The 10 Most-Visited Campgrounds In The United States

Americans love to go camping. From our early days as settlers, we've been pitching tents and cooking food over campfires. However, camping recreationally did not really begin until the early 20th century. With the founding of the National Parks and increased ability to travel by car or railroad, Americans began to really take advantage of all the breathtaking campsites the country had to offer.

It is no different today. According to The Dyrt's 2023 Camping Report, the camping craze brought on by the pandemic is at an all-time high. It is now five times harder to book a campsite than it was in 2019. This is no easy feat, seeing as IBIS World states that there are over 15,000 campgrounds and RV parks in the United States.

Still, some sites are more coveted than others. One thing to note about all of these upcoming campgrounds is that they are either located in one of the National Parks or have stunning scenery. You will need to be vigilant and keep your eyes peeled for openings because these 10 campgrounds don't have vacancies for long.

Slough Creek Campground, Wyoming

If you thought booking a room at The Plaza in New York City was exclusive, you've clearly never tried reserving a campsite at Slough Creek Campground. The single most difficult campsite to book in the entire country, Slough Creek sits in the heart of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The oldest and most well-known of all the National Parks, Yellowstone is an exceptionally popular destination, routinely drawing upwards of 3 million visitors per year, per Statista.

One of the reasons Slough Creek is so difficult to book is that there are only 16 sites, tent and RV, available at the campground. Only open from mid-June to the end of September, the site has a fairly short season, which is why early reservations are essential. If you're one of the lucky few to get a spot, hold onto it. Slough Creek is typically booked all year round, making it perhaps the most exclusive campground in the United States.

It's easy to see why. According to the National Park Service, the campground boasts some of the best open sky views in the country, making it perfect for stargazing. It's also one of the most highly trafficked areas for wildlife in the park. If you're lucky, you'll even hear some wolves howling into the night.

Mammoth Campground, Wyoming

Second only to Slough Creek in terms of popularity, Mammoth Campground is another one of Yellowstone's top destinations. Bigger than Slough Creek with over 80 campsites available, Mammoth provides much more opportunity to get a reservation, purely based on the number of sites. This, however, can be both a blessing and a curse. There are lots of sites, but that means more people are going to be looking to book. And book they do. Mammoth is 100% booked year-round, making it very tricky to get your leg in the tent.

Another reason Mammoth is so popular is that it is the only one of Yellowstone's numerous campsites that is actually open all year. This means that for all of you who love camping in the cold, this is the only campsite that's going to be open for you to do so. Located just 5 miles from the park's north entrance, Mammoth can accommodate tents and reasonably sized RVs and trailers.

The locations you can access at Mammoth cannot be beat. You're close by to the Mammoth Hot Springs, plus numerous opportunities for fishing and hiking. There is plenty of shade under the pine canopy, which is welcome in the heat of summer. Wildlife is also never far away, with elk and bison routinely being sited.

Seven Points, Tennessee

Located just 10 miles outside Nashville on the shores of the J. Percy Priest Reservoir, Seven Points Campground in Tennessee is a picture-perfect lakeside destination. Though not connected to a National Park, this small campground boasts some of the best lake views in the country. Thanks to the relatively mild year-round water temperatures of the reservoir, Seven Points routinely welcomes millions of visitors during its open season. Some of the recreational activities campers can enjoy include fishing, hunting, hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, and swimming, all within a 15-minute drive of downtown Nashville. 

It's because of its long season, which runs from the beginning of April to the end of October, that Seven Points is booked 99% of the calendar year. With 61 sites to fill, campers certainly have options. They will need to move fast, however, because the sites fill up quickly. Sized for two tents or one medium-sized RV, each site provides plenty of room for individuals, families, or friend groups looking for a relaxing camping trip.

With numerous amenities like BBQ pits, electrical hookups, shelter stations, bathrooms, and even a laundry room, it's easy to see why Seven Points is so popular. Plus, you're allowed a 14-night stay, which is excellent for a campsite.

Fruita Campground, Utah

Situated smack in the middle of the southern Utah desert, Capitol Reef National Park is as remote a location as you are likely to find. Surrounded on all sides by sandstone domes, cliffs, and mile after mile of dramatic desert landscape, Capitol Reef is one of the most scenic desert parks in the country. And seeing as Fruita Campground is Capitol Reef's only developed campsite, it should come as no surprise that the place is booked 97% of the year.

Because of its desert locale, Fruita Campground's 65 sites are open year-round for both tent campers and RV campers. Due to the surge of interest in camping at the National Parks since the pandemic, the sites at Fruita are 100% reservation-based. This was instituted to stop massive lines of traffic from clogging up the roads.

Thanks to its proximity to the Fremont River, Fruita is something of an oasis. There are numerous tree-lined paths and orchards one can explore during their stay. Campers can also access the Waterpocket Fold, a monocline wrinkle in the earth that stretches for over 100 miles. Other recreational opportunities include scenic drives, hikes, and fishing on the Fremont River.

South Campground, Utah

Zion National Park is the oldest and most well-known park in Utah. Established by Congress in 1919, Zion boasts some of the most dramatic landscapes you are likely to find. Giant sandstone cliffs, canyons that stretch for miles, and some of the most breathtaking desert mountain views abound. This nature gives Zion its reputation as Utah's most visited park, and South Campground is the most coveted place to go camping.

All of South Campgrounds' 120 sites, the largest on this list, are booked solid for 97% of the entire year. With a healthy mix of tent and RV sites, campers have an array of options, should they be lucky enough to reserve one. Campers should note that Zion's rainy season lasts from July to September. Monsoons are known to sweep through and drain into the Virgin River, which runs right by the campground. The National Park Service provides updates on the river's height and flow rate. Visiting later in the fall might be your best bet

South Campground has easy access to scenic, riverside trails like Pa'Rus and Watchman, perfect places to hike or cycle. Due to the river's unruly nature, tubing and fishing are not allowed. However, with numerous scenic drives and hikes to access the Park, you won't be too worried about what you can't do.

Piñon Flats Campground, Colorado

Nestled in a gap between forest and mountain in southern Colorado sits the Great Sand Dunes National Park. With a landscape more reminiscent of the Arabian Peninsula than the United States, Great Sand Dunes is a bit of an oddity in Colorado's otherwise mountainous landscape. Piñon Flats Campground provides the best of both desert and peak, which is likely why it's so popular.

With 88 sites, Piñon Flats tends to fill up quickly during the summer season. Booked for 97% of its season, especially when the nearby Medano Creek is at peak flow, Piñon Flats' numerous sites are perfect for tent camping or those with small-to-medium sized RV's or trailers. Thanks to its low tree line, nearly every site has a sweeping view of the surrounding dunes and the mountains beyond.

With the tallest dunes in the country, campers would be amiss if they didn't take advantage of the chance to sand sled or surf. Medano Creek is also excellent for tubing and swimming when it is flowing, with the current being easy enough even for small children to navigate. Stargazing, horseback riding, and an off-road 4WD course are also available within the park.

Upper Coffee Pot, Idaho

There is a story about how this campground got its name. According to Rexburg Online, a fur trapper named George Rea was canoeing down Henry's Fork, a section of the Snake River that winds westward into Idaho from Wyoming. Rea came upon a set of rapids that capsized his boat. All of his gear was washed down the river except for his coffee pot. The rapids are known today as Coffee Pot Rapids, and the nearby campground of Upper Coffee Pot is the most sought-after campground in the entire state.

Like Slough Creek, Upper Coffee Pot has a limited number of spots available. In this case, those 14 spots are filled for 97% of the year. Located within the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Upper Coffee Pot campground is open from May to September. 

Upper Coffee Pot is unique among the campgrounds on this list because it is filled on a first-come-first-serve basis. This is likely one of the reasons it is so popular, but those 14 lucky camping spots can vanish pretty quickly. Those lucky enough to be camping at Upper Coffee Pot have access to fishing, several hiking trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, and interpretive learning areas. The only thing you won't find is a literal coffee pot unless you've brought your own.

Cages Bend, Tennessee

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Cages Bend campground sits on the shores of Old Hickory Lake. One of the Corps most visited destinations, Old Hickory Lake is renowned for its marine recreation like boating, swimming, and especially fishing. In fact, the world record walleye was caught in 1960 in Old Hickory's waters, weighing in at a massive 25 lbs (via Recreation.org). Of course, it also helps that Cages Bend boasts 43 camp spots that have some of the greatest waterfront views in the entire state of Tennessee.

It also helps that the campground is within spitting distance of downtown Nashville. Much like Seven Points campground, Cages Bend's proximity to Nashville is likely part of the reason it is booked for 97% of its season, which runs from the beginning of April to the end of September. Spots are booked by reservation only. 

It's not just fishing and swimming that campers are after when they come to Cages Bend. There are also ample wildlife viewing opportunities. White-tailed deer abound, as do migratory songbirds and other water-dwelling species. Plus, if you're feeling like a night out on the town, Nashville is only a few minutes away. It's the perfect mix of the great outdoors and the city, all wrapped into one package.

Twin Lakes Campground, California

Situated in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains near the town of Mammoth Lakes, Twin Lakes Campground boasts 94 sites, making it the second largest on this list. This is one of the most scenically beautiful campsites in the country, with views of snow-capped Mammoth Mountain and access to the John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, and various bodies of water. 

Hiking, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, cycling, and boating are just some of the other recreational activities campers can take part in at Twin Lakes. As it is located in the heart of California's bear country, food lockers are available for campers to store their meals overnight. The proximity to the town of Mammoth Lakes also means that should the need arise, you can pop over for a quick shop or go out to dinner.

Owing to its high elevation, Twin Lakes is only open from late May to the end of September. Chances of being caught in the snow remain high until mid-June, however. Still, this doesn't stop campers from coming. Twin Lakes boasts a 97% seasonal occupancy rate, making it by far the most sought-after campground in all of California.

Signal Mountain Campground, Wyoming

Heading back to Wyoming to finish out this list, we have Signal Mountain Campground, located in Grand Teton National Park. Second only to Yellowstone in terms of scenic value, the Grand Tetons offer incredibly dramatic mountain views. Signal Mountain Campground is in the heart of the Tetons, with several of the sites at the camp boasting views of Mount Moran and nearby Jackson Lake. Like other campgrounds on this list, Signal Mountain is both tent and RV-friendly and is booked by reservation only.

Those reservations do come in quickly, and the camp has a 97% occupancy rate for the entirety of its season. The scenery is no doubt part of the reason Signal Mountain is so popular, but so too is its proximity to Jackson Lake Lodge. A historically significant building, Jackson Lake Lodge is open to campers for dinner should they feel like dining out instead of eating in. Overall, Signal Mountain is a great place to camp.

You'll be at no loss to find places to go camping in this country. The purpose of this list is to show you the ones people visit the most. If you're looking to go a little off the beaten track, try some other campsites. But if you want the views, the wildlife, and access to some of the best towns in the country, you'll want to get on booking one of these 10 amazing campsites.

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