Most national parks offer convenient lodgings in the form of lodges and campers inside the park’s borders. More than 100 campgrounds may be found inside the parks, and almost half of the gardens include lodges for visitors. Most camping reservations can be made in advance at Recreation.gov. However, this varies by park. First-come, first-served availability applies to some of the sites. Nightly rates and other fees vary by park and will be displayed on each park’s website.
The “Plan Your Visit” section of each park’s website is where you’ll discover camping details. Under “Eating & Sleeping,” you’ll find information on where to stay and where to pitch a tent. Most popular campgrounds fill up the day the reservation booking window starts, anywhere from 14 days to 12 months before vacation dates. Make sure to mark your calendar and make bookings as soon as possible.
It’s essential to keep in mind that many national park campgrounds have restricted amenities and small campsites. Depending on your RV size and type, a private park in a gateway city may be the way to go. Many popular national parks now have nearby glamping sites, which is excellent news for families and anybody who wants to find a middle ground between roughing it in the wilderness and staying in a luxurious resort.
Camping and Lodging
You should always prepare for your trip and make reservations as early as possible, whether in a hotel/lodge or a campground. Accommodations inside the parks, such as hotels and campgrounds, are in high demand. Even though hotels outside the parks tend to fill up rapidly around the busiest theme parks, you usually have more time to make travel arrangements. If you want to visit a popular park like Yellowstone, you should book your accommodation well.
Be on the lookout for discounts offered to those who make early purchases. Early or “off-season” visits to adjacent towns and parks may result in discounts. The savings are substantial, and the time of year couldn’t be better because of the fewer tourists. If you decide to wing it and not reserve a hotel room in advance, make a few drive-bys and call around to see if any hotels have rooms available. Choosing from different hotels with available rooms can lead to a price cut. The best way to find the best deal is to shop, check out several accommodations, and then negotiate a discount of at least 5-15%.
Car Camping or Backpacking
Is camping by automobile more your style, or would you rather hike in with your gear? Do you remember the last time you double-checked all of your equipment to ensure it was still in good shape? Tents, backpacks, stoves, and sleeping bags are all susceptible to damage during storage or after being unpacked from a trip. If any of your supplies have to be changed, it’s best to find out well before your trip and make the necessary preparations. It’s not enjoyable to be in the middle of nowhere when you discover that your tent has been converted into a sleeping bag due to a giant tear you failed to spot when packing the car.
Both car camping and backpacking provide unique adventures. Of course, a lot of your backpacking gear will still come in handy at a regular campground, but if you’re thinking about giving backpacking a shot but have car camping gear, you might want to rethink your strategy. Your muscles and joints will always be angry with you. To be able to hike for extended periods, you’ll need to take significantly less food and gear. When traveling by automobile to your campsite, you can bring a much wider variety of equipment. While some people may believe that the only restriction on their vehicle camping adventure is the available room, others prefer to keep things simple. Keeping things simple might make cleanup faster and less of a hassle. Instead of using sleeping pads, use a cot for more comfort.
Options abound for tents to use while camping. All types of tents, from those suitable for three seasons to those suitable for four, from tents for families to tents for one, and from bivies to solo tents. Different types of tents have unique amenities. Choose a tent with an extended cover if you want to keep your shoes inside and avoid bringing them inside. Consider adding a Vestibule to your setup as well. In addition, think about lofts to store your small belongings out of the way for those early mornings when you have to fuss out of bed. You can’t imagine your frustration if you stepped on your toothpaste before you’d had your morning coffee. These well-known companies have thought of everything you need for a successful camping or backpacking trip, so no need to worry about it.
A screen room or house is something to consider bringing to buggy destinations like Arches National Park. It may seem overkill but trust me when I say that you’ll have a much better time sitting out and chatting with your pals about the day’s hiking excursion if you don’t have to worry about being eaten alive. I’ve done that before and intend to do it again on future camping trips to Arches.
Locations for Camping
There are campgrounds in some of the National Park Service’s administered locations, but not all of them. For instance, the several historical places managed by the National Park Service, such as Fort Frederica National Monument in Georgia, Arkansas Post National Memorial in Arkansas, and Tonto National Monument in Arizona, do not have any built camping facilities. In a similar vein, units of the National Park Service that are located in metropolitan areas typically do not offer camping amenities. The majority of the country’s most well-known national parks, such as Yosemite National Park in California, Yellowstone National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Bend National Park in Texas, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, Sequoia National Park in California, Glacier National Park in Montana, and Death Valley National Park in California and Nevada, all have multiple campgrounds within their boundaries. Even many of the smaller park units, such as Dinosaur National Monument (in Colorado and Utah), Colorado National Monument (in Colorado), Joshua Tree National Park (in California), and Lava Beds National Monument (in California), each has at least one built campground.