We all know the checklist: spacious skies, purple mountains majesties, a little piece of quiet. With millions of acres of wildlife, fresh air, and open skies beckoning, ours is an astonishingly varied land and we've never found a better way to take it all in then getting out and pitching a tent for a couple nights. We could fill a library trying to list all the various options for camping, and so instead we've pulled together a few of the most exceptional ones – whether it's the best place to see the sun rise, or dazzling stars at night, or to get in a skinny-dip in between.
For Escaping the City
Sunol Regional Wilderness, CA
Credit: Getty Images
Quite possibly the wildest place to be within such close proximity to an urban center – just 30 minutes from Oakland – Sunol is all rolling verdant hills and chunky rock peaks. Adding to the charm of the sprawling, 28,000 acre expanse is that it's often populated by roaming, grass-munching cattle from local farmers. And lest you forget you're not just in some municipal park, there's, plenty of actual wildlife in the neighborhood too, like golden eagles, black-tailed dear and occasionally even mountain lions. While Sunol's campsites are currently shuttered (you can still find plenty at Anthony Chabot or Del Valle Wilderness, which connect with Suno) there are backcountry sites year round, but a permit and five-day advance reservation are required.