There's something undeniably enchanting about waking up to the gentle lapping of water against the shoreline, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Lake camping offers a unique experience that combines the tranquility of the great outdoors with the allure of shimmering waters.
From the majestic peaks of Glacier National Park to the pristine shores of Lake George, the United States boasts an array of stunning lakeside campgrounds that will leave you in awe. We’ll be going over our top picks for the best lakeside camping sites in the country, each offering its own slice of paradise. Discover why camping near a lake is a surefire way to rejuvenate your spirit and create lifelong memories.
Glacier National Park - Montana
Campgrounds: Fish Creek & Many Glacier
Nestled in the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park offers immaculate alpine lakes and awe-inspiring vistas. With numerous campgrounds, including Fish Creek and Many Glacier, you'll have a range of options to choose from. Fish Creek Campground offers a serene setting with towering trees and the calming sounds of the nearby lake. Many Glacier Campground provides stunning views of glacier-carved peaks and the gorgeous Swiftcurrent Lake. Both campgrounds offer easy access to the lakes for camping and water activities.
The campgrounds provide bathroom facilities, and the park is family-friendly with various activities and programs for children. Pets are allowed but should be leashed.
Must-do: Embark on a scenic boat tour across the glacial waters of Lake McDonald, immersing yourself in the stunning vistas and learning about the park's fascinating geology and history.
Website: Visit the official Glacier National Park website at www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm for more information.
Acadia National Park - Maine
Campgrounds: Blackwoods Campground and Seawall Campground
Acadia National Park, located along the rugged coastline of Maine, offers stunning lakeside camping experiences. Blackwoods Campground, nestled amidst tall pines, provides a tranquil atmosphere with glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean and the nearby Bubble Pond. Seawall Campground offers scenic ocean views and you can enjoy the soothing sound of waves crashing against the rocky shore.
Both campgrounds offer convenient access to lakes for camping and kayaking, and both have easy access to serene lakes and hiking trails.
The campgrounds have restrooms and showers. Acadia is a family-friendly destination and leashed pets are welcome in certain areas.
Must-do: Wake up early to witness the mesmerizing sunrise from the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding lakes and islands.
Website: Visit www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm for more information about Acadia National Park.
Olympic National Park - Washington
Campgrounds: Sol Duc Campground and Heart O' the Hills Campground
Encompassing diverse ecosystems, Olympic National Park is a nature lover's paradise. The Sol Duc and Heart O' the Hills campgrounds are excellent choices near picturesque lakes and forests.
Sol Duc Campground is surrounded by old-growth forests and features a nearby hot spring resort, providing a unique camping experience. Heart O' the Hills Campground is nestled in the lush heart of the park, offering picturesque views of the serene Heart Lake. Both campgrounds allow easy access to the lakes for camping, fishing, and swimming.
Both campgrounds have restroom facilities and the park offers family-friendly activities and programs. Pets are allowed but must be leashed.
Must-do: Hike the picturesque Hurricane Ridge Trail in the park's heart, enjoying breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, and shimmering lakes below.
Website: For more information about Olympic National Park, visit www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm.
Grand Teton National Park - Wyoming
Campgrounds: Signal Mountain Campground and Colter Bay Campground
With its stunning peaks and crystal-clear lakes, Grand Teton National Park offers unforgettable camping experiences. Signal Mountain Campground provides breathtaking views of the Teton Range and the shimmering Jackson Lake. Colter Bay Campground is located along the lakeshore, surrounded by pine forests, offering stunning vistas. Both campgrounds offer convenient access to the lakes for camping, boating, and wildlife spotting.
The Signal Mountain and Colter Bay campgrounds provide lakefront views and convenient amenities, including bathroom facilities. The park is family-friendly and pets are welcome in certain areas.
Must-do: Embark on a scenic float trip along the Snake River, where you can marvel at the towering Tetons and spot wildlife like moose, beavers, and bald eagles in their natural habitat.
Website: Visit www.nps.gov/grte/index.htm for more information about Grand Teton National Park.
Crater Lake National Park - Oregon
Campground: Mazama Campground
Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States. Mazama Campground, nestled amidst towering pine trees, offers glimpses of the iconic Crater Lake. Enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings and the breathtaking views of the deep blue lake. The campground allows easy access to the lake for camping, hiking, and swimming.
The campground has restrooms and showers, and the park offers family-friendly activities. Pets are allowed but must be leashed.
Must-do: Take the scenic Rim Drive, encircling the deep blue Crater Lake, and stop at various viewpoints to witness the stunning panoramas of the caldera and Wizard Island.
Website: For more information about Crater Lake National Park, visit www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm.
Shenandoah National Park - Virginia
Campgrounds: Big Meadows Campground and Loft Mountain Campground
For a tranquil camping experience, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia is an excellent choice. Big Meadows Campground provides stunning views of the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains and the serene Big Meadows Lake. Loft Mountain Campground is located near the Appalachian Trail, offering scenic vistas of the Shenandoah Valley. Both campgrounds provide easy access to the lakes for camping, fishing, and boating.
The campgrounds have bathroom facilities and showers. Shenandoah is family-friendly and pets on leashes are allowed.
Must-do: Embark on the iconic hike to Old Rag Mountain, a challenging yet rewarding adventure that leads you through boulder fields and offers panoramic views of the park's lakes and valleys.
Website: Visit www.nps.gov/shen/index.htm for more information about Shenandoah National Park.
Lake Tahoe - California/Nevada
Campgrounds: D.L. Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay State Park
Surrounded by the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains, Lake Tahoe is a picturesque camping destination. There are numerous campgrounds, such as D.L. Bliss State Park, which offer breathtaking views of the turquoise waters of Lake Tahoe, surrounded by stunning granite cliffs and vibrant wildflowers. Emerald Bay State Park features a picturesque bay with an island and a historic tea house. Both campgrounds provide easy access to the lakes for camping, swimming, and water sports.
The campgrounds have restroom facilities and the area is family-friendly. Pets on leashes are allowed in certain areas.
Must-do: Explore the crystal-clear waters of Lake Tahoe by kayak or paddleboard, gliding along its shoreline and discovering hidden coves and beaches.
Website: For more information about camping at Lake Tahoe, visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=506.
Glacier View Campground - Colorado
Campground: Glacier View Campground
Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Glacier View Campground offers one of the most serene camping experiences. Set beside a tranquil lake, this campground provides breathtaking views and easy access to hiking trails. Enjoy the sight and sound of nature while camping near the shimmering lake. The campground provides convenient access to the lake for camping, fishing, and hiking.
While it offers basic amenities, including vault toilets, it's a more rustic option. The campground is family-friendly and leashed pets are welcome.
Must-do: Embark on a scenic hike to St. Mary's Glacier, where you can witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the glacier and its surrounding alpine landscape.
Website: Visit www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/arp/recarea/?recid=36845 for more information about Glacier View Campground.
Lake George - New York
Campgrounds: Rogers Rock Campground and Hearthstone Point Campground
Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, Lake George offers a blend of natural beauty and outdoor recreation. Rogers Rock Campground and Hearthstone Point Campground provide lakefront camping opportunities with picturesque views.
Rogers Rock Campground offers stunning views of Lake George, nestled amidst the picturesque Adirondack Mountains.
Hearthstone Point Campground provides lakeside camping with beautiful sunsets and direct access to the lake's sandy beach. Both campgrounds offer opportunities for camping, boating, and fishing.
Both campgrounds have restroom facilities and the area is family-friendly. Pets on leashes are allowed.
Must-do: Take a leisurely boat cruise on Lake George, enjoying the picturesque views of the surrounding Adirondack Mountains and charming lakeside villages.
Website: For more information about camping at Lake George, visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/camping.html.
Yellowstone National Park - Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Campgrounds: Grant Village Campground and Bridge Bay Campground
As the first national park in the United States, Yellowstone is famous for its geothermal features, wildlife, and stunning lakes. Grant Village Campground provides easy access to Yellowstone Lake, offering tranquil camping experiences with stunning lake views. Bridge Bay Campground is located near the scenic Bridge Bay Marina, perfect for boating and fishing enthusiasts. Both campgrounds allow camping near the lakes and provide opportunities for various water activities.
Both campgrounds have restroom facilities and the park offers family-friendly activities. Pets on leashes are allowed.
Must-do: Visit the mesmerizing Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in the United States, and marvel at its vibrant colors and otherworldly beauty.\
Website: Visit www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm for more information about camping in Yellowstone National Park.
Remember, the availability and waitlists for these campsites may vary, so it's essential to check ahead and make reservations whenever possible. Enjoy your camping adventures and make lasting memories at these breathtaking lakeside destinations!