21 of the Coolest Places to Camp With Your Kids
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
When it comes to family vacations, there are a lot of different options out there. You can go camping, visit a theme park, or even take a cruise. But if you're looking for something a little more unique and interesting, why not try traveling to one of the coolest places on Earth? In this blog post, we will explore 21 of the most amazing destinations that you can campto with your kids.
TENT CAMPING WITH YOUR FAMILY Traveling as a family can be incredibly rewarding, it gets everyone out of their comfort zones and into new spaces. It's also an opportunity for creativity and improvisation. Plus, you get to bond with your family in a whole new way. If you want to know more about skills required for camping with your family, please read13 essential first experiences in nature. This will give useful tips and ideas on how to make the most out of your time outdoors.
The following camping spots are perfect for an adventurous family summer vacation. While some areas may be too crowded during peak season, there's usually the option to veer off into a more secluded area (frontcountry camping followed by backpacking or backcountry). Be safe this summer and tell us about your favorite places to camp. We hope to see you soon!
1. Outer Banks, North Carolina
Where: One of the four campsites at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Why it’s so cool: With 4x4 access to 70 miles of wild Atlantic coastline, as well as organized camping and epic fishing, surfing, and beach camping available along the way, you can play all day at the beach with zero other people around if you want.
What makes it unique: The first of 10 National Seashores in the US.
2. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota
Where: Stay/start out from Sawbill Campground
Why it’s so cool: While canoeing and camping along secluded loons and lakesides every night, the family can enjoy some creature comforts — like a favorite blankie or snuggie for the kids, and maybe a cold one for you. Not to mention, stargazing is best done in total darkness away from city lights.
What makes it unique: One of the best things about the BWCAW is that you can spend your nights lake-hopping, linked together by short trails or “portages” between the area’s almost innumerable lakes.
3. Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah
Where: One of the 13 campgrounds in the park.
Why it’s so cool: By taking brief hikes to see three natural stone bridges, families can get an up-close look at these features while also spending quality time together. The Junior Ranger Program is a great way for both parents and kids to learn about the rich geological history of the area.
What makes it unique: The first-ever International Dark-Sky Park is located in ____.
4. Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado
Where: Echo Park Campground, 38 miles from the Canyon Visitor Centre.
Why it’s so cool:There are many reasons to visit the Canyon of the Green and Yampa Rivers: from the stunning views to the easy level hike, you're sure to find something that interests you. And don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for petroglyphs and fossils - there's a lot of history waiting to be discovered in this outdoor paradise.
What makes it unique: With very little light pollution, you can gaze at an amazingly large number of stars.
5. Red River Gorge, Kentucky
Where: One of the 3 campgrounds in the area.
Why it’s so cool: The gorgeous gorge in the Daniel Boone National Forest is perfect for beginner-level rock climbing, kayaking, rafting, and hiking experiences with kids.
What makes it unique: The sandstone rock arch, measuring 65 feet high and 78 feet long, located in the Red River Gorge is called the Natural Bridge.
6. Hot Springs, North Carolina
Where: Creek Ridge Campground, just outside the village of Hot Springs.
Why it’s so cool:The Appalachian Trail runs right through town, so you can easily get out in nature. The French Broad River (which also runs through town) offers tons of aquatic activities, such as white-water rafting, tubing, kayaking, swimming and fishing.
What makes it unique: After a long day enjoying all that nature has to offer, there is nothing better than taking a dip in the natural hot springs at Hot Springs.
7. La Push, Washington
Where: Camp on the beach at Second Beach in Olympic National Park.
Why it’s so cool: La Push is the perfect summer destination for those who love fishing, hiking, and surfing. The nearby one square mile village also provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of the Quileute people, early inhabitants of La Push who have managed to preserve many ancient skills and crafts.
What makes it unique: Olympic National Park safeguards the coastline for 73 miles.
8. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Where: One of the 9 campgrounds in the park.
Why it’s so cool: The park offers many easy hikes where you can explore the desert bighorn sheep, the unusual plants, and the strange geologic shapes.
What makes it unique: Five of North America's 158 desert fan palm oases are located in Joshua Tree National Park.
9. Hither Hills State Park, New York
Where: Camp right over the dunes from the beach.
Why it’s cool: The Long Island area is home to many Native American communities, and offers a variety of outdoors activities such as fishing, surfing, swimming, and tumbling down dunes.
What makes it unique: There is nothing more peaceful than falling asleep in your tent to the sound of ocean waves.
10. Edisto Island, South Carolina
Where:If you're looking to get away from it all, Edisto Beach State Park is the perfect spot. Just an hour's drive from Charleston, you can rent a cabin or a campsite right on the beach.
Why it’s so cool: Come to Edisto Island for miles of pristine Atlantic shoreline and salt marshes perfect for swimming, fishing, and exploring. You'll also find plenty of short trails ideal for walking, biking, or riding where you're likely to spot wildlife including deer, alligators, and bobcats.
What makes it unique: If you wake up early, you can watch dolphins feeding by the pier.
11. Hume Lake, California
Where: Hume Lake Campground in Sequoia National Forest.
Why it’s so cool: Make the most of your trip by renting a canoe, kayak, or row boat from the nearby Christian camp to fish in the lake only a short walk away from where you're pitching your tent.
What makes it unique: Camp amongst the stunning giant sequoia, the world’s largest tree.
12. Douthat State Park, Virginia
Where: Lodges, cabins, or camp sites available close to Douthat Lake.
Why it’s so cool: Whether you're a beginner or an experienced hiker, There are more than 40 miles of trails for all levels. You can also enjoy fishing at Wilson Creek or on Douthat Lake. If you have kids, they will love the Junior Ranger badge educational programs.
What makes it unique: The lack of cellular service makes this spot all the more enjoyable.
13. Acadia National Park, Maine
Where: Blackwoods Campground.
Why it’s so cool: Unwind in nature by camping under a large tree canopy, surrounded by wooded wilderness. Once you're rested, take a walk to the cliffs overlooking the stunning Atlantic Ocean.
What makes it unique: As the highest mountain on the US Atlantic coast, Cadillac Mountain is a must-see for anyone visiting Blackwoods campground.
14. Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina
Where: At the Northern end of Hunting Island State Park, by the ocean.
Why it’s so cool: With five miles of beach to explore and fish from, as well as many easy trails for families to experience the island’s natural environment (maritime forest, marsh, etc.), there's something here for everyone.
What makes it unique: The island's large salt water lagoon is home to seashores and barracudas.
15. Point Mugu State Park, California
Where: Sycamore Canyon Beach.
Why it’s so cool: Roughly four miles of coastline exist at the bottom Santa Monica Mountains, and there is excellent camping close to the shoreline. Body surfing and hiking trails for individuals of all skill levels are also nearby.
What makes it unique: Keep your eyes peeled for any whales or dolphins that might swim by the shore!
16. Great Smoky Mountain National Park, North Carolina
Where: Big Creek (frontcountry camping).
Why it’s so cool: If you're looking for a cool place to escape the summer heat, look no further than Midnight Hole. This secluded swimming hole is situated along Big Creek and offers hikers a refreshing break from the heat. With deep, shady waters and an idyllic setting, Midnight Hole is the perfect spot to take a dip and enjoy nature's hidden gems.
What makes it unique: Wondering what to bring with you on your trip to GSMNP? A magnifying glass, binoculars, and tree / plant / insect / animal guides are essential for any amateur scientist. With more than 6,000 plant species and untold amounts of fungi, butterflies, salamanders, and other animals in the park--you're sure to find something new (and cool) at every turn!
17. San Elijo State Beach, California
Where: San Elijo State Beach campground, right by the ocean.
Why it’s so cool: With sweeping views of the ocean, this beach is perfect for both adults and kids who want to try their hand at surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. You can also whale-watch right from your campsite!
What makes it unique: Bull Taco, the gourmet snack stand, is one of many reasons to visit this campground!
18. Lake Placid, New York
Where: ADK Wilderness Campground.
Why it’s so cool: There are several trailheads that lead to different Adirondack peaks, all of which originate here. If you're feeling adventurous and want to explore the area, this is definitely the place for you. Additionally, Heart Lake is great for swimming and it's only a short walk away from the campsites. And if it happens to rain during your stay, don't worry - The Wild Centre (located one hour away) is a great educational experience for both parents and kids who want to learn more about The Adirondack region.
What makes it unique: The small town of Lake Placid hosted two Olympic Winter Games in 1932 and 1980.
19. Caledonia State Park, Pennsylvania
Where: Chinquapin Hill Campground.
Why it’s so cool: The park offers 10 miles of trails catering to all levels, which take you through the forest and past historical sites. 1.8 miles of the Appalachian Trail are also designated within the park boundaries. In addition, children's programs operate during summer months.
What makes it unique: Gettysburg National Military Park is a 20-minute drive away.
20. Mammoth Lakes, California
Where: Twin Lakes campground.
Why it’s cool: If you're looking for a outdoor escape with plenty of activities, consider lakeside camping. You can enjoy fishing, canoeing, and kayaking while taking in views of the lake. If you're feeling active, there are also hikes available from the campsites. Plus, the John Muir Wilderness is easily accessible if you want to explore even more.
What makes it unique: The view of the waterfall tumbling down into the lake is breathtaking.
21. Assateague, Maryland
Where: Assateague National Campground
Why it’s cool: Wild horses of course. There are load of wild horses that roam around the campground all day.
What makes it unique: In the morning just walk over the dunes and your on the beach. Nothing like waking up and walking 30 seconds and seeing the sunrise.