Due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for more information.

10 State Park Campsites to Visit This Summer

Make the most of the summer season by planning a camping trip. 

By Trent Jonas

10 State Park Campsites to Visit This Summer

Visiting America's abundant and diverse state parks for a camping trip is a great way to make the most of summertime. With natural beauty and plenty of amenities, these state parks will make for an unforgettable summer camping experience. If you're planning to road trip there from another state, make sure you check with local laws regarding travel in and out of the state during this time. Here are 10 of our favorite state park campsites in the U.S. 

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Ontonagon, MI

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is Michigan’s largest—and wildest state park. It offers front country amenities, like a modern campground and camp store along its Lake Superior shoreline, but on the other side of the shoreline road, you’ll find 60,000 acres of mountainous backcountry covered in old-growth hardwood and hemlock forest. Although there are a couple of rustic campgrounds accessible by vehicle, most of the other sites in the backcountry require a one-to-four-mile hike in. But the payoff is pristine wilderness overlooking incredible features like waterfalls or the infinitely photogenic Lake of the Clouds. The park also offers several rustic, backcountry cabins that you can hike into, as well. Many are open year-round.

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Dead Horse Point State Park, Moab, UT

It’s not Canyonlands National Park, but you can see it from Dead Horse Point State Park. Perched above the Colorado River, one canyon over from its more-trafficked neighbor, Dead Horse Point is carved from the same terrain that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors that flock to the abutting national park. Enjoy the mountain biking, hiking, and night sky watching that this part of Utah is renowned for, but with a lot more elbow room. If you’re tent camping, choose the Wingate Campground at Dead Horse Point. Rental yurts are also available in the park.

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Camden Hills State Park, Camden, ME

With 5,700 acres in the wooded uplands of the same coastline that Acadia National Park is famous for, Camden Hills State Park in Maine is a perfect place to pitch a tent this summer. Enjoy all the rugged beauty that coastal Maine and its Northwoods forest have to offer while hiking the park’s miles of trails, birdwatching, mountain biking, and more. 

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Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, NC

Perched on the peaks of North Carolina’s Sauratown Mountains, Hanging Rock State Park is a mountain retreat from summer heat for the lucky campers who score a spot in the parks 73-site, CCC-built campground. Enjoy fishing in the park’s stocked lake, or simply swim or paddle in its waters. Hit the miles of mountain biking and single track trails for incredible Appalachian views across the wooded ridges and valleys.

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George Crosby Manitou State Park, Finland, MN

Minnesota’s George Crosby Manitou State Park is located in rugged hills adjacent to the ancient Sawtooth Mountains on the north shore of Lake Superior. One of the state’s few designated wilderness parks, campers at Crosby Manitou must either hike or paddle to their campsites. While in the park, you can hike the Manitou River for views of its waterfalls, paddle Benson Lake, try to land a trout, or go in search of the area’s prime mountain biking trails.

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Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, OH

Located in the region of Ohio that bears the same name, Hocking Hills State Park, near Logan, offers some of the state’s most beautiful natural features, including caves and waterfalls. This 2,300-acre park also boasts 24 miles of hiking trails, in addition to activities like fishing and rock climbing. Campers can take advantage of the park’s campground or choose to hike into one of 30 more-dispersed sites. Those looking for a little more structure can rent one of several cottages available in the park.

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Custer State Park, Custer, SD

At 71,000 acres, Custer is not only the largest state park in South Dakota, it is the biggest state park outside of Alaska. Located in the Black Hills, Custer State Park is a home to its own bison herd, as well has bighorn sheep, black bears, and many other megafauna that make the park a favorite among nature lovers. Visitors also enjoy hiking and mountain biking, paddle sports, fishing, birdwatching, and rock climbing. Several campgrounds are available in the park, as well as rental cabins and dispersed, backcountry camping is allowed in the French Creek Natural Area.

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Mueller State Park, Divide, CO

Mueller State Park, in Colorado, offers campers the chance for fun and adventure over 5,000 acres of rolling Rocky Mountain forests and meadows. Several camping options, from hike-in and equestrian sites to RV sites and cabins, are available in the park. After you set up camp, head out for a hike or jump on the bike to enjoy the park’s 36 miles of single track. Keep your eyes peeled for the park’s abundant wildlife, including black bears and bobcats.

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Yatesville Lake State Park, Louisa, KY

In Kentucky, campers love all that summer has to offer at Yatesville Lake State Park, where visitors go to enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, birding, and even golf. The park’s main campground is located on its namesake lake, but both hike-in and boat-in sites are available for those seeking a more secluded camping experience.

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Wyalusing State Park, Bagley, WI

Located in southwest Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, Wyalusing State Park is perched on towering limestone bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River and blanketed by the region’s native hardwood forests. Several camping options are available in the park, including a modern campground and group camp facilities. Visitors enjoy hiking the miles of rugged terrain and sweeping vistas of the Mississippi Valley, mountain biking, boating and paddling, fishing, and the park’s astronomy center. 

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Due to the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak, local destinations for outdoor recreation may be closed. Please visit official websites for more information.

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