There are thousands of campgrounds in North America, but only a few can be categorized as exotic. According to Webster's Dictionary, exotic means strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual. The camping destinations here are not your typical car camping locations. Many of these campgrounds may require either hiking (backpacking), boating (ferries), canoeing, riding (horses or mules) or flying (airplanes or helicopters) to get to them, however the rewards are well worth the effort. Check out these exotic camping destinations. Remember that you'll need to make reservations well in advance.
photo © Baja Camp
Baja Camp is located on the Island of Espiritu Santo off the coast of Baja California in the Sea of Cortez. It is reached by a 2-hour boat ride. This nature reserve allows up to 10 people at a time to visit here from May to September. Enjoy the beach, kayaking (kayaks provided), hiking, swimming and scuba diving. Eat fresh fish to your hearts delight. Accommodations include spacious tents with double beds and linens. Meals are prepared by the Camp Baja chef and served in a large community dining tent. Watch sunsets from the beach while enjoying your favorite drink from the bar and relaxing in a hammock.
photo courtesy NPS
Start at Crescent Meadow (elev. 6800') in The Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park and follow the High Sierra Trail
for 11.5 miles until you reach Bear Paw High Sierra Camp (elev. 7800'). The camp consists of six canvas tent cabins with two twin beds (bedding is provided). There is room for a third person to sleep on the floor. The food here is great. Family style meals are provided for breakfast and dinner. Box lunches can also be purchased. You can travel light getting here since you don't need to carry bedding or lots of food. The main attraction to Bear Paw is using it as a base camp to make daily excursions into the high country to enjoy the fantastic views around Mt. Whitney and the Great Western Divide.
Enjoy an all-inclusive eco-friendly 7-day glamping vacation in Ontario's Boreal Forest. Includes accommodations, 3 daily meals, guide services and any required gear. From May to November, they cater to single groups of 4 - 12 people. You'll stay in large canvas tents, sleep on linens in queen size beds, and eat local cuisine. Canoe, fish, hike or swim. This vacation is geared to those who have an appreciation for nature and wildlife.
There are plenty of family vacation opportunities on this island that sits 21 miles off shore from Los Angeles, but kayakers can enjoy the beauty of Catalina like no one else. Located on the northeast side of the island are 9 boat-in campsites perfect for adventurous kayakers wanting to explore the beauty of Catalina's coast. Several itineraries from 2 to 4 days are suggested. Snorkeling, fishing and hiking are great diversions from the daily paddling routines. Check out Visit Catalina Island
for more camping information.
photo © Karl Weatherly / Getty Images
Cinnamon Bay is located on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. You'll need to take an airplane, a ferry and a taxi to reach the campground, but once there you won't want to leave. Tom Hillegass was there. He says:
"This is truly camping in paradise. Camp under the trees, but walk a few yards to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Bring your own tent or rent a site with a tent already there. Snorkel in emerald green water among tropical fish on a pristine reef just off the beach. Dine al fresco each evening at the outdoor cafeteria, cook in camp or take a surry into Cruz Bay for dinner and dancing to fine Carribean music."
Just pack personal things, because Cinnamon Bay Campground provides everything you need for camping.
photo © Corcovado Adventures Tent Camp
Corcovado Tent Camp sits on the edge of the Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica. There is a group of 16 tent cabins situated on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Each tent is 10 foot square and provides two single beds. Meals are served family style in a screened, thatched-roof dining room. There is also a thatched-roof hammock house and bar, and 2 common bath houses.
Corcovado National Park gives visitors a chance to observe some of the most diverse wildlife in the world. You'll be within close proximity to the park's coast trailhead, and the camp features a wildlife observation platform located 120 feet up in the trees. For a real adventure, you can spend the night in a tent on top of the platform. A charter plane takes you to the camp.
There are plenty of horse riding opportunities on this 4 day, 3 night wagon train adventure in Targhee National Forest. Step back into the old west and ride on a replica of the once famous Conestoga Wagons. Enjoy the majestic scenery while you traverse this land situated between Yellowstone and Teton National Parks. You'll have plenty of time for other recreation like hiking, swimming, canoeing or horseback riding. How can you pass up the chance to chow down at a real chuck wagon enjoying food cooked in Dutch ovens over a campfire, or to spend evenings sitting around a campfire listening to cowboys sing. Everything is provided except your personal clothing. Trips available from mid June to mid August.
photo courtesy NPS
Cumberland Island offers primitive campers solitude and serenity along its beautiful beaches and within the moss-draped live oak forests. The wildlife here is diverse, and there are many varieties of shore birds and migratory fowl everywhere. Wild horses also inhabit the island. Cumberland is reached by a passenger ferry operated by the NPS from St. Marys waterfront. Tent camping only is allowed, and reservations are required with a maximum stay of 7 days. Camp at Sea Camp Beach, a developed campground with rest rooms, cold showers, and drinking water for $4.00 per person per night, or at one of the primitive backcountry campgrounds for $4.00 a person per night. (Photo of Dungeness Ruins of Revolutionary War Hero General Nathanial Greene.)
Did you play in a tree house as a kid? Ever climb a tall tree almost to the top? Would spending a night sleeping in the treetops thrill you? You can get that thrill with a Georgia company called Dancing With Trees. Owner Genevieve Summers will guide you into the trees with recreational tree climbing courses. Treetop campers will enjoy dinner on the ground before heading up into the trees to spend a night in suspended canvas hammocks. The next morning you'll awake to a continental breakfast while you're still up in the trees.
"Not everyone wants to climb Mount Everest, but almost everybody can ascend with ropes and harness and experience in new ways our life-giving exchanges with trees and the natural world." ~ Genevieve
By appointment only.
photo © Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge
The folks at Wintergreen Dogsled Lodge in Ely, Minnesota know how harsh the winters can be, but that doesn't stop them from camping. If you are looking for a winter camping adventure, this is the place. Trips range from 5-night trips for beginners that include 3 nights dogsled camping, 7-night advanced trips that include dogsled and ski camping, and arctic trips across Ellesmere Island or along Hudson Bay. These trips are available for all ages, no experience is required.