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Hot Spots

Camping Hot Spots

Find great places to camp and gain insights into activities to make the most of the top camping hot spots. Get the scoop on where to go next. Discover destinations that offer unique opportunities for you to experience the great outdoors through recreation activities, wildlife viewing, and unforgettable vistas.

Minnesota

Beautiful Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, is filled with variety. From the farmlands of the south to the quirky city sights of the Twin Cities and the rugged wilderness of Voyageurs National Park in the north, Minnesota has adventures to spare. This is the land of year-round fishing (in the winter, ice fishing is a popular sport), of ice cream in the summertime, and winter camping in the snowy season. You can visit the Mississippi River headlands, step into Canada, or catch a live taping of A Prairie Home Companion, all in this charming, friendly state.

Southern Minnesota has a relaxed attitude that's mirrored by its endless waves of cornfields and the bright, blue sky overhead. This is the land of the Mayo Clinic, winding rivers, and gorgeous forests for hiking, biking, and winter snowmobiling. Visit roadside highlights like the SPAM museum in Austin, Red Wing (home of Red Wing shoes), and Belle Plaine, where you can catch the Great Scarecrow Festival between September and October each year.

The vibrant Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are an exciting place to explore. Cut by the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, these two cities represent Minnesotaís past, through historic Saint Paul, and its future, through lively Minneapolis. You can swing by the University of Minnesota for a campus tour or sporting event, tour the jazz clubs of Minneapolis, or view the historic buildings of old Saint Paul. You'll find art galleries, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and sculpture gardens in addition to parks, lakes, and rivers to stroll along. The Twin Cities, or ìthe cities,î as theyíre locally known, include historic mills, the 1883 Stone Arch Bridge, and scenic walkways along the riverfronts.

History buffs will enjoy tours of the Alexander Ramsey House, Historic Fort Snelling, the Minnesota History Center, and Historic Murphy's Landing. The cities offer incredible shopping along the Mississippi Mile or at Nicollet Mall, over 300 downtown restaurants, and a hot live music scene. And if you're visiting with the kids, you won't want to miss a stop at the Minnesota Zoo to see the moose, wolves, lynx, and lemurs.

Northern Minnesota is famous for its incredible canoeing lakes, hiking trails, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling trails. The charming lakeshore town of Duluth offers fabulous fishing, gaming at the Fond-du-Luth Casino, and boating history at the Great Lakes Floating Maritime Museum. This is a perfect place to sit outside in the summer, soaking in the views of Lake Superior.

Further north, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, visitors can hike, portage, and canoe through a string of lakes that skirt the border with Canada. And nearby Voyageurs National Park is all about being on the water. A network of roads and trails connect waterways, lakes, bays, and coves that are just waiting to be explored. Discover the Oberholtzer Trail, the Echo Bay Trail, Blind Ash Bay, and the Kab-Ash Trail system. Put your canoe or kayak in the water, listen for the distant howl of wolves, and admire the beauty of this star of the north.

Northwest Wyoming Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks

Northwest Wyoming

Wide-open landscapes and clear blue skies exemplify Northwestern Wyoming, home of such natural wonders as Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. This land of towering mountains, broad meadows, and sparkling streams is also where you'll find Jackson Hole, the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Wind River Canyon, and the Wind River Indian Reservation. Take a trip through the land of Buffalo Bill Cody and the Shoshone people, a place where horseback riding is a natural way to travel, where the adventures are large and the sky is even larger.

You can design your trip as a loop that leads through Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Riverton, Shoshoni, and north to Cody (this is an ideal trip if you're traveling south from Glacier National Park or Bozeman, Montana). Start your journey at Yellowstone, the gem of the national park system. If you've never been to Yellowstone before, you'll want to allow several days to truly experience this park. Not only is the park large, at over 2,200,000 acres, but it also contains a wide variety of ecosystems, attractions, and wildlife. Yellowstone is the best place to watch for grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. You can see Old Faithful -- or one of the other 300 geysers in the park -- erupt or hike through the trails near Canyon Village. Yellowstone Lake is popular for fishing and boating, and youíll find miles of backcountry trails for hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and admiring this spectacular natural area.

Immediately south of Yellowstone National Park, via Highway 287 and 191, is Grand Teton National Park, home of Jackson Lake and the dramatic, jagged Teton mountain range. The Snake River winds through this park, creating fabulous spots for boating and river rafting. During the summer months, this is a fabulous place to enjoy hiking the mountain peaks, fishing for cutthroat trout in Jackson Lake, or admiring the wildflowers in an alpine meadow. You can go rock climbing, boating, swimming, and mountain biking, or take pictures of the breathtaking scenery. In the winter, many people enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Wildlife viewing is popular in the Tetons, and for good reason. At Oxbow Bend you can look for river otters, ospreys, bald eagles, and muskrats. Timbered Island, near Jenny Lake, is home to pronghorn antelope and elk. You can see bison and moose along the Snake River at the Jackson Lake Dam, and coyotes, harriers, kestrels, and squirrels on Mormon Row and Antelope Flats Road.

South of the Teton Range is Jackson Hole, a ski town that features powdery snow and working ranches. This makes a terrific side trip, especially if you're interested in downhill skiing, fine dining, or a stroll through a ski town's shops and cafes. Set at 6,237 feet, Jackson Hole is home to the annual Grand Teton Music Festival and the Mountain Festival, a musical extravaganza that's held in early September. You can ride the Bridger Gondola up to 9,000 feet, admiring the stunning views of the mountain slopes below. Extreme sports enthusiasts won't want to miss a trip to the Mountain Sports School at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, where you can tackle the climbing wall and bungee trampoline or go fishing, mountain biking, paragliding, and hiking on interpretive trails.

Both Jackson Hole and the ski resort community of Teton Village offer superb international restaurants, gift shops, and sports shops. You'll find sushi joints, local favorites like the Mangy Moose or Nick Wilson's Cowboy Cafe, and fine dining at the Cascade Grill House. Teton Village has a number of spas, massage centers, and fitness facilities. In the winter, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a hot spot for downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, tubing, snowboarding, and snow shoeing.

To reach Riverton and Shoshoni, the next destinations on the tour, head east from Grand Teton National Park on Highway 287/26. Both towns are in the heart of Wind River Country, set in the shadow of the majestic Wind River Mountains. Wind River is the homeland and burial place of Sacajawea, the woman who guided Lewis and Clark through the Inter-mountain West. You can take a horseback riding expedition through the hills, go panning for gold, or fish for brook, rainbow, brown, lake, golden and cutthroat trout, walleye, northern pike, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, perch, and freshwater ling cod. The area boasts over 600 lakes and reservoirs and more than 2,000 miles of rivers and streams. You'll find miles of hiking trails, craggy peaks for rock climbing, red desert landscape, and scenic sand dunes.

From Shoshoni, head north on Highway 20 to Highway 120, driving northwest to Cody. The premier attraction of Cody is the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a five-complex center that includes the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, the Cody Firearms Museum, the Plains Indian Museum, the Draper Museum of Natural History, and the Buffalo Bill Museum, dedicated to the life and times of Buffalo Bill Cody. You can also visit the Buffalo Bill Dam Visitor Center, Old Trail Town, and Tecumseh's Old West Miniature Village and Museum. And be sure not to miss a ride through town on the Cody Trolley or a visit to the Cody Nite Rodeo & the July 4th Cody Stampede, held between June through August each year.

Campgrounds near Yellowstone and Jackson Hole:

Rustic Wagon RV Campground & Cabins
West Yellowstone MT
Madison Arm Resort Campground & Marina
West Yellowstone MT
Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park
West Yellowstone MT
Yellowstone Holiday RV Campground & Marina
West Yellowstone MT
Gros Ventre Wilderness Area
Jackson WY
Bridger-Teton National Forests
Jackson WY
Teton Village KOA
Teton Village WY

The Dakotas

The Dakotas

The Dakotas are the land of wide-open spaces, dramatic history, scenic beauty, and farmlands that stretch as far as the eye can see. From the Badlands and Black Hills of western South Dakota to the fun-loving eastern town of Fargo, North Dakota, this area truly has it all.

Begin your visit in the west, starting in North Dakota with the fabulous Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Located on land that this famous president visited and lived on, this is a terrific place to hike, go horseback riding, or watch for animals like bison, elk, pronghorn, mule deer, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs. With moving scenic views and a wide blue sky, it's no wonder Teddy Roosevelt later said, ëI never would have been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota.í

Heading south, you'll find the most famous hot-spots of South Dakota. Outside the town of Lead, just south of Interstate 90, lies the old gambling town of Deadwood, recently popularized in a cable TV series. The entire town is now a national historic landmark, preserved to celebrate the history of the Wild West. The town was founded in 1876 when gold was discovered in the area, and a flurry of saloon-building soon followed to draw in the newly-rich prospectors. This is also the burial place of legendary figures such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

No visit to the area is complete without a stop in the stunning Black Hills region. Filled with sweet-scented ponderosa pine forests, dancing streams, and colorful history, this is an ideal place to camp, hike, go bird watching, or boating. You can explore the scenic prairies of Custer State Park and see the 139-mile long cave at the Jewel Cave National Monument. Then head south of Custer State Park to Wind Cave National Park, a perfect place for a cave tour or a hike along the thirty miles of trails.

From Rapid City, travel east on Highway 44 to Badlands National Park, an amazingly colorful geological wonderland. These 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires are the territory of bison, bighorn sheep, endangered black-footed ferrets, and swift fox. This area is a photographer's dream with pastel-colored formations, dramatic sunsets, and plenty of remote areas to explore. Itís easy to imagine the bad guys of yesteryear hiding out in this mysterious landscape.

On the eastern side of North and South Dakota, you'll find the big cities of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Fargo, North Dakota. Sioux Falls is known for its spectacular Falls Park and its historic downtown, Old Courthouse area, and All Saints district. Don't miss the chance to enjoy lunch or dinner with a view of the falls or to tour one of the 19th-centry Victorian homes.

Fargo, North Dakota, set on the border with Minnesota, offers the superb Fargo Air Museum, a 1926 restored theater, and the Plains Art Museum. You can enjoy a wine tasting at the Maple River Winery or catch a race at the Red River Valley Speedway. Kids are sure to enjoy the Red River Zoo, the Skateland Skate Center and Sports Bubble, or the Santa Village at Rheault Farm.

With scenic beauty everywhere you look, time almost seems to stand still in the Dakotas. Take your time passing through, and donít forget to watch for soaring hawks and waving sunflowers.

Baton Rouge and New Orleans

From its colorful history -- filled with pirates, voodoo, and romantic architecture -- to its vibrant nightlife, southeastern Louisiana is a land that's unique unto itself. With remnants of European culture still in evidence, this hot-bed of jazz and blues music is a place that just shouldn't be missed. While clean-up from 2005's Hurricane Katrina is still on-going, you'll be amazed by how much the region has rebounded. The fantastic restaurants and tourist attractions that Baton Rouge and New Orleans are known for are back in business, ready to tempt you with their special magic. So why not plan a trip to the Big Easy this year and see how the resilient spirit has made this area into a jewel once again!

At Camping.com, we've designed a route for you that soaks up the best of Louisiana. You can start your tour in Baton Rouge, the state capital, then head 82 miles southeast to famous New Orleans. From there, stop off to do some fishing on Lake Pontchartrain, visit plantation homes, and go bike riding at Fontainebleau State Park, taking in the beauty of this amazing region.

Filled with 'joie de vivre' and a rich history, beautiful Baton Rouge is a jambalaya of cultures and cuisines. As the story goes, two Native American tribes decided to define their boundary by placing a red stick in the ground. When a French trading population settled here in the 1700s, they used the name Red Stick, or Baton Rouge, to describe their fort city. Today Baton Rouge offers warm weather for sports like golf and tennis in addition to lively zydeco music, amazing southern food, and the stunning campus at Louisiana State University.

For outdoor adventures, you can take a stroll through the Afton Villa Gardens, head to the Baton Rouge beach on the LSU lake, or wander through the 16-acre Cohn Memorial Arboretum. You'll find antebellum plantations like the 1790s Butler Greenwood Plantation, the 1830s Greek Revival Greenwood Plantation, and the Evergreen Plantation with its alligator-filled swamp. Spend some time shopping or visiting art galleries, then swing by the African American Museum, the Iberville Museum with its Mardi Gras artifacts, and the LSU Rural Life Museum & Windrush Gardens that gives an insight into the lifestyles and cultures of pre-industrial Louisiana. And you certainly won't want to miss tea at the Enchanted Mansion or a night out, dining on fresh seafood and sizzling steaks.

After your stay in Baton Rouge, head southeast on Interstate 10 to New Orleans. Set on Lake Pontchartrain, this special city underwent devastation when water breached the levees during the massive hurricane of 2005. The lower parts of the city, many of which were built below sea-level, flooded. However, the parts of the city that were on higher land remained relatively secure -- it was the survival of these areas, along with the determination of New Orleans residents, that has helped the city recover. Today it is, once again, a thrilling place for visitors to explore. So as they say in New Orleans, 'laisez les bons temps rouler' (let the good times roll)!

No visit to New Orleans is complete without a stop in the French Quarter, also known as the Vieux CarrÈ or the 'Quarter' to locals. Located on some of the highest ground in the city, this area offers architecture in a mix of Spanish, French, Creole, and American styles. Not only is this the city's center, but it's also the place to go for fantastic dining or shopping in boutique shops. The French Quarter is a great place to wander, admiring the wrought-iron balconies, pastel plaster walls, and Gallier House, where you can take a tour of an 1800s home.

For outdoor adventures in the New Orleans area, plan a side trip to the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge where you can walk the boardwalk through 23,000 acres of swamps, marshes, and forests. This is a phenomenal spot for bird watching, wildlife viewing, boating, fishing, and biking. Free, guided tours are also available on weekends. You can take a Louisiana swamp tour in a covered boat, explore the Honey Island swamp, looking for alligators, bears, deer, raccoons, nutria, herons, and owls. Just thirty minutes from New Orleans, across the Mississippi River, you'll find Bayou Segnette State Park where you can enjoy both saltwater and freshwater fishing for bass, catfish, bream, perch, redfish and trout. Make use of the boat launch, go swimming in the wave pool, or enjoy a picnic lunch.

New Orleans is known for Mardi Gras, the outlandish, free-wheeling festival that takes place 47 days before Easter each year (generally in February or early March). But the city also celebrates a number of other events, from the August White Linen Nights arts festival to the April and May New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. And of course the city is known for its incredible nightlife. With jazz clubs, Harrah's Casino, and the attractions of Bourbon Street and Frenchmen Street all right here, you won't have to go far to find a good time. Many bars stay open all night, and the streets are often filled with fun-loving visitors, taking in the New Orleans experience. You can stop in the Old Absinthe House, Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, and the famous Galatoire's Restaurant in Bourbon Street, then head to one of the many jazz clubs for a night of live music.

As you leave New Orleans, you can head across Lake Pontchartrain to Fairview-Riverside State Park with its canopy of oak trees. Spend some time fishing the Tchefuncte River for bass, bluegill, white perch, and bream or visit Otis House, an 1880s mansion that was built by sawmill owner William Theodore Jay. Nearby, you'll find 2,800-acre Fontainebleau State Park, set on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Because hurricane reconstruction is still going on at this park, call ahead to see if the sandy beach and boat ramp will be open for your visit. At this park you can tour the ruins of an 1829 sugar mill, follow the Tammany Trace bicycle trail, or watch for the more than 400 bird species that call this area home.

From Savannah to Hilton Head

Fill your senses with sun, sand, and surf this month by heading to the gorgeous southern coast of South Carolina and the historic city of Savannah, Georgia. Nestled between Interstate 95 and the Atlantic coast, this is some of the most enchanting terrain youíll find anywhere. With its rich culture, complex history, and incredible natural beauty, youíre sure to fall in love with this part of the country. Weíve designed a travel route that will take you from the brick-lined streets of Savannah to charming Beaufort, Hunting Island State Park, and to the acclaimed resort of Hilton Head Island.

Start your tour in beautiful Savannah, a city thatís been known for its Southern hospitality since 1733. This hip and happening city offer excellent golfing, carriage rides through historic neighborhoods, fantastic shopping, and outdoor adventures like dolphin cruises, fishing charters, and the Oatland Island Education Center. You can visit the Meinhardt Vineyards & Winery to sample the vintages, meander through the gorgeous Chatham County Garden Center & Botanical Gardens, or rent a kayak for a day on the water.

Savannah is known for casino boat cruises that let you enjoy gaming, dining, and dancing while you sail the nighttime waters. Try the Emerald Princess Dinner Cruise and Casino or the Diamond Casino. You can learn more about this stunning cityís past at the Georgia Historical Society museum or the Coastal Heritage Society museum. And for a day at the beach, head eighteen miles east of Savannah to 3-mile-long Tybee Island. Youíll find a lively pier, historic lighthouse, miles of strolling space, and beautiful beaches beside the surf.

For a nice side trip, visit the Fort Pulaski National Monument, the site of an important battle in April 1862. You can follow a guided tour, see re-enacted musket firings, and view living history displays. The volunteers will even demonstrate firing the fortís famous rifled cannons. The fort is set on Cockspur Island and includes more than 5,000 acres of hiking trails, coastal marsh, and wildlife viewing areas. Take a walk to the romantic lighthouse, go fishing along the Savannah River, or watch for birds like the white ibis, oriole, kingfisher, and colorful painted bunting.

From Savannah, take Highway 170 northeast to popular Beaufort and St. Helena Island. Known as the ìQueen of the Carolina Sea Islands,î Beaufort offers waterfront shopping, quaint charm, and historic homes. Youíll also find phenomenal golfing and dining, plus historic forts and museums. Pay a visit to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island or visit the Port Royal boardwalk for its incredible views and arts culture.

Leaving from Beaufort, you can make an easy jaunt to 5,000-acre Hunting Island State Park, an amazing place to watch for wildlife. Tour the sands looking for loggerhead sea turtles and sea horses, or head to the marshes for alligators, pelicans, and buntings. Dolphins swim off the five-mile-long beach, playing near the fishing pier and tidal creeks. You can spend your time fishing in the lagoon, creek, or surf, or go boating in the warm sunshine. The park has horse trails, a playground, hiking and biking trails, and a Nature Center.

After youíve toured Beaufort and Hunting Island, head south to nearby Bluffton with its moss-shaded streets and ante-bellum homes. Bluffton offers excellent golfing, year-round sunshine, and shopping in the outlet malls, boutique shops, and specialty stores. This unique South Carolina city is also home to Real Wasabi, an organic farm that specializes in this zingy-hot condiment that is surprisingly good for your health. If you havenít tried wasabi before, stop by and take a taste of the good stuff!

Wrap up your visit to South Carolina with a stop at Hilton Head, the famous golfing and vacationing resort area. Hilton Head Island offers quiet beaches, golf tournaments, tennis, lighthouse tours, and turtle viewing. You can take the kids to play at the Coastal Discovery Museum or the Sandbox, a hands-on interactive museum. Youíll find laser tag and bumper cars at Adventure Cove, water-skiing and snorkeling on the coast, and plenty of art galleries and theater events. Take a dolphin watching cruise, go kayaking around the inlets, or take part in one of the islandís many fairs and festivals.

From the old-world charm of Savannah to the golf courses of Hilton Head, youíll find a special kind of beauty on the southern coast of South Carolina. On your next camping vacation, be sure to let time slow down to a quiet rhythm while you settle back and relax, beach-style.
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