9 Must-see Camping Spots

Summer is a time for vacation, adventure and getting outdoors. National Forests provide summer fun for all ages, all types of outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether, you are looking for a great place to camp, hike, fish, kayak, bird watch, ATV ride or just a scenic drive – visit your nearest National Forest. It’s all yours!

 

Illinois

Garden of the Gods Recreation Area

Garden of the Gods Recreation Area features 320 million year old rock formations and cliffs made of sandstone. It has access to Observation Trail, picnic areas and Pharaoh Campground. The Garden of the Gods Observation Trail is a ¼ mile long interpretive trail. It is made of natural flagstone and leads to areas near the bluffs, where there are outstanding views of the Shawnee Hills and the Garden of the Gods Wilderness. 

 

Minnesota

Cass Lake Campground Loop

The Cass Lake Campground is part of the Norway Beach Recreation Area. Located right on the waters of Cass Lake, this campground offers interpretive trails, sandy beaches, a paved biking trail, boat ramps, a reservable picnic shelter and the Norway Beach Visitor Center. It is all nestled among red and white pines. There are firewood and recycling centers as well.

 

Missouri

Bark-K Wrangler Camp

Bark-K Wrangler Camp is where you want to go if you have horses. There are approximately 20 miles of moderately used horseback riding, hiking, and mountain biking trails. You can also ride at nearby Swan Creek, an 8,488 acre area that provides for year-round non-motorized, dispersed-recreation use.  Bar-K facilities include picnic tables, fire rings, full-length pull through parking spurs for stock trailers and towing vehicles, and toilets.


Marble Creek

If you want to dip your feet in the water and splash around while you picnic or camp, Marble Creek is the place you want to go.  This beautiful creek with camp and picnic grounds is located between Fredericktown and Arcadia, Missouri. Marble Creek, rushing 20 miles through the rugged St. Francis Mountains, is named for deposits of attractively colored dolomites which were mined and used in the building trade as “Taum Sauk Marble.” Within the recreation area, you can see the concrete remains of a grist mill dam and building foundation. This dam was the third to be built here and was operated until 1935. This quiet campground and recreation area is the main trailhead for the Marble Creek Section of the Ozark Trail. This 8-mile segment goes to Crane Lake and is open for hiking, equestrian and mountain bike use. Horses are allowed at trailhead, but not within campground or picnic area.

 

New Hampshire

Russell Pond Campground

Located in North Woodstock, New Hampshire 3.7 miles east of Interstate 93, this campground features RV and tent sites along with a beautiful amphitheater with free nature programs on summer Saturday evenings. Campsites are tucked into the hillside overlooking Russell Pond, a popular boating and fishing site (due in part to regular fish stocking by the State Fish and Game Department).

 

Ohio

Burr Oak Cove Campground

Burr Oak Cove Campground on the Athens Ranger District near Glouster, Ohio is a small densely wooded campground on the northwest tip of the Burr Oak Reservoir in Athens County. The campground has 19 camping units, including walk-in sites which offer additional seclusion to the camper looking for solitude.


Wildcat Hollow Trail

Miles of scenic trail wind along ridgetops and stream bottoms venturing through pine plantations, open meadows, and deciduous forests in a hike through the Wayne National Forest’s Wildcat Hollow trail. This popular trail offers five and 15 mile loop trails overlooking a beautiful landscape. It’s a perfect spring destination for wildflower enthusiasts as the Trail is a recommended wildflower viewing area. Bring your binoculars and a tent as dispersed camping is allowed at the Trail and Trailhead. Click here for a printable map of the trail route.

 

Vermont

Hapgood Pond Recreation Area

This area is the site of the first land acquired by the Green Mountain National Forest and has something for everyone. Dust off your tent and camp in a wooded setting, hike the 0.8 mile nature trail, and relax and refresh at two day-use areas. Remember to pack your grill favorites and take advantage of the picnic areas, grill included. If you’re really feeling adventurous, take a dip in the pond, or try your hand at fishing on the wheelchair accessible pier.

 

West Virginia

Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area

Thousands of acres of spectacular views and a plethora of recreation opportunities await you at Monongahela National Forest’s Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. Plan to hike to Spruce Knob Tower, which sits atop the highest peak in West Virginia. While the picturesque Seneca Rocks rise nearly 900 feet above North Fork River. Plan a picnic and pack your tent to enjoy the view at the Seneca Rocks picnic area and Seneca shadows campground. And, remember to stop in at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center.