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National Park Campgrounds


The National Park Service (NPS) preserves the natural resources of the US for the enjoyment and education of current and future generations. Some of the benefits to the NPS stewardship are the vast outdoor recreation opportunities made available to everyone.

NPS Goal: "...to promote and regulate the use of the national parks, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

Camping allows us to experience the splendors of the national parks up close. You can do this in two ways: either backpacking into primitive campsites in the backcountry, or by camping at the developed campgrounds accessible by car. Backpackers must obtain backcountry permits on the day of their departure and are usually required to have an itinerary. In my opinion, this is the best way to experience the parks. However, car campers and RVers will find the developed campgrounds a comparable experience.

Within the National Park System there are hundreds of parks, recreation areas, and other facilities; and within these parks are over one hundred campgrounds open to the public. Campsites are usually available on a first come, first serve basis. A few of the campgrounds do offer reservations, which can be made online. National Park campgrounds aren't expensive, typically costing $10-16 a night, with a maximum stay of 14 days. Amenities aren't many, but you came here to enjoy the park, not the campground. The campgrounds have clean restrooms and hot showers, some have laundry facilities, and campsites will have picnic tables and fire rings. But remember, the national parks are very popular and tend to get very busy on holidays and during the summer months.

The National Park Service has a Web site called Park Net which has everything you need to plan a camping vacation in one of the parks. The areas of Park Net that will be of interest to campers:

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