Team Outdoorsy
by Team Outdoorsy
Posted November 29, 2021

While it had been growing in popularity before the pandemic, camping experienced a surge in interest during 2020 as Americans increasingly turned to the outdoors in order to travel safely and avoid crowds. According to a recent report from Kampgrounds of America (KOA), over 48 million households camped at least once in 2020 and 10.1 million households camped for the first time (a five-fold increase from 2019). Camping interest is expected to continue; more than 60% of these first-time campers plan to camp the same or more in 2021, meaning areas with abundant camping opportunities will continue to see large numbers of visitors.

Along with the pandemic camping boom came increased demand for recreational vehicles (RVs). KOA research shows that the number of households who own RVs increased by 2.6 million in 2020. After RV shipments dipped in the Spring of 2020, when industries across the world all but shut down during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, RV shipments not only recovered but surpassed pre-pandemic levels, according to statistics from the RV Industry Association (RVIA). While overall RV shipments were down in 2020 from the year prior, December 2020 saw an increase of 47% year-over-year. The latest data from 2021 shows a continuation of the trend. September 2021 set a new single-month record with more than 55,000 new units shipped.

Americans who want to camp will find more camping opportunities in some parts of the country than others. Campsites can be found in national parks and other federal recreation areas, state and county parks, as well as on private land. Browsing and booking campsites can be challenging, but Recreation.gov makes the process simple across its network of more than 100,000 campsites managed by federal agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service.

When considering total federally-managed campsites using statistics from Recreation.gov, California leads the country with a total of 16,708 campsites. Adjusted for land area, California also has a high concentration of campsites, at 10.7 per hundred square miles, but Arkansas has even more, at 10.9. Conversely, New Jersey has the lowest number of federally-managed campsites and is tied with New York and Alaska for the lowest concentration of such campsites per square mile.


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To find U.S. cities with great camping opportunities, researchers at Outdoorsy analyzed data from Recreation.gov. The researchers ranked cities and towns according to each location’s total number of campsites within federal areas, such as national parks and national forests. In the event of a tie, the location with the greatest number of campgrounds was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the average number of campsites per campground and the most common recreation activity reported on Recreation.gov for each location.

U.S. cities & towns with the most public campsites

Image source: Vezzani Photography / Shuttershock

15. Pleasant Grove, UT

  • Total number of campsites: 493
  • Total number of campgrounds: 5
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 99
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking, Boating, Fishing

Known as “Utah’s City of Trees,” Pleasant Grove is part of the Provo-Orem Metropolitan Area. Pleasant Grove is close to Mt. Timpanogos, one of Utah’s most popular hiking destinations.

Image source: Jesse Stephens / Shutterstock

14. Susanville, CA

  • Total number of campsites: 497
  • Total number of campgrounds: 5
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 99
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking, Horseback Riding

Located about 100 miles east of Redding, the Northern California town of Susanville is a great starting point to explore the area’s many natural attractions. Susanville Ranch Park, Lassen National Forest, and the 25-mile Bizz Johnson Trail are all close by.


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Image source: Wildnerdpix / Shutterstock

13. Monroe City, MO

  • Total number of campsites: 498
  • Total number of campgrounds: 6
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 83
  • Most common recreation activity: Biking, Boating

Monroe City, a city in Northern Missouri, is close to Mark Twain Lake, a sprawling 18,000-acre lake where fishing, boating, and camping are popular activities.

Image source: R. Alan Meyer / Shutterstock

12. Truckee, CA

  • Total number of campsites: 500
  • Total number of campgrounds: 13
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 38
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking, Fishing

The town of Truckee is located just north of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Hiking and fishing are popular activities in nearby Donner Memorial State Park, and adventure-seekers can go whitewater rafting or kayaking down the Truckee River.

Image source: Layne V. Naylor / Shutterstock

11. Kamas, UT

  • Total number of campsites: 512
  • Total number of campgrounds: 17
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 30
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking

Known as the “Gateway to the Uintas,” Kamas is located about 18 miles east of Park City and is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains and the Provo and Weber Rivers. Kamas locals and visitors enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, and climbing.

Image source: jlazouphoto / Shutterstock

10. Mammoth Lakes, CA

  • Total number of campsites: 536
  • Total number of campgrounds: 8
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 67
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking, Fishing

The Sierra Nevada town of Mammoth Lakes, CA offers outdoor activities year-round. In the warmer months, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and camping are popular activities, while winter offers world-class skiing and snowboarding.

Image source: Oscity / Shutterstock

9. Colter Bay Village, WY

  • Total number of campsites: 538
  • Total number of campgrounds: 3
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 179
  • Most common recreation activity: Boating

Colter Bay Village is in the northern part of Grand Teton National Park and lies on the shore of Jackson Lake. Visitors to the village can stay in log cabins and enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and fishing on the lake.

Image source: Adventures On Wheels / Shutterstock

8. Hill City, SD

  • Total number of campsites: 545
  • Total number of campgrounds: 17
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 32
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking

Hill City, located in the heart of South Dakota’s Black Hills, is minutes from Black Elk Peak, the highest point in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. Hill City is also close to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial.

Image source: dvande / Shutterstock

7. Shelbyville, IL

  • Total number of campsites: 593
  • Total number of campgrounds: 14
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 42
  • Most common recreation activity: Boating

Shelbyville, a town in Central Illinois, is adjacent to Lake Shelbyville, known for its boating, fishing, and swimming. State parks and federal campgrounds border the lake, offering plenty of camping opportunities for visitors to the area.

Image source: Manuela Durson / Shutterstock

6. Reedsport, OR

  • Total number of campsites: 662
  • Total number of campgrounds: 20
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 33
  • Most common recreation activity: Wildlife Viewing

Reedsport is on the Oregon coast and at the confluence of the Umpqua, Smith, and Scholfield rivers. The town is in the heart of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and just a few miles from the well-known Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area, where visitors can see a herd of Roosevelt elk.

Image source: Joshua Rainey Photography / Shutterstock

5. Idleyld Park, OR

  • Total number of campsites: 687
  • Total number of campgrounds: 16
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 43
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking

Idleyld Park (pronounced “Idle-Wild”) is an Oregon town with miles of hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and horseback riding trails. The Umpqua River flows through the town and has great fishing and swimming spots.

Image source: Zack Frank / Shutterstock

4. Bradford, PA

  • Total number of campsites: 708
  • Total number of campgrounds: 9
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 79
  • Most common recreation activity: Fishing

Bradford, PA began as an oil boomtown during the Pennsylvania oil rush in the late 1800s. Now the Northern Pennsylvania town, situated in a valley of the Allegheny Mountains and close to the Allegheny National Forest and Allegheny Reservoir, offers a wealth of outdoor recreation activities.

Image source: Mikhail Kolesnikov / Shutterstock

3. Yosemite National Park, CA

  • Total number of campsites: 1,045
  • Total number of campgrounds: 8
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 131
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking

Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevadas is known for its waterfalls, valleys, meadows, and jaw-dropping cliffs. The most popular recreation activities are hiking, sightseeing, and climbing.


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Image source: melissamn / Shutterstock

2. Bend, OR

  • Total number of campsites: 1,047
  • Total number of campgrounds: 39
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 27
  • Most common recreation activity: Fishing

The Central Oregon city of Bend is a small but growing town on the banks of the Deschutes River. Bend is home to Oregon’s first urban whitewater park and has miles of hiking and biking trails.

Image source: Stephen Moehle / Shutterstock

1. Three Rivers, CA

  • Total number of campsites: 1,225
  • Total number of campgrounds: 16
  • Average number of campsites per campground: 77
  • Most common recreation activity: Hiking

Three Rivers is a California town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, located at the entrance to the national parks of Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Besides hiking in the national parks, visitors to Three Rivers can go whitewater rafting on the Kaweah River.

Detailed Findings & Methodology

To find the cities with the most campsites to visit, researchers at Outdoorsy analyzed data from Recreation.gov’s Recreation Information Database. The researchers ranked cities and towns according to each location’s total number of campsites within federal recreation areas. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater number of campgrounds was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the average number of campsites per campground and the most common recreation activity listed on Recreation.gov for each area. Only the top 200 locations with the most campsites were included.

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