If you live in the northern latitudes of the U.S. you’re probably used to cold nights camping and the familiar northern scenery. And although the northern United States are absolutely breathtaking, the southern states are full of rich landscapes and exciting places to explore.
If you haven’t been camping in the southern U.S.A. then now is a great time to plan your first trip. There’s no better way to feel a sense of adventure than to explore a new climate with unfamiliar wildlife, and the landscapes are sure to dazzle. Furthermore, you’ll be able to find a bit of everything, from daring adventures to comfortable campsites, perfect for the whole family.
Here are four of the best camping destinations in the southern USA, presented in no particular order. After all, with landscapes this great, how could you possibly pick favorites?
Grand Canyon, AZ/UT
I’ll skip the part where I tell you why the Grand Canyon is awesome, you weren’t born yesterday. Located in the deserts of Arizona and Utah, the Grand Canyon experiences comfortable temperatures during the fall, spring, and winter. The days get hot, but not scorching and the nights are chilly but not freezing, even in the dead of winter.
If you’re looking for the easy way in, the South Rim on the Arizona side is the most accessible way to camp the Grand Canyon. However, easier to access also means more crowded. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and see this natural wonder of the world in a more remote setting, try the North Rim on the Utah side.
Big Bend National Park, TX
Although there are a number of reasons to visit Big Bend National Park, the vast scale of the landscape and wildlife are next to none. There are more species of birds in Big Bend than in any other national park in the U.S. Add to that more than 1,200 species of plants, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world, and you have any nature lover’s dream vacation.
And despite the expansive size of Big Bend National Park, it sees fewer visitors every year than almost any other park in the country. If remote, open wilderness with an abundance of stars by night and wildlife by day is your thing, then definitely make Big Bend your trip this year.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
In contrast to Big Bend, Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is America’s most-visited national park. It is also among the largest, hosting more than 800 square miles of forest, mountains, rivers, and waterfalls.
In addition to a 70 mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains more than 850 miles of hiking trails ranging from short viewpoint walks to long, multi-day treks.
Whether you’re trying to get lost deep in the woods or take scenic drives to incredible vistas, this park has it all. Keep your eyes out for black bears, foxes, and even the occasional bobcat as well!
Everglades National Park, FL
Located on the southernmost tip of Florida, Everglades National Park is both the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere as well as the largest designated wilderness in the eastern U.S. Although much of the wilderness in the continental U.S. Can feel similar both in flora and fauna, the Everglades most certainly does not.
If you’re looking for a little taste of the tropics this year, then this is the perfect place to take the family. The best times to visit is spring, fall, or winter, as the summers can get intensely hot and humid. And with more than 2,400 square miles of protected land, there’s something for every taste here. Whether you prefer camping and hiking, kayaking and biking, or just taking guided tours through the mangroves, you’re sure to see something that will blow your mind.
The Everglades also host some of the most exotic and exciting animals in the United States. Just don’t get too close to species like manatees, alligators, crocodiles, or the endangered Florida panther. If you see dolphins though, don’t worry, they really are as nice as the movies make them out to be.