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Breathtaking campgrounds to visit in the U.S.

A hiker relaxes with an expansive view in

A hiker relaxes with an expansive view in Crater Lake National Park, Ore. Credit: Alamy / Kris Wiktor

Across the country there is beautiful scenery with scenic campgrounds throughout, but which have the best views? Below, you'll find the most breathtaking campgrounds in America.

Cranberry Lake Campground

Cranberry Lake, New York

OPEN May 17 to Oct. 14


COST $20 per night; out of state residents surcharge additional $5 per night. Utility hookups available.

Cranberry Lake is one of the largest remote lakes in the Adirondacks, so it is no wonder the beauty is off the charts. Civilization has barely encroached upon this pristine wilderness, so campers enjoy more solitude than usually found at established campgrounds. Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty to do with dozens of trails in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area that wind through the surrounding forest, and the lake is stocked with trout for fisherman. It isn't a small campground with more than 170 sites. Imagine the sound of softly rolling lake waves, creating the ultimate sound machine to help you drift off to sleep at night.

Lafayette Place Campground

Franconia Notch State Park, Franconia, New Hampshire

OPEN year-round with peak season mid-May to mid-October


COST $25 per night. No utility hookups.

If you like drama, look no farther than the White Mountains in Franconia Notch State Park. The Franconia Notch Recreation Path and the Pemi Trail crisscross through the campground, so there is easy access to moderate hiking routes, and the more ambitious can tackle portions of the Appalachian Trail -- which also runs through the notch. A few wooded campsites sit along the banks of the Pemigewasset River, reflecting dappled light throughout the campground. Free interpretive programs are offered for kids wanting to learn more about the surrounding environment. Keep your eyes peeled: hawks and falcons are frequent visitors in the skies above. 

Piñon Flats Campground

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in Mosca, Colorado

OPEN April 1 to Oct. 30

INFO Make reservations at

COST $20 per night. No utility hookups.

Bordered by massive sand dunes, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Medano Creek, Piñon Flats is one of the more topographically varied campgrounds in the United States. The dunes for which Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is named are less than a mile away, so camp visitors can splash in the creek to escape the heat of the day. At night, traipse out on the sand dunes and view one of the most epic star gazing experiences on the planet at this newly named International Dark Sky Park. For those willing to add some sweat to their day, the trek to Star Dune (the highest sand dune in North America at 750 feet) is a calf-burning must.

North Rim Campground

Grand Canyon National Park in North Rim, Arizona

OPEN May 15 to Oct. 31

INFO Reservations at

COST $18 to $25 per night. No utility hookups.

Dodge the crowds that swarm the South Rim of the second most-visited park in the country and head to the quieter North Rim. It is higher in elevation (roughly 8,300 feet) so the weather is cooler and the air noticeably thinner, but the relative solitude more than makes up for the brisk evenings. Campsites are scattered throughout ponderosa pines. The entire campground borders Transept Canyon, an offshoot to the main attraction, so epic views of canyons are inescapable. For the best panoramas, try to snag campsites 23 to 26. Note: Because of a water main break, the campground has water restrictions.

Lost Creek Campground

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

OPEN Early July to mid-October

INFO Reservations: First come, first served

COST $5 per night. No utility hookups.

To be clear, the scene stealer of this quiet-and-rustic campground is the deep blue water of nearby Crater Lake, a nearly 2000-foot-deep caldera that is among the deepest in the world. It was formed by the collapse of Mount Mazama more than 4000 years ago. The lake is  fed by rain and snowmelt so the water is  clear. But, for those who want to return to a tents-only home base tucked into old growth Douglas fir and Hemlock trees, Lost Creek is a great bet. This hidden gem doesn't have running water (vault toilets only), but the sites are private and peaceful. Besides, who needs amenities when you have world-class scenery right outside the tent?

Spencer Spit State Park

Lopez Island, Washington

OPEN year-round

INFO Reservations:at

COST $20 to $45, depending on the time of year. No utility hookups.

This stunner of a campground is situated in the 138-acre marine park in Lopez Sound. The entire parks sits on a sand spit that wraps around a saltchuck  lagoon so views of the water abound from all directions. Families love the campgrounds thanks to its access to crabbing, clamming, saltwater fishing, and swimming. The San Juan Islands host a large contingent of bald eagles as well as dozens of shorebirds, so the wildlife viewing is top shelf. BONUS This campground is on one of the few car-accessible islands in the San Juans.

Curry Hammock State Park Campground

Florida Keys, Florida

OPEN year-round


COST $36 plus a nonrefundable $6.70 reservation fee. Florida residents above the age of 65 are eligible for a 50 percent discount on some sites. Utility hookups available.

Secluded, picturesque beach camping is ideal but in reality, it is tough to find. That is why Curry Hammock Campground is special. Tucked away within the largest uninhabited stretch of land (1,000 acres) between Key Largo and Big Pine Key, Curry Hammock is the perfect campground to admire Earth in her rawest form. Campers can explore mangrove swamps, sea-grass beds and numerous wetlands, all while surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. The park itself is on a migration route and a highlighted stop on the Florida Birding Trail, so eagles and hawks are common sights. If you have the gumption, set an early alarm to watch sunrise. The campground faces the Atlantic Ocean, so the morning views are certainly worth the extra cup of coffee.

White Tank Campground

Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, California

OPEN year-round

INFO Reservations: First come, first served only

COST $15 per night. No utility hookups.

White Tank Campground is unlike any other on this list thanks to the barren desert found in Joshua Tree. But, the hot-and-sandy environment makes this campsite feel otherworldly. Nestled among gigantic boulders, it is a popular spot with rock climbers, but hiking and biking are available too. More notable, however, is the night sky viewing. White Tank is located near the darkest corner of the park, making the star show a life-list experience for anyone. NOTE There is no water, so campers must bring what they need. When in doubt, pack extra; dehydration is a risk in the desert.

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