10 Great Camping Spots Near Big Cities

By Andrew Binkley

Heading to one of these big cities anytime soon? Make sure you get a little “nature away” time with this great list!

Every city-dweller loves a good getaway. Spending time in nature is often as easy as finding a local park or quiet place. Every major urban center offers some great camping options, usually within a short drive of the city. Few things are better than feeling your boots touch the quiet earth of a state park or seeing a majestic flock of wild birds.

10 Great Camping Spots Near Big Cities1

New York City https://goo.gl/maps/N5Qd3MH6opP2

There’s an Appalachian Trail (AT) access point just off the Metro-North Harlem line, so there’s great camping within a stone’s throw of NYC. You can find some great campsites and shelters in the Dover-Pawling area of the AT; for some wilder country, you can always hike a while north or south and set up camp in a more primitive area. You might even meet some interesting characters or through-hikers near the trail.

Los Angeles https://goo.gl/maps/zKBDFq2QTNJ2

Angeles National Forest sits just outside the perimeter of Los Angeles, and offers great camping close to the city. The area also has fishing, hiking, mountain biking and picnicking, so it’s ideal for a family camping trip. The San Gabriel Wilderness Area has some of the forest’s most rugged terrain, so you can be assured that even the most avid campers will find something at Angeles.

Chicago https://goo.gl/maps/xJ5VBwEMstF2

Starved Rock State Park is less than a two-hour drive from the city, and it offers some great camping. Inside the park, there are beautiful hiking trails, canyons and kayaking. The area also has some solid recreation options, including wineries and horseback riding.

Atlanta https://goo.gl/maps/Nhfm78y2BGz

Located about 90 minutes north of Atlanta near Helen, the Upper Chattahoochee River Campground offers campers a great space to stretch out, experience nature, and spend some well-deserved downtime from the bustle of the work week.

10 Great Camping Spots Near Big Cities2
10 Great Camping Spots Near Big Cities3

Miami https://goo.gl/maps/tG8Le8nFjRC2

Just south of Miami, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is a beautiful park on the Atlantic coast, featuring a 19th-century lighthouse. The park has primitive campsites and is a great place to enjoy some of the natural beauty of Key Biscayne.

Dallas-Ft. Worth https://goo.gl/maps/AGC63fQQbE42

Eagle Mountain Lake is a great place for fishing. Creek Harbor Campground offers tent and RV sites that are great for families. For a good day hike, there’s also Eagle Mountain Park, which has some excellent hiking trails and some beautiful overlooks.

Minneapolis-St. Paul https://goo.gl/maps/E7avBbH5XxJ2

For good camping and hiking near the Twin Cities, Afton State Park has lots to offer. The park borders the St. Croix River. Afton offers horseback riding and mountain biking trails. During the winter months, Afton offers 18 miles of cross-country ski trails. If you’re not into tent camping, Afton also has cabins and yurts.

New Orleans https://goo.gl/maps/moLgakfnC5s

For great coastal camping, you don’t want to miss out on Fontainebleau State Park, an ideal location for birdwatching, hiking, fishing, swimming and enjoying nature. The park is right on Lake Pontchartrain, so there’s plenty of water, bayou and marsh around.

Seattle https://goo.gl/maps/yNh1bpJaopz

Salt Creek Recreation Area is about three hours outside Seattle, but worth the drive. Located on the edge of the Olympic Peninsula, it’s great for swimming, tide pooling, photography, hiking and kayaking.

San Francisco https://goo.gl/maps/hXu4mNZfF1G2

Angel Island State Park is hidden in plain sight, right in San Francisco Bay. Angel Island is a fantastic place to camp without leaving the metro area. It’s a good place for hiking, fishing and biking. You can also enjoy windsurfing, snorkeling and soaking in the splendor of nature with your family.


Now that you’ve heard a little about a lot of near-urban camping options, get to planning your next camping trip or family outing. While you may already own the camping basics, make sure you’ve got quality rain gear, hiking boots and extra socks. If you need to stock up on essential gear, visit a trusted outfitter like Carhartt.

Keep calm and camp on!

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