Special Report

Best States for Camping

Considering the diversity of natural landscapes in the United States, the possibilities for taking a weekend trip into nature are endless. From seaside cliffs to remote mountain meadows, each state has its own unique camping options – or lack thereof. (Prefer more upscale lodging? Here is the best bed and breakfast in every state.)

To identify the best (and worst) states for camping, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a ranking created by LawnLove, a lawn care start-up that conducts research into city and state amenities on a regular basis. LawnLove ranked all 50 states on 17 weighted metrics in five categories related to camping: access, cost, quality, supplies, and safety.

Access metrics include the number of campsites, acreage of State and National Parks, and the number of hiking trails, activities, attractions. Many large states with a plethora of wide open spaces such as Alaska, Texas, and California scored high in the access category. Alaska alone has 35.8 million acres of state and national parks. On the other hand, some of the nation’s smallest states – Rhode Island and Delaware – scored poorly for having few or no parks, as well as few campsites or attractions.

While California, Washington, and Oregon have some of the highest numbers of campsites in the nation, these West Coast states are generally more expensive. Some tourist hotspots with renowned attractions (such as Arizona, home to the Grand Canyon) didn’t make it into the top ten because of poor quality campsites or limited gear outfitters. States with plenty of access to water including Minnesota, Florida, and Michigan scored highly for having a wide variety of campsite activities including fishing, kayaking, and swimming.

Some of the best states to camp may still be dangerous due to treacherous waters or terrain. Although California ranked as the best state for camping overall, it scored worst in the nation for safety, while Florida, no. 5 on the list, scored 2nd worst. The safety ranking considers natural hazards as well as rates of state and national park deaths. Here are the most dangerous national parks in America.

Ohio is a bit of an underdog in the top 10. Although the Buckeye State isn’t necessarily famous for its national parks, its lack of acclaim is made up for in high safety, accessibility, and affordability.

Click here for the best states for camping

Methodology

To identify the best states for camping, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a ranking created by LawnLove, a lawn care start-up that conducts research into city and state amenities on a regular basis. LawnLove ranked all 50 states on 17 weighted metrics in five categories related to camping: access, campsite cost, quality, supplies, and safety.

Access metrics include the number of campsites, acreage of State and National Parks, and the number of hiking trails, activities, attractions. Quality rankings depended on the number of campsites with toilets and water, as well as consumer reviews of campsites in the state. The safety index took into account the number of deaths in parks as well as the natural hazard index and cellular network coverage. The cost and supplies categories considered not only the number of tent campsites and camping gear stores, but also RV sites and RV rental offers.

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