brown wooden dock surrounded with green grass near mountain under white clouds and blue sky at daytime

Top 5 Best Scenic Destinations for Car Camping Adventures

Are you looking to embark on a thrilling car camping adventure? Look no further! Today’s article concerns the top 5 scenic destinations that every car camping enthusiast should have on their radar. Get ready to hit the road, pitch your tent, and soak in the beauty of nature at these incredible spots. Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a newbie to car travel, these destinations will take your breath away. So gather your gear, buckle up, and dive into camping bliss!

Our Top 5 Picks for Car Camping Scenic Destinations

Olympic National Park, Washington

Stunning coastal views and lush rainforests make Olympic National Park in Washington a top choice for camping. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of nature as you pitch your tent and explore this scenic destination. From the rugged coastline to the dense rainforests, this park offers a truly unforgettable experience for seasoned adventurers and those new to car camping. So pack your gear, hit the road, and prepare for an incredible camping adventure in Olympic National Park.

Ozette Loop Hike
Ozette Loop Hike by the National Park Service is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

Olympic National Park is a perfect destination for a family summer adventure in 2024. You can explore breathtaking coastal beaches, hike through lush rainforests, and climb majestic mountain peaks. Don’t forget to visit the iconic Hurricane Ridge for stunning panoramic views. With a wide range of activities like camping, fishing, wildlife watching, and scenic drives, Olympic National Park has something for everyone in your family to enjoy. So pack up your gear and get ready for an unforgettable outdoor experience!

Olympic National Park is located in Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula, and has four regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west-side temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier east side. The park encompasses nearly a million acres and protects a vast wilderness, thousands of years of human history, and several distinctly different ecosystems, including glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rainforests, and over 70 miles of wild coastline.

Program for Young Adventurers: Olympic 6-Day Experience

This incredible 6-day Young Adventurer’s Program in Washington’s Olympic National Park is perfect for kids aged 11-13 who love backpacking. Whether they’re newbies or seasoned explorers, we’ve got them covered! This guided adventure makes sure to group the youth based on their age.

This Olympic National Park summer camp is about building leadership skills and mastering outdoor activities. Imagine camping and hiking next to stunning alpine lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and meadows. And that’s not all! With most trips, there’s a chance to conquer peaks and witness jaw-dropping sunsets amidst breathtaking geological wonders.

It’s a thrilling adventure where taking risks and facing challenges is mixed with fun and support from fellow adventurers. You won’t believe how this experience can change lives!

Outside Magazine voted this Olympic Program one of the Best Backpacking Programs for Youth out West. This exceptional guide service, which you can learn more about by clicking the button below, is super exciting since they expanded from Yosemite, the top guide service and summer camp. So, join the 6-day young adventurer’s program and let the exploration begin!

stones on seashore during sunset
Photo by James Wheeler on
How to Get to Olympic National Park

You can take a car, bus, or ferry to Olympic National Park. You can reach the park via the I-5 corridor or any quieter state roadways if you’re driving. Once you arrive on the Olympic Peninsula, connect to Hwy 101 to reach any destinations in and around Olympic National Park. If you’re taking a ferry, the Washington State Ferries system has several routes that access the Olympic Peninsula via Puget Sound. Once you arrive, you can explore the park’s four regions: the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, the west-side temperate rainforest, and the forests of the drier east side.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Escape to the majestic peaks and picturesque alpine landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado for an unforgettable car camping adventure. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you pitch your tent and explore this scenic destination. This park offers the perfect backdrop for a breathtaking experience, from the awe-inspiring mountains to the serene alpine lakes. So get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey in Rocky Mountain National Park like no other.

Long's Peak, Colorado, 1874, William

The park’s 415 square miles (265,807 acres) encompasses a spectacular range of mountain environments, from meadows found in the montane life zone to glistening alpine lakes and up to the towering mountain peaks. The park offers a range of experiences for visitors, including hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, boating, and photography. Some of the most scenic spots in the park include:

  1. Trail Ridge Road: This scenic drive takes you through the park’s heart, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The road reaches 12,183 feet, making it the highest continuous paved road in the United States.
  2. Bear Lake: This picturesque lake is surrounded by towering mountains and is famous for hiking, fishing, and picnicking.
  3. Moraine Park: This expansive meadow is home to various wildlife, including elk, deer, and coyotes. It’s an excellent spot for hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography.
  4. Longs Peak: This towering mountain is the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, reaching 14,259 feet. It’s a popular spot for hiking and mountaineering.
  5. Wild Basin: This scenic area is home to several waterfalls, including Copeland Falls, Calypso Cascades, and Ouzel Falls. It’s an excellent spot for hiking and wildlife viewing.
Sunset and Night Photography Tour on Trail Ridge Road

Viator offers a Sunset and Night Photography Tour on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. This tour is perfect for photography buffs who want to capture the park’s breathtaking beauty during the golden hour and at night. Led by a skilled photographer, you’ll get expert guidance and learn valuable tips to capture stunning photos of the park’s landscapes and wildlife. Don’t miss this opportunity to hone your photography skills while enjoying the park’s spectacular scenery above 10,000 feet!

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park in Montana is another must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With its stunning glaciers, rugged mountains, and pristine lakes, this park offers a truly immersive and captivating experience. Set up your campsite amidst the breathtaking scenery and embark on unforgettable hikes and wildlife encounters. Prepare for an extraordinary adventure in Glacier National Park, Montana. And don’t forget to download our car camping essentials checklist here.

Avalanche Lake (Glacier National Park
Avalanche Lake (Glacier National Park by National Park Service is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0
Glacier National Park Self-Guide Driving Audio Tour

Self-guided driving tour of Glacier National Park

  • Explore pristine landscapes and crystal-clear glacial lakes.
  • Hike through breathtaking alpine tundras.
  • Learn about the Blackfoot Confederacy and the gold rush.
  • Purchase one tour per car.
  • Use the Tour Guide App by Action.
  • Check your email for a unique password and access the tour.
  • Good internet/wifi access is required.
  • Follow audio instructions and route.
  • Not an entrance ticket. Check opening hours.
  • The tour has a lifetime validity.

Big Sur, California

Big Sur, California, is a captivating destination for car enthusiasts. With its picturesque coastal cliffs, rugged mountains, and majestic redwood forests, this scenic gem offers a truly unforgettable experience. Set up your campsite amidst the breathtaking beauty and embark on scenic hikes along the Pacific coastline. Get ready to soak up some fantastic scenes in Big Sur, California.

Keyhole Arch at Big Sur in California
Keyhole Arch at Big Sur in California by Marcus Burnette is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0

There are many tours and attractions at Big Sur, so be sure to check out the tours and tickets guide to have a memorable experience in Big Sur, California.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, located in Maine, is an enchanting destination for car camping enthusiasts. With its picturesque shoreline, granite peaks, and diverse wildlife, this park offers a truly captivating experience. Set up your campsite amidst the stunning natural beauty and embark on memorable hikes along the rugged trails. Prepare for an unforgettable car tent camping adventure in Acadia National Park, Maine.

enjoy an Evening at Jordan Pond at Acadia National Park, Maine while car camping
Evening at Jordan Pond at Acadia National Park, Maine, by Ben Greeley is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0


These destinations offer a range of activities, including hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing. They are perfect for those looking to escape city life’s hustle and bustle and enjoy the great outdoors.

So get out there and get some fresh air while reducing stress, becoming more physically fit, connecting with nature, getting better sleep, building confidence, learning about the environment, building relationships, and bonding with family. What are you waiting for? Happy Camping!

Frequently Asked Questions

What activities can I enjoy in Olympic National Park?

There are many activities to enjoy in the Olympic National Park. Some of the most popular ones are hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, fishing, boating, and photography.

What is the best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park?

The best time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park is from June to September, when the snow is (mostly) melted, and the hiking trails and attractions are accessible. During these months, average daytime temperatures usually hover in the 70s, though they can drop as low as the 40s in the evenings, it’s important to pack layers. To read our recommendation on what layers to pack, refer to our research guide, “Must-Have Camping Gear for the Adventure Woman.”

However, these four months are also the most popular times to visit. If you’d rather experience RMNP in relative isolation and while wearing snowshoes or cross-country skis, visit between October and May 1. Remember that accommodation rates in Estes Park peak this time of year, but you can find more affordable stays at campgrounds and the YMCA of the Rockies.

It has over 700 trails ranging from easy walks to strenuous hikes and various landscapes. The most popular hikes are the Highline Trail, Grinnell Glacier Trail, and Hidden Lake Trail.

Is it OK to camp in your car?
Black Smart for Two Car on Gray Pavement

Yes, sleeping or camping in your car is generally acceptable as long as you abide by local laws and regulations regarding parking and overnight stays. You should always bring a tent just in case they try to say you aren’t allowed. The rangers won’t know where you are sleeping. You should use the website and try to plan your trip. This website will usually tell you what type of camping spaces are available.

Is it better to sleep in a car or a tent?
Blue Hatchback On Green Grass Field Under Blue Sky

It depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. For the ultimate privacy and temperature control while sleeping in the car, buy car shades from Weathertech.

Is car camping real camping?
A Car Parked Beside White Tents during Night Time

Yes, car camping is considered real camping.

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