8 of America’s Coolest Campgrounds

From theme park camps to outdoor wellness retreats, the US of A has it all. Here are eight great places to safely pitch your tent this fall.
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With the weather cooling down and coronavirus still all around us, there's never been a better time to embrace the great outdoors. Camping's a great way to safely see the world this season, but if rugged outdoor adventures aren't your thing, don't fret. These days, you can find campgrounds full of comforting amenities, indoor sleeping options, and tons of family-friendly activities. Whether you're headed south to the beach, north to peep the fall leaves, or somewhere in between, we rounded up eight of the coolest places to camp this fall. 

Outdoor Movie

Normandy Farms 

Foxborough, Massachusetts 

Heading to New England this fall to watch the trees burst out in shades of auburn, amber, and gold? Normandy Farms, a family-owned luxury campground in the heart of the woods, is the OG place to experience the autumnal transformation. You can stay in your own tent or RV, or go the upscale route and rent an on-site yurt, cabin, or safari tent. After a day of leaf peeping, head back to the campgrounds for all sorts of activities—a ride at the bike park, a dip in the warm pool, a massage at the wellness center, or an evening flick at the camp cinema. 

Basic facilities: Drinking water, toilets, hot showers, WiFi, campfires

Fees: $36 per tent

Watchman Camp

Zion National Park, Utah

Just a quarter of a mile away from Zion National Park’s southern entrance, Watchman Campground is an ideal place to pitch your tent for a weekend of outdoor bliss. The site lies on the shores of the Virgin River, giving backpackers and outdoorsy types tons of nearby hiking opportunities and easy access to the National Park’s Visitor Center. After a day in the park, head to the campground's amphitheater, where rangers demonstrate coyote howls, lead night-sky programs, and much more.

Basic facilities: Drinking water, toilets, picnic areas, campfires

Fees: $20 per tent 

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Frontier Town

Berlin, Maryland

Across the water from the horsey heaven that is Assateague Island (the quiet beach is known for its free-roaming wild horses!) is a fun-for-all campground: Frontier Town. It’s not technically in the Old West, but you’ll feel like it is as you browse the small-town shops for a cowboy hat, ride a pony through the streets, or stop for a bite to eat at the saloon. If you’re here in the summer, swing on the High Ropes Adventure Park, ride the runaway train at the Western Theme Park, or simply bob along the lazy river at the water park.

Basic facilities: Drinking water, toilets, hot showers, WiFi, picnic areas, campfires

Fees: $43 per tent 

El Cosmico - Teepee at Night - Nick Simonite

El Cosmico

Marfa, Texas

Hippies, Instagram-lovers, and desert dwellers, rejoice! The Southwestern-style nomad camp, El Cosmico, is full of laid-back West Texas vibes—and extraordinarily well-prepared for COVID-19. You can pitch your own tent at this traditional campsite, but if that's not your scene, no worries: Try a well-decorated yurt, trailer, or even the on-site micro home. (All boast boho-chic vibes that look great on the 'gram.) The campground's not far from Big Bend State Park, so after a day of hiking, head back to El Cosmico to peruse the camp's famed hipster shop, Provision Co. (which sells everything from designer sleep masks to home-blended nettle chai), relax in the hammock grove, or grab a bite at the on-site outdoor kitchen. 

Basic facilities: Drinking water, toilets, hot showers, communal outdoor kitchen

Fees: $20 per tent

Jellystone Park at Western New York

North Java, New York

If you're looking for family-friendly vacay ideas, head to upstate New York's Yogi Bear Jellystone Park near Buffalo. This place was made for all-ages fun. Splash around with the kids at the Water Zone, challenge them to a game of outdoor laser tag or an adrenaline-pumping race at the kart track, or let them loose on the inflatable jumping pad. For a more chilled out pursuit, rent a kayak or meet Yogi Bear himself. You’ll never run out of entertainment here.

Basic facilities: Drinking water, toilets, hot showers, WiFi, picnic areas, campfires

Fees: $36 per tent

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Black Walnut Grove at Happy Hollow Homestead

Marengo, Indiana

Want a true escape? Make like Ron Swanson and enjoy the eco-friendly, off-the-grid retreat at Happy Hollow Homestead. This forest homestead is powered entirely by solar energy, so you can enjoy nature peacefully while camping at one of the 50 wooded sites. During the day, walk through the woods to explore the bevy of springs, sinkholes, and caves, or have some fun on the tire swings and high-flying tree webs. Don't forget to buy a rich, delicious bottle of maple syrup made right on the Happy Hollow Homestead before you leave! 

Basic facilities: Drinking water, toilet, hot outdoor showers, fire pit

Fees: $30 per tent

Elkmont Campground

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Located 2,150 feet above sea level, Elkmont is the perfect place to enjoy the morning mists of the Great Smoky Mountains—an ideal companion to your steamy, comforting coffee. After a peaceful morning, set out on a hike along one of the park's hundreds of trails or follow the babbling stream to a secluded fishing spot. In the evening, drive into Gatlinburg to enjoy the charming shops, Dollywood, and thrilling cable car ride to the ski resort of Ober Gatlinburg. 

Basic facilities: Drinking water, toilets, campfires, picnic tables

Fees: $25 per tent

Boyd’s Campground

Key West, Florida

Campers who’d like a taste of the Caribbean will love Boyd’s, located right by the water on Florida's remote Key West island. Pitch your tent waterside and take in the ground's relaxing amenities like poolside yoga, cookout parties, tiki hut cocktails, and much more. If you're looking for adventure, the local area is packed with activities like snorkeling and jet-ski riding. And if rain strikes (it is an island, after all), play until the rain goes away in the games room, where the campground cat, Fluffy, lives.

Basic facilities: Drinking water, toilets, hot showers, laundry, WiFi, picnic tables, charcoal grills

Fees: $61 per tent