Top Destinations

Top Hidden Gems for Camping Off the Beaten Path

by Joe ColemanMay 6, 2022

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

An RV parked between trees at Jim & Mary's RV Park.

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!

Book this Big Sky RV Stop

2. Piney River Resort – Bon Aqua, TN

Two wooden lounge chairs face a fireplace and riverbank at Piney River RV Resort, a campground off the beaten path.

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!

Book this Riverfront Camping Spot

3. The Hideaway Retreat – Navarre, FL

An aerial image of the campsites on the beach at The Hideaway Retreat, a campground off the beaten path.

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.

Book this Old Florida Hideaway

4. Lost River Valley Campground – North Woodstock, NH

A cabin in the woods at Lost River Valley Campground.

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.

Book this Glamping Dream

5. Elkamp Eastcreek – Mineral, WA

A meadow with mountains in the background and blue skies at Elkamp Eastcreek campground, a campground off the beaten path.

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!

Book this Mt. Rainier Basecamp

6. Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort – Felton, CA

The entrance sign to Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort, mounted at the base of redwoods near a winding road.

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.  

Book this Redwood Respite

7. Conejos River Campground – Antonito, CO

Blue skies over rolling hillside near Conejos River Campground.

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.  

Book this Rugged Rio Grande Stay

8. Wild Fox Cabins & Campground – Lakeville, ME

A cabin in the woods, surrounded by trees at Wild Fox Cabins & Campgrounds.

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.

Book this Maine Attraction

9. Hidden Falls Adventure Park – Marble Falls, TX

An off-roading trail cuts through brush with blue skies overhead at Hidden Falls Adventure Park.

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.

Book this Hidden Gem

10. Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort – Waymart, PA

The interior of a fully furnished tent, complete with a bed, lamp, and end table and overlooking the water at Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort, a campground off the beaten path.

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.

Book this Glamping Experience

11. Bear Lake Venture Park – Garden City, UT

An aerial shot of campgrounds at Bear Lake Venture Park. Campsites are surrounded by trees and the lake and mountains are visible along the horizon.

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.

Book this Lakefront Property

12. Newberry Campground – Newberry, MI

Campsites at Newberry Campground are hidden beneath this aerial shot of fall foliage.

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.

Book this Wooded Getaway

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.

Read Next: 30 Must-Have Items for Your Camping Packing List

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: 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