After months of countless hours inside our own homes, many of us are looking for ways to get outdoors before the summer comes to a close. While air travel might still be out of the question for many people, though airplanes actually have some of the cleanest indoor air quality, other travel options are becoming more attractive. RVs are one of those options as they offer a self contained way to go pretty much anywhere accessible by land. But, when traveling by RV, it is often nice to find a nice campsite to spend a day or so while exploring surrounding areas. Even if RVing is not for you, taking a trip that requires little time indoors is on a lot of travelers’ minds.
A 2019 survey conducted by Kampgrounds of America—or KOA, found that 78 million households camped in some form in 2018, which was an all time high. KOA released a special report of their North American Camping Report in May 2020, which looked at camping trends in the face of COVID-19. The data collected in April found that 22 percent of campers said they had cancelled any upcoming trips, though 41 percent said they still planned on taking any planned trips.
ApartmentGuide recently compiled a list of the 10 best cities in the U.S. to go camping. They looked at which cities had the most campgrounds per density. An overwhelming majority of the destinations are on the West coast, though Texas and Florida also snuck it’s way onto the list. If you’re looking to pitch a tent and get outdoors this summer, take a look at this list to get your search started.
10. San Francisco
Camping might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of San Francisco but with the gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Muir Woods surrounded by the towering redwood trees, it could be the perfect mix of urban city and outdoor oasis. According to ApartmentGuide, there is one campground per every 6.7 square miles so get packing!
9. Vancouver, Washington
No, not that Vancouver. This Vancouver is Portland’s largest suburb, as it is just across the river from Oregon, and is the fourth largest city in Washington state. It has one campground per every 6.6 square miles. The landscapes are gorgeous from the Cascade Range to the foothills, rivers and yes, quite a bit of rain. With so many campgrounds and beautiful hikes to choose from, where to start? Check out the vast Gifford Pinchot National Forest which not only has miles and miles of hikes to explore, also has waterfalls tucked away to serve as a cool escape.
8. Vista, California
California has quite a bit of real estate on this list and coming in at number eight is Vista, California, which has one campground per every 6.2 square miles. It’s a suburb of San Diego that’s about 20 miles from Mexico, so once the land border opens again for tourists, this stop could be part of a larger journey south of the border. More of a beach bum than hiker? This spot has got you covered with its choice of oceanside campsites.
7. Odessa, Texas
This town in Western Texas has one campground per every six miles. It has a few quirky claims to fame but one of the larger ones is its association with the show Friday Night Lights. The show and movie were both based on a book about a football team from one of Odessa’s high schools. But enough about pop culture references, this town is a great stop for campers both for RVers or station wagon warriors alike.
6. Sparks, Nevada
When you think of Nevada you might think of Lake Tahoe or Las Vegas, but this city just outside of Reno (and less than an hour north of North Lake Tahoe) sits along the Truckee River. It’s a great spot to hit while the weather is still warm—though not as much of a concern in that part of the country—but you’ll definitely want to take advantage of chances to take a dip with the backdrop of the Sierra Mountains. There is one campground per every six square miles in Sparks.
5. Salinas, California
California dreamin’ yet again. This city, which has one campground every 5.8 square miles, was once the home of John Steinbeck and often the setting of the famous author’s stories. The gorgeous green landscapes of Salinas are just inland from Monterey Bay— the picturesque oceanside region. It’s also not far from Pinnacles National Park which is an outdoor lovers’ paradise.
4. Billings, Montana
Billings is Montana’s biggest city but has much outdoor, non-urban fun to be had. Take a hike at Pictograph State Park, which as the name implies, is home to many cave paintings to discover and explore. If that’s not enough to spark your interest, Billings is close to numerous mountain ranges to satisfy all your hiking needs.
3. Hollywood, Florida
Florida is one of the states most jam packed with things to do. From Disney World, to Miami to miles and miles of beaches, there is no shortage of fun in this southern state. Hollywood, Florida, rounds the top five of Apartment Guide’s list by having one campground per every 4.6 square miles. Beyond what the city has to offer in and of itself, it is also not far from the Everglades if you want some first-hand gator sightings.
2. Mesa, Arizona
Arizona is a beautiful state filled with deserts and red rock formations that seem to be never ending. In Mesa, which is just east of Phoenix, campers will find a site to pitch a tent (or park a RV) every four square miles. Keep an eye out, because around these parts, wild horses actually still roam freely. You’ll be just along the salt river which will be the perfect place to end your day after a long and hot hike in the desert sun.
1. Ventura, California
And last but not least, we are back in California for the No. 1 city for camping. With one campground per every 3.1 miles, Ventura, California, tops the list. Perfect weather, perfect oceanside views, you can’t beat the landscape of this Southern California spot. And for those who never like to stray too far from the city’s bright lights, you’ll be about an hour and a half from the city of angels itself. To top it off, you will be a ferry ride away from Channel Islands National Park—a National Park composed of five islands which each have their own campground.
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Video: RV Trips Worthy of Your Bucket List (Cheapism)