STATE BY STATE CAMPING SPOT INFORMATION
There are as many places to camp as your imagination can conjure up.
Each state has its own system for locating these spots, and they also have different systems for making reservations. Some do not allow for making reservations ahead, but most do. Many states have campgrounds that allow reservations and ones that do not. Some of these campgrounds have sites set aside on a first come first serve basis.
Reservations are not always necessary, but during peak times at popular spots, not having a site reserved can lead to a really bad situation - especially if camping with kids.
Campsites on federal land is available through the federal system.
We hope these resources assist you in having a great experience in the outdoors!
State-by-State Places to Camp Resources
In Alabama, the state campgrounds are available at https://www.alapark.com/. There are 32 state parks from the north to the south and east to west within the state.
In Alaska, the state park campgrounds are found at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/. Alaska is unique in the fact that so much of the state is undeveloped and under most of the public land is under the stewardship of the federal government. The system is split into eight broad geographic areas within which camping facilities can be found.
Arizona has fifteen great opportunities for camping as of this update. The listing of state parks with camping facilities is http://azstateparks.com/find/f_fac_camping.html. If you need a map listing, look over in the left panel for the link to the map page.
In Arkansas, as of today, there are 52 state parks and 31 of them have camping facilities. The excellent search tool for finding the perfect camping spot is at https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/accommodations.
As you might expect, the state park system in California is big - 279 state parks in total. Not all of them have camping facilities, so to filter through this abundance of camping riches, use their search tool here: http://www.parks.ca.gov/ParkIndex
Colorado is a favorite destination for vacation travelers and has 42 state parks - but as with most state park systems, not all offer camping. As with many of the large western states, much of the camping opportunities are available through the federal system. The state system can be accessed HERE
Moving to the Northeast, Connecticut is a small state and has a correspondingly few number of camping opportunities. Their site, from which you can do some rudimentary research on campsites, is HERE
Delaware is another small Eastern state with few camping options, but they have a nice site for researching the options that you do have. As of this update, there are five options for camping, and reservations and information can be found at here.
Many people visit Florida and incorporate camping as an integral part of their visit, perhaps camping in a facility close to the ocean. Their site is attractive, but in our opinion not as user-friendly as many, even some that are far more rudimentary. Probably their best page for finding your camping spot is the interactive map page HERE. The limitation on this page is that when you select a facility on the map, it may or may not have camping facilities and you might have to click through quite a few until you find the one you are after.
One of the more picturesque states that gets perhaps overlooked by travelers is Georgia, and with 42 different state parks to pitch a tent or set up an RV, there are plenty of options. Their site is excellent, and you can research campsites or make a reservation at https://gastateparks.org/camping
Have a vacation planned to Hawaii? Or are you a resident looking for a weekend get-away? Why not try one of the state parks situated on the islands? Pick an island under the "Camping and Lodging" tab at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/ and find that perfect spot for your outing.
Idaho takes care of camping and lodging reservations at https://idahostateparks.reserveamerica.com/campinghome.page which is handy as many sites are available on federally managed property which is all on the ReserveUSA site. This beautiful state has some of the most outstanding wilderness to be found in the contiguous United States.
A midwestern state that has lots of camping options is Illinois. We only wish that their site for researching sites and making reservations was commensurate with the options available. All the info is at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Parks/Camp/Pages/default.aspx, but you really need to take your time to decipher what is available at each site, with their myriad of codes you need to keep scrolling up the page to check.
Indiana is another state that uses the ReserveUSA system for its campground reservations. You can use the search tool by entering the criteria you are looking to have in a campground, or use their "Search By Map" tool to select the campground by geographic location - then see if the area has what you want. The site is HERE.
Like Indiana, Iowa uses the ReserveUSA system for reservations. It has the same features - a criteria-based search engine and a map-based search feature, all of which can be found HERE
Start your search for Kansas campsites or cabins at http://ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/Reservations. The site provides a list of campgrounds as well as locator map. It also directs visitors with a link to the ReserveUSA site to complete further research and to make reservations if so desired.
31 campgrounds greet visitors or residents of Kentucky. Visit https://parks.ky.gov/camping for a campground list and to make reservations.
Fortunately, Louisiana uses the ReserveUSA site due to the fact that their State Parks website is amongst the worst we have seen. Go HERE and do your research and find a great site and find other valuable info for your trip.
Ouachita Mountains - Oklahoma
Beaver Creek Bridge - South Dakota
Star your campground search for Maine at https://www.maine.gov/dacf/parks/camping/campground_maps.shtml. The map and campground list will get you started, and then click the "Reservation Details" link to move to the stage of actually making a reservation.
Maryland has a very nice and user-friendly site for finding camping options at https://parkreservations.maryland.gov/. They have an excellent criteria based search engine to find just the site you wish to experience.
You can use perhaps the best state search tool at the Massachusetts site. They have brainstormed about every outdoor activity you can think of, including camping of course, and you cn select for which of these you'd like to find in a park. Their excellent site is HERE.
When it comes to convenience and features, Michigan's site is awfully hard to beat. When you are looking for a site, you can search for a date or a certain geographic region or a number of other criteria. Combine this with the wealth of camping opportunities in Michigan, and you have a pretty good thing! Access their site HERE
Minnesota certainly is an outdoors person's dreams, and in keeping with that, they have a ton of great state camping options. There site is very user-friendly an can be found HERE
A state that is often left off the list of must-see destinations is Mississippi, but there are quite a few nice spots to visit - as of this writing, 21 camping areas from which to choose. They have done quite a nice job of setting up their site to make it easy to make your camping reservations...the page is HERE
Missouri has over forty campgrounds offering a wide range of activities and amenities. Some are associated with bodies of water where you can fish or swim. Some are at trout parks where you can enjoy easy fishing for stocked rainbows and browns. A good place to start your search for a campground in the state parks is here. On this page you can see what each park offers for camping and other outdoor activities - then find the tab at the top for reservations and you are on your way to a great trip.
One of our favorite states to camp is Montana. It has a diverse topography, from the eastern plains and hill country, to the majestic mountains for which the state is known, in the west. The state campgrounds are very nice for the most part. We mixed some more remote camping on federal land with some stays in the state campgrounds where showers and other amenities were available. They do their reservations through ReserveUSA at http://montanastateparks.reserveamerica.com/
The Cornhusker (Nebraska) state's state parks camping page sets things up with a locator map divided into 6 regions. Click on the region you wish to camp in, and a list of camping areas will be provided. Then, you need to go through each to decide which has what you want. Nebraska has a wide diversity of options, from the Sandhills in the NW to the plains of the east. Access their state parks camping page HERE.
Nevada has some decent state parks, but a lot of their public land acreage and camping options are on federal land. There are 23 state parks with a variety of facilities. Their site is cumbersome for sure. Here's the best way to use it. Go to http://parks.nv.gov/parks/map, click on a marker for an area you are interested in. Then, when the box pops up on the map with a summary of the area, click the link to the park to get the details.
The state of New Hampshire, is an absolutely beautiful state with some nice camping options. Their site is somewhat unique in that it lists each of the state's campgrounds on its camping page, with a brief summary. Their reservation system then, takes you to ReserveAmerica. The summaries are complete enough to give you a pretty good idea if the area is attractive for your needs. The site is at http://www.nhstateparks.org/Activities/camping/
We love the New Mexico site, and we suggest you visit their site first even though you will ultimately make your reservations on the ReserveAmerica site. Go to http://www.emnrd.state.nm.us/SPD/, poke around and see the excellent info available, then use the "Campsite Reservations" tab at the top to make your selection.
New York, and this will be a surprise for those not familiar with the state, has a wealth of outdoor opportunities - some in true wilderness settings. They have a decent site, but your best bet is probably to go to their ReserveAmerica site right off at http://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com/
There is some truly beautiful country in North Carolina, and if you are going to make reservations for a campsite (and you need to do so!), you had better read carefully the information here. One of our best family memories was a trip to the South Toe River area.
Teddy Roosevelt certainly thought a lot of North Dakota and so do we! Camping here certainly will be a different experience than a trip to the Rocky Mountain west, but if you pick the right season, this state is a real beauty. To get started, visit http://www.parkrec.nd.gov/
There is a lot to do outdoors in Ohio. They use the ReserveAmerica system, and there's plenty of parks from which to choose. The starting place for making your state campground reservations is https://www.reserveohio.com/OhioCampWeb/
The state of Oklahoma may be as varied a state in terms of topography as any in the nation...from plains to desert to mountains to large lakes. In this state you can certainly find a good camping opportunity. While visually attractive, their site is not user friendly for finding a camping spot in a state park! As best as we can tell, in an attempt to not have government compete with private enterprise, when you search their site for camping you get over 400 listings. Very few of these are state parks. The best thing we can suggest is to go to the https://www.travelok.com/things-to-do/advanced page and choose state parks as your criteria. This will limit your choices to state parks. For some inexplicable reason, they do not allow you to search for camping and state parks in the query.
Another state with a state parks site that we feel is a candidate for the country's best, is Oregon. As a test, we used their site to search for a campground with tent campsites, fishing and hiking, and that was reservable. The site immediately produced a map with the 17 areas that matched these criteria. The site offers almost 20 good criteria on which to search and allows you to specify a city and a radius from that city as well. Nice job Oregon!!! Visit https://stateparks.oregon.gov/index.cfm?do=visit.dsp_find to get started finding a special camping spot in this beautiful state.
Pennsylvania has a lot of choices for the camper with 90 state park campgrounds as of this writing in 2015. They have employed the ReserveAmerica system for their reservations, which is highly user friendly. Visit http://pennsylvaniastateparks.reserveamerica.com/ to get started.
You cannot really blame such a small state as Rhode Island for having limited camping choices - 6 in state campgrounds. Having said that, Rhode Island does have some nice choices including some on beaches. Check it out at http://rhodeislandstateparks.reserveamerica.com/
41 state parks offer camper facilities in South Carolina. They use the ReserveAmerica system. Get started at https://southcarolinaparks.com/camping-and-lodging/camping
Another well designed site for campers is the one operated by South Dakota. Go to http://travel.campsd.com/Reserve-A-Campsite and you will be able to serach for just the type of site you are after. Please notice the "Add Amenities and Lifestyles" option at the bottom of the page to refine your search.
There are over 40 state parks that offer camping in Tennessee. Their fairly basic site for making plans is at https://reserve.tnstateparks.com/. The site will get the job done, but you will have to click on each site and investigate what it has to offer. No big deal.
We can save you a lot of trouble on the Texas website! It has a great reservation and state park locator page, but it's hard to find. Go to https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/parks/things-to-do/camping and find yourself a spot in this state that has much to offer in an astounding diversity of landscapes.
Utah is a state with Rocky Mountain vistas, desert vistas, and much more. There are lots of options on federal land as well as the options for state parks camping. The state parks reservation system for Utah is at http://utahstateparks.reserveamerica.com/
Vermont has dramatically improved their reservation system for camping. It can be located HERE
Virginia is on the road to having a really nice state parks camping research tool. We love being able to search by criteria and they have that done well. The only thing lacking is the very few number of campgrounds and sites that are reservable. Here is where to start.
To get started researching a camping spot in a state park in Washington, go here.
West Virginia has a system that is not great, but you can get the job done. The search tools are rudimentary, so you will have to do the legwork to kind of know which park you wish to visit before going to the reservation page here.
The upper midwest is blessed with great outdoor opportunities, and one of the best states to experience the outdoors in this region is Wisconsin. You will find a straight forward research and reservation system at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/camping/
There are 11 state parks in Wyoming that offer camping. They have a nice search feature here. The only kind of goofy aspect is that when you search by amenities, they are not in alphabetical order, and it was for example difficult to find the criteria for campsites.