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Best National Parks to Pitch a Tent
Acadia National Park, Maine
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Home to the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast, Cadillac Mountain, this national park is geologically diverse, with tall peaks, ocean shoreline, woodlands and lakes.
Active campers should pitch a tent at Seawall Campground. Located on the western side of Mount Desert Island, the peaceful, wooded sites are just 10 minutes from the ocean, .3 miles from the beautiful Wonderland Trail, a 1.4-mile loop, and .7 miles from the Ship Harbor Nature Trail.
Glacier National Park, Montana
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Looming snow-capped mountains command respect in this national park. There are more than one million acres of land to explore, which provide plenty of hiking opportunities. Don't leave without hiking the Highline Loop, a gorgeous trail filled with wildflowers, wildlife and unforgettable views.
There are 13 campgrounds, but only three of them accept reservations. Pitch a tent at Fish Creek campground for shady campsites with plenty of privacy and stunning views of Lake McDonald.
Olympic National Park, Washington
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Calm lakes and towering mountain peaks call to outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels. And, with 16 campgrounds, there's more than enough room for you to pitch a tent. For a unique stay, reserve your spot at Hoh Campground. Giant trees and rainforest-like geography set this camping spot apart from the others. Even cooler is the herd of Roosevelt elk that hang out near the campsite.
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
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Dark blue waters, surrounded by lush greenery takes your breath away as you arrive by boat—the only way to get in. Note: Inquire with surrounding resorts for public boat transportation. If you travel directly from one of the three visitor centers, you need your own boat to get there.
If you don't want to pile all your camping gear in a boat, there are drive-in campgrounds just outside of the park. These peaceful, primitive sites make it easy to relax and enjoy the view with little to no distractions.
Assateague Island, Maryland
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This beachside national park is actually a barrier island, located in both Virginia and Maryland. However, you can only camp on Maryland's sandy shores. Grab your waterfront site and pitch a tent in the sand. Just footsteps from the water, you can enjoy a sunny day at your site or on the beach, or you can enjoy one of the many sandy hikes found here.
Yosemite National Park, California
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With more than 1,200 miles of serene natural beauty, this national park is an outdoor enthusiast's dream. Try rock climbing and hiking, or throw on your suit and go swimming. Set up camp at Tuolumne Meadows Campground. Located right near the Tuolumne River, and the Glen Aulin Trail, this campground offers a variety of activities within steps from your campsite.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
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Located in the Cascade Mountains, this park is "Like no place on Earth," boasts the National Parks website. The cavernous blue lake, surrounded by rugged cliffs that rise nearly 2,000 feet into the air, make the scene seem surreal. Lay your head at Mazama Campground, just 7 miles from the Crater Lake rim, with quick and easy access to the beautiful Pacific Crest Trail.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
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Ever-changing terrain, ranging from mountain, to desert and river, make this park perfect for a variety of travelers, from anglers and hikers to birders and backpackers. Three designated campgrounds each have their own personalities; Cottonwood is quiet and shady, with sandy campsites. Rio Grande is tucked into a grove of Cottonwood Trees and Chisos Basin is located high in the Chisos Mountains.