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The Top National Parks Campers Most Want to Visit in 2023

by Team CampspotApr 18, 2023
The Top National Parks Campers Most Want to Visit in 2023

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Hey, folks! Let’s talk about the crown jewels of America’s great outdoors—our national parks. Yup, those beautiful, sprawling green spaces out there. From the smoky mountains out east to the rocky cliffs out west, national parks are the perfect spot to unwind, take in breathtaking views, and maybe even spot some wildlife. The national parks are a must-visit destination if you’re a nature lover. Trust us, you won’t find views like these in your backyard. The hardest part though can be deciding which national park to visit first. To help you plan your camping trips, we asked Campspot campers the top national parks they want to visit in 2023. 

1. Yellowstone National Park 

A colorful spring at Yellowstone National Park, one of the top national parks to see in 2023 according to Campspot campers.

Let us introduce you to one of America’s greatest treasures—the infamous Yellowstone National Park! Did you know that Yellowstone was the first national park in the world? That’s right, all other parks are just carbon copies trying to keep up with the original. Not only is Yellowstone home to the majestic bison and grizzly bears, but it’s also home to the largest active geyser in the world, Old Faithful. And let’s not forget about the beautiful Grand Prismatic Spring, but make sure to bring your sunglasses because that rainbow water will blind you with its beauty. So, next time you’re planning a vacation, skip the beach and head to Yellowstone for some geologically good times.

Where to Camp

A collage of campgrounds near Yellowstone National Park.

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 

Clouds hang over blue mountain ranges in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Have you ever wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and hike through some stunning natural landscapes? Look no further than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Located in Tennessee and North Carolina, this park may not be made entirely of smoke, but it’s great. With over 500,000 acres to explore, you’ll find plenty of hiking trails, breathtaking waterfalls, and even the occasional black bear sighting. So grab your hiking boots, pack a picnic, and get ready to release your inner mountain man/woman. Just don’t forget the bug spray—those pesky mosquitoes can be a real buzzkill.

Where to Camp 

A collage of campgrounds near Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

3. Grand Canyon National Park 

A river runs through a canyon at Grand Canyon National Park with cactus in the foreground.

Hold on to your cowboy hats folks, ’cause we’re heading to the Wild West! Millions of years ago, the Earth was like a science experiment gone wrong, creating the big ditches and valleys that we now call “canyons.” And boy, did it really outdo itself with Grand Canyon National Park. It’s no wonder people flock to Arizona from all over the world just to take a peep at this geological wonder. With rocks that are over two BILLION years old, you can finally say that you’ve seen something older than your grandparents! Plus, the Canyon is so big that it could fit the entire population of San Francisco (and their sourdough loaves) twice! So, if you’re ever feeling small and insignificant, just head over to the Grand Canyon and let it put things in perspective for you.

Where to Camp 

A collage of four campgrounds near Grand Canyon National Park.

4. Yosemite National Park 

The sun peaks around the grand view of a cliff at Yosemite National Park.

Welcome to Yosemite National Park, the land of giants! Seriously, everything here is huge. The cliffs tower over 7,000 feet and the trees are so tall they could double as skyscrapers. But before you start planning your giant slaying battles, let us give you some background information. Established in 1890, Yosemite was one of the first national parks in the United States. It’s located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California and covers over 1,200 square miles of jaw-dropping scenery. From waterfalls to meadows to granite cliffs, it’s a nature lover’s dream. Like any good celebrity, Yosemite has its fair share of on-screen appearances, including in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, The Twilight Zone, and as a source of inspiration for Ansel Adams’ iconic photographs. So come for the views, stay for the adventure, and remember to watch out for those sneaky giant squirrels.

Where to Camp 

A bed inside of a glamping tent.

5. Glacier National Park 

A snow-capped mountain is surrounded by water and flower-dotted hillsides at Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park is cooler than an ice cube in an Arctic storm. Located in good ol’ Montana, this park is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the United States. With 1,583 square miles of pristine wilderness, it’s no wonder visitors come from all over to explore the park’s 700 miles of trails, rugged mountains, and glimmering blue lakes. But be warned, if you’re not careful, you may just stumble upon a bear, moose, or even a mountain goat while out on your hike. So, lace up those hiking boots and let’s go check out Glacier National Park.

Where to Camp 

A collage of campgrounds near Glacier National Park.

6. Zion National Park 

An aerial shot of a green gully at Zion National Park.

Picture this: majestic red rock formations jutting out of the earth like jagged teeth, towering cliffs that make you feel like an ant, and one seriously pissed off mountain lion on the prowl. All of this wrapped up into one awe-inspiring package known as Zion National Park. Located in Utah, Zion should be at the top of every adventurer’s bucket list. This southwestern gem is home to some of the most picturesque hiking trails in the country, including the infamous Angel’s Landing and the Narrows. So, if you’re feeling brave, grab your hiking boots and head out to Zion. But be warned, the mountain lion is not to be trifled with – he’s the ultimate boss of the park.

Where to Camp 

A collage of campgrounds near Zion national park.

7. Rocky Mountain National Park 

Three hikers walk a mountain-side trail with mountain views in the distance and blue skies above at Rocky Mountain National Park.

We’re not sure about you, but whenever we hear “Rocky Mountains,” our minds automatically goes to the iconic “yo Adrian!” scene from Rocky. But alas, Rocky Mountain National Park has nothing to do with boxing or Italian Stallions. Instead, it’s home to some of the most breathtaking scenery nature has to offer. With over 300 miles of trails, 450 miles of streams, and 72 peaks towering over 12,000 feet, you’ll feel like a puny ant among giants. And get this—the park is actually older than sliced bread! Yep, it was established way back in 1915, making it one of the oldest national parks in the country. So, if you want to channel your inner Sylvester Stallone while taking in some jaw-dropping scenery, head on over to the Rocky Mountain National Park!

Where to Camp 

A collage of campgrounds near Rocky Mountains National Park.

8. Grand Teton National Park 

A snow-capped mountain is surrounded by clouds and trees with fall foliage with a body of water in the foreground reflecting the mountain top at Grand Teton National Park.

 Did you know Grand Teton National Park was originally called “Jackson Hole National Monument” before it was expanded and renamed? And the Teton Range that the park is named after was actually named after a French word for “boobs” because of their distinctive shape. Talk about a titillating background! But in all seriousness, Grand Teton is the perfect place for outdoor adventurers, with its stunning mountains, lakes, and wildlife. Just be sure to keep your distance from those moose and bears—they may look cute, but they can pack a punch. So if you’re looking to experience the beauty of nature (and maybe learn some unconventional facts), make sure to add Grand Teton National Park to your bucket list.

Where to Camp 

Two campgrounds located near Grand Teton National Park.

9. Redwood National Park 

A view of the redwood trees' trunks and crowns from the perspective of someone on the ground, looking up into the canopy.

Once upon a time, there was a magical place called Redwood National Park. And no, it’s not a park that only has red wood (that would just be weird), but it’s actually a lush forest filled with towering trees as far as the eye can see. These trees are so massive that it’s like visiting an entire world of wooden skyscrapers. Not only are these trees impressive to look at, but they’re also home to a variety of cute critters like chipmunks and squirrels. It’s basically like a woodsy version of New York City, but instead of taxis and hot dog stands, there’s nature and fresh air. So if you’re ever in the mood for a little adventure, go ahead and visit Redwood National Park—just don’t forget your bug spray!

Where to Camp 

A collage of campgrounds near Redwoods National Park.

10. Shenandoah National Park 

A view of the sun rising over a ridge of the Blue Mountains from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park, where the wildlife roams free and the mountains rise high! This picturesque park located in Virginia boasts over 500 miles of trails for hikers and backpackers to explore. But if hiking isn’t your thing, fear not! You can take the scenic drive along Skyline Drive, where you’ll get to experience stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the black bear that calls this park home. So pack your bags and head on over to Shenandoah, where the only thing wilder than the animals is the adventure that awaits you.

Where to Camp 

A collage of campgrounds near Shenandoah National Park.

Well folks, it’s time to say goodbye to our national park adventure. But let’s be honest, are we really saying goodbye, or are we just saying see you later? National parks have a way of making us want to come back for more. From the sand dunes of Death Valley to the misty mountains of the Great Smokies, we’ve experienced the best of what this country has to offer. So go ahead, plan your next national park trip. Until next time, keep exploring and always leave no trace!

Image credit in order of appearance: Adobe Stock – micah, Adobe Stock – Brad Pict, Adobe Stock – Vladimir Grablev, Adobe Stock – Joseph, Adobe Stock – Allen.G, Adobe Stock – Bill45, Adobe Stock – maislam, Adobe Stock – Margaret, Adobe Stock – Rob, Adobe Stock – DAVID, Adobe Stock – jonbilous