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.
Yellowstone National Park, WY
Credit: Getty Images
America's first national park should be a bucket list entry for everyone. In addition to its nearly three million majestic acres, it's to more than half the world's hydrothermal features like geysers and hot springs. But it's also home to the most thrilling and extensive collection of wildlife in the continental U.S.: From Grizzlies and brown bears to elk and deer and bison and mountain lions and now even 300-plus wolves. There's truly nothing like it. There's more than 2,000 camp sites across several campgrounds, but our pick is the option to go backcountry. You'll need to get a permit and spots are limited (though you can reserve ahead of time) and be sure to follow best practices for camping and hiking in bear country. And remember to stifle the urge to mingle with the bison herds – way more people are injured by them every year than ever have encounters with bears.