Thanks to the Airbnb of camping, know where to go this summer when you need to unplug…
This post comes from contributor Katheryn Erickson.
Be honest: How many hours did you spend staring at a screen today? 4? 6? 11? Unplugging has never been so necessary, and there is no cure for the anxieties of too much technology (and the news) like a few days spent wandering in total nature. With that in mind, we asked Hipcamp—the San Francisco-based “Airbnb of camping”—for a list of their most inspiring campsites so you can get started planning your summer adventures. (Bonus points: they’re all close to national parks that you probably already have on your bucket list.) With over 280,000 sites, including both public campgrounds and private land options, Hipcamp offers everything from classic sites with amenities to the most remote, off-the-grid destinations imaginable. Take your pick below.
The Destination: Yosemite National Park, California
Where to Rest Your Head: Treehouse is 30 minutes from Yosemite and the ultimate out-of-the-office experience. All you have to do to set up camp on this private farm! Just lay out your sleeping bag on a wooden platform that’s built into a giant oak tree. No tent—just you, your lantern, and the stars. Need we say more?
Don’t Miss: Yosemite’s towering sequoia trees, the many waterfalls spilling into the valley (btw, they’re having a major resurgence now that California’s out of a drought), Half Dome, the climbers scaling El Capitan, Glacier Point.
Remember to Pack: Hiking boots and, because you’re going sans tent, bug spray.
The Destination: Joshua Tree National Park, California
Where to Rest Your Head: Desert Mountain Majesty at Sky Camp offers four campsites, the most dreamy outdoor shower you’ll ever meet, a central cooking area complete with picnic tables, and mind-blowing nighttime views of the Milky Way.
Don’t Miss: Walking around the site to check out the many art installations, Pappy & Harriet’s saloon, the Joshua trees, massive boulders, wildflowers, and nature trails. Stop by the Cactus Mart on your drive back to add to your ever-expanding succulent collection.
Remember to Pack: Lots of water, climbing shoes, a cooling face mist, and your crystals (for charging).
The Destination: Zion National Park, Utah
Where to Rest Your Head: Water Canyon Cliffside Campsite is a 45-minute drive to Zion and has seven private spots surrounded by the sweeping terra cotta cliffs of the Canaan Mountains, blooming cacti and waterfalls. If you’re more into glamping than camping, check out the gorgeous BaseCamp 37 – Escalante Tent. It’s 50 minutes from Zion, has solar power, a dreamy front porch, and also isn’t far from the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.
Don’t Miss: The local flora and the Water Canyon and Squirrel Canyon trails that are within walking distance from the first site. At Zion, be sure to commit to the full-day hike to The Narrows, take in the mind-blowing views from Angel’s Landing, and visit the Emerald Pools.
Remember to Pack: Water-friendly hiking shoes.
The Destination: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Where to Rest Your Head: Stay at Mammoth Hot Springs Campground, and you’re within walking distance to Mammoth Hot Springs, the large, sci-fi-looking group of bubbling springs in northern Yellowstone. This site is RV friendly, so feel free to bring that vintage Airstream.
Don’t Miss: The Old Faithful geyser’s steady eruptions, the bison and elk in Hayden Valley, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. At the end of the day, take a soak in the Boiling River, where the hot water from the springs enters the cold current of the Gardner River.
Remember to Pack: A bathing suit and sunscreen.
The Destination: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Where to Rest Your Head: Colter Bay Campground is on the shore of the crystal clear Jackson Lake with views of the rocky Tetons in the distance. In other words: Paradise.
Don’t Miss: The local wildlife, driving along 42-mile Grand Teton loop for countless breathtaking views, taking a dip in the lake next to your tent, and canoeing in many other mountain lakes.
Remember to Pack: A swimsuit, a hat, and SPF lip balm.
The Destination: Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Where to Rest Your Head: Stay the night in an 18-foot tipi on a prairie at the Rolling Hills, Lakota Tipi, a 20-minute drive south of Badlands National Park.
Don’t Miss: Yes, you’re unplugging, but you should probably take a selfie here. The landscape of Badlands looks like it’s been through the Valencia filter. Think lots of rocky spires and buttes, wheat-colored grasses and massive bison.
Remember to pack: Face wipes and plenty of H2O—this site has zero running water.
The Destination: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Where to Rest Your Head: The Hilltop Cabin at Raven Ridge is a tiny, two-story cabin on a working farm with gorgeous views of the surrounding valleys.
Don’t Miss: The local barbecue, wildflowers, hiking along the Appalachian Trail.
Remember to pack: Hiking shoes.
The Destination: Acadia National Park, Maine
Where to Rest Your Head: The Mongolian Wall Tent is a very charming, very bohemian hike-in yurt next to the Union River with a fireplace and bathtub. It could function either as the perfect romantic getaway or a gathering spot for friends, as it sleeps six.
Don’t Miss: The colorful autumn leaves, sitting on the porch with a cup of hot coffee while the sun rises, hiking to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the rocky coastline, the adorable Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, and eating buttery Maine lobster.
Remember to Pack: Bath salts (because when else are you going to take a bath in the middle of a forest?) and a backpack.
Images (in order of appearance) by Kat Wagner, Amy Affeld.