From luxury tent-camping to glacier hiking, here are the best ways to have fun in the Western wilderness
• See the Milky Way. The blackest night reveals the brightest stars, and no place is better for reconnecting to your ancestral awe of the heavens than Natural Bridges National Monument (pictured; $6 per vehicle; bit.ly/gMWSiJ), in southeastern Utah. It’s the world’s first dark-sky park—so great summer stargazing is almost guaranteed. Camping $10.
• Let the tide guide the day. Firs behind, sea stacks ahead, Oregon’s Harris Beach State Park (bit.ly/mCwNH) is in the state’s temperate “banana belt,” so you can dip your toes for a salty Pacific pedicure any time of year. Camping from $22.
• Swim in the perfect mountain lake. Yes, it really is shaped like a heart—and this tiny pool will steal yours. Scramble 3/4 mile to float in the crystal water of Northern California’s Heart Lake (bit.ly/ftljML) and gaze at Mt. Shasta from this little lake with a big view. Castle Lake Campground; no fee;