For a cheap and fun summer getaway, try a national park camping vacation. Rules and fees for camping vary by location and popular sites can fill up early, so to avoid disappointment, you’ll need to do some advance research.
First, go to the National Park Service website (NPS) and select a park from the list. Then click “Plan your visit,” followed by “Things to do,” and finally “Campgrounds.” In this section you’ll find information about what campsites are available and how to book. Be sure to read the details about what facilities, types of hook ups, and cooking areas are available, as well as minimum- or maximum-stay requirements and other rules.
Many of the more popular NPS campgrounds can be (and in peak months, will most likely be) reserved in advance. Generally, park websites note which months are busiest, so it’s easy to figure when you need to book extra early. In the past, a variety of different entities handled national park campsite bookings—which was quite confusing—but now one site, Recreation.gov, handles all the reservations for federal campgrounds. New booking windows for all parks open up six months in advance, except Yosemite, which opens five months out.
Some NPS-operated campgrounds do not take advance reservations and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. In this case, you’ll simply need to arrive early in the morning to ensure a spot.
Have a great travel tip you’d like to share? Send your insider travel strategies to email@example.com.
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
Top Fares From
Today's Top Travel Deals
Brought to you by ShermansTravel
New Zealand: 13-Night, 5-City Vacation w/Air,...
Down Under Answersvacation $6199+
Wisconsin Dells Water Park Resort w/Meals,...
Rome to Istanbul: Luxe, 11-Night Mediterranean...
Oceania Cruisescruise $3999+