You know what the best part of camping is? Definitely crowds. And noise. Just can’t get enough of ‘em. No? Not you? Do you want silence and peace and quiet while you’re on the road and exploring nature? Do you look to go camping not where the tourists flock, but off the beaten path? Well, why didn’t you say so? This list of 12 hidden gems for camping off the beaten path is for you.
1. Jim & Mary’s RV Park – Missoula, MT
Nearby attractions: Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, Montana Natural History Center, Snowbowl, Council Grove State Park
Nearest airport: Missoula Montana Airport, Helena Airport
Unique amenities: Pavilion, sports field
Missoula is effortlessly cool, and so is Jim & Mary’s RV Park. Cool enough to come in at #5 in the 2022 Campspot Awards for Most Popular Campgrounds in the USA. Campspot campers absolutely love this spot. That being said, you’ll still get plenty of seclusion while being only minutes from Downtown Missoula. Each spot has trees planted around it so it’s like you’re in your own secret garden when you park your rig!
2. Piney River Resort – Bon Aqua, TN
Nearby attractions: Johnny Cash Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame, Timberland Park
Nearest airport: Nashville International Airport
Unique amenities: Pavilion, waterfront
Piney River Resort has to be one of the best camping hidden gems in the Volunteer State. If you want to be within driving distance of Nashville without being inundated by the sounds of bachelorette parties, Piney River is the perfect middle ground. Situated on the banks of the Piney River, you can bring your own RV or rent an RV or tiny home!
3. The Hideaway Retreat – Navarre, FL
Nearby attractions: Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, Gulf Breeze Zoo, Navarre Beach Marine Park
Nearest airport: Pensacola International Airport, Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport
Unique amenities: Beach, canoeing/kayaking, dog park, paddle boats, volleyball, waterfront
This is camping off the beaten path at its finest. Exuding “old Florida,” you’ll enjoy lounging under the shade of the oak trees that line the grounds of The Hideaway Retreat. From tent spots to premium waterfront RV sites, you can enjoy the level of comfort you need to fully relax and retreat here. If you aren’t convinced, its fourth-place finish in the Top Camping Sites category in the 2022 Campspot Awards should help change your mind.
4. Lost River Valley Campground – North Woodstock, NH
Nearby attractions: Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves, Flume George
Nearest airport: Manchester-Boston Regional Airport
Unique amenities: Arcade, basketball, fishing, horseshoes, playground, sports field, volleyball, waterfront
Hopping into the 2022 Campspot Awards at #10 in Top Campgrounds in the USA, Lost River Valley is the perfect camping off the beaten path choice for those looking to be surrounded by forest. Lost is the operative word here. If you want to feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere (while still having all necessary amenities), there are few places better. It’s a good place to be year-round, but fall is otherworldly here.
5. Elkamp Eastcreek – Mineral, WA
Nearby attractions: Mt. Rainier National Park, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park
Nearest airport: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Portland International Airport
Unique amenities: Horseshoes, volleyball
Travelers looking to head to Washington’s national parks will love Elkamp Eastcreek. Located a mere 15 minutes from Mt. Rainier National Park, you can use this place as your adventure basecamp. If you’re looking for a day trip to a major city, Portland and Seattle are both within driving distance from here. Even if you aren’t heading to the local parks, Elkamp Eastcreek is worth a stop because of its #7 finish in the 2022 Campspot Awards category Top Campgrounds in the USA!
6. Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort – Felton, CA
Nearby attractions: The Mystery Spot, Bigfoot Discovery Museum, Cathedral Redwoods
Nearest airport: San Jose International Airport, San Francisco International Airport
Unique amenities: Basketball, cable TV, clubhouse, fishing, ice cream, live music, playground, restaurant, waterfront
If you pick one spot on this list, this is a strong contender. Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort won Most Popular Campgrounds in the USA in the 2022 Campspot Awards, so it comes with the highest recommendations. But don’t let “most popular” deter you—this campground is situated under ancient redwood trees, making it the perfect spot to feel secluded an immersed in nature for anyone traveling up the California coastline.
7. Conejos River Campground – Antonito, CO
Nearby attractions: Rio Grande National Forest, Cano’s Castle, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Nearest airport: San Luis Valley Regional Airport, Colorado Springs Airport
Unique amenities: Basketball, fishing, horseshoes, laundry, playground
Just north of the Colorado-New Mexico border is the Conejos River Campground. Just a short drive from the Rio Grande National Forest, this stay embodies the best of Southern Colorado. You can get away from it all in minutes here at one of Colorado’s best camping hidden gems. For off-road fans, check out the nearby ATV and Jeep trails.
8. Wild Fox Cabins & Campground – Lakeville, ME
Nearby attractions: Downeast Lakes Community Forest, Mt. Jefferson Ski Area
Nearest airport: Bangor International Airport
Unique amenities: Beach, boat launch, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, waterfront
You’ll get your pick of outdoor activities at Wild Fox. Whether you want to get on the water at the nearby lakes or enjoy the beautiful foliage of Maine on a hike, you’ll be transported to a place that’s the stuff of dreams. If you’re looking to fish, nearby Junior Lake is touted as one of the Northeast’s best stops for serious anglers.
9. Hidden Falls Adventure Park – Marble Falls, TX
Nearby attractions: Falls on the Colorado Museum, Longhorn Cavern State Park, Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge
Nearest airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Unique amenities: General store, pavilion, restaurant
If your definition of ideal camping off the beaten path includes acres of ATV trails, you’re in luck. All off-roaders are welcome at this adventure park and camping spot just an hour from Austin. Accommodations are on the simpler side, though there are also some luxurious cabins that larger parties can rent.
10. Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort – Waymart, PA
Nearby attractions: Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton Lookout, Claws ‘N’ Paws Wild Animal Park
Nearest airport: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
Unique amenities: Arcade, beach, canoeing/kayaking, dog park, fishing, ice cream, paddle boats, sports field, waterfront
Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort is definitely a relaxation-focused choice when it comes to camping off the beaten path. You’ll have your pick of outdoor activities on the water and land, to be sure. However, if you’re looking to just get away from it all and slow down, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, too. The backdrop of the Pocono Mountains is enough to make even the busiest person take a pause and decompress.
11. Bear Lake Venture Park – Garden City, UT
Nearby attractions: Bear Lake State Park, Minnetonka Cave, Beaver Mountain Ski Area
Nearest airport: Ogden-Hinckley Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport
Unique amenities: Basketball, horseshoes, playground, sports field, waterfront
Venture on over to remote Northern Utah to find this venture park. Located near Bear Lake State Park, you’ll be minutes from your favorite water-sports. If you want to stay at Bear Lake Venture Park, you’ll find plenty of sports to play as well as an onsite petting zoo for the kids.
12. Newberry Campground – Newberry, MI
Nearby attractions: Tahquamenon Falls, Two-Hearted River, Mackinac Island
Nearest airport: Chippewa County International Airport, Pellston Regional Airport
Unique amenities: Arcade, basketball, horseshoes, mini-golf, playground, pool
One of the most beautiful places in the entire country caps off this list of camping hidden gems. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is one of the best places in the country any day of the year. In the summer you’ll get plenty of long sunny days to enjoy. However, when fall rolls around, the colors are unlike anything most people have ever seen. Accommodations are rustic, with mainly tent and RV spots, but some cabins are available for rent as well.
As much as heading to popular attractions and big cities can be fun, there’s a time and a place for everything. If you’re looking to get away from the noise and find some quiet, these spots for camping off the beaten path will provide just that.
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 email@example.com.
Photo credit in order of appearance: Elkamp Eastcreek, Jim & Mary’s RV Park, Piney River Resort, The Hideaway Retreat, Lost River Valley Campground, Elkamp Eastcreek, Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort, Conejos River Campground, Wild Fox Cabins & Campground, Hidden Falls Adventure Park, Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort, Bear Lake Venture Park, Newberry Campground