you prefer a sun-filled site or one that is set off in the woods, you’ll find places for your pull-through or back-in camper, and areas for small and large groups of tents. The cool Wisconsin nights are made extra comfy with a Northwest Territory Anywhere Bed with Skirt. Catch a great deal right now!
Camping sites have all the creature comforts: water and electric hookups, fire rings, picnic tables, a dump station and hot showers. There’s also ice, firewood, and a charmingly old-fashioned loaning library.
Aqualand is just minutes from Wisconsin’s Peninsula State Park as well as the picturesque towns of Fish Creek, Sister Bay, Bailey’s Harbor and Ephraim.
Cost: $34 per night.
Book your stay at Aqualand Camp Resort.
Best Beachfront Camping: Charlestown Breachway – Charlestown, RI
The Breachway is perfect for people who thrill to the idea of camping on the Atlantic Ocean beach. It is beloved by saltwater fishers and crabbers, and it’s common to see multiple generations enjoying the brisk breezes and refreshing waves of the New England coast. This campground is for self-contained RVs only,
Charlestown Breachway is right on a spit of land between Block Island Sound and a pristine saltwater estuary known as Ningret Pond. Not for fancy-glampers, it is clean and basic, but those water views are oh, so charming. There are a few small rental cabins available by reservation, too.
Pull up along the east side and smell the salt air. Kayak or swim in the pond, and fish to your heart’s content on the rocks or on the water. Granted it’s not for everyone: It does get crowded in peak summer season and generators are constantly humming; however, they’re drowned out by the gentle lull of the surf.
Campsite space is limited and you need to register in advance to allow enough space for your size of RV. Because it is a state-operated campground, there are no alcoholic beverages, fire pits or fireworks allowed. But many return visitors love the idea of roughing it at the very edge of the Atlantic.
Grab some bait and find out where the fish are biting at Breachway Tackle. Enjoy a traditional bowl of chowder or a plate of clam cakes at Johnny Angel’s Clam Shack down the road. Watch birds, search for amazing shells, and unfold your new Northwest Territory Sun & Sport Beach Chair and crack open a nice new summer beach read. There’s no water, cable or electricity. Just you and the sea.
Cost: $14 – $35.
For reservations visit Charlestown Breachway.
Best Romantic Camping: The Martyn House – Ellijay, GA
Honeymooning? Planning a destination wedding or just want some time away from the kids? Book one of the luxury tents at the Martyn House property in the North Georgia Mountains. It is much more diamond than in-the-rough. In fact it’s technically a B and B and accommodates people over 18 only. No kids, no pets. It’s also a good fit for those who enjoy green living and glamping (glamorous camping) aficionados.
Instead of drinking lake water from a canteen, you can sip wine in your own screened-in porch. Rather than pitch a tent, you can simply unlock the door of your own Indian-fabric stationary tent that’s much more like a cottage. Trade the sleeping bag experience for a downy, king-sized bed with luxury linens. There is full indoor plumbing including an eco-friendly composting toilet.
Four permanent two-person tents are nestled around a working, 18-acre farm that provides the fare for the main dining room. And we’re not talking grub: Martyn House offers simple gourmet indulgences for anyone: clean-eaters, gluten-free dieters and anyone on a restrictive diet. Guests rave about the omelets gathered from eggs on-site in the morning, and enjoy farm-to-table fare on candle-lit tables in the main dining room at night. Or hop on your Pacific Evolution 26 Inch Men’s Mountain Bike and pedal to a bistro in town, then listen to live music and explore some of the best antiquing in the South.
All around, you will find a variety of restful, a deux pleasures: hiking hand-in-hand through the woods or to the town’s quaint shops, kayaking or learning about photography from a professional. Gather by the evening campfire with other guests, relax and read a book, or book a massage with a staff massage therapist.
Cost: $180 – $220 per night plus tax; two-night minimum.
Book online at The Martyn House for your romantic getaway, or rent the entire property for a small destination wedding.
Best Overall: Camp Richardson Resort and Marina – Lake Tahoe, CA
If you’re not sure how rough you want to rough it, Lake Tahoe’s Camp Richardson offers a great variety. South Lake Tahoe Basin offers one of the best family camping experiences with something for everyone. And the water is so clear, you can see a dinner plate at 75-feet down!
Breathtaking lake views are all around at Camp Richardson. Rent a boat at the marina, take a cruise to Emerald Bay, or parasail 12,000 feet above the water for a bird’s eye view of pristine mountains and crystal waters. Hike or bike the extensive network of scenic trails. The Beacon Bar and Grill offers lunch and dinner, and its live entertainment gives you a little taste of civilization.
Pitch a tent on one of 200 secluded, dispersed camp sites at Badger’s Den or Eagle’s Nest. Need a new tent? Save now on the Northwest Territory Eagle River Tent available at Kmart. It sleeps 8 comfortably. There are also 100 sites at the RV Village, or rent a full-service cabin that sleeps up to 8 guests. For those who don’t care to rough it, the hotel lodge has 28 comfortable rooms that sleep 2 to 5 guests – some open in the summer only and others year-round. Also investigate great rates on duplexes.
Tip: Bring plenty of quarters if you’re taking your RV. Pay showers charge $1 for 3 minutes of hot water. RV drivers should be advised that some of the pull-throughs are narrow. Leave the pets and cigarettes at home; there are strict policies against both.
Cost: From $30/night.
Reserve your spot at Camp Richardson Resort and Marina.
*[source: 2013 American Camper report, The Coleman Company and the Outdoor Foundation]
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