Grab your buddies, some grub, and your camping gear. It’s time to take a mancation. Leave the posh hotels and beach bathing to the ladies, because the rugged wild is beckoning. Every man welcomes the sight of mountains and rivers over the surf shop-lined boardwalks of the coast. The acres of wooded lands and miles of flowing streams provide a much more relaxing setting for any angler, hunter, or outdoorsman.
While you and your friends may be the only ones around the fire, you certainly won’t be alone in the wilderness — at least according to the numbers. Over 14 percent of Americans regularly camp. Those campers spent an average of two weeks on their trip and traveled over 180 miles to reach their destination. Hiking, cookouts, and fishing are by far the most popular activities for a nature getaway.
So lace up your hiking boots, pack some food, and grab a couple spinning rods and hit the road. Whether you’re heading to the mountains or the plains, there’s nothing better than pitching a tent and setting up camp. Now that you’ve got the motivation, all that is left to do is pick your destination. So where are the best American spots to relax under the stars? Get started with these 10:
1. Acadia National Park, Maine
If you haven’t been to Maine, you’re missing out on one of the most beautiful states in the lower 48. Miles of coastline team with incredible woodlands and scenic outlooks to provide an all-around breathtaking landscape. There is simply no better place to take a camping trip. With 17 million acres of forest and 6,000 bodies of water, there are plenty of sites to set up camp. Perhaps the best spot in the Pine Tree State is in Acadia National Park. The Blackwoods and Seawall campgrounds are the two sites to focus on. Enjoy hiking, fishing, and climbing opportunities at every turn.
2. Yosemite National Park, California
Pure wilderness expands from the Sierra Mountains to Fresno in this natural reserve. With plenty of campgrounds to choose from, and year-round beautiful weather, the Golden State paradise screams adventure and excitement.
3. Joshua Tree National Park, California
A little further down the state is a park not many associate with great camping. Located in the middle of the desert, the 800,000 acre area boasts peaks and valley worthy of day-long explorations. Of course, you’ll want to make some time to visit the park’s namesake as well.
4. Grand Trenton National Park, Wyoming
Take in the Rockies, ravines, and wildlife when you visit this mountainous sect of the West. Again, campgrounds are scattered all around the area to make the planning stage of your expedition easier. With 480 square miles of land though, you can enjoy your entire visit in peace.
5. Oz Farm, California
If sleeping on the ground with a swatch of fabric tied between two trees doesn’t appeal to you, Oz Farm is the place to go. The scenery is different than most of the sites on this list because the rolling meadows and groves replace heavily wooded sections.
6. Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness Area, Montana
You’ll see an amazing backdrop and maybe even a couple of grizzly bears. Traversing two states, the 900,000 acre park delivers views unparalleled in the United States.
7. Sleeping Bear Dunes National, Lakeshore Michigan
Looking for the woods? How about fishing? And the beach? Yep, Sleeping Bear Dunes has it all. Go for a kayaking trip around Lake Michigan or keep your distance amongst the trees.
8. Devils Lake State Park, Wisconsin
Endless hiking and biking trails are the draw for this Badger State piece of heaven. Take a break from typical rugged activities to check out the nature programs at the Nature Center. As with others on this list, Devils State Park also offers a refreshing lake to fish and explore with your buddies.
9. Seminole State Park, Georgia
Wildlife overwhelms this Southern destination thanks to the alligators, ospreys, and eagles. A winding wetland boardwalk scans the area so you can take in the tortoise burrows and Longleaf Pine forest. Take your pick of cottages or campsites to fully experience the world-class fishing and birding.
10. Bahia Honda, Florida
Located in Big Pine Key, this tropical park offers stunning sunset views and relaxing activities. Combine boating and snorkeling with your angling adventure. The southernmost park on this list may also be the most beautiful.