According to recent statistics, it’s estimated that Americans take 2.29 billion domestic trips annually, many of which are to western US states. The American west provides travelers with an unparalleled depth and wild beauty that they would find difficult to locate elsewhere.
Very few places can rival the gorgeous landscapes that grace the western states. So many campers and RVers rent a motorhome with a company like Cruise America to experience its remarkable views and the spectacular outdoors.
However, finding a few of the best campgrounds can be tricky and will take more effort than simply booking a stay at the nearest KOA. To truly enjoy a camping trip in one of the grand western states, you must do your research.
Fortunately, our team at Cruise America has used our extensive knowledge to choose the 9 best campgrounds in the west that are must-visits, and not a single one is mediocre. From awe-inspiring mountains to sparkling lakes, there’s something for everyone on our list.
What Are 9 Of The Best Campgrounds In The West?
With the west being a wild wonderland, it’s unsurprising that you want to dip your toes into this region by trying out one campground at a time in an RV rental. Yet, what are the best RV campgrounds in the west that you should consider visiting first?
Below we’ve taken the guesswork away and have listed 9 of the best campgrounds in the west worthy of your time. With differing attractions, seasons, and amenities, we’re sure you’ll find one that suits your travel needs.
1. Salt Point State Park - California
If you want to travel during May and December and have always wanted to visit California, you might want to add the Salt Point State Park campground to your list.
This state park is located in Jenner, California, and it has 110 campsites available during the season, so you shouldn’t experience any problems booking a stay with your rig.
It's a must-visit location because it's situated near the popular Sonoma Coast, meaning you’ll get to participate in breathtakingly scenic hikes at Gerstle Cove Marine Reserve, Stump Beach Trail, and Bluff Trail. You’ll also be able to swim and enjoy abalone diving in an area not protected by the reserve.
Additionally, when you stay at one of the campgrounds at this state park, you’ll be close to the picturesque Kruse Rhododendron Reserve. You can explore this reserve's hundreds of acres and beautiful hiking trails.
2. Piñon Flats Campground - Colorado
Not everyone’s cup of tea is camping out at sand dunes, but if it’s an experience you think you’ll enjoy, you should consider traveling to the Piñon Flats campground in Colorado. This campground can be found at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in the San Luis Valley to the west of the beautiful 14,000-foot Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
However, this is not an all-year campground, and you’ll have to visit between April and October if you want to visit this year. Even though it is only open during these months, it is worth the wait because it offers visitors access to the biggest sand dunes in the US.
You’ll find that these 30 square miles of dunes rise hundreds of feet in the air, and you can climb them if you’re feeling energetic while you take in the mountain sights. In addition, there are no official campsites, making it even more exciting. You can pitch a tent nearly anywhere and wait for the evening to stargaze while your motorhome or car stays safe at the parking lot.
3. Devil’s Garden - Utah
Those looking for a year-round campground should check out the Devils Garden campground, which is found in the northern area of the renowned Arches National Park.
At this campground, there are 51 campsites, so you shouldn’t run into any issues finding a place to set up, but you can reserve a campsite in advance if you’re worried since it is a popular destination in Utah.
The biggest draw to the Devils Garden campground is that you will see spectacular sandstone arches, desert wildflowers, 5,200-foot-high Pinyon pines, and gorgeous Juniper trees.
It’s truly a sight to behold, and you’ll likely love that you’re close to Landscape Arch. This attraction is only a short drive away, and you’ll see the world’s longest natural arch at 290 feet long.
4. Powell Plateau - Arizona
Some campgrounds are more expensive than others, but if you’re on a budget, you may want to add the Powell Plateau campground to your list since it’s entirely free. This campground is situated in Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, and you can visit between May and October. It also has several campsites, so you can snag a spot if you get there early enough.
Besides being free, another thing that makes it a must-visit is that it offers visitors quiet grandeur where they can get a chance to think and relax away from the stressful hustle and bustle of city living. The best spot is the North Rim of Powell Plateau, as less than 5 percent of the Grand Canyons, almost 4.5 million visitors make their way to this side of the campground.
On this side, you’ll see unequaled views of the Galloway Canyons and the mighty bedrock that makes the area famous. You’ll also participate in amazing hikes at Swamp Point trailhead and the 8.5-mile plateau through the Ponderosa Pines.
5. Green Bay Campground - Idaho
Those planning to travel to Idaho in the west should consider stopping at the Green Bay campground between May and October. This is another free campground and is situated only an hour away from Spokane, WA.
Although this picturesque campground is worth visiting, you should note that it isn’t ideal for motorhomes and trailers, and it has basic campsites that are simple and rustic.
However, despite this, Green Bay Campground is located on a majestic lake, so it’s great for fishing, swimming, hiking, and sightseeing. You can also launch a boat and enjoy a day out on the water from many of the campsites at this campground, as there are multiple launch points found near this massive lake.
6. Kershaw-Ryan State Park - Nevada
Have you always wanted to visit a natural spring hidden behind lush trees and a beautiful rocky canyon? You might be surprised that you can find one just like this at Kershaw Ryan State Park in Nevada. This campground is truly a magnificent oasis in the desert.
This first come, first serve uber clean campground has 16 campsites, and RVs, pets, and fires are allowed. Yet, since it’s popular, you might want to consider booking a campsite well in advance since campers love visiting, thanks to its nearby gardens, wading pool, hiking trails, and playground.
One of the best hikes is the 1.5-mile Overlook Trail which will take you up the spectacular 700-foot canyon walls into a rugged backcountry that you won’t find anywhere else. According to RVers, this campground is a must-visit in the fall, so if you have time and want to witness the desert in the fall, you need to consider it.
7. Saddlebag Lake Campground - California
The Saddlebag Lake campground in California is only open in early September after Memorial Day, so you have to plan in advance if you want to visit this memorable campground.
Unlike the other campgrounds on our list, this one is a little pricey per day, but it’s well worth it, considering you’ll get to take in the sights of Yosemite cave without the hordes of tourists. The Saddlebag Lake campground is located near the iconic Yosemite National Park in the western portion, so it is away from the uber-popular tourist spots.
Yet, despite being in the western part of the park, it still has many scenic views and hiking trails you can enjoy. For example, near Tioga Pass, you will be able to visit many glacial lakes, and you might even get to see some of the region’s wildlife, like the black bears, pikas, and mountain lions.
If you don’t want to hike (no shame), you can pitch a tent or set up your RV and make it a fishing trip.
8. Laird Lake - Oregon
One of the best year-round campgrounds in the west is Laird Lake in Oregon. This campground is about 28 miles from Port Orford and is about an hour and a half away from the coast, making it the perfect stopover for those wanting to visit either.
Laird Lake only has four campsites, but it’s free to camp here, and it will give you the peace you’ve been craving. This is because it’s far removed from large crowds and is fairly isolated.
Yet, despite this isolation, you can expect to spend time along the beautiful Elk River, where you can canoe, swim, or fish in relative quiet with only the wildlife and a few other campers around you.
Additionally, there is a lake at this campground that is routinely stocked by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with rainbow trout, so you never have to worry about no fish when you visit.
9. Sahale Glacier Camp - Washington
The last campground on our list is another free one. The Sahale Glacier campground is situated in North Cascades National Park in Washington and is open throughout the year with multiple campsites to choose from when you visit.
Interestingly, this campground is not for the faint of heart since it can feel like you are visiting the top of the universe since it is 7,686 feet high.
So if you’re up for a hiking adventure and aren’t afraid of heights, you must visit and take the nearly six-mile to reach the top. We promise it’s well worth it since you’ll likely encounter marmots and mountain goats in addition to the breathtaking views and snowcapped peaks in the winter.
Book An RV With Cruise America To Visit The Best Campgrounds In The West
As you can see, there are many amazing campgrounds in the west that you should consider visiting. So, if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and want to visit any of the campgrounds we spoke about, why not rent an RV from Cruise America?
We have various motorhome rentals available, so we’re sure we can match you with one that meets your budget, specifications, rental term, and needs. Simply contact us here, and we’ll help you start your western travels.