Next Up

Our Favorite American Cities for Camping

By: Joe Sills

Living in one of these cities could put incredible campsites at your backdoor.

1 / 30
Photo: Vanessa Lentine. From: Pure Salt Interiors.

A New Era for Camping

For many Americans, the glow of a campfire surrounded by fresh air, a star-filled sky and a small circle of friends has never seemed more appealing. Nearly 85 million Americans took to life beneath the stars in 2023, joining another 20 million first-time campers since 2021, according to an annual report by camping platform The Dyrt.

But you don’t have to get far from civilization to snag a slice of the great outdoors. We sourced data from — balancing population density with campground proximity — in conjunction with experience from real-world experts to find the best American cities for camping.

More photos after this Ad

2 / 30
Photo: Shutterstock/4kclips

Lone Pine, California

A one-time home to Hollywood’s Western movie boom, Lone Pine remains one of the best places to get acquainted with the spirit of the West. Nestled below the pinnacle of Mount Whitney, Lone Pine is a portal to hiking on the mountain and camping in the resplendent Alabama Hills. Here, travelers can camp among the boulders that Wild West icons like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Clayton Moore roamed on the silver screen. And while most campsites in the Alabama Hills are primitive, they are also free.

Campers looking for a more refined experience can tie their RVs up at Tuttle Creek Campground that includes access to potable water for a nominal fee.

Know before you go: Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the Lower 48 towers above Lone Pine. A permit from the U.S. Forest Service is required to summit the 14,505-foot peak.

More photos after this Ad

3 / 30
Photo: Shutterstock/f11photo

Jackson, Wyoming

Few cities have ridden the wave of Instagram-fueled social currency higher than Jackson, Wyoming. But this beautiful — and famously affluent — hub of outdoor recreation on the doorstep of Grand Teton National Park is still one of the best base camps for adventure in the country. Dispersed campsites on Shadow Mountain give visitors views of Wyoming’s rolling hills and the Tetons. Perennially booked Jenny Lake Campground gives RV lovers a chance to sleep beside an idyllic, alpine lake. Meanwhile, Lizard Creek Campground puts campers within an easy drive of Yellowstone National Park’s gates.

Know before you go: Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park border one another. Each offers enough outdoor adventure for multiple days' worth of activities.

More photos after this Ad

4 / 30

Clayton, Georgia

On the doorstep of the Chattahoochee National Forest, the quaint city of Clayton has become a booming hotpot for outdoor adventures as the home base for Wander North Georgia outdoor store. Nearby campgrounds welcome travelers to set up shop near the babbling, Blue Ridge Mountain waterfalls of Sarah’s Creek Campground or high atop the Appalachian foothills with sweeping views of the city at Black Rock Mountain State Park.

Know before you go: The southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail is within arm's reach at Springer Mountain.

More photos after this Ad