Car camping—or camping next to your car at a developed campground—is an easy way to enjoy the outdoors without a whole lot of pre-planning. If you’re ready for an easy outdoor camping adventure, you’ll like our list of the best places for car camping below.
1. Maroon Bells
Situated five miles southwest of downtown Aspen up Maroon Creek Road, the Maroon Bells is not just a bucket-list photo opportunity, it’s also an incredible place for car camping, with excellent hiking and views that will spoil you forever.
For the most stunning scenery and fewer crowds, aim to camp at Maroon Bells in mid- to late-September (i.e., now). This time of year it’s possible to enjoy spectacular golden leaves set against the snow-dusted Bells. And, as a bonus for car glampers, the campsites offer vault toilets, water and trash facilities.
2. DeMotte Campground
Perched at 9,000 feet above sea level, Demotte is a Kaibab National Forest campground located just north of Grand Canyon’s North Rim. The alpine meadow area has pleasant daytime temperatures and cool nights, even during the peak of summer. Arrive early on summer weekends to get a site.
3. Mather Campground
Located in the heart of Grand Canyon Village, Mather Campground is close to the most popular South Rim trailheads. It is an ideal place to wake up and get an early start on your trek. For a quiet tent camping site, choose the “generator free zone” on Pine Loop Road. Reservations go fast in the summer, but sites are often open in winter and available on a first come, first serve basis.
4. Summerdale Campground
Summerdale Campground in the Sierra National Forest is located just over one mile from Yosemite National Park and sits in a scenic wildflower-filled meadow, surrounded by fir, cottonwood and cedar trees. The campground’s proximity to Yosemite, the excellent fishing at Big Creek and the cooler summer temperatures make it a very popular destination for camping veterans and newcomers.
5. Sagehen Creek Campground
Sagehen Creek Campground in the Boise National Forest is set in a gorgeous pine, spruce and fir forest with a camp host on site (in season), a sandy swimming beach on Sagehen Reservoir and several trails in the area. Access to this lovely campground is via a mostly (28 mile) graded Forest Service gravel road, but in dry weather passenger cars can manage just fine.