Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer and the time to start camping! This patriotic weekend should not be missed. Here are seven best places to camp Memorial Day weekend.
Late May can still be unpredictable driving weather and cold nights in a tent. One option that we suggest is to rent a camper. You can be assured warm nights even if a spring storm moves in. You can rent an RV near your destination at Outdoorsy.
Where are the best places to camp for Memorial Day? Check out the map below.
You can’t go wrong with spending this patriotic time at a National Park. So we are listing the Best national parks to visit during Memorial Day.
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Of course, being from Colorado we have to start off with one of our most beloved National Parks. The Great Sand Dunes is a completely unique place, where miles of sand dunes are sitting right at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Spring is the best time to visit when Medano Creek is flowing and the days (and sand) are warm. The summer brings high temperatures and scorching sand, but spring is perfect. You can camp under the stars right inside the park Piñon Flats Campground.
- Highlights: Sandboarding, splashing in Medano Creek, hiking the dunes, dark night skies
- Our report from May camping: Things to do and Places to Stay Great Sand Dunes
- Where to Camp: Piñon Flats Campground
- Rent an RV in Colorado Springs or Denver and make a fun road trip. Check availability in Colorado Springs here.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
One of the most iconic locations in the entire country is Mount Rushmore. Known for the massive stone sculpture of the US presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln, this is a patriotic destination. Travel to the Black Hills of South Dakota to see this amazing sight.
You can spend a solid couple of days hiking and visiting museums to learn about the country’s history. Once you are done at the actual park, you can venture off and see what else the area has to offer. This includes the Encircle Devils Tower, Custer State Park, and Badlands National Park, which are all within a few hours’ drive from Mount Rushmore.
Camping is not available inside the park, but it is available in the surrounding area. The main RV campground right next to the national monument is the KOA Custer/Mount Rushmore location. This is a popular time for tourists, so make sure you get a reservation early.
- Highlights: Famous stone sculpture, Visitor Center, Wind Caves
- Where to Camp: Horsethief Lake Campground or Mount Rushmore KOA
- Rent an RV and have it delivered so you can still have your car. Check availability for Campers here
Crater Lake National Park
If you crave natural beauty that really can’t be found anywhere else in the Lower 48, Crater Lake National Park is an incredible stop. The breathtaking views are ones that you will never forget.
As the name implies, Crater Lake is the main attraction. Being the deepest lake in the entire country, the deep blue water is enchanting. This is surrounded by towering mountains and lush nature.
Although there is an RV campground on the actual park property, it does not open until the middle of June, so you will have to stay nearby. Crater Lake RV Park just a short drive away. There are even some great hiking trails and fishing spots just steps away from where your RV will be set up.
- Highlights: Crater Lake, hiking, fishing,
- Where to Camp: Crater Lake RV Park
- Rent an RV check out this upgraded 1965 vintage for $83 a night on Outdoorsy
Zion National Park
Located in southwest Utah, Zion National Park is known for the 2,000 feet deep Zion Canyon. In spring you can enjoy hiking through the most visited park in Utah. You can take on anything from the strenuous Angel’s Landing hike to the easy Narrows Riverside Walk. There are 3 campgrounds inside the park that will be your base camp for exploring the park and surrounding areas.
As long as you are in the area we suggest a stop at the Grand Staircase-Escalante. With over a million acres of the desert landscape including waterfalls, slot canyons, and arches, you can’t go wrong. The place is massive.
- Highlights: Canyon hiking, slot canyons, rafting,
- Where to Camp: Lava Point, South and Watchman Campground
- Rent an RV near Zion
Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania
How about spending Memorial Day learning about the Civil War, right on one of the battlefields? Located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this park is at the actual site of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. This was the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address.”
Begin your visit at The Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center
Then You can learn history through the variety of Ranger Led Programs such as ‘Join the Army” and Family Programs like “ the Family History Hike.”
There is no private camping allowed in the park. However, you can find several campgrounds nearby.
- Highlights: Civil War Battle site, history, museum, cyclorama
- Where to Camp: Gettysburg Campground or Gettysburg KOA
- Rent an RV like this Winnabego that sleeps 10!
Rocky Mountain National Park
One of the best places for Memorial Day camping in Colorado is Rocky Mountain, National Park. This unique 415 square mile area in northern Colorado, spans the Great Divide. It’s known for the huge resident elk herd, bighorn sheep, and deer.
By the time Memorial Day rolls around, if enough snow has melted you can drive America’s highest continuous paved highway. From the valley you can still enjoy looking at the snow-capped peaks off in the distance.
Estes Park is a beautiful town, right on the edge of the Rocky Mountain National Park that offers incredible views of Colorado’s best features.
You can camp inside the park at Aspenglen, Glacier Basin, or Moraine Park
Also, several RV parks in Estes Park put you in a great spot to explore the Rockies. Some of the top choices include Manor RV Park, Spruce Lake RV Park, and Jellystone Park of Estes. =
- Highlights: 800 elk, moose, Longs Peak, driving over 12,183 ft
- Where to Camp: Aspenglen, Glacier Basin, or Moraine Park
- Rent and RV for a Colorado road trip from Outdoorsy
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The lush landscape of Great Smokey Mountains lies between North Carolina and Tennessee. It is famous for the low hanging fog and includes a segment of the Appalachian Trail.
Spend the day touring Cades Cove and exploring the history of the area. The historic buildings date back to the early 1800s during the European settlement. You will enjoy streams, rivers and waterfalls and an abundance of wildflowers in the park. Make sure to visit nearby town of Pigeon Forge.
There is no admission fee so getting into the park is free. You will find 10 developed campgrounds to choose from in the park. The campgrounds all have restrooms with running water and flush toilets.
- Highlights: waterfalls, lush forest, hiking,
- Where to Camp: Smokemont or Cades Cove Campgrounds
- Rent an RV – choose from Class A, campervan and teardrop trailers
Mt. Hood National Forest
Just 40 miles east of Portland, lies Trillium Lake in Mount Hood National Forest. You can enjoy water activities on this beautiful Lake with spectacular views of Mt. Hood.
One of the best cities in the Northwest to visit is Portland. Portland has a vibrant culture and caters to both young adults and families. Once Memorial Day rolls around, the city hosts many events including live music venues, food vendors, and a large fireworks display.
Among the top choices for camping in Portland include Jantzen Beach, Columbia River, and Fox Run RV Parks. However, we suggest spending your time at Trillium Lake and taking a day trip to Portland.
Highlights: Boating, swimming and fishing, city attractions,
In addition to the National Parks, many state parks and private campgrounds are a perfect spring destination. The state parks generally offer beauty, activities and fun with less crowds. We have found many state parks to be have comfortable campgrounds and more RV amenities. The national parks have limited space and the RV lengths can be quite short. You will find full hookups and man amenities at the state parks. So, we separated out the best state parks.
Galveston Island State Park
There is no better way to start your summer on the right note than visiting the largest waterparks in the world. The Schlitterbahn is a world-famous waterpark and resort that has a location in Galveston.
Some other great places to visit include riding the Port Bolivar Ferry, taking a chartered fishing trip, and visiting the Moody Gardens and Mansion.
Galveston Island State Park’s main RV locations are on the bayside and offer full hookups and amenities.
- Highlights: Schlitterbahn, ferry, fishing, Moody Gardens
- Where to Camp: Bayside
- Rent an RV on Outdoorsy here
Myrtle Beach State Park
If you are looking for a beach getaway, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is an excellent option. The weather is warm, and the ocean is calling for visitors. This state park sits nestled among oceanfront maritime forest and is a quiet escape along the busy beach. You have both pier and shoreline access.
Every Memorial Day, the popular tourist town turns into a hub for outdoor activities for the whole family. Broadway at the Beach, the Broadway Grand Prix, and deep-sea fishing are just a couple of attractions. Although there is a ton to do in the town, the beach is the main focus as there are over 60 miles of beautiful shoreline to enjoy.
The Myrtle Beach KOA is among the top-rated RV campgrounds in the immediate area. Another fantastic option is to fly in and rent an RV and get to the fun!
- Highlights: beach, pier, hiking, surf fishing
- Where to Camp: Myrtle Beach State Park or Myrtle Beach KOA
- Rent an RV on Outdoorsy and get $50 off
Finally, the Hearthside Grove Luxury Motorcoach Resort is a fantastic option if you are looking for incredible amenities and see something other than beaches. Nestled in beautiful northern Michigan, Memorial Day is a fantastic time to enjoy nature and see all this area of the country has to offer.
This resort is located on the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay.
The average temperature ranges from the mid-60s to the 70s and is a great time to celebrate the holiday weekend. While here, enjoy lake life by boating, fishing, sailing, and playing on world-class golf courses.
- Highlights: rolling hills, wooded terrain and inland lakes, luxury RV camping,
- Where to Camp: Hearthside Grove
- Rent an RV on Outdoorsy
Final Thoughts about Places to Camp in April and May
Spring is a wonderful time to go camping. The weather is warming up in the northern part of the country and still cool and comfortable in the desert areas. You can choose from an adventurous trip to the national parks, an exciting time at Disney, or an exciting time in a big city. The possibilities are endless.
This is part of our series on camping in every month. Check out more on out blog:
Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever. We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug! I take the kids by myself because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.
Sign up for our email list for my best travel tips plus get the family travel planner free.