12 May 5 Lesser-Known Camping Gems in the U.S.
Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona
Deep in the Grand Canyon, west of Grand Canyon National Park, is the Havasupai Indian Reservation with waterfalls that plunge between 40-200 feet into turquoise pools. Surrounded completely by the Grand Canyon, the Havasupai Waterfalls, also known as “Havasu Falls,” is considered one of America’s most remote Indian reservations.
The American Southwest spectacle is so coveted, reservations for the entire year sell out in a matter of hours. Spots open at 8 a.m. Arizona time on February 1 of the each year. It’s a 10-mile hike or mule ride into the canyon to reach the oasis with its 5 waterfalls amidst the arid desert. Spring is the ideal time to visit. The water is a steady 70 degrees year-round, so you really can’t go wrong.
To make your reservations, go to the Havasupai Tribe Website, and be sure to login before 8 a.m. The Havasupai Tribe requires a stay of a minimum of three nights. The fee is $100 per person, per night Monday-Thursday, and $125 per night Friday-Sunday. The Havasupai Tribe requires full payment at the time your reservation is made, and no refunds are allowed.
Arch Rock Campground, Nevada
Just 55 miles from Las Vegas in the Valley of Fire State Park, Arch Rock Campground is surrounded by dramatic red sandstones similar to those at Arches National Park, Utah. Here, you can explore historic sites and ruins, see petrified trees, hike and bike the many trails, stargaze and view wildlife. Arch Rock shares the same dramatic red rock setting as its sister campground, Atlatl Rock Campground, but offers more solitude and a closer camping relationship with the landscape. Some of the sites at Arch Rock are tucked away on a small loop, and these sites have a sense of total privacy where other campers are not visible. The park has 29 campsites for tents and trailers. Campsites are $20 per night, or $30 with hookups. Campsites can be reserved by calling the park directly at 702-397-2088. The campground is not open year round, so be sure to check on the status.
Assateague Island Campgrounds, Maryland
Assateague Island is a 37-mile long barrier island on the Atlantic Coast of Maryland and Virginia, famed for its wild horses. The horses are descendants of late 17th century horses brought by colonists attempting to avoid livestock taxes. The barrier island is just nine miles south of Ocean City, Maryland, with gorgeous coastline for camping, swimming, surfing, paddle-boarding, crabbing, fishing, biking, and kayaking. The terrain is a mix of sand dunes, maritime forests and salt marshes. The island is only a couple miles wide at its broadest section. The campground is open year-round and reservations are only $30 per night. Advance reservations are available up to six months. You can call the toll-free reservation line at 877-444-6777 (10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. EST.)
Minnewaska State Park Reserve, New York
Only 94 miles outside of New York City, this Minnewaska State Park Reserve sits on Shawangunk Mountain Ridge, more than 2,000 feet above sea level, surrounded by rocky terrain. The park features numerous waterfalls, three crystalline sky lakes, dense hardwood forests, cliffs and ledges opening to beautiful views, clear streams cut into valleys, 35 miles of carriage roads and 50 miles of footpaths on which to bike, walk, and hike. You can also swim, scuba-dive, rock climb, boulder, horseback ride, cross-country ski, snowshoe, and boat amongst the breathtaking scenery. It’s $10 per vehicle to enter the park. Call (845) 255-0752 to make a reservation.
Ludington State Park, Michigan
This park has 5,300 acres of beautiful scenery along Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake, with 347 campsites, 18 miles of hiking and biking trails and 16 miles of cross country ski trails. You can swim in the lakes, beach walk, kayak, jet ski, fish, view wildlife, and explore sand dunes, marshlands, and forests. The park is also well known for its unique and picturesque marked canoe pathway. Launch your canoe at the Hamlin Lake Beach and meander along the eastern shore of Hamlin Lake through shallow marshes rich with wildlife and waterfowl. Big Sable Point Lighthouse is a favorite hiking destination for visitors. The campgrounds offer both year-round and seasonal accommodations. For camp Reservations, call 800-447-2757, or go to www.michigan.gov/dnr. Campsites fill fast, so call early in the season.