Arches National Park, Utah
Camping around Moab, Utah offers incredible scenery, ranging from mountains and canyons to rivers. Among the best campgrounds is Arches, where photo opportunities await, challenging trails are calling hikers’ names, and red stones create striking backdrops. Though there are a limited number of campsites, there’s plenty of opportunities to backpack your way through this park if the challenge entices you. Devils Garden Campground is located deep in the heart of the park, where you’ll have access to toilets and picnic tables, but that’s about it. Hike the 7.2-mile Devil’s Garden Loop Trail, or opt for the 3-mile hike to Delicate Arch, the most famous arch in the park. (Devils Garden Campground is closed through November 2017, but check out discovermoab.com for other options.) Here are some more national parks that are even more incredible on starry nights.
Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
There are far and few places known in Hawaii where you can pitch a tent, and one of them happens to be in a national park. In Volcanoes National Park, you can watch two of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa, on the “Big Island” of Hawaii light up the sky in the evening, their molten lava spilling out into the Pacific Ocean. And in the morning, check out the unique rock formations and intriguing flora. Nämakanipaio Campground is situated on an open grassy area at 4,000 feet of elevation featuring tall eucalyptus and ‘ōhi’a trees, where toilets and showers await. Kulanaokuaiki Campground is a new campground with two wheelchair accessible sites. Climb to the summit of Mauna Loa, the planet’s most massive single mountain. The round trip mileage is 13.1 miles. After a mile, you will reach a large, broken lava tube marked by two massive cairns, which is worth a quick stop and photo op. Here are some incredible active volcanoes you can actually visit.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree is known for its incredible camping spot, situated at the juncture of the Colorado and Mojave desert. Anyone who loves hiking, rock climbing, camping, or stargazing will love this place. Check out Arch Rock via the 0.5-mile natural trail where you can climb on a natural arch. Indian Cove Campground is a great option within the park, offering proximity to climbing routes, vibrant spring blooms, Mojave yuccas, shrubs, and desert tortoise sightings. You’ll have access to toilets here. Grab breakfast at the Crossroad Café in the town of Joshua Tree on your way in, and stop at the Joshua Tree Saloon for dinner on your way out.