Summer Travel

8 Super Cool Family Campsites Across the Country

Hot List 5

camping kid marshmallowFull disclosure: I never went camping as a kid. Not once. Just didn't come from a very tent-pitching, fire-starting kind of family, I guess. But now that I have two kids of my own, I'm determined to introduce them to the joys of vacationing in the great outdoors. The hiking! The fishing! The marshmallows!

The only problem is deciding which amazing family-friendly campsite to visit first -- there are so many stellar spots across the country. At least I've got them narrowed down a little bit!

These are the top 8 super cool campgrounds on my list ...

1. Silverton, Colorado. Helen Olsson, author of The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping With Kids, turned me on to this awesome idea: Since little ones aren't so great at hauling gear, get llamas to carry your loads of stuff! Camping outfitter Redwood Llamas offers both full-service pack trips (including guide, tents, llamas, and meals) and drop-camp options (everything but the gear and food).

2. Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park. I've only been to Acadia National Park in Maine once -- but I've been dying to go back ever since. It is, in a word, beautiful. Like, majestically, magically beautiful. The two main campgrounds on Mount Desert Island, Blackwoods Campground and Seawall Campground, are surrounded by woods and are just a 10-minute walk from the ocean.

3. Niobrara River Valley, Nebraska. This wide, relatively shallow river is ideal for canoeing and/or kayaking with kids. Rock formations and waterfalls make for gorgeous scenery, and don't forget the binoculars for bird-watching!

4. Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, Florida. Sand dunes, salt marshes, and the oldest Spanish fortress standing in America make these preserved wetlands a must-visit for intrepid explorers.

5. Macedonia State Park. If you like to hike, Connecticut's Blue Trail System can't be beat -- views from Cobble Mountain make for perfect photo-ops and there are tons of fresh water streams for fishing.

6. Yosemite Pines, California. Not so ready to rough it? You'll get the full camp out experience here, plus a swimming pool, Wi-Fi, petting zoo, and activities from gold-panning to ice cream socials.

7. First Landing State Park, Virginia. The state's most popular park offers swimming and boating in the Chesapeake Bay, fishing, hiking, and more -- plus it's pet-friendly and gives visitors the choice of ground or cabin camping.

8. Devil's Lake State Park, Wisconsin. The Ice Age Trail is just as dramatic as it sounds: Picture 500-foot bluffs looming over a 360-acre lake. Keep your eyes peeled for badgers!

Does your family have a favorite campsite?


Image via Brian Fitzgerald/Flickr

outdoors, travel


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butte... butterflyfreak

We love camping and have been going since before my daughter was born and took her on her first camp outing shortly after her 1st birthday. That first year, we stayed in a camp trailer at Jubilee Lake (in Oregon.) We have camped there a few times and that was also the site of my daughter's first fishing trip and first catch. We have also camped in several state parks on the Oregon Coast, both in a tent and in a yurt. For those who don't know, a yurt is a very rustic cabin with canvas walls. The last two years, we have taken our daughter on a white water rafting trip down the Minam/ Grande Ronde river, which is a 2-3 day float out in the pristine wilderness and also involves camping. Those trips are really camping at its best, really truly rustic. No hopping in the car and running in to town because you forgot something or just don't feel like cooking over a fire. No, you make sure you have everything you need before you launch your boats because there's no turning back!

the3Rs the3Rs

We've stayed at Devil's Lake many, many times.  We also love Pattison State Park.

zombi... zombiemommy916

We always camp on Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah valley here in VA...the views are breathtaking (think "The Last of the Mohicans")...and hiking the Appalachian trail is amazing...we woke up to bears in our site many mornings!!! I also ran across one, deep in the woods with a hiking buddy...they leave you be, their unfortunately used to humans now...but man, I love it! And now, my kids are avid bears for them though!

Helen Burns Olsson

Great spots for camping! If folks want some more detail on that Silverton Llama trekking trip or on another fab trip we had floating down the niobrara with the kiddies, they can go to We just also camped on Isle au Haut, which is also part of Acadia National Park in Maine. It was amazing! It'll have to be on your next list. I'll be blogging about that camping trip soon at

eyebr... eyebrown41

watch very

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