5 Destinations Perfect for Kicking Off Camping Season


Lindsay McKenzie

Favorite Trip

Our favorite trip was when we first hit the road full-time and drove all the way up the coast of California and into Oregon. Our first 3 months as full-time RVers we drove the entire Pacific Coast Highway and camped at different beautiful beaches along the way. We then drove through the towering redwoods in Redwood National Forest and continued on through Oregon and Idaho on our way to Glacier National Park in Montana. There was so much stunning scenery and adventure around every corner that entire trip.

Home Base

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Favorite RV

We loved our Winnebago Navion 24D. It was nimble so we could park it pretty much anywhere but it still gave us a comfortable living space with the Murphy bed. We drove it all over the country!

About Contributor

Lindsay McKenzie travels full-time in her Winnebago Navion with her husband Dan and their 2 dogs. Originally from Colorado, they have been seeking adventure together for 10 years now and have done a lot of international traveling, including living in Costa Rica. They took the leap into full time RVing after experiencing life-altering news. They viewed the news as a life “detour” and started a travel and inspirational blog called Follow Your Detour. Lindsay has grown more passionate about pursuing her dreams and a leading a fulfilling life, while inspiring others to do the same. She loves that RVing allows her to be in nature and do more of what she loves. You can usually find her on the river fly fishing, hiking to sunset spots, or at a local brewery. (All photos by Lindsay McKenzie, except where noted.)

Camping season is about to officially kick off. You don’t have to wait until Memorial Day to plan a trip to warmer climates or new terrain. Need inspiration for where to go, or what to see? We’re here to help you plan your first trip of the season. 

1. Yellowstone National Park

yellowstone national park camping

By late May, most of the roads, trails, and attractions in Yellowstone are open and ready for adventure seekers. Check out our full guide for visiting Yellowstone in the spring. Fewer crowds and mild weather make early summer a perfect time to visit. You can enjoy hiking to Old Faithful and kayaking on Yellowstone Lake in comfortable 60 degree temperatures. Late spring and early summer are also great times to spot wildlife. Bears are coming out of hibernation and you’re likely to spot wolf pups in the Lamar Valley. You can also visit nearby Grand Teton National Park for some stunning views of the snow capped Tetons.

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The Longhorn Ranch Lodge and RV Resort
Dubois, WY

Booking a spacious site at Longhorn Ranch Lodge positions you to explore not only Yellowstone, but also Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons. Enjoy amenities like WiFi, a dog kennel, laundry, and even horse corrals.

2. Texas Gulf Coast

bolivar peninsula free beach front camping

The beaches along the gulf coast in Texas are prime camping spots, especially in late spring. The temperatures are perfect and your camping options are abundant. Many beaches, including Bolivar Peninsula and Magnolia Beach allow primitive camping right on the beach just steps from the ocean. The beaches are ideal for fishing, swimming, kite surfing, kayaking, and bird-watching.

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Blue Water RV Resort
Freeport, TX

One of Good Sam’s top 10 beach resorts in the country, the Blue Water RV resort is surrounded by water on 3 sides. Beach access, a pool, kayak rental, and a private boat ramp make this resort a true Spring Break getaway.

Sandpiper RV Resort
Galveston, TX

Camp on Galveston Island at this newly remodeled park. A pet-friendly resort, walk your pup in the designated green space for pets. Enjoy free WiFi whether you’re at your site, or lounging by the Infiniti pool.

Jamaica Beach RV Resort
Galveston, TX

181 pull-through sites make this resort big-rig friendly. Though this resort is right across from the beach, you may spend all your time lounging in the 700 foot lazy river, slurping on an icy snow cone.

3. Santa Ynez Valley, California

santa ynez valley los olivos driving views of vineyards

There’s much more to California’s wine country region than just Sonoma and Napa Valley. In fact, many locals might argue that the Santa Ynez Valley is even better. This may not seem like a very camping friendly area, but it absolutely is! With nearby Los Padres National Forest and Lake Cachuma, there’s plenty of campgrounds. Or stay at the popular Flying Flags RV Resort in beautiful Buellton. You’ll have lots to do with Santa Barbara’s beaches just a short drive away, the charming Danish village of Solvang, and plenty of wine to taste. Sunny spring days, lush vineyards and hills, and wildflowers will make you a happy camper.

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Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground
Buellton, CA

Unwind with a craft beer or local wine at the onsite Sideways Lounge. Cool off in the pool, play a round of bocce, or soak off the stress in the hot tubs. A kid’s splash site and an off-leash dog park make this the ultimate family destination.

Cachuma Lake Campground
Santa Barbara, CA

There’s nothing quite like lakefront camping. Surrounded by the Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains, the Cachuma Lake offers fishing and boating recreation–the perfect way to kick off spring.

4. Oregon’s Central Coast


Arguably the most scenic coastline in the Pacific Northwest, this 60-mile stretch of rugged mountains mixed with sandy beaches is an outdoor lover’s dream. While temperatures remain cool in late spring and early summer, you’ll have fewer crowds and the opportunity to for whale watching.

There’s plenty of camping options whether you prefer beachfront sites or dense forest. Visit the dunes and lakes in Honeyman State Park, the picturesque lighthouses, watch the sea lions, and enjoy a variety of other outdoor activities! Or just sit back and enjoy the uniquely beautiful landscape.

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Woahink Lake RV Resort
Florence, OR

With the Oregon Dunes out your back door, and quick access to the Sea Lion Caves, Heceta Head Lighthouse, and Cape Perpetua, Woahink Lake RV Resort is worth a week long stay. Private access to Woahink Lake is ideal for avid anglers.

Sea Perch RV Resort
Yachats, OR

Pull up right on the Oregon Coast at this beachfront campground. Free WiFi, a fitness center, lounge, and laundry make this a full-service stop. But really, there’s nothing quite like walking down to the beach to watch the sun sink below the horizon.

5. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

the badlands south dakota

You don’t have to worry so much about crowds at Badlands, because there’s plenty of wide open space for everyone. However, you do want to beat the heat as summer temperatures often exceed 100°F! It’s easy to see most of the National Park in a day or two, with the help of Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway, which takes you right through the park and allows you to pull off for viewpoints, hikes, and photo opportunities. This also gives you more time to explore the other famous sights that South Dakota has to offer, such as Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. This entire area is chock-full of scenic campgrounds.

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Sleepy Hollow Campground
Wall, SD

Just 8 miles from Badlands National Park, this campground is the perfect basecamp for exploring the area. Pull-thru sites make this an easy stop for big rigs, and a heated pool add to a luxurious stay while exploring the Wild West.

We hope this helps you get geared up for this year’s camping season! Here’s to the best time of year. We’d love to hear where you’re headed for your first trip in the comments below.

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