Location, location—sometimes it’s more about what you’re near than where you camp
Perfect Campgrounds for Amenities Junkies
Daniel Patitucci
Yosemite's gorgeous Tuolumne Meadows

Gateway to wine country. A stay at the Olema RV Resort and Campground lets you visit some of the most elite areas in Northern California without selling your firstborn; Sonoma is 33 miles away, Napa another 20 or so past that. Warning: You won’t be alone, with 107 tent sites and 80 RV sites. But walks on the gorgeous Point Reyes seashore are minutes away. From $44; olemarvresort.com

Highway 1 hot spot. The best-kept secret on the Big Sur coast isn’t the $200+ per night yurts at Treebones Resort, it’s their ocean-view tent sites. The 5 spots sport million-dollar panoramas at just 70 bucks a night—with waffles waiting in the morning. $70, incl. breakfast; 2-night min.; treebonesresort.com

Yosemite National Park. A terrific alternative to Yosemite Valley’s busyness is quieter, cooler Tuolumne Meadows, 1 1/2 hours from Curry Village at 8,600 feet in elevation. Half the 304 sites are reserved, half first-come (be sure to reserve). $20; typically open Jul–Oct; nps.gov/yose

Quiet aspen country. Southwest Colorado is for fly-fishing and hiking and napping in the sun. When light sparkles on the Piedra River, you know you’re in the right place. Dirt-road-only access adds to the seclusion, but two-wheel-drive vehicles can handle it. At the Sportsman’s Campground, tent it or go cabin. 33 campsites from $19, 7 cabins from $45; open May 20–Nov 15; sportsmanscampground.com

Easy-access margaritas. Tesuque Basin is the best of Santa Fe without the fake cowboy hat. About 12 miles northeast of downtown is primitive Big Tesuque Campground. Hike the trails, then head to town for art and a cocktail. Free; 7 tent sites; open May 1–Oct 31; no reservations; BYO water; 505/753-7331

Big beach dunes. Explore the state’s central coast, where 500-foot dunes stand sentinel over the Pacific. Umpqua Lighthouse State Park offers camping and yurts. 23 tent sites $19; 8 yurts from $36; oregonstateparks.org

Olympic Peninsula. Ocean, mountains, herds of Roosevelt elk—in Olympic National Park, nature still feels primeval. Hoh Campground, on the park’s west side, is in an old-growth rain forest. $12; 88 sites; no reservations; nps.gov/olym

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