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Backpacking along California's Lost Coast

California, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico

Plan a Camping Trip You'll Never Forget

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  • States:
    California
    Kentucky
    New Hampshire
    New York
    North Carolina
    Oregon
    Puerto Rico

Yosemite, Zion, Denali – it's not unusual for these ultimate camping destinations to make anyone's bucket list.

But what about those big trips that don't always enter the scope of your day-dreamy wanderlust? Sometimes we experience the best journeys when we close our eyes and throw a proverbial dart at the map. Next time that travel bug starts knocking, why not pick a spot you may never thought of exploring? Here are some ideas to get you going.

King Range National Conservation Area Campgrounds, Arcata, California

Camping where majestic cliffs plunge dramatically into the wild Pacific Ocean is an experience quite unlike any other. Otherwise known as California’s Lost Coast, this region is just about as rugged as the West Coast gets. It’s the perfect destination for serious outdoor adventurers.

Hiking King Peak, only 4.8 kilometers from the water’s edge, and whose summit reaches 1,246 meters, is only a fraction of what one can get into here. Hunting, mushroom foraging, world-class surfing, salmon, tuna, rockfish, halibut fishing and abalone diving await any prepared adventurer.

Pacific Ocean views from King Range National Conservation Area

Pacific Ocean views from King Range National Conservation Area
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Falls of Rough, Rough River Lake, Kentucky

Falls of Rough is within the Pennyroyal region of Kentucky and, more specifically, the “Clifty” area. Rough River Lake provides tons of recreational activities for campers. Visitors can enjoy the waters and beautiful landscape, but the area may be best known for Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest cave system in the world with more than 386 kilometers of mapped passageways.

The staff at Rough River works hard to schedule many types of events for visitors and campers every summer and are happy to help you with your fishing, boating, camping, hiking and biking needs.

Sunset at Rough River Dam State Park

Sunset at Rough River Dam State Park
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Appalachian Mountain Club Huts, Appalachian Trail, White Mountains, New Hampshire

The Appalachian Mountain Club's network of huts, each a day's hike apart along the Appalachian Trail of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, offer a friendly, unique camping experience – one with a real community feel. Huts have co-ed bunk rooms, separate washrooms with cold running water and no electrical outlets. Services offered differ from full-service to self-service during the on- and off-seasons; winters are oh-so-cold, but beautiful and rugged. During full-service season, a helpful and friendly staff serves family-style breakfasts and dinners. During the off-season, you're on your own, but your experience trekking through the raging fall colors or snow-covered silence of the White Mountains will be well worth the isolation. 

Absorbing the vistas while hiking in White Mountain National Forest

Absorbing the vistas while hiking in White Mountain National Forest
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Ocracoke Campground, North Carolina

Once you arrive at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in coastal North Carolina, Ocracoke Campground let’s you camp on sand dunes with the Atlantic Ocean on one side of you and the Pamlico Sound bay on the other. At the site on one of  North Carolina's barrier islands, you can fish, swim, kayak, surf and play or run on the beach during the day, ride a bike into the charming coastal town for a fresh seafood dinner at night if you aren't searing the day's catch over the campfire. 

Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Outer Banks at Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Outer Banks at Cape Hatteras National Seashore
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Caribbean National Forest: El Yunque, Puerto Rico

The rainiest of all national forests, El Yunque's subtropical climate in Puerto Rico can surprisingly range from semi-desert to rainforest in a matter of steps, throughout all 11,330 hectares of its expanse. Explore the dwarf, or elfin, forest at the top of the mountain, hike the Mount Britton trail to the historical lookout tower and camp on the south side for a peaceful, nighttime experience in the forest, listening only to the music of tiny tree frogs known as coquis.

Climbing near a waterfall in El Yunque National Forest

Climbing near a waterfall in El Yunque National Forest
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Fall Creek Lake, Lane County, Oregon

Located on the west side of Oregon, Lane County, to be specific, kilometers of forest and beach surround this 750-hecare lake. Aside from the hiking, water sports and other outdoor adventures right in the lake’s vicinity, the Willamette Pass Ski Resort and Summer Skyway Gondola are within a few hours’ drive. Activities such as wine tasting and a visit to the Mount Pisgah Arboretum also are within the scope of your stay.

The lake itself is nestled in the Cascade foothills, which makes for some beautiful and rugged landscape. Plus, the sunsets at Fall Creek are amazing.

A beautiful day at Fall Creek Lake in Springfield

A beautiful day at Fall Creek Lake in Springfield
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Camp Gateway, Brooklyn, New York

Camping in Brooklyn in New York City? Yep. Sleep under the stars all night and visit the Museum of Modern Art in the morning. Located in the depths of Floyd Bennett Field – New York's first municipal airfield that has long since shut down – this "urban outback," as it's been touted, provides an oasis smack in the middle of one of the world's busiest cities. In fact, the park is still expanding. You'll be able to do all those outdoorsy things you love like kayak, fish, hike and bike well out of the shadows of skyscrapers and then hit Fifth Avenue, Chelsea art galleries and the Broadway show of your liking all in the same day. 

American goldfinch spotted at Floyd Bennett Field

American goldfinch spotted at Floyd Bennett Field
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