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10 Best Places to Go Lake Camping in the US

10 Best Places to Go Lake Camping in the US

Lake camping is an incredibly unique experience that can provide the perfect escape from the mundane routines of everyday life. It offers the opportunity to take in some stunning natural scenery, immerse yourself in tranquil environments, and make unforgettable memories with your loved ones.

The lakes in the United States offer various terrains, allowing campers to explore a range of different activities and activities. From hiking and fishing to swimming and kayaking, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at a lake. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or some adventure, you’ll find it around a lake.

The wildlife around the lakes is often abundant and breathtaking. Many of the lakes offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape and provide ample opportunities to observe the local wildlife in their natural habitats.

The great thing about lake camping is that it can be tailored to your individual needs. Plenty of options are available whether you want to set up a tent or rent a cabin. You can also choose how you want to camp, whether that’s in a group or alone.

No matter what type of camping you’re looking for, a lake in the United States will make the perfect destination. With stunning natural scenery, abundant wildlife, and all kinds of activities to enjoy, lake camping is undoubtedly an experience that everyone should enjoy.

What to consider when planning a trip to the lake?

When planning a camping trip to a lake, there are several factors to consider. First, you will want to make sure you pick a safe and suitable lake for swimming and other water activities. Additionally, you should consider the size and depth of the lake and the type of fish and other wildlife that may be present. You should also be aware of any local regulations for swimming, boating, and other activities.

You will also want to determine what type of camping you are most interested in, as lakeside camping can range from backcountry and primitive camping to deluxe glamping. Additionally, you will want to research the available amenities and facilities at the lake, such as picnic areas, tables and fire rings, bathrooms, RV dump stations, and other recreational activities like swimming, boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking.

Finally, you should consider the climate and weather conditions in the area, as well as the time of year you plan to visit. This will help you to choose the best gear and clothing for your trip. With all these factors in mind, you’re sure to have a great time at lakeside camping!

The ten best places to go lake camping in the US

1. Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid, New York, is a great place to go lake camping for many reasons. Located in the stunning Adirondack Mountains, it is surrounded by lush forests and picturesque mountains, providing an idyllic environment for outdoor exploration. The lake itself offers plenty of activities, such as fishing, canoeing, and kayaking, as well as some of the best swimming opportunities in the state. Plus, the area is full of mini golf courses, eateries, and attractions that are sure to keep you and your family entertained. The nearby Hurricane Harbor amusement park, Lake George Expedition Park, and Adirondack Extreme Adventure Course are all great spots to check out during your stay. RVers have plenty of campsites to choose from, such as Lake George RV Park, Ledgeview RV Park, and Lake George Escape Campground. In short, Lake Placid, New York, is the perfect destination for a lake camping trip.

Mountains being reflected on a calm, placid lake.

2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, located in Wyoming, is one of the most popular nature destinations in the United States. It is home to various majestic landscapes, including lush meadows, steep canyons, alpine lakes, and vibrant forests. Lake camping is a popular activity in the park, offering visitors the chance to experience its natural beauty up close. The lakes provide an excellent opportunity to take in views of the stunning mountain vistas, spot local wildlife, and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, swimming, canoeing, hiking, and more. Plus, the park’s five campgrounds are located close to other attractions like Yellowstone National Park and the National Elk Refuge, making it the perfect spot for a weekend getaway.

 Yellowstone National Park

3. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Lake Tahoe is one of the best places to go camping in the US due to its stunning natural landscape and a plethora of recreational activities. Sitting at 1,645 feet deep and boasting crystal-clear water and blue hues, the picturesque views of Lake Tahoe, surrounded by granite peaks and lush pines, will take your breath away. Not only that, but the area offers endless things to do, such as winter sports, camping, water sports, motorcycling, golfing, hiking, biking, and gambling. Furthermore, Lake Tahoe hosts some of the best RV campgrounds in California, such as the Upper Eagle Point Campground, City of Lake Tahoe Campground, Tahoe Valley campground, Eagle Point Campground, Camp Richardson Campground, Meeks Bay Campground, and William Kent Campground. These campgrounds provide fire pits, picnic tables, benches, grills, and bear boxes, as well as being pet-friendly. Hence, it is no surprise that Lake Tahoe has become a favorite destination for RV travelers.

Lake Tahoe

4. Lake Powell, Arizona/Utah

Lake Powell, located in both Arizona and Utah, is an excellent place for camping. It is the largest body of water in the United States, boasting an impressive area of 252 square miles and a depth of up to 583 feet. Its impressive landscape consists of Glen Canyon Dam, Rainbow Bridge, Hite Crossing Bridge, and many other natural formations. There is plenty to do here, including fishing, waterskiing, jet-skiing, boating, and hiking. Camping is popular, with many opportunities to rent houseboats or bring your own tent. Wahweap RV & Campground is an excellent destination with clean facilities, fire pits, grill covers, and much more. The nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Old West-style Kanab, Utah, are all worth visiting. Finally, the Rainbow Bridge is the tallest natural bridge in the world and is considered sacred by the Native American people. With its stunning views, diverse wildlife and activities, and beautiful natural attractions, Lake Powell is a great place to go camping.

Lake Powell Reservoir

5. Lake Michigan, Michigan

Lake Michigan is a fantastic place to go lake camping due to its immense size, incredible shoreline, and abundant recreational activities. With over forty miles of shoreline and a depth of 923 feet, Lake Michigan is the second-largest lake by volume and third-largest by area in the United States. This immense size offers travelers plenty of gorgeous views, perfect for spotting wildlife, kayaking, and swimming.

The area also provides two national parks managed by the National Park Service, filled with incredible campground opportunities, such as Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes National Park. Additionally, many other campgrounds are located around the lake, such as Ludington State Park and Campgrounds, Hiawatha National Forest, Manistee National Forest, and Silver Lake State Park Campground.

These campgrounds feature activities for everyone, such as swimming, kayaking, and fishing, as well as breathtaking views of Lake Michigan. Also, the Twelvemile Beach Campground in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers a unique opportunity to camp among stands of white birch with a view of Lake Superior. For those seeking a fantastic camping experience near Lake Michigan, it’s a great destination.

Mother and daughter watching a sunset over Lake Michigan

6. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming is an idyllic setting for lake camping, offering stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and the 40-mile-long Teton Range, as well as abundant wildlife and lush evergreen forests. Campers have four different campgrounds to choose from, all of which offer amenities such as bathrooms, fire pits, and picnic tables.

In addition to the gorgeous scenery, Grand Teton National Park also offers various outdoor activities, from hiking and mountain biking to bird and wildlife watching. The Jenny Lake Campground is particularly popular, with 49 individual tent sites and ten sites designated for hikers and bicyclists. Jenny Lake is within walking distance and is a great place to enjoy swimming and fishing. Nearby is the National Elk Refuge, where campers can spot hundreds of elk depending on the season.

Grand Teton National Park

7. Flathead Lake, Montana

Flathead Lake is a great place to go lake camping because it offers so much for outdoor lovers. It is the largest natural freshwater lake on the western side of the country, with crystal clear waters that beg visitors to dive in for a swim. Additionally, its depths are ideal for boating and fishing, making it an excellent spot for any type of water activity. The lake is located 30 miles from Glacier National Park, which is an incredible natural wonder, and Kalispell, a charming town nearby. There are also a few RV parks for those looking for a place to settle in for a while.

The lake’s 185-mile shoreline offers plenty of camping, hiking, and fishing opportunities. Its ideal summer water temperature is perfect for a refreshing dip, and it is also an excellent spot for skiing and ice fishing during the winter months. The Big Arm Unit Campground in Flathead Lake State Park offers 40 campsites, three yurts, restrooms, showers, and flushing toilets. The area is also popular for swimming, boating, fishing, and mountain biking.

Flathead Lake

8. Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona

Lake Havasu State Park is one of the best places to go lake camping in the US for its stunning scenery, abundant recreational activities, and convenient amenities. Located on the shores of Lake Havasu in Mohave County, Arizona, the park features 47 campsites with shade ramadas, picnic areas with tables and fire rings, and restrooms with hot showers, flushing toilets, and drinking water. Nature lovers can explore the park’s Arroyo-Camino Interpretive Garden to observe the local flora and fauna. At the same time, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the park’s beaches, excellent swimming, boating, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking on trails like the Mohave Sunset Trail. Visitors can also rent houseboats to explore the lake’s 186-mile length or even visit the relocated London Bridge! All these amenities make Lake Havasu State Park one of the best places to go lake camping in the US.

Lake Havasu State Park,

9. Lake Superior, Michigan/Wisconsin

Lake Superior is one of North America’s most unique and beautiful lakes. It is the largest lake in the United States and is also surrounded by Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario, making it the perfect destination for a road trip.

The area around Lake Superior is incredibly picturesque, with vast forests, rolling hills, and stunning beaches, providing a breathtaking backdrop for whatever activities you have planned. Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the forests and trails, while beach bums will love the sandy beaches and gorgeous sunsets.

The area is also home to numerous campsites, offering various options to suit any camping style. From drive-in campsites to hike-in areas, there is something for everyone. Many campsites, such as Munising Tourist Park Campground and Lamb’s Resort & Campground, offer amazing views of Lake Superior and the surrounding landscape.

The lake itself is a fantastic sight. It is a whopping 350 miles long and 1,333 feet deep and is home to 10 percent of the world’s surface freshwater. It’s also home to several species of fish and birds and many species of mammals, including bears and wolves.

Aerial panoramic view of a beach on the Lake Superior

10. Lake Ontario, New York

Lake Ontario is a great place to go lake camping due to its natural beauty, numerous camping grounds and sites, and abundant recreational opportunities. Its primary inflow comes from the Niagara River, and visitors can explore the area’s natural wonders from the lake’s 193-mile length. The Canadian province of Ontario borders the lake on the north, west, and southwest, while the state of New York borders it to the south and east.

One of the area’s most famous lake camping spots is Sun Outdoors Association Island, located in Henderson, New York. Visitors are always impressed with the stunning sunsets, sunrises, and the new, well-maintained camping sites. In addition to camping on the island, visitors can take advantage of the friendly and helpful staff and the natural scenery.

Lake in Killarney Park, Ontario, Canada

What should I bring on a camping trip?

Are you prepared for your next camping trip? Whether it’s your first trip or you’re a seasoned camper, here is a comprehensive list of what you should bring on a camping trip.

For starters, make sure you’ve got a tent, blankets, a pillow, and a spare tent, so you’re always prepared. Don’t forget water coolers, lanterns, and fuel for your gas stove if you plan on cooking. Pack jackets, mufflers, and gloves to combat the chilly night air. Swimsuits and toiletries are also essential for a lakeside camping trip. Comfortable shoes, such as sneakers and hiking boots, will come in handy during your trek.

It’s also essential to have a first-aid kit and the necessary medical supplies on hand. Bring your phone with extra batteries and a power source like a generator or power bank. Don’t forget to pack a digital camera to capture the memories. Matches, a lighter, and cooking utensils, such as disposable crockery, garbage disposal bags, and tissue paper, are also suitable to have on hand.

It’s also important to keep safety in mind while camping. Travel on durable surfaces, dispose of your waste correctly and respect wildlife and other visitors. You’ll be set for a memorable camping experience with the proper preparation and supplies.

Hikers have rest in camp near the forest lake


How do I prepare for camping in cold weather?

When camping in cold weather, it is crucial to be prepared. Here are some step-by-step instructions to help you get ready for your trip:

Pack necessary items: Make sure to pack jackets, mufflers, gloves, swimsuit, toiletries, shoes (sneakers, flip-flops, and hiking boots), blankets and pillows, water coolers, lanterns, matchsticks, lighter, gas stove, cooking utensils, disposable crockery, garbage bags, tissue paper, first-aid kit, and a power source.

Plan ahead: Research the area and create a checklist of all the necessary items that you need to bring. Also, make sure to have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong.

Follow Leave No Trace guidelines: When camping in cold weather, it’s essential to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines, such as camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly, and respecting wildlife.

What are the best types of tents for different types of camping trips?

When it comes to camping, there are a few different types of tents that are best suited for different types of camping trips. For instance, an ultralight backpacking tent is ideal for hikers who need a lightweight option that can be easily carried in a backpack. These tents usually feature a one or two-person capacity and are designed with minimal poles and an outer shell that can withstand variable weather conditions. On the other hand, four-season tents are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions and are heavier due to thick walls and poles. If you’re planning a camping trip in warmer climates and do not need a tent that can withstand extreme weather conditions, then a three-season tent is likely the best option. These tents offer excellent ventilation, are lightweight, and can protect from rain and light winds.

Are there any eco-friendly camping practices I should follow?

 Absolutely! When camping outdoors, respecting the environment and practicing Leave No Trace ethics are essential. Be sure to camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, minimize campfire impacts, and respect wildlife. Additionally, look for eco-friendly campgrounds that use sustainable energy sources and recycled water for amenities like Wi-Fi and cable. Finally, make sure to bring your own reusable camping gear, such as cooking utensils, crockery, garbage disposal bags, and tissue paper.

What should I do if I encounter wildlife while camping?

If you encounter any wildlife while camping, staying calm and not approaching the animal is essential. The best way to handle the situation is to stay quiet and still. Keep your distance from the animal and also stay back from its young. Avoid making sudden movements or loud noises, as this may cause the animal to become agitated if the animal approaches you, slowly and cautiously back away from it. Do not attempt to feed the animal, as it may become aggressive. Contact the local wildlife agency for assistance if the animal becomes aggressive or causes any harm.

Are there any restrictions on campfires or cooking while camping?

Yes, there are restrictions on campfires and cooking while camping. To reduce the impact of campfires, campers should plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, and dispose of waste properly. Campers should also leave what they find and respect wildlife. Additionally, campfires should be kept small, and extra matchsticks and a lighter should be a top priority. When using a gas stove for cooking, campers should make sure to bring cooking utensils, disposable crockery, garbage disposal bags, and tissue paper. Campers should also keep an eye on the National Weather Service for Red Flag Warnings and Fire Weather Watch Warnings for extra safety.