5 Mountain Vacations for the Whole Family

With minimal traffic, private campsites and plenty of forested hiking, mountain vacations provide the best opportunity to truly get away from it all with your family. Whether you prefer cabin camping, tenting or driving in your RV, there's a place for everyone. Find your next family camping destination here.


When you think of mountain vacations you likely imagine driving deep into the woods with a car full of gear to a big cozy cabin surrounded by thick trees and mountain peaks. That's not far from the truth if you find the right cabin for your adventure.

Where to Stay: Camp Misty Mount, Maryland—Open May to October.

What to Do: With 29 cabins at Camp Misty, your little ones might have a few friends to play with, but don't stay around the campground too long. The hardwood forests of Catoctin Mountain Park, where your cabin and the president's Camp David are located, provide many opportunities for your family to get out and move around.

Take the Hiking Challenge: Hike seven trails and make your way to six mountain destinations to complete your "passport." When finished, head to the visitor center where you'll be rewarded for finishing. The trails range from easy to moderate and each destination is distinct from the others, providing scenic views and a unique experience.

If you don't do the hiking challenge you should still visit Chimney Rock and Wolf Rock.

Enroll your little ones in the Junior Ranger program, where they'll learn about the park's wildlife, resources and history and earn a badge upon completion.

Insider Tip: Reserve cabins 16, 18 or 20 for a more secluded cabin experience.


This plywood structure serves the same purpose as a cabin, but provides a more unique living space. Most yurts have canvas sides, and the inside is round, often with a dome ceiling.

Unlike most cabin rentals, however, yurt camping is more similar to tent camping in that most yurts still require cooking outdoors and using shared campground bathrooms. If you've slept on the ground for your other camping mountain vacations, take this opportunity to try something new.

Where to Stay: October Mountain State Forest, Massachusetts—Open May to October.

What to Do: With over 16,000 acres of land, you and your family have plenty of space to explore on foot, bike and boat.

For hiking and biking, try the Washington Mountain Marsh Interpretive Trail or the Schoolhouse Loop.

Use the public boat ramp if you want to spend afternoons on the lake.

Visit the Schermerhorn Gorge, a natural feature that has been of great interest to geologists for decades.

Insider Tip: This park almost always sells out for the Fourth of July weekend, so reserve your spot well in advance if you want to camp here for that holiday.


Tent camping is the most traditional of these mountain vacations, and a truly tranquil experience. With only a tent and campfire, you can truly experience the mountains from sunup to sundown.

Where to Go: Mountain Oak Campground, California—Open May to November

What to Do: Located on Mt. Oak, at an elevation of 6,400 feet, and surrounded by the Angeles National Forest, this camping escape is just what you and your family need.

Spend the day at Jackson Lake, across the street from the campground in the San Gabriel Mountains, to cool off on a hot summer day. Here you can swim, canoe or fish for bluegills and trout.

Hike the 5-mile Bear Canyon Trail, the .5-mile Jackson Lake Interpretive Trail or to the top of Mt. Baden.

Take a scenic drive along the Angeles Crest Highway, and stop at all the overlooks.

Insider Tip: This area is known for having bears, so keep all your food, and anything that gives off a sweet scent, in the bear box that's provided.


Backpacking can be a great experience for families. With minimal access to electronics, and plenty of time together, it's a great opportunity to bond and experience something new at the same time.

Where to Go: East Bank Baker Lake Trail, Washington—Best time is early spring through early fall

What to Do: The low elevation of this trail on Mt. Baker, with little to no elevation gain throughout the trek, makes it perfect for backpacking with kids. The thick forest provides plenty of space for exploration, and well-placed campsites make it easy for your family to rest.

Spend your first night at the Maple Grove Campground, 2.5 miles from the trailhead, and explore nearby trails for the rest of the day.

Your next stop is 4.5 miles from the trailhead: Noisy Creek Campground. Located on a peninsula on Bear Lake, this is the perfect place to cool off and rest for the night.

Crawl out of your tent early enough to catch the sunrise over Baker Lake and fuel up before your trip back.

Insider Tip: This is a dog-friendly trail, so bring the whole family—dog and all.


Leave your tent in the garage; instead, pack up the RV and head to the mountain for a relaxing retreat with all the luxuries of home. But, don't forget to bring your hiking boots and firewood because you won't be spending much time inside your cozy rig.

Where to Go: Scout Mountain Campground, Idaho—Open May to November

What to Do: This small campground provides one of the most scenic mountain vacations. Located in the Bannock Mountain Range, at 6,900 feet, you'll enjoy views of the surrounding mountain landscape as you trek along local trails. With only 23 other sites, you're sure to have a peaceful stay on this thickly forested mountainside.

Walk the scenic Scout Mountain Nature Trail, which loops the campground. Along the way, stop at the overlooks for photo-worthy views.

Bring your binoculars and look for a variety of bird species including the Western Scrub-Jay, Juniper Titmouse, the Mountain Bluebird and more.

Take a trip to the Cherry Springs Nature Area, less than 6 miles from the campground, where you can fish, hike, or just enjoy a picnic lunch.

Insider Tip: There are no hookups or dumps at this mountain campground, but there's a waste station in the town of Pocatello, where the campground is located.

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  • About the Author

    Jessica Sanders

    Jessica Sanders is the former online editor for ReserveAmerica.com. After many years of camping and hiking in the Northeast, she's exploring what the West has to offer and sharing all of her knowledge with you. She's a s'mores master, campsite connoisseur, writer, runner and lover of all things outdoors. Follow her on Google+

    Jessica Sanders is the former online editor for ReserveAmerica.com. After many years of camping and hiking in the Northeast, she's exploring what the West has to offer and sharing all of her knowledge with you. She's a s'mores master, campsite connoisseur, writer, runner and lover of all things outdoors. Follow her on Google+

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