Camping Destinations

Adventure Planning: 5 Campgrounds for Epic Exploring

by Joe ColemanJul 21, 2022

Nothing says adventure like a long commute to the trailhead, right? No? Yeah, didn’t think so. If you want the action to always be at your fingertips, you want your campsite to be as close as possible to the next day’s adventures. Adventure planning is a lot simpler when you don’t have to worry about a long drive to start the day!

To create a list of must-visit campgrounds, we asked TAXA Outdoors to pick their favorite campgrounds on Campspot that are perfect for adventurers. Read the full list to see where you should visit next.

1. Riverbend RV Park & Cabins – Montrose, CO

An image of an RV at a campground with a family spending time at a picnic table and under their awning.

Name a better state for adventure than Colorado. Go ahead. While you might make an argument for a couple of states, there’s an incredibly short list of adventure destinations that stack up against the great state of Colorado.

Staying at Riverbend puts you near some under-appreciated monuments to Southern Colorado’s natural beauty. With proximity to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, you’ll skip much of the Rocky Mountain crowds. When you’re at camp, you’ll be right near the water for relaxation, angling, and all manner of watersports.

Nearest Airport: Montrose Regional Airport, Grand Junction Regional Airport

Nearby Attractions: Museum of the Mountain West, Ridgway Railroad Museum, Montrose Botanic Gardens

Unique Amenity: Sports Field

Nearby Adventures: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Montrose Water Sports Park, Uncompahgre National Forest

Montrose, Colorado Adventure Planning Tip:

Much like the rest of the Rocky Mountain State, Montrose is really up there. At more than a mile high, you’ll be starting off at some serious elevation. Unless you’re a native Coloradan, it’s best to give yourself a day or two to acclimate and take things slow to start, even if you’re a seasoned adventurer at lower elevations. Altitude sickness can set in fast if you aren’t careful!

Book this Underrated Colorado Outpost

2. Oceanside RV Resort & Campground – Coos Bay, OR

An aerial view of Oceanside RV Resort & Campground. RVs are parked in rows beside a road with the beach and ocean in the distance.

The Oregon coast (and Pacific Northwest in general) holds some of the best adventure spots in the country. While Oregon only has one national park, its ample number of national forests and state parks more than make up for it.

Oceanside RV Resort took third place in two ultra-competitive categories at the 2022 Campspot Awards: Most Popular Campgrounds in the USA and Top Campgrounds with Views. There’s no better place to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the Oregon Coast than being waterfront in the eclectic community of Coos Bay.

Nearest Airport: Southwest Oregon Regional Airport, Eugene Airport

Nearby Attractions: Coos History Museum & Maritime Collection, Oregon Coast Historical Railway, Coos Art Musem

Unique Amenity: Beach

Nearby Adventures: Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Cape Arago State Park, Shores Acres State Park

Coos Bay, OR Adventure Planning Tip:

This is the polar opposite of Montrose, Colorado. At just a few feet above sea level, you don’t have to worry about the altitude. You do, however, have to worry about overconfidence. Just because the temperatures are low doesn’t mean you can’t get dehydrated. Even if you don’t feel warm, make sure you’re taking in plenty of water when you’re on an intense hike, bike, or climb.

Book this Dream Oregon Coast Campsite

3. Joshua Tree RV Campground – Joshua Tree, CA

Rock formations and Joshua trees outside of Joshua Tree RV Campground.

Joshua Tree, California is only growing in popularity. This unique little desert town has always been a waypoint for travelers heading into nearby Joshua Tree National Park. In recent years though, this park has drawn millions of visitors for its moderate fall temperatures and beautiful rock formations.

Joshua Tree RV Campground puts you right in the center of things. If you’re looking to be right next to the action, this is arguably the best place on this whole list for adventure planning. Joshua Tree National Park has mile-long entrance lines with regularity during peak seasons, so all you have to do is roll out of bed and head to the park. You can sleep in a bit and still beat a lot of the crowds!

Nearest Airport: Palm Springs International Airport, San Bernardino International Airport

Nearby Attractions: World Famous Crochet Museum, Hi-Desert Nature Museum, Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum

Unique Amenity: Playground

Nearby Adventures: Joshua Tree National Park, Stone Adventures, Woodland Park Archery Range

Joshua Tree, CA Adventure Planning Tip:

Joshua Tree has a reverse peak season from many adventure locations. With temperatures well into the triple digits in summer, fall and winter are popular times to visit. Travelers often forget that while the desert gets quite hot, it can also get incredibly cold. Overnight lows can get below freezing, so don’t skimp on layers if visiting during the cooler months.

Book this Eclectic Desert Escape

4. Dark Sky RV Campground – Kanab, UT

An image of an RV with a mountain bike attached to the top and a family enjoying their campsite at Dark Sky RV Campground.

Being in Kanab gives you perfect access to some of the most popular parks in the United States. With proximity to both Zion and the Grand Canyon, you’ll be able to pack in the adventures when you make your basecamp in Kanab.

Dark Sky took third place in Top Campgrounds in the USA and Top Campground Design at the 2022 Campspot Awards. Beyond that, it’s Dark Sky Campground RV site took fifth for Top Camping Sites. As the name implies, you’ll have unadulterated views of the scenery around you and incredible stargazing opportunities when the sun sets.

Nearest Airport: St. George Regional Airport, Harry Reid International Airport

Nearby Attractions: Little Hollywood Land, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Moqui Cave

Unique Amenity: Dog Park

Nearby Adventures: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park

Kanab, UT Adventure Planning Tip:

You don’t have to be terrified of flash floods, but you do want to be aware of them. When visiting Southern Utah, Zion and surrounding parks are popular destinations. While you can absolutely enjoy the beautiful slot canyons and other desert features, keep a close eye on the weather as things can change quickly. The same goes if you’re heading into Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon.

Book this Desert Southwest Basecamp

5. Sun Outdoors Lake Travis – Austin, TX

A mint-colored cabin with a stone patio at Sun Outdoors Lake Travis.

Austin is known to be a weird, artsy city, but it holds a secret: serious adventure opportunity. Austin is known as one of the fittest cities in the United States. Considering the amount of queso consumed by the average Austinite, that has to mean adventure activities abound around every corner. Access to hiking, mountain biking, and swimming in historic pools fed by underground natural springs? Yes, please!

If you want a place to relax after a long day on the water or the trail, this Sun Outdoors location is perfect. With multiple swimming pools, a clubhouse, and a dog park, there’s something for everyone on two legs or four!

Nearest Airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, San Antonio International Airport

Nearby Attractions: Austin Nature & Science Center, Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve, Austin Aquarium

Unique Amenity: Mini-Golf

Nearby Adventures: Lake Travis Zipline Adventures, Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures, Pace Bend Park

Austin, TX Adventure Planning Tip:

If you aren’t used to the humidity, take it easy (at least at first) when visiting Austin. With year-round humidity north of 60%, desert-based adventurers may find the heat oppressive. While the relative humidity is higher in the morning, the temperatures will be lower and more conducive to adventure planning.

Book this Lone Star Lakeside Resort

There’s nothing that makes adventure planning easier than being right next to the adventure itself! If you need to maximize your time outdoors or you just don’t want to sit in the car a minute longer than you have to, these five campsites make the must consider list for your next trip!

Joe Coleman is a freelance travel and outdoor writer based in East Texas. His love for the outdoors started when living near Olympic National Park and has stayed with him ever since. Taking a respite from social media, you can reach him exclusively at joecolemanfreelance@gmail.com.

Photo credit in order of appearance: Riverbend RV Park & Cabins, Riverbend RV Park & Cabins, Oceanside RV Resort & Campground, Joshua Tree RV Campground, Dark Sky RV Campground, Sun Outdoors Lake Travis