Where to Camp This Weekend Near a National Park

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The National Park Service turns 101 tomorrow, and if you want to celebrate by taking a camping trip — but didn’t plan ahead — worry not. Although reservations can be tough to come by, there are still options available for the procrastinators among us.

Courtesy of Hipcamp — a startup that creates new campsites on private lands like nature preserves, farms and ranches — here are some of the most unique campsites available near five of the most popular national parks:

Near Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
Historic Christmas Tree Farm

It’s Christmas in August at Bear Trail Cabins, located on a Christmas tree farm. There’s easy access to fly-fishing, canoeing, swimming and more, giving you plenty to do when you’re not just sitting back and sniffing Douglas firs, dreaming of eggnog and candy canes.

Near Grand Canyon National Park:
Glamping in Navajoland

If you prefer a little glamour with your camping — aka glamping — then this working sheep ranch in Arizona is for you. On a large swath of Native American–owned acreage, choose from accommodations like traditional Navajo dwellings and covered wagons.

Near Yosemite National Park:
Treehouse on a Farm

You won’t lack for things to do on Wondernut Farm, an off-the-grid farmstead in California. When you’re not hanging out with the pigs, goats and sheep, go mountain biking, head off on a hike or whitewater raft on the nearby Tuolumne River. At night, settle into your eco-treehouse (no nails were used to secure it), suspended from repurposed climbing ropes.

Near Yellowstone National Park:
Working Cattle Ranch

Life is simple at Ellison Ranch Camp — the most complicated quandary you’ll come across is where to pitch your tent. Perhaps an aspen grove beside a creek or under the cottonwoods along a river? Maybe you’ll head for higher ground, where you can spot six different mountain ranges. Wherever you decide to set up your home away from home, you’re free to stop by the ranch house for a shower or a chat about Montana life.

Near Acadia National Park:
Old Granite Quarry

Maine-based Old Quarry Campground has partnered with a kayak, SUP, motorboat and sailboat outfitter for a variety of adventures — sail to a lighthouse, haul lobster traps or backstroke in a freshwater swim quarry. Then return to one of 13 picturesque tent sites in an old granite quarry, each with a fire ring and picnic table.

Headed somewhere else? Find more camping spots here.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Read More:
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Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of national and regional publications, covering everything from sustainability and health to travel and retail.