Tips for Camping

Camping in Arches National Park
flickr, srikanth_jandy
Camping offers affordable fun and the chance to unplug from the digital world.

Whether camping locally or embarking on a rugged adventure, camping lets you trade modern conveniences for simple joys.

Camping also offers the chance to get close-up, affordable experiences at renowned places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Find the best camping

Our public lands offer inexpensive camping. For family vacations, consider national parks, which often combine terrific attractions with family-friendly amenities.

Wildlife lovers should consider national wildlife refuges. If you want to camp in the West, our National Conservation Lands offer some astounding scenery.

Simply looking for the closest camping spot? offers a convenient location tool. Check out their page on car camping 101.

Prepare for camping

What kind of camping gear you need depends on the type of campground you visit. For infrequent campers, consider borrowing your equipment. Did you know that outdoor stores like REI rent camping gear? You'll also benefit from the knowledge of their wilderness-loving staff.

Check out these other pages for more assistance preparing for your trip:

Sustainable camping

Camping can be tough on wilderness. Follow Leave No Trace principles to minimize the impact of your campsite and activities. And if you bring children, camping is a great chance to model and teach good land stewardship. Here are some basics:

  • Use existing campsites and do not dig a trench around your tent, which can cause erosion.
  • Carry out everything that you bring in.
  • Avoid using bodies of water for washing dishes or hair. Even eco-friendly 

Volunteer camping trips

Shrinking federal budgets mean that many of our great places are suffering from neglect. People of all ages and abilities can take part in preserving wilderness through volunteer vacations that combine fun with important work like removing invasive species and maintaining trails.

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