Are you an avid camper looking for a great destination for your next wilderness adventure? Or are you a first-timer searching for a location beautiful enough to tempt you into the great outdoors?
Regardless of your experience level, the East Coast is filled with beautiful locales boasting an array of activities and a variety of camping sites.
Want to be sure you’re experiencing one of the most breathtaking spots on the East Coast? You can’t go wrong if you pick your destination from one of the following five sites:
1) Acadia National Park, ME
Poor Maine. The other New England states tend to steal all its thunder. Maine’s popularity aside, it is an undeniably beautiful, wild, varied state. For campers looking for a spot that has a little bit of everything, Acadia National Park is just the place.
Located off the coast on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park has a lot to offer campers. Visitors have their pick between fresh and saltwater beaches, wooded trails, mountain hikes, rocky cliffs and boat tours. See puffins, take a boat to see the seals or watch birds of prey on their migratory flights.
Acadia is a beautiful park to visit any time of year — however, there’s nothing quite like the sunset shades of the fall foliage. For only $25 per week, it’s both a pleasurable and economical experience.
2) Green Mountain National Forest, VT
The Green Mountains cut across Vermont from Canada to Massachusetts, and you can follow the “footpath in the wilderness” for an unforgettable backcountry trek. Between the main footpath and the many side paths, there are over 400 miles of trails available in this free wilderness park.
Explore logging roads and travel ski slopes while you soak in the beauty of countless glades, glens, forests, rivers and ponds. Time your trip to coincide with the fall colors, or take advantage of the year-round accessibility to take a last minute wilderness retreat.
Many parks straddle private and governing jurisdictions, but Green Mountain switches back and forth between federal, state and private lands. To cut down on potential hassles, know which area you’ll be in so you can follow the correct set of rules.
3) Assateague Island National Seashore, MD
Assateague Island, a 37-mile-long island near Delmarva, is arguably more famous for its wild horses than anything else. Legend has it that these herds are descendants of a group that survived a shipwreck off the Virginia coast. Whatever their origin, their wild beauty is one of the biggest draws to Assateague’s camps and beaches.
It is important to remember that these horses are wild, and attempting to feed or pet them puts both horse and camper at risk. Feeding is especially dangerous, as human food makes them sick and can draw them too close to the roads.
With or without its equine draw, Assateague has miles of beautiful coast, dunes, marshes and maritime forests to entice campers looking for a breathtaking site. Visitors can enjoy well-maintained beaches or spend time at the 14,000 acre Wildlife Refuge located on the island.
Sites run between $25 and $50 a night (not counting the $20 entrance fee), depending on your campsite preference.
4. Pisgah National Forest, NC
Like horses are to Assateague, waterfalls are to Pisgah. Sure, there are many other reasons to pick Pisgah National Forest as your camping destination, but the plethora of waterfalls definitely don’t hurt.
Sliding Rock is among the more popular destinations within the 500,000+ acres that make up the forest. A natural waterslide, Sliding Rock makes for a fun, refreshing afternoon adventure.
Some visitors may feel a sense of deja vu, depending on which section of the forest you visit. If you find the right spot, you may find yourself in Katniss and Gale’s District 12 hunting grounds, as sections of the park were used for filming for The Hunger Games.
There are free roadside campsites available, though the odds may not be in your favor if you use them (easy target for thieves). You’re better off picking one of the many other campsites within the forest. Prices vary by location.
5. Everglades National Park, FL
Any great camping spot will have its own unique collection of breathtaking landscapes and inspiring wildlife. The Everglades National Park provides homes for an amazing array of creatures and a blend of landscapes you won’t find anywhere else.
Explore mangroves, marshes, pinelands, waterways and more. See panthers, manatees, herons, crocodiles, turtles and dolphins.
You can hike, canoe, bike and boat to take in all the sights. Strike off on your own or enjoy guided tours of the waterways and cypress domes.
Florida weather can be deceptively temperate, especially to those used to cold northern climates. However, depending on the season, those lovely daytime temperatures can plummet come nightfall. Be sure to read up on local weather so you can pack appropriately.
With five equally beautiful sites to pick from for your camping destination, narrowing your choices may require a little creative decision making. Draw from a hat, use a dart board or have a friend pick for you.
Don’t worry. No matter what you choose, you won’t be disappointed.