Camping in National Parks

Camping in National Parks
In March 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed an act establishing Yellowstone as the nation's first national park. Today the National Park Service oversees 58 parks scattered throughout the United States. Camping at these parks allows visitors to reconvene with nature while learning about the country's rich natural history. As a hub for outdoor adventure, each national park contains a wealth of backcountry experiences waiting to be discovered.

Entrance Fees and Reservations

Whether you plan to visit for the day or stay for the weekend, most national parks charge an entrance fee per vehicle. For outdoor enthusiasts who plan on visiting on a frequent basis, a one-year pass good for all national park sites is available. If camping is in the plans during your visit, many campgrounds within the parks will accept reservations online or by phone. Unfortunately, this does not apply to every park, as some solely operate on a first-come, first-served basis. Once you have your destination picked out, plan ahead by finding out the campground fees and reservations required. Often, the more popular national parks will fill quickly during the high season.


The United States National Parks belong to the government and citizens who have the responsibility to use these parks respectfully and to preserve the land for others to continue to enjoy in the future. Although there are many regulations specific to the park and its environment, there are still important universal standards that every camper and visitor should respect.

Making fires within a national park is a sensitive topic. Many national parks have strict fire restrictions and often fires of any kind will be prohibited during certain seasons. Developed campgrounds will often supply campers with a designated fire ring and grate that is to never be left unattended.

Although many national parks do allow pets within developed campgrounds, there are strict guidelines against bringing pets on nature and hiking trails. Campers who do bring their faithful companions along should keep them leashed and under control at all times.

Additional Considerations

Once you make your reservations or decide where you plan to spend your next adventure in America's National Parks, consider what type of camping your will be doing and the weather so you can pack appropriately. If you plan to camp in the back country for multiple days be sure to pick up a wilderness permit, know the regulations for fires and camping, always take nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints.

Article Written By Patricia Poulin

Patricia Poulin is a freelance writer based out of the western slope of Colorado. Poulin's travels and insight have chronicled in print media resources, such as "Inside Outside" and "Breathe" magazine. She is also a regular contributor for other various publications including "USA Today." Poulin holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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