5 Cool Campsites You Can Book Now

Suzie DundasAugust 8, 2018

5 Cool Campsites You Can Book Now

If you love sleeping in the great outdoors—and having a sea of adventure opportunities at your fingertips—chances are you’ve either thought about visiting, or have visited, one of the 59 national parks in the U.S.

Unfortunately, that means you’ve probably also encountered booked-up campsites, campsite lotteries, and first-come, first-serve campsites that require you to line up as early as 5 a.m. for a prime summer spot.

National and state parks are so popular, and the campsite reservation system is so outdated, that planning a last-minute trip can be near impossible if all the campsites fill up six months—sometimes even nine months—in advance.

But never fear. While public parks certainly are an amazing place to spend a week or weekend camping, they’re not your only option. We’ve put together this list of five unique campsites you can book now.

That’s right—no crossing your fingers in the hopes of winning a lottery system. These sites all have availability in the remaining weeks of summer.

And if you think these campsites are awesome, check out these cool, ready-to-rent Outdoorsy campervan rentals, all handpicked by our partners at Lush Palm.

Sip wine and camp among the vines at Pianetta Ranch

Campsites | Outdoorsy
Image courtesy of Pianetta Ranch.

If you love the idea of a classic northern California wine tasting, but aren’t exactly the type to spend all day sitting in a tasting room, we’ve got the perfect compromise.

This working winery just south of Monterey, Calif. offers large campsites that can accommodate any type of vehicle. The site is home to dozens of acres of vines, so you’ll likely be sleeping right next to the grapes.

One unique aspect we love about Pianetta Ranch and Winery is their wine-centric camp offerings, giving you the option to book a winemaker dinner or private vineyard tour. Because of the vineyard’s location, it works well to rent a vehicle from the San Francisco area and add a night or two here into a trip driving along the Big Sur coastline.  

Note that this site does not offer RV hookups, so you’ll be going off-the-grid.

Enjoy a family-friendly stay at Moose Hillock Resort

Campsites | Outdoorsy
Take a train ride through New Hampshire. Photo courtesy of White Mountains New Hampshire

For east coast road trippers, head north to New Hampshire’s Moose Hillock Camping Resort. Tucked away in the mountains, this resort has no shortage of adventures to try, from mountain biking and hiking to river rafting.

But because this isn’t your average camping resort, there are just a few other bonus features too—like a heated lagoon swimming pool with waterslide and even a crashed pirate ship. There’s also a huge indoor play area, weekly make-your-own-sundae bars, and plenty of adventure outside the resort, including a nearby massive waterpark, an aerial tramway, and the Appalachian trail.  

Campsites | Outdoorsy
Moose Hillock’s pirate-themed pool.

Looking to extend your experience? Take a roadtrip to the other Moose Hillock Camping Resort in upstate New York that features a caribbean beach-themed pool and midweek magic shows.

Have a cowboy experience at Winding River Resort

Campsites | Outdoorsy
Photo courtesy of Winding River Resort.

In search of a rustic western experience? Book your campsite at northwest Colorado’s Winding River Resort.

Not only does this remote location offer amazing wildlife viewing opportunities including moose, elk, and bears, but it’s also very close to Rocky Mountain National Park. The resort’s location means you can still get a national park experience without waiting months for a national park RV site to come available.

You and your group can enjoy trail rides through the Rockies or just hang out at one of the resort’s nearby lakes. And if don’t feel like cooking, join in on one of Winding River Resort’s Chuck Wagon breakfasts with pancakes, sausage, and old-timey favorites.

Whatever activities you choose to fill your agenda, be sure you don’t miss the Tuesday night square dancing.

Treat yourself to good vibes at Mystic Hot Springs Resort

Campsites | Outdoorsy
Photo courtesy of @catherineinthecity.

Life on the road can be hard on sore muscles, especially when you’re hiking or packing up every day. So treat yourself to a campsite guaranteed to make you feel a bit more relaxed. Mystic Hot Springs Resort in Monroe, Utah is a laid-back place with several natural hot springs and soaking tubs with views of the mountains.

When we say this place is laid-back, we mean it: the resort was founded by a former Deadhead who stumbled upon the hot springs—and decided to stay—on the way home from a Grateful Dead concert.

Campsites | Outdoorsy
Photo courtesy of @workless_wandermore.

The resort has a deeper history than that though, from serving as a meeting place for Native Americans to becoming an all-night dance hall in the early 20th century.

Dogs are welcome, and all overnight reservations come with unlimited soaking in the hot springs. If you’re really feeling the hippie vibes, take advantage of the frequent jam band concerts and festivals that pop up across the property. There are plenty of RV sites and good vibes to go around.

Go to a national park that never fills up

Campsites | OutdoorsyYes we said national parks are really crowded, but that’s why we’re putting one of the least crowded national parks on the visit list. At this remote park, advanced reservations are—wait for it—not required.

When you think of Nevada, you may think of Las Vegas and barren deserts. But head north, and you’ll find a mountainous region ripe with amazing hiking and adventure opportunities at Great Basin National Park.

This park has less than 100,000 visitors every year. Compare that to the more than four million people who visit Yosemite every year, and you’ll see why it’s never hard to get a campsite here.

Campsites | Outdoorsy
Lehman caves in Great Basin National Park.

While here, options for activities range from underground cave tours to stargazing lessons to summiting 13,064-foot-high Wheeler Peak. Nearly all campsites are first-come first-serve, but you can still make reservations in advance, if you’re worried.

Have an under-the-radar campsite you’re willing to share with us? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, tagging us @Outdoorsy. 

Suzie Dundas, Outdoorsy Author

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