10 Spectacular Places to Camp in the Summer

Even if you haven't had summer off in years, you still think of it as vacation season. Why not succumb and go camping? See pictures of national parks.

Even for those who are long past the summer vacations of that marked the end of the school year, the season's warmer temperatures and longer days still invoke late nights and precious time to disconnect from everyday life. Whether you're an experienced outdoor adventurer or a novice naturalist, summer is the perfect time to head outdoors for a camping trip.

Most campgrounds offer different levels of luxury and accommodations; regardless of the site you choose, though, you'll be paying for far fewer amenities than you'd find at a hotel. For example, while a mid-range New York hotel could cost hundreds of dollars a night, you can spend a week at a campground in the Catskills for less than $200 [source: Brookside Campground].

Novice campers might want to choose a campsite that offers running water and flush toilets. Recreational vehicles, or RVs, also offer the comfort of beds and enclosed shelter. Many campgrounds have sites reserved for vehicles, but always check ahead to be sure that you and your home on wheels will have a place to park for the night.

More experienced campers might prefer a campground with fewer amenities. For the truly adventurous, many sites permit backcountry camping, or camping in undeveloped and sometimes even untraveled areas. Clearly, you won't find hot running water here; instead, backcountry campers -- often backpackers who camp in different spots throughout a long trek -- abide by strict guidelines designed to preserve the sanctity of the surrounding area [source: Schowalter-Hay].

Even at the highest level of outdoor luxury, you'll be responsible for bringing everything you need with you for the great outdoors. Here's a quick checklist:

  • a sturdy, waterproof tent
  • warm sleeping bags (even in summer, mountainous areas and sites close to water -- where many popular camping spots are -- get cold at night)
  • a strong flashlight
  • sturdy clothes and lots of layers
  • toiletries
  • a first-aid kit
  • entertainment (think cameras, bicycles, kayaks and fishing poles)
  • non-perishable food and water [source: Duvachelle]

Getting excited? Read on to start learning about the spectacular camping sites where you could spend your summer.