Jul 10, 2024 4 min read

Top Five Camping Picks For This Summer

Campsites, Trails, and Must-See Sights For The Whole Family.

First I want to start off by saying one major tip to keep in mind as you are planning your next trip is to be sure to book your campsite in advance. You can use all sorts of apps but I use Recreation.gov for state and national parks. 

Most parks and campsites in the US are fully booked, sometimes weeks or months in advance. But it can depend on what you're looking for, sometimes tent camping spots are easier to find than RV sites.

Below are some amazing spots to visit.

Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Acadia National Park in Maine offers stunning biking trails that wind through its rugged coastal landscapes and dense forests, a sight to behold.  The top three activities in Acadia are hiking, biking, and star gazing.

You can bring your bike or rent one near your campsite—hike and bike over 50 miles of trails with stunning views of the dense forest and distant vistas.  The area is designated as a Dark Sky Sanctuary, which makes it ideal for star gazing. 

Here are some tips for taking incredible photos of the stars with your iPhone.

  • Exposure: To capture the movement of stars while minimizing motion blur, begin with a moderate exposure time of 15-25 seconds. This will help you create stunning star trail photos.
  • ISO: Increase the ISO setting to a higher value, such as ISO 1600, to enhance the sensitivity of your camera's sensor to light. Adjust this value as needed based on your desired brightness and noise level.
  • Focus: Set the focus to infinity to ensure distant stars appear sharp in your images. Alternatively, if your camera allows manual focus adjustments, carefully adjust the focus to achieve crisp star details.
Milky Way over Cadillac Mountain
Photo from Sardius S Stalker - Milky Way over Cadillac Mountain

Mackinaw Island KOA Journey

In the heat of the summer, we look to find campsites that are a few degrees cooler.  Mackinaw Island is just such a unique place. Mackinaw Island has a rich history with museums, walkable town streets, and amazing hiking trails. You can also find horseback riding and fantastic bicycling excursions.

No cars are allowed on the island, so rent a bike and be prepared to take your time and chill with a spa massage. Or plan a round of golf, whether you enjoy a round of miniature golf or a full round of eighteen holes.

Photo from Mackinaw City KOA
Photo from Mackinaw City KOA, a family-friendly campground.

Mount Rushmore KOA Resort at Palmer Gulch Resort

KOA is a great option when planning fun for the whole family. Inside this KOA, you have horseback riding, trout fishing in the pond, some of the best playgrounds I’ve ever seen, a well-stocked store, and an on-premise restaurant for the adulting hours.

Outside of the campground, you have the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Crazy Horse Memorial. I highly recommend the museum at the Crazy Horse Memorial.

High Adventure at Backcountry Camp 13, Smoky Mountains National Park

Trail camping is one of our favorites. In the southeastern United States, consider Gregory Bald Trail, a little over 4 miles from the trailhead at Sam’s Gap on Parson Branch Road. You will find plentiful camping areas for either tent camping or hammock camping. The views are amazing, and wildlife is abundant. 

Watch for black bears and follow safe camping guidelines when bears are known to be in the area. This is considered an easy to moderate hike. Pack light and be prepared to get some exercise.

Photo from Smoky Mountains National Park
Photo from Smoky Mountains National Park

Red Cliff Campground, Custer Gallatin National Forest

Be sure to plan to reserve your campsite on the Recreation.gov site. This is a no-frills, nature-loving, big sky Montana, crystal clear river campground.  Take your bug spray in the summer months. If you want the look and feel of Yellowstone, then you need to check this place out. 

Yellowstone, the park, is about forty-five miles away. This is the location if you want peace and quiet deep in nature. If you need internet or cell, you’ll probably need your Starlink satellite internet service because you won’t get it in the park. At 6,200 feet elevation you’ll get some cooler weather in the hot months. 

There’s no better camping scenario for me than sleeping late on a cool morning with the sound of water running in the nearby river.

Thank you for reading and make sure to subscribe. We're constantly exploring new destinations and share our stories, tips, and the beauty we discover along the way.

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