Dangerous wildlife, creepy crawlies, limited electricity, strange sounds in the night, and rustic campgrounds without bathrooms. Although I love camping, it can be challenging to convince people who don’t spend their freetime sleeping under canvas that camping is fun and liberating.
Like many of you, I’ve been going camping since I was a baby, so the less attractive aspects of the great outdoors don’t phase me. However, if you’re planning a camping trip with a friend or family member that doesn’t camp, you might want to think about the campground amenities as well as the destination.
Nowadays, even the US’s most remote corners have a good selection of campgrounds with luxury glamping pods, modern amenities, and creature comforts. The following are our top ten US campground recommendations for people who don’t camp.
#1 – Wahweap Campground, Lake Powell, Arizona
Who wouldn’t be impressed with a lakeside campground in fantastic desert scenery on a section of the Colorado River? Especially when that campground is only a short drive from Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Aside from this famous landmark, Lake Powell is located within a recreational area that offers hiking trails, boat tours, and even shopping.
The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has three RV and tent-friendly campgrounds, but we recommend Wahweap Campground for inexperienced campers. Firstly, because it’s within walking distance of Wahweap swim beach. Secondly, because this campground has the best amenities; including WIFI, electric hookups, laundry, and shower facilities, there’s also a campground restaurant so you can skip any basic backpacking foods.
#2 – Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park is wild but unmissable. Yes, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, and rattlesnakes live in the park but so do cute deer and bighorn sheep.
The area also hosts some of the most stunning scenery in the country. With its glacier-carved granite cliffs, pristine forests, and waterfalls, Yosemite offers fantastic hiking and climbing opportunities, as well as water activities. Its natural beauty might just inspire a city lover to appreciate the outdoors.
Now, your non-camping companions may not be ready to camp in Yosemite National Park as the park’s campgrounds are quite basic. Fortunately, there are a handful of luxury campgrounds in the surrounding area. One recommendation is Yosemite Pines RV Resort which has tent and RV campsites as well as cabins, yurts, and unique glamping wagons.
#3 – Pigeon Forge KOA, Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
If you’re taking your kids camping for the first time in the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge KOA is an excellent campground for young campers!
Pigeon Forge is located at the heart of the action, with a theme park, water park, and entertainment in town. It’s also on the doorstep of the national park. Additionally, we recommend this campground for young campers because of the huge range of family-friendly activities available on site.
Of course, if your camping buddy prefers tranquillity, Pigeon Forge KOA would be a terrible choice. Instead, Townsend KOA, located in a less touristy area of the Great Smoky Mountains, might be a better option. This campground has most of the same amenities and plenty of nearby sites, but tourism is less intense.
#4 – Geneva State Park Campground, Ohio
A great place for non-campers to go camping in Ohio is Geneva State Park. Set on the scenic shoreline of Lake Erie, the state park’s campground is well-maintained with a good range of facilities and recreational activities.
Sleeping here, you won’t need to give up many creature comforts because the campground offers electrical campsites, along with showers and regular toilets. You also have the option of reserving a self-contained cabin which could gently ease a non-camper into the camping atmosphere.
Additionally, Geneva State Park is within an hour’s drive from Cleveland, making it a convenient spot for an overnight trip.
#5 – Adirondack Gateway Campground, New York
Anyone living in the Big Apple State should already know about the stunning Adirondacks region, but perhaps you hadn’t considered taking a first-time camper there. Because there’s so much to see and do in the area and such a variety, New York’s Adirondacks region is a wonderful place for multi-day camping trips. Even for people who don’t camp.
There are several campgrounds in the Adirondacks region, but Adirondacks Gateway Campground has all the amenities of a luxury hotel resort and more. Aside from the essential personal hygiene and laundry facilities, the campground has swimming pools, a games room, a fitness center, and a golf driving course.
In addition to these luxuries, your non-camping friend can choose from tent campsites, RV sites with full hookups, or cabins.
#6 – Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Missouri
If you’re looking for places to go camping in Missouri, Lake of the Ozarks State Park is one of our top choices.
Not only are there plenty of opportunities for water sports on Missouri’s largest lake, along with hiking and cycling routes in the surrounding woodlands, but you also have the chance to go underground. Taking a tour of the Ozark Caverns is certainly an experience worth camping for.
Furthermore, state park campgrounds are often rather basic. Nonetheless, the campground in Lake of the Ozarks State Park is a good option for beginner campers because of its comfortable facilities.
Here, you can access flush toilets, showers, and electricity, which most people class as essential – whether you’re a camper or not. But the campground also has kids’ playgrounds, a marina, and an outdoor movie theatre. In addition to well-equipped campsites, there’s also the option of sleeping in luxury yurts or self-contained cabins.
#7 – Lake Houston Wilderness Park, Texas
One of the main reasons that people don’t like to camp is that many of the best camping spots in the US take hours to reach. That’s not an issue with Lake Houston Wilderness Park because it’s just 34 miles northeast of downtown Houston and a recommended spot for paddling on the surrounding creeks.
There are peaceful campsites for tents right on the lakeside as well as rustic wooden cabins. This is one of the best camping spots to experience the tranquillity of sleeping in the great outdoors. As there are not many amenities in the park, it’s usually quiet, and you can easily pop back into town for dinner or supplies.
#8 – Camp Bullfrog Lake, Illinois
Camp Bullfrog Lake, less than half an hour drive from downtown Chicago, is another great choice for people who don’t want to travel far from home. The campground offers shaded lakeside campsites within the Palos Preserves. It’s an excellent base for hiking, cycling, or cross-country skiing on the park’s 50-mile trail network. From spring to fall, the freshwater lake is also a pleasant spot for kayaking.
This is a tame campground with all the essentials amenities, making it a great introductory campground for people who don’t usually camp or children. Along with electric RV and tent campsites, Camp Bullfrog Lake has a camp store, wheelchair accessible bathroom, and boat rentals.
#9 – Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park, California
Leaving behind the city, Joshua Tree National Park is another camping place that can make city dwellers fall in love with the great outdoors. Jumbo Rocks Campground is right in the center of the national park and takes its name from the huge granite boulders that attract climbers of all abilities.
Because of the unique desert scenery, we recommend Joshua Tree to everyone, not just people who don’t camp. However, if you or your friend have never camped before, you’ll be jumping in at the deep end.
At Jumbo Rocks Campground there is no phone signal, no flushing toilets, showers, or even drinking water. Instead, you get to enjoy clear night skies, free from light pollution, and the quiet crackling of the campfire.
#10 – Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia
One of the natural highlights of Northwest Georgia is Cloudland Canyon State Park. Not only does the park offer fresh mountain air, but it’s also home to epic forests, wildlife, dramatic sandstone cliffs, bottomless gorges, waterfalls, creeks, and even caves.
Breath-taking views are abundant, along with Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. Plus, the park is just half an hour’s drive from Chattanooga, Tennessee which gives you the option of dropping into town for dinner or city attractions.
With plenty of hiking, mountain biking, and climbing trails, people of all abilities can find something to do. The campground facilities are great for new campers too. You’ll have showers, bathrooms, and electricity as well as the option to rent a yurt or cabin. A few days camping in Cloudland Canyon should give a non-camper an irresistible taste of the great outdoors.
Let’s Go Camping
There’s nothing better than sleeping in a tent, away from the city’s noise and lights. For us outdoor enthusiasts, going camping is like hitting the reset button on your mind and body, something that we think everyone should do at least once in their lives.
Choose the right US campground in an awesome destination and you might just convince your friend who doesn’t camp to love camping as much as you do.
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