woman camping sunset

Simply put, camping is its own form of medicine. Days spent hiking give away to breathtaking sunsets to magical campfires. You’re forced to unplug and simply be in the moment and whether that moment is the sense of accomplishment when you reach the peak or the peacefulness of a morning waking up to the sound of nature, you come back from a weekend or more of camping with a sense of ease. Let these seven beautiful places to camp this summer be your inspiration to get outside more.

 

Acadia National Park, Maine

Caution: the weather can be unpredictable in Acadia National Park during the summer. Temps range from a chilly 45 degrees to a blistering 90, but if you’re willing to pack all-weather gear the park on Maine’s Atlantic coast is awe-inspiring. Low light pollution makes it ideal for stargazing (it’s one of the U.S. destinations you can sometimes spot the Aurora Borealis), and history buffs will appreciate the origins of the park which date back thousands of years.

 

Arches National Park, Utah

Utah’s Arches National Park is not the easiest place to get to (it’s more than 200 miles from the closest major airport), but, hey, sometimes the best things require some extra effort. Feel humbled as you take in the deep blue desert sky and the red rocks of the 2,000 gravity-defying sandstone figurines. This park is a must-visit both for rock climbers and for hikers of all types. Don’t miss the Delicate Arch Trail.

 

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

Beaches, check. Salt marshes, check. Forests, check. Wild horses, check, check, check. Let the sound of the waves crashing on Assateague Island soothe you to sleep after a day exploring some of the seashore’s 37 miles of hiking. If you’re lucky you’ll encounter at least one of the two herds of wild horses that call the island home. Just remember to enjoy the horses from afar. And camping, allowed only on the Maryland side, is first come, first served.

 

Finger Lakes, New York

Community campfires, homemade s’mores, twinkling fireflies; New York’s Finger Lakes are a magical place to spend a summer night or two. With camping options that range from D.I.Y. to the glam, complete with an actual bed to the in-between, there’s something for every type of nature lover. There are also plenty of activity options to spend your days whether it be hiking, boating, or even wine tasting.

 

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

What’s your favorite waterfall in the Smokies? @toddamacker thanks for the beautiful photo

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Hugging the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hard not to fall in love with. Waterfalls break up the lush forest as wildflowers bloom everywhere giving the landscape a whimsical quality. And various camping options, including backcountry campsites with running water and camps designed for those exploring on horseback, make this national park ideal for all types of adventurers.

 

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Chances are you’ve heard of Joshua Tree National Park, and it may even be on your bucket list. But did you know the park isn’t all deserts and famous trees? While you should plan a visit to the park’s namesake tree, Joshua Tree also has 10 mountain peaks higher than 5,000-feet. Camp at one of the nine campsites or register in advance for backcountry camping.

 

Makoshika State Park, Montana

To the Lakota Indians, ‘Makoshika’ is a variant of the spelling for the phrase ‘bad earth’ or ‘bad land’. Read into that what you will, but Montana’s largest state park is breathtaking. Juniper and pine trees give way to rock formations that have held the fossil remains of dinosaurs. The state park is now offering backcountry camping permits in addition to the camping available at the campground.