If you're gonna pitch your tent, do it right.
If you're gonna pitch your tent, do it right. (Photo: Courtesy of Inn Town Campground)

7 Unique Campgrounds to Stake Out This Summer

At these distinctive campgrounds, you’ll get a place to pitch your tent—and so much more

If you're gonna pitch your tent, do it right.
Megan Michelson

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Campgrounds around the country are now opening for summer reservations. So it’s time to start booking trips—we’ve selected a few of our favorite around the U.S., places that not only offer scenic places to pitch a tent, but also have unique amenities like hot springs, food trucks, sushi bars, stargazing, movie nights, and more.

Mystic Hot Springs, Monroe, Utah

Mystic Hot Springs, which was started by an artist on his way back from a Grateful Dead show in Las Vegas and feels like a 60s-era commune in the middle of the Utah desert. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re into hot springs, water massages, vintage buses, and music festivals, it could be for you. You can camp on grassy sites or sleep in a cabin or a painted school bus and hike, bike, and fish by day. Campsites from $30. 

Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California

The family-owned Treebones Resort on the rocky cliffs of California’s Big Sur has walk-in campsites with ocean views, but most people come for their 16 luxury yurts, stocked with down comforters and queen beds. Or you can stay in their “human nest,” a tent-like structure designed by a local artist out of woven branches. There’s an outdoor sushi bar and all sites come with a waffle breakfast. Campsites from $95. 

Inn Town Campground, Nevada City, California

(Erin Thiem)

This brand new campground is opening in this charming Sierra Nevada foothills town this July. The wooded 15-acre Inn Town Campground, which is less than a two-mile walk into downtown, will offer tent and RV sites and 15 plush canvas tents with handcrafted and antique furnishings. A common building houses a bathhouse, communal kitchen, and general store. While you’re there, check out the site’s historic Chinese cemetery or take in a summer movie night on the outdoor screen. Camping from $45. 

Hermit Island, Bath, Maine  

Located outside of Bath, Maine, Hermit Island is a large campground on the ocean in Casco Bay. You can sleep in tents, vans, or truck campers, but no RVs allowed. The general store sells lobsters and clams that they’ll steam for you to take back for dinner at your camp. Spring for the premium cliff or beach sites to score an ocean view. A hiking trail to remote beaches lines the north perimeter of the island. From $39. 

Bruneau Dunes State Park, Bruneau, Idaho  

Bruneau Dunes State Park, situated about 60 miles south of Boise, is home to Idaho’s largest public astronomical observatory. For a $5 fee, you can sign up for stargazing every Friday and Saturday night. A presentation from rangers is followed by telescope viewing until midnight. Pitch a tent at one of 82 sites or book one of their two private cabins. By day, rent a sandboard from the visitor’s center to slide down North America’s highest freestanding sand dunes, which tower up to 470 feet. From $17. 

Falling Waters Resort, West Bryson City, North Carolina  

(Courtesy of Falling Waters Resor)

At North Carolina’s Falling Waters Resort, you can sleep in a yurt village or log cabin by night and raft, hike, and mountain bike by day. Located about 75 miles west of Asheville in the Smoky Mountains’ Nantahala River Gorge, the 22-acre resort also has a group campsite, which opened last summer, and has tent platforms and grass, plus a private bathhouse and indoor kitchen, to accommodate up to 30 of your friends or family. Yurts from $90.  

Malaekahana Beach Campground, Laie, Oahu  

The Malaekahana Beach Campground, on Oahu’s northeastern shore about 35 miles from Waikiki, has expansive beachside tent camping and a limited amount of vehicle camping, or you can rent a small wooden hut from the area’s sugar plantation days. You’ll visit with sea turtles or explore the nearby 160-acre wildlife refuge for endangered water birds. An on-site food truck serves breakfast wraps, fish tacos, and shaved ice. Rent a cruiser bike, surfboard, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard or sign up for a lesson from their on-site surf school. Camping from $10 per person.  

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Lead Photo: Courtesy of Inn Town Campground

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