There's Still Time to Plan a Summer Outing
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If summer seems like it is passing you by, take a little time to discover a destination just down the road or beyond the horizon. Here are a few tips for finding places that are closer than you think.
- FIND IT: On the Recreation.gov homepage, scroll to the map and type in your location. The map will populate with recreation areas, campgrounds, trail heads and other destinations that you can learn more about or reserve.
- BUILD IT: Select the Trip Builder tool from the homepage. Enter your starting point and a destination. A map interface will populate with a selection of destinations and activities along your route. Discover places to camp, tour and visit. Create an itinerary and book your next trip!
- CHECK IT: You may already know where you want to go. Take a look to see if there is availability. Consider a mid-week visit to avoid the crowds and have a better chance of securing a site.
Discover new destinations and consider mid-week visits
Ok, we know what you are thinking. The places you want to visit are already booked and have been for months. We get it; the competition for popular locations is fierce. For now, think about discovering a new destination that may have availability when you are able to visit.
Here are a few campgrounds we found near six large cities with availability throughout the rest of the summer, especially midweek and first-come, first-serve options. Keep in mind that many campgrounds in the West are imposing fire restrictions, so know before you go what fire and smoke conditions may impact your visit.
- About an hour from Seattle, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is home to some campgrounds that still have availability for the remainder of the summer. Try the Middle Fork, Money Creek and The Dalles campgrounds.
- From Los Angeles the Dogwood and Heart Bar campgrounds on the San Bernardino National Forest, or the Pyramid Lake and Mountain Oak campgrounds on the Angeles National Forest offer plenty of options for the rest of the summer.
- Just outside of Denver, the Columbine and Cold Springs campgrounds on the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest, or the Davenport and Timberline campgrounds on the Pike and San Isabel National Forest have availability, especially during the weekdays and for first-come, first serve sites.
- Within an hour or so of Atlanta, you can find yourself at Allatoona Lake at Old Hwy 41 No 3 or McKaskey Creek campgrounds.
- Did you know that about an hour from Chicago is the Indiana Dunes National Park where the Dunewood Campground hosts 66 campsites, with a smattering of reservable sites available for the remainder of the summer.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Angela Wise, Share the Experience)
You can also discover a variety of activities and plan a visit yet this summer. Here are a few that we think offer unique experiences that may be of interest to you.
- Learn more about our nation’s history and enjoy a self-guided tour at the National Archives. Situated in the heart of the National Mall, the museum is home to the Charters of Freedom, including the original Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights.
- Ready to climb a 12-story building? Book your ticket to the Bodie Island Lighthouse which boasts 257 steps from the ground to the balcony level. The narrow stairs have a handrail only on one side, two-way traffic, and a landing every 31 steps.
- Explore the largest chambered cavern in North America on this self-guided tour at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. You can hike the steep one-and-a-quarter mile paved trail entering through the cave’s natural entrance, leading to a spectacular one-and-a-quarter mile Big Room trail.
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