Every National Park Campsite Suitable for
Vandwelling
or RVing

an rv parked beneath a starry sky in a national park

By

Ken Burns, the PBS documentarian, says that our national parks are America’s best idea, and we tend to agree with him.

While there are plenty of beautiful places to explore outside of the official National Park System, they’re certainly a great place to get started, particularly if you can swing a campsite (or backcountry road) to call your own, putting you right in the mix and dodging the entry lines.

To that end, we’ve compiled a list of every single unit in the NPS that provides camping suitable for at least a van, and often an RV. That means the actual national parks themselves, as well as national monument, lakeshores, seashores, rivers…if it’s run by the national park system, it’s in this article.

Well, except for national recreation areas. Why not? These are almost always focused around a reservoir, which requires a dam. In our opinion, they’re the exact opposite of a national park–they’re man’s attempt to tame nature and exploit it for his own profit, rather than preserve it for generations to come.

Also, we’re only including official campgrounds. Many of the national parks not on this list may have private RV parks, or even state parks, national forest camping or BLM land nearby. We recommend checking Campendium.com to see what’s available.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive in!

Note: Use the filters above to sort out your favorite types of campgrounds, whether you want good cell service or none, need space for an RV, electric hookups or just want to make a reservations.

National Parks of Alabama with Camping

For the Natchez Trace, see Mississippi.

Aside from housing a few miles of the Natchez Trace, Alabama comes up short as far as national park camping suitable for vans and RVs go. As you can see right off the bat, not every state in the US has official national park camping, but we list those that don’t near the end of this article.

That doesn’t mean Alabama doesn’t offer anything in the way of camping, though. Check out Alabama’s State Parks.

National Parks of Alaska with Camping

Let’s be honest, nearly every ounce of Alaska is a national park. The state rivals nirvana when it comes to nature seekers after complete solitude, the trials of the nature world and wide, wide open spaces. While few of the 24 national park units in the state offer camping, should you seek the raw and gorgeous, there’s no need to go registering at a ranger station. Alaska has it all in abundance.

Denali National Park & Preserve

Campground Page on NPS.gov

When I was six, my uncle drove me up what was then still Mt. McKinley. I recall looking out the window of my seat in shotgun thinking, “Well, this is it. Nice place to die I guess.” Denali is, frankly, the epitome of what our national parks are about: big, pristine and to be feared. If you make it up there in your van (or RV), let us know. We’d love to tag along.

Riley Creek Campground

Savage River Campground

Teklanika River Campground

Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve

While there are no designated campgrounds, the park and preserve do permit dispersed “backcountry” camping, which may be accessible by van or RV. Contact the park directly for more information.

National Parks of Arizona with Camping

Your grandma came here to get away from her arthritis. You might be more interested in the plethora of canyons, mountains and absurdly unique landscapes the state has to offer. Few places offer the ability to toss a snowball in the morning and still lounge around comfortably in your skivvies later that evening like Arizona. Skip Phoenix and head for the state’s assortment of cacti forests and million year old geological formations.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Cottonwood Campground

Chiricahua National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Bonita Canyon Campground

Grand Canyon National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Desert View Campground

Fire Point Campground

Mather Campground

North Rim Campground

Point Sublime Campground

Trailer Village Campground

Navajo National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Canyon View Campground

Sunset View Campground

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Twin Peaks Campground

Alamo Campground

National Parks of Arkansas with Camping

A wild and scenic river is calling, and whether you want to raft like a champion bullrider or laze riverside with your campfire and a six pack, Arkansas isn’t looking to come up short on amenities. Particularly for you vandwelling types, a slice of peace and quiet is available in a manner often reserved only for the backpacking types.

Buffalo National River

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Steel Creek Campground

Kyles Landing Campground

Erbie Campground

Ozark Campground

Carver Campground

Tyler Bend Campground

Spring Creek Campground

Buffalo Point Campground

Rush Campground

National Parks of California with Camping

C’mon, it’s California. From the dryest, lowest point in North America to the tallest trees in the world, the Golden State has it all. Seriously. The oldest living organisms on earth exist here. The tallest, and biggest, too. (They’re trees, FYI.)

From the Mojave Desert to Lassen Volcanic National Park, the Redwoods to Devils Postpile, you don’t need to be a long-haired surfer or some free climbing wildman to enjoy everything this massive, diverse state has to offer…though if you are, damn, more power to you!

Castle Mountains National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Hole in the Wall Campground

Mid Hills Campground

Death Valley National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Furnace Creek Campground

Sunset Campground

Texas Springs Campground

Stovepipe Wells Campground

Mesquite Spring Campground

Emigrant Campground

Wildrose Campground

Thorndike Campground

Mahogany Flat Campground

Devils Postpile National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Devils Postpile Campground

Joshua Tree National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Black Rock Canyon Campground

Belle Campground

Cottonwood Campground

Hidden Valley Campground

Indian Cove Campground

Jumbo Rocks Campground

Ryan Campground

White Tank Campground

Kings Canyon National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Azalea Campground

Sunset Campground

Crystal Springs Campground

Sentinel Campground

Sheep Creek Campground

Moraine Campground

Lava Beds National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Indian Well Campground

Mojave National Preserve

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Hole-in-the-Wall Campground

Mid Hills Campground

Roadside Camping

Pinnacles National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Pinnacles Campground

Redwood National & State Parks

There are no official “national park” campgrounds in Redwood National & State Parks. All of the campgrounds are state parks. Since the national and state parks operate largely as an entity in solidarity, we’ll list the state park campgrounds here.

Elk Prairie Campground

Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

Jedediah Smith Campground

Mill Creek Campground

Sequoia National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Dorst Creek Campground

Lodgepole Campground

Buckeye Flat Campground

Potwisha Campground

South Fork Campground

Atwell Mill Campground

Cold Springs Campground

Yosemite National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Bridalveil Creek Campground

Crane Flat Campground

Hodgdon Meadow Campground

Pines Campgrounds

Porcupine Flat Campground

Tamarack Flat Campground

Tuolumne Meadows Campground

Wawona Campground

White Wolf Campground

Yosemite Creek Campground

Backcountry Camping

National Parks of Colorado with Camping

Why was Colorado the first state to legalize weed? Because it’s full of hippies sitting on their asses all day? Doubtful. This state is the perfect blend of America, from rural sensibility to liberal persuasion, small town gusto to deep forest silence. Whether you’re looking for mountains wearing a snowy hat or sand dunes for miles, to toss your line into a slow spot in the river or carve out a fresh puree of powder, Colorado is every good thing you may have heard and two or three state’s worth of more.

Colorado National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Saddlehorn Campground

Dinosaur National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Echo Park Campground

Gates of Lodore Campground

Green River Campground

Split Mountain Campground

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Piñon Flats Campground

Hovenweep National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Hovenweep Campground

Mesa Verde National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Morefield Campground

Rocky Mountain National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Aspenglen Campground

Glacier Basin Campground

Moraine Park Campground

Timber Creek Campground

National Parks of District of Columbia with Camping

For Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, see Maryland.

If you came to D.C. looking for the natural world, well, we’re sorry to say you’re about two baker’s dozens worth of presidents away from that. Sorry. 🙁

National Parks of Florida with Camping

We’ve found Florida to be a mixed bag of blenders. The state parks are crazy beautiful, and usually impossible to get into during anything resembling the desirable seasion. We tackle our favorite places to stay in the Sunshine State elsewhere, but should luck be on your side, or you’re willing to make a reservation, the state has some gorgeous national parks.

Big Cypress

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Bear Island Campground

Burns Lake Campground

Gator Head Campground

Midway Campground

Mitchell Landing Campground

Monument Lake Campground

Pink Jeep Campground

Everglades National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Flamingo Campground

Long Pine Key Campground

National Parks of Hawaii with Camping

So, you managed to get your van or RV out here, eh? How’d you do that? Nevermind, it’s not pertinent. The good news? A good deal of camping–in the national parks of Hawai’i and otherwise–is free!

Haleakalā National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Kīpahulu Campground

Hosmer Grove Campground

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Kulanaokuaiki

Nāmakanipaio

National Parks of Idaho with Camping

Idaho is like Alaska–wild, less visited, and full of natural wonders–but you don’t have to take a dirt road for hundreds of miles to get there. Just look at the creative names of its national parks. Even if you can’t score a spot in one of the following, the entire state is practically a free for all when it comes to getting lost in the good stuff.

City of Rocks National Reserve

Campground Page on NPS.gov

City of Rocks Campground

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Lava Flow Campground

National Parks of Kentucky with Camping

Home to the biggest known cave in the world, and the original passage to what was considered by Colonial America as “Out West”, Kentucky has more to offer than the stereotypes we build up in our minds. Bluegrass is the best color anyway, right?

Cumberland Gap National Historic Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Wilderness Road Campground

Mammoth Cave National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Houchin Ferry Campground

Mammoth Cave Campground

National Parks of Maine with Camping

For those of you obsessed with the west but trapped east of the Mississip’, Maine is like that great sunset roadtrip, but without the endless freeway miles spent wondering when the Great Plains will end. While Acadia is the state’s only national park unit with official NPS camping, we doubt you’ll be disappointed once you start exploring the islands.

Acadia National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Blackwoods Campground

Seawall Campground

Schoodic Woods Campground

National Parks of Maryland with Camping

From feral horses roaming an island seashore to a little campground just outside of our nation’s capitol, Maryland has more to offer than just some initial equal to a popular green soda drink. While you’re in the vicinity, be sure to look up the sixteen or so national historic sites, shrines and parks dating back to the beginnings of these United States of America.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Bayside Campground

Oceanside Campground

Catoctin Mountain

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Owens Creek Campground

Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Fifteen Mile Creek Campground

McCoys Ferry Campground

Spring Gap Campground

Greenbelt Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Greenbelt Park Campground

Two additional campgrounds provide tent camping only, and while the parking lots for these facilities are nearby, sleeping in vehicles is strictly prohibited.

National Parks of Michigan with Camping

We have only one thing to say about Michigan: it rocks. From national seashores to the birthplace of the vehicles that started this whole full-time RVing and vanlife movement, the state is more than maybe anyone thinks when the idea of “Michigan” comes to mind. Not to mention, it’s a helluva way to escape the doldrum that is Interstate 80/90 through the Midwest.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Hurricane River Campground

Little Beaver Campground

Rhody Creek Campground

Twelvemile Campground

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Campground Page on NPS.gov

D.H. Day Campground

Platte River Campground

National Parks of Mississippi with Camping

The Natchez Trace originates here, scooting you from one of the country’s most unique cultures all the way to the home of country music. Have a go.

Natchez Trace Parkway

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Rocky Springs Campground

Jeff Busby Campground

Meriwether Lewis Campground

National Parks of Missouri with Camping

The Ozark Scenic Riverways’ campgrounds are easily one of the most overlooked natural areas back east, and very well may prove to be a vandweller’s dream.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Alley Spring Campground

Big Spring Campground

Powder Mill Campground (Owl’s Bend)

Pulltite Campground

Round Spring Campground

Two Rivers Campground

Backcountry Campsites

National Parks of Montana with Camping

When you see a fellow in a cowboy hat in Montana, you can believe he’s not some country star or hipster trying to look the part. This is Big Sky Country and home to a slice of Yellowstone, a place where people don’t hope wolves will return to their natural habitat, they shoot them. Despite that (depending on your viewpoint), it’s home to what we think is the absolutely quintessential national park, Glacier itself. Go to the sun, and judge for yourself.

Glacier National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Apgar Campground

Avalanche Campground

Bowman Lake Campground

Cut Bank Campground

Fish Creek Campground

Kintla Lake Campground

Logging Creek Campground

Many Glacier Campground

Quartz CreekCampground

Rising Sun Campground

Sprague Creek Campground

St. Mary Campground

Two Medicine Campground

National Parks of Nevada with Camping

This is an endlessly empty state. No wonder they keep dead aliens here. From US-50, the “Loneliest Road”, to a national park that tends to be so shrouded in mystery even the clouds don’t know how to leave, Nevada is our pick for closest thing to Mars you’ll ever drive to on Earth.

Great Basin National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Baker Creek Campground

Grey Cliffs Campground

Lower Lehman Campground

Snake Creek Road

Strawberry Creek Campground

Upper Legman Campground

Wheeler Peak Campground

National Parks of New Mexico with Camping

Some folks look at New Mexico as a drive-thru, another obstacle in the way to the warm weather of Arizona’s winters. We know better. With one of the best deals on state parks around, tons of national forestland and some of the hippy dippiest towns in the nation, NM is just waiting for those with a lean nearly knocked over toward the mystic.

Bandelier National Monument

Juniper Family Campground

Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Gallo Campground

El Malpais National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

While there is no official campground, El Malpais does permit dispersed, primitive camping throughout the park, which requires a high clearance vehicle to access.

El Morro National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

El Morro National Monument Campground

National Parks of North Carolina with Camping

A state so nice, they had to divide it, North Carolina is home to everything from Moonshine to craft beers, the first flight of mankind along the shores of the Atlantic and the most visited national park in these United States. For our money, we say start in Asheville, NC and take the Blue Ridge Parkway all the slow way to the Smokies. Don’t be surprised if the mileage and the hours don’t add up though, besides the winding road, the number of pull outs with layered purple mountains majesty are innumerable.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Otter Creek Campground (Virginia)

Peaks of Otter Campground (Virginia)

Rocky Knob Campground (Virginia)

Doughton Park Campground

Julian Price Campground

Linville Falls Campground

Crabtree Falls Campground

Mount Pisgah Campground

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Oregon Inlet Campground

Cape Point Campground

Frisco Campground

Ocracoke Campground

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Primitive Beach Camping

National Parks of North Dakota with Camping

To far north for most folks to venture, and just far enough south of Canada to keep the summers tolerable, this is another one of those gems that–should you dedicate a summer’s month or two towards–will never leave you disappointed.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Cottonwood Campground

Juniper Campground

National Parks of Oregon with Camping

Without giving away the entire plot line, when it comes to “which is the best state in the USA?” the answer is, hands down, Oregon. Go and find out for yourself why exactly that is.

Crater Lake National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Lost Creek Campground

Mazama Campground

Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Cave Creek Campground

National Parks of South Dakota with Camping

A national forest of national park proportions, history ranging from gunslinging sheriffs to tragic native displacement, this state has enough to offer to fill a lifetime. Aside from the simple pleasures of grandiose mountain lakes and scenic drives to break the glasses right off your nose, we’d highly recommend you find yourself a slice of the native population–the true natives–and have a long, slow talk about what had to happen for South Dakota to become a state.

Start with the question, “What’s ‘Dakota’ mean anyway?”

Badlands National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Cedar Pass Campground

Sage Creek Campground

Wind Cave National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Elk Mountain Campground

National Parks of Tennessee with Camping

The Great Smoky Mountains end here, and country music cracked open its egg here as well. Float.

Note: For Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, see Kentucky.
For the Natchez Trace, see Mississippi.

Obed Wild & Scenic River

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Obed Campground

National Parks of Texas with Camping

There ain’t nothing freer than a Texan belt buckle stuck to the spur of a wild mustang as it runs into the sunset, leaving its poorly trained rider behind to die in the desert. And by that, we mean that Texans believe they’re okay to do as they please. Certainly no longer a part of Mexico, but not quite a full fledged member of the USA, this state is home to some of the wildest bunch of free thinkers–and not always the liberal type, thankfully–you’ll ever meet.

From the canyons of the border to big mountains and Gulf coast waves a-lapping, Texas swears its the biggest, the best, and sometimes it damn well lives up to that self-proclaimed reputation.

Big Bend National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Chisos Basin Campground

Cottonwood Campground

Rio Grande Village Campground

Rio Grande Village RV Campground

Backcountry Roadside Camping

Big Thicket National Preserve

Campground Page on NPS.gov

There are no official, developed campgrounds in Big Thicket, but primitive camping is allowed in various places throughout the park. Call ahead to see if this would accommodate your particular RV, or if van access is available.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Dog Canyon Campground

Pine Springs Campground

Padre Island National Seashore

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Bird Island Basin

Malaquite Campground

North Beach

South Beach

Yarborough

National Parks of Utah with Camping

If we had a year to kill, a 4×4 vehicle with a decent heater and could only choose one state, Utah’s Mighty Five–and the plethora of monuments and BLM land between–would be our playground. While the state may have a reputation for some dodgy religion (aren’t they all?) and weak alcohol, you can believe it more than makes up for it when it comes to grandiose wide open spaces with some of the most surreal rock formations you’ll ever lay witness to, dear brother.

Note: For Dinosaur National Monument and Hovenweep National Monument, see Colorado.Hovenweep National Monument

Arches National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Devils Garden Campground

Bryce Canyon National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

North Campground

Sunset Campground

Canyonlands National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Squaw Flat (Needles) Campground

Willow Flat (Island in the Sky) Campground

Capitol Reef National Park

View on NPS.gov

Fruita Campground

Cathedral Valley Campground

Cedar Mesa Campground

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Point Supreme Campground

Natural Bridges National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Natural Bridges Campground

Zion National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Lava Point Campground

South Campground

Watchman Campground

National Parks of Virginia with Camping

Something about Virginia’s national parks feel a bit like a consolation prize. Way to snag that participation trophy, oh…sorry…your dad’s the capitol of the nation? Still, who doesn’t want to careen along Skyline Drive at some point in their life, right?

Note: for the Blue Ridge Parkway, see North Carolina.
Note: For Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, see Kentucky.

Prince William Forest Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Oak Ridge Campground

Prince William Forest RV Campground

Shenandoah National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Big Meadows Campground

Lewis Campground

Loft Mountain Campground

Mathews Arm Campground

National Parks of Washington with Camping

Let’s not beat around the bush here, the State of Washington is fabulous. Rainy, sure, but that’s a fool’s perspective. Washington has wildfire prone deserts, paradise cliff-laden beaches and glacial till spilling mountains all within a few hours’ drive of one another. Do this state, you won’t be disappointed. Maybe skip North Cascades, though, unless you’re ready to ditch your van/RV and get your hike on.

Mount Rainier National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Cougar Rock Campground

Ohanapecosh

White River Campground

Olympic National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Elwha Campground

This campground is closed indefinitely due to flood damage.

Fairholme Campground

Graves Creek Campground

Heart O’ the Hills Campground

Hoh Campground

Kalaloch Campground

Mora Campground

North Fork Campground

Ozette Campground

Sol Duc Campground

Staircase Campground

South Beach Campground

Queets Campground

National Parks of West Virginia with Camping

For Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, see Maryland.

Hands down, WV is our favorite state this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t believe us, or don’t know why, we won’t blame you…but, you can’t say we didn’t clue you in.

New River Gorge National River

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Army Camp

Glade Creek Campground

Grandview Sandbar Campground

Stone Cliff Beach

War Ridge Campground (Backus Mountain)

Brooklyn

Thayer

National Parks of Wyoming with Camping

Say you prefer mountains to people. Maybe your idea of a weekend getaway is driving through buttes (they pronounce it like your backend here) and endless rocky empty landscapes. Yeah? Dig the idea of going to Yellowstone? Wyoming’s got that. We’d recommend heading south to the Tetons though.

Yeah, the Tetons. Pretty sure that ranks #1 in our book of “Best National Parks.”

Devils Tower National Monument

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Belle Fourche River Campground

Grand Teton National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Colter Bay Village Campground

Gros Ventre Campground

Headwaters Lodge & RV Sites

Lizard Creek Campground

Signal Mountain Campground

Boondocking

Yellowstone National Park

Campground Page on NPS.gov

Bridge Bay Campground

Canyon Campground

Fishing Bridge RV Park

Grant Campground

Indian Creek Campground

Lewis Lake Campground

Madison Campground

Mammoth Campground

Norris Campground

Pebble Creek Campground

Slough Creek Campground

Tower Fall Campground

States with No National Park Camping

As far as we can tell, the following states don’t have any national park units (aside from perhaps national recreation areas, see above) with camping. Are we wrong?

Thanks to the folks who designed the icons used in this article, including the RV by Martin Lebreton, tents by Oksana Latysheva, the reservations ticket by Thengakola from the Noun Project, the seasons icon by Bakunetsu Kaito, the US map by Pumpkin Juice, ranger hat by Loren Klein, camping icon by Dolly Holmes and the electric plug icon by Bernar Novalyi. You guys rock!end of article