Guide to the Best Campgrounds for Campervans in the USA
There is no shortage of campsites for campervans in the United States. Whether you’re planning a road trip along the California Coast, venturing into Rocky Mountain territory, or visiting the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park and the desert lands of the southwest – our guide has you covered. Experience vanlife at it’s best no matter where your road trip takes you or how big of a budget. Enjoy our guide to the best campgrounds in National Parks, beautiful beaches, and more.
Note: Due to COVID-19 National Park and campground opening dates vary, site availability may be limited and communal amenities might not be available. Please double-check and remember to reserve your campsite before you head out on the road.
The United States is famous for its 61 National Parks that are protected by the Department of the Interior. Travelers come from all over the world to stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon, see the geysers in Yellowstone National Park, climb in Joshua Tree, or experience the majestic Rocky Mountains. No matter what National Park, there is no better way to experience it than camping in a campervan. Here is our list of top National Park campgrounds for camper vans.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park, located in central California in the Sierras Nevada Mountains, is the place to go for hiking enthusiasts. Yosemite is well-known for its waterfalls, hiking trails, and El Capitan (El Cap), a vertical mammoth popular to experienced rock climbers.
Open year-round and home to 238 sites, Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular campgrounds in the park. With its views of landmarks like El Capitan and the Half Dome, its central location, and amenities, it is easy to understand why. Hiking, biking, fishing, rock climbing, white water rafting, kayaking, swimming, winter sports, and wildlife surround Upper Pines Campground.
Amenities: Fire rings, picnic tables, flushable toilets, food lockers, and potable water. Pets are welcome. Dump station at the entrance only.
North Pines Campground
Looking to park your campervan near the water, then book one of the 81 campsites at North Pines Campground. North Pines is situated between the Merced River and Tenaya Creek and is near the historic Half Dome (or Curry) Village.
Amenities: flushable toilets, fire rings, picnic tables, potable water, food lockers, and RV dumps. Pets welcome.
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is a historical and geological site at its best. Whether you’re standing on the edge of the South Rim overlooking the canyon, hiking down to the Colorado River, or swimming in Horseshoe Bend, the Grand Canyon is a breathtaking experience you’ll never forget.
Mather Campground is in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, boasts 327 campsites, and is the only campground within Grand Canyon Village. Camping anywhere in the Grand Canyon is sure to be a treat; however, Mather Campground sits 2 minutes from the South Rim, and 4 minutes from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, and is sure to be an excellent spot for your stay.
Amenities: Fire rings with grates, picnic tables, flush toilets, drinking water, and an RV dump near Camp Services.
Trailer Village is also on the southern rim of the Grand Canyon but is a little further from some of the top destination spots of the canyon. If you are looking for a full hookup campground, then Trailer Village is a good option. It has made our list due to location and the proximity to South Rim and Grand Canyon Visitor Center.
Amenities: full hookups, flushable water, potable water, picnic tables, BBQ grills, and trash bins. Wood fires are not permitted.
North Rim Campground
North Rim Campground is located on the north rim of the Grand Canyon and is more popular for hiking enthusiasts and is less popular than South Rim. North Rim campground has 90 campsites and is surrounded by towering Ponderosa Pines and an abundance of wildlife.
Amenities: Fire rings, picnic tables, flushable toilets, drinking water, and dump station. Coin-operated shower and laundry facilities are within walking distance.
Yellowstone National Park
People travel from all over the world to see this National Park that sits atop a volcanic hotspot. Yellowstone National Park, located in Wyoming and parts of Montana, is famous for its hydrothermal features such as gushing geysers like Old Faithful, and its abundance of big wildlife. Yellowstone has recently been making the news for visitors standing on the geysers and hot springs or trying to hug the buffalo. Don’t be those people!
Best campervan campgrounds in Yellowstone National Park
Madison Campground, named for its proximity to the Madison River, is conveniently located near the world-famous geyser, Old Faithful, as well as the upper, lower, and midway geyser basins. The Madison River is an excellent place for fishing, and since this campground is close to it, Madison Campground is a great spot for fishers. Watch out for wildlife, and don’t be surprised if a buffalo wanders by your campsite.
Amenities: flush toilets, cold water faucets, dishwashing stations in most restroom buildings, picnic table, fire pit with grate, food storage bins, and potable water.
Note: Pay showers are available about 15 minutes away at the Old Faithful Inn or in West Yellowstone.
Grant Village Campground
Grant Village Campground, located on the southwest shore of Yellowstone Lake and 40 miles from Colter Bay, is an excellent spot to set up camp! On the shore of Yellowstone Lake is West Thumb
Geyser Basin, so it’s a short jaunt to the boardwalks and trail systems that take you through the basin, treating you to some incredible views of the thermal features and hot springs of Yellowstone National Park.
Amenities: flush toilets, potable water, cold water faucets, dishwashing stations in most restroom buildings, picnic table, fire pit with grate, food storage bins, and coin laundry facilities.
Note: Pay showers are available at Camper’s Services facility, and rates for this campground include 2 showers per night.
Zion National Park
Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah and is well-known for its towering red rocks and hikes along the Virgin River. One of the most famous wading hikes is in Zion National Park and is known as The Narrows.
Watchman Campground features over 200 campsites and is open for camping enthusiasts year-round—just a stone’s throw from the south entrance of Zion National Park. Watchman is one of our top campgrounds picks due to its proximity to hiking, biking, backpacking, climbing, white water rafting, fishing, and swimming. You won’t be sorry you stayed at Watchman during your road trip to Zion, and your pets are welcome.
Amenities: Flushable toilets, potable water, picnic tables, fire pits, fire rings with grates, electric hookups, trash and recycling, RV dumps, river access.
South Campground is our #1 spot to park your campervan in Zion National Park. However, it is a little more challenging to reserve as they will only take reservations 14 days in advance. But if you can book a campsite, do it! South Campground is located near the South Entrance of Zion and is a short walk from the main visitor center and the park’s shuttle system.
Amenities: Flush toilets, drinking water, picnic tables, firepits, and a dump station.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is located in northern Colorado and is home to Pikes Peak, the highest summit on the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
Aspenglen Campground, located near the Fall River Entrance of RMNP and nestled in nature, Aspenglen is a perfect spot to park your campervan and take off hiking. If you’re looking to restock supplies, go fishing, or take a break from campfire cooking, then we recommend taking a drive to Estes Park, which is just a short 15-minute drive from the campground.
Amenities: flushable toilets, running drinking water, trash collection bins, fire rings with grates, picnic tables, firewood available for purchase. All amenities are seasonal.
Estes Park Campground at Mary’s Lake
As you might have guessed, Estes Park Campground at Mary’s lake is just outside of Estes Park. Mary’s Lake Campground offers 130 campsites and all of the amenities. It is a very popular campground due to the abundance of activities nearby, fishing in Mary’s Lake, hiking, scenic drives, shopping, dining, and more.
Amenities: full hookup sites with 50-amp service, water & electric sites, standard RV sites, showers (bring your quarters), flush toilets, laundry facilities, firewood, camp store, playground, games, propane, and a heated swimming pool.
Note: This campground is seasonal only, so make sure you check to make sure they haven’t closed and that sites are still available.
Joshua Tree National Park
Located in southern California, Joshua Tree National Park borders the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. Joshua Tree is known for its namesake, the Joshua Tree, and the rugged boulders throughout the park. Joshua Tree has a unique landscape making it a perfect destination for camping, hiking, and rock climbing.
Indian Cove is a secluded area at the end of Indian Cove Rd and on the north side of Wonderland rocks. Indian Cove has 101 campsites, but not many amenities. Due to the dry climate, campfires are permitted but must be in the fire rings provided in the campground or picnic areas located within the grounds. Make sure you bring in firewood as there isn’t any available to purchase.
Amenities: Vault toilets, fire rings, picnic areas, trash bins. Water is only available at the ranger station where you check-in.
Jumbo Rocks Campground
Jumbo Rocks Campground offers 124 campsites and is a popular campground due to the impressive views of the rock formations. Similar to Indian Cove, Jumbo Rocks Campground doesn’t come with a lot of amenities and requires you to haul in firewood for campfires, which are permitted only in the fire rings provided.
Amenities: Vault toilets, fire rings, picnic areas, trash bins.
Glacier National Park
Bordering Canada and in the heart of Northwestern Montana, Glacier National Park should be on your bucket list! Carved out by glaciers thousands of years ago, these mountain peaks provide over 700 miles of hiking trails and some of the most incredible views in the United States, if not the world. Home to the Grizzly bear, mountain goats and other wildlife, GNP is a must-see.
Best RV campgrounds in Glacier National Park
Apgar Campground is located on the western side of Glacier National Park and is the largest campground in GNP. Minutes from the crystal-clear Lake McDonald, hiking trails, and Apgar Village, Apgar campsites are prime locations.
Amenities: Restroom facilities with flushable toilets, running water sinks, potable water, RV dump stations, picnic tables, trash bins, and fire rings without grates. Shower facilities in Loop A only.
Fish Creek is the second-largest campground in Glacier National Park with 178 campsites. Centrally located to many popular day hiking trails, Fish Creek is an excellent choice for hiking enthusiasts. If you make a reservation well in advance, you may be able to snag a site with a view of Lake McDonald.
Amenities: Restroom facilities with flushable toilets, running water sinks, potable water, RV dump stations, picnic tables, trash bins, and fire pits. Shower facilities in Loop A only.
Best Campsites on the Pacific Ocean Coastline
The US portion of the Pacific coastline runs from California to Washington state and provides some of the best campervan campgrounds in all of the US. Incredible beaches, breathtaking sunsets, surfing, hiking, waterfalls, and towering redwood trees are just some of the perks of camping along the Pacific coastline of the United States.
Note: There are the other two states that border the Pacific Ocean – Alaska and Hawaii.
Located in Laguna Beach, California, in Crystal Cove State Park, and just an hour outside of the bustling city of Los Angeles sits Moro Campground. If you are looking to live the beach life while road tripping up the Pacific Coast, then Moro Campground is a great spot to stop for the night. Surfing, fishing, sunbathing, hiking, and a beach barbeque are the quintessential activities for a beach campout, and Moro has them all.
Amenities: restrooms, coin showers, picnic tables, potable water
Note: Compressed gas barbeques are permitted on the beach and in campsites, but no open flame wood fires or charcoal fires are allowed.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground, Big Sur
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground is nestled into the redwood forest in the bluffs above the Big Sur coast. Campsites are large enough to accommodate RVs, although there are no hookups available in the campground. The towering Sycamore and Redwood trees overhead provide plenty of shade at camp, and a network of trails offers excellent views of the Big Sur Valley and Big Sur River Gorge. The campground is an extremely popular getaway, so book ahead of time online to guarantee a spot.
Located just 5 miles from Sand Dollar Beach, the most extensive stretch of sand in the Big Sur is Kirk Creek Campground. Kirk Creek is a short walk away from a rockier beach, but the peaceful sound of the waves, incredible night sky, and beauty that surrounds you make up for it. You won’t need an Instagram filter at Kirk Creek.
Amenities: fire rings, grills, vault toilets, trash & recycling collection, picnic tables, beach access, creek access, and firewood available for purchase.
Amenities: Full hookups at most sites, restroom, shower & laundry facilities, picnic, and bbq area, outdoor pool, hot tub, clubhouse, and playground.
Note that the sites right on the ocean have no hookups.
Best Beach Campgrounds in Oregon
Harris Beach State Park Campground
Harris Beach State Park, located in the pacific northwest, is home to the largest island off the Oregon Coast and the National Wildlife Sanctuary, Bird Island. Harris Beach Campground is a great place to park for a day or two and enjoy the beach, scenic hiking trails, and if you’re lucky, whale watching. Gray whales can be seen from Oregon’s shores all year long; however, some months are better than others to catch a glimpse of these marine mammals.
Amenities: full hookups, electrical, flush toilets, hot showers, firewood for sale, RV dump station, potable water, and picnic table
Cape Lookout State Park Campground
Cape Lookout, located just an hour and a half west of Portland, is a popular campground close to hiking and walking trails and is said to be a great place for beachcombing. To get to Cape Lookout, you drive through Wilson River Pass. Add some extra time to your itinerary, because their mountain pass features scenic views and places to stop for great fishing or gorgeous waterfalls. You won’t want to rush through this part of the drive.
*The beach at Cape Lookout is protected by a 50′ wide cobble-sized stone revetment. The revetment helps prevent erosion and stabilizes the man-made dune that protects the campground. Visitors that wish to access the beach must walk through the revetment. Please be careful when on the cobblestones, as they can be unstable. (source: stateparks.oregon.gov)
Amenities: Hot showers, flushable toilets, RV dump station (closed in winter), firewood & ice available for purchase (seasonally)
Note: Hot showers and toilets are for registered campers only.
Best Beach Campgrounds in Washington State
Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park, located on the Puget Sound, is Washington’s most-visited state park and with good reason. Deception Pass is open year-round and features 77,000 feet of shoreline, rugged cliffs, mysterious coves, fishing, and swimming at Cranberry Lake. Deception Pass State Park offers 4 locations for camping: Quarry Pond, Cranberry Lake, Bowman Bay, and Hope Island. Hope Island only has 4 sites with one vault toilet. The rest of the island is off-limits to recreational activities as it is a natural preserve.
Amenities: flushable toilets, showers, vault toilets, fire pit, picnic tables, potable water, RV dump, partial hookups, electric, firewood available to purchase, and trash collection
Cape Disappointment State Park
Cape Disappointment State Park, located on the Long Beach Peninsula, offers long stretches of sandy beaches, incredible views from atop the steep cliffs, two lighthouses to explore, and hiking trails throughout the lush forest. Cape Disappointment is known to be an excellent place for clamming and crabbing, and don’t forget to check out the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and the park’s historical coastal fort.
Amenities: flushable toilets, showers, full and partial hookup sites, electricity, potable water, picnic table, fire ring
Best Campgrounds in the Rocky Mountain States
With so much to do in the largest mountain range in the United States, planning ahead for your next vacation is pivotal. The Rocky Mountains house some of the most incredible views, mountains, fresh bodies of water, national parks, and wildlife. Deciding where to go, when to go, and what to do may be daunting, but whether your next adventure is big or small, we have rounded out some of the best campgrounds to stay at. With their prime locations, you are sure to have the best outdoor experiences and witness the beauty the Rocky Mountain States have to offer.
Timber Creek Campground – Colorado
Located on the west side of the Rocky Mountain National Park, Timber Creek Campground lies alone next to the Colorado River. Because it is the only place for campers to stay in the western portion of the park, the spacious campsite houses many guests throughout the year. Keep in mind that the campground operates on a first-come, first-serve basis, and is open year-round.
The Rocky Mountains give campers a variety of activities to enjoy during their stay. Swimming and sunbathing at nearby beaches, exploring through the many caves and forest trails, fishing, and riding horses, or relaxing in the hot springs are some of the many amenities the area has to offer. The campsite charges $26 a night for guests to stay. Due to a pine needle infestation, many trees were removed resulting in little shade, so make sure to pack accordingly for the warm Colorado sun! Seasonal amenities are offered such as potable water pumps, grills, picnic tables, vault toilets, showers trash and recycling, and an RV dump station.
Garden of the Gods Campground- Colorado
Situated at the base of Pike’s Peak and the front entrance of the Garden of the Gods, the Garden of the Gods Campground is the perfect place to relax after adventuring through the Colorado Springs area. Zoos, hiking trails, raft tours, the Olympic Park Training Center, and Pike’s Peak COG railway are among many popular activities to endure during a Colorado getaway. Ranging between $25 to $35 per night depending on the season, the campground welcomes RV camping, tent camping, as well as rentable cottages and cabins. Garden of the Campground is the perfect spot to stay on your next vacation and is especially attractive to those looking for a stress-free, family-friendly location with plenty of activities that the entire family can enjoy.
Garden of the Gods Campground offers its guests a variety of amenities such as Cable TV hookups, a camp store, fire pits, full hookups, a game room, laundry facilities, picnic areas, a playground, an outdoor pool, restrooms, and water hookups. If that’s not enough, let the location and incredible views of the area sell the campground as one of the most impressive in the Colorado Springs area.
Lake Como Campground – Montana
Also known as Lower Como, Lake Como Campground is one of three campgrounds in the Lake Como area. Sitting in a single loop amongst burly pine and fir trees, the campground offers guests a shaded and secluded camping experience. During the day, guests can enjoy endless hours beneath the hot Montana sun swimming and recreating in the 1.4 square mile lake, fully equipped with public areas and warm sandy beaches. Keep in mind, the campground is only open to guests May through September and does not accept reservations.
The campground houses ten RV sites, three of which being handicap accessible. Some of the amenities provided for guests include electrical and water hookups, potable water, picnic tables, vault toilets, garbage collections, and food storage (this is a bear friendly area!)
Priest Lake State Park Campground- Idaho
Located just 30 miles from the Canadian border, Priest Lake State Park Campground offers guests unparalleled views of the Selkirk Mountains. The park, opened all year, is the perfect place to sightsee, enjoy swimming in Priest Lake, hike, fish, and explore the expansive Idaho mountains. RV camping is popular at the campground, but for those wishing for a more sheltered camping experience, cabins, yurts, and cottages are available for reservation. Make sure you make a boat reservation to explore the incredible Priest Lake area and take advantage of the crystal clear lake water on your next adventure.
Amenities included at the campsite are dump stations, showers, toilets, potable water, fire rings (fires only allowed in designated areas), and a gift shop.
Best Campsites in the Desert States
The desert lands of the United States are the places where the sunset touches the earth, the sky becomes a canvas painted in pinks, oranges, and purples, and the red rocks make you feel like you’re in some sort of fantasy world. If you enjoy warm weather, stargazing, and breathtaking sunsets, then you must visit the desert lands of the southwest United States.
Boulder Beach Campground & RV – Boulder City, Nevada
40 Minutes outside of Las Vegas, Nevada is Lake Mead National Recreation area. Lake Mead was the first and is the largest national recreation area in the US. Travelers flock to Lake Mead to enjoy the vibrant blue waters, fishing, boating, hiking, kayaking, and camping. Not far from the Las Vegas strip, Lake Mead makes for a great weekend campervan getaway.
Amenities: Full hookups, showers, flushable toilets, RV dump, picnic tables, fire rings, and potable water.
Mesquite Spring – Death Valley, California
Mesquite Spring is an NPS campground with 30 campsites on the northern end of Death Valley National Park, around two hours from Las Vegas. The sky around Mesquite Spring is very dark, which makes for some incredible views of stars, and the daytime views, particularly of the surrounding mountains, are beautiful too. There are also some excellent day hike opportunities near the campground.
Amenities: restrooms, water, tables, fire pits, and a dump station.
Note that there is no cell service at Mesquite Spring; you can get a signal at the main road a couple of miles away.
Rancho Sedona – Sedona, Arizona
Rancho Sedona RV Park offers a peaceful, relaxing stay. Sit back and put your feet up under the shade of a sycamore tree while you take in spectacular views of the clay-colored mountains. There are plenty of opportunities for biking, hiking, fishing, or swimming in the creek (during the summer months). We suggest making a detour to the nearby Devil’s Bridge Trail while you’re in the area. Devils Bridge is the largest natural sandstone arch located in the Sedona area of the Coconino National Forest.
Amenities: full hookups, restroom & laundry facilities, picnic tables, electricity, water, digital cable TV, WiFI, community BBQ pit, recycling & trash collection
Note: Monthly site rentals available but are adults-only camping spots.
Devils Garden Campground – Utah
Eighteen miles north of Arches National Park’s entrance and 23 miles from Moab, Utah is Devils Garden Campground, the only campground inside the park. Well-known for its red and orange-colored sandstone arches, Arches National Park provides unique geological hiking experiences, and Devils Garden is the perfect place to park your campervan right in the middle of it.
Amenities: flushable toilets, picnic tables, fire rings, potable water, and trash collection
Free Camping in the United States
Free camping, which is also known as dispersed camping or boondocking, is a popular way to road trip on a budget in the United States. Free camping is most commonly done in public lands like State Parks and National Forests, on Bureau of Land Management Land (BLM), and in parking lots of major retailers like Walmart or truck stops like Flying J.
Here are a few quick things to remember when free camping in the US.
National Forests and Grasslands
Don’t confuse National Forests with National Parks. Although they are both public, protected lands, they are managed very differently and by two separate government organizations. You can camp in both; however, a majority of National Parks have mostly developed campsites with amenities, campground fees and don’t allow for dispersed camping or pets. Outside of US national parks is where you will find National Forests and grasslands.
National forests do allow for dispersed camping for up to 14 days at no cost, aka free camping. These sites are off of the main roads, usually a dirt road, pull off, or access road. There are fewer regulations in US National Forests than in US National Parks, but there are some unspoken rules to follow. When dispersed camping in our national forests, or anywhere, the rule of thumb is to be at least 100-200 feet away from any water source, main road or trail, and to leave no trace.
Note: It is essential to follow the “Leave No Trace” principles. The name pretty much speaks for itself. Leave the forests how you found them, or better. Don’t remove anything that belongs in nature and leave the animals alone. You can learn more about the Leave No Trace Principles at Int.org.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
BLM public lands are mostly found in the western part of the United States, such as Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, Wyoming, and Alaska. BLM lands have similar rules for camping as US National Forests. BLM lands are managed by the US Department of the Interior, which is different from US National Forests and US National Parks, so make sure you know the specific dispersed camping guidelines for BLM lands.
The Bureau of Land Management allows camping for up to 14 days in a 28 day period. However, the 14-day rule is not consecutive days, but 14 total days in a 28 day period. The count begins on the first day the camper occupies a site. Once you’ve met the 14-days, either collectively or consecutively, you can’t set up camp anywhere on BLM lands within a 25-mile radius of your previous spot until day 29.
Make sure and follow the Leave No Trace principles, and keep your eyes open for “No Camping” signs.
Note: Dispersed camping sites are typically best for campervans, small RV camping, tent camping, or car camping. The spots generally are smaller and are more difficult to fit or maneuver larger RVs or motorhomes.
Always ask. Don’t assume that because you stayed at one Walmart without issue, you will be able to park overnight at any Walmart. Make sure to go inside, or call ahead, and find out their camping policies. Usually, places like Cracker Barrel, Costco, Walmart, and Flying J don’t want you to set up a full campsite and are merely allowing overnight parking, so don’t overstay your welcome.
Keep in mind that these business owners are allowing you on their property for the night, so be respectful of their property and other campers, patrons, and truck drivers who are visiting.
For more information about free camping, check out our Guide to Free Camping in the USA.
The United States is full of amazing places to campervan. It’s time to book a campervan and head out on the open road to check out some of these epic locations.
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