These Are the Worst (and Best) States for Camping

Camp site with tent in the morning


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Camp site with tent in the morning

Everything’s Better When You’re Camping. Or Is It?

What makes a location an ideal camping destination? Beautiful views are certainly part of it, but that’s not all. In a 2022 study, the site Lawn Love ranked each state on its camping desirability. Results are based on access, affordability, quality, supplies, and safety. 

Access considers the number of campsites, trails, attractions, and state and national park acreage. Affordable camping data is based on the price of campsites and RV rental costs. Lawn Love gathered quality data based on consumer ratings and campsites with toilets and water. Supplies scored the number of camping stores and RV rentals available. Finally, safety accounts for park deaths, natural hazard index, and cell phone coverage. 

Want to have a camping trip that is memorable for all the right reasons? Here are the states to avoid and the ones that top the charts. 

Related:20 Beautiful Beachside Campgrounds Across America

Maui Beach

10th Worst: Hawaii

That Hawaii ranks poorly on camping desirability might come as a shock. After all, what could be better than camping in a tropical paradise? The major drawbacks to camping in Hawaii are high costs and lack of supplies, including camping supply stores and RV rentals.

Related: The Best Budget-Friendly RV Campgrounds in Every State

Camper Recreational Vehicle on Road Trip through Badlands, South Dakota

9th Worst: South Dakota

Other than its hallmark destination, the Badlands, South Dakota’s camping experience is, well … bad. It ranked poorly across all domains except safety. You probably won’t get eaten by a bear here as Lawn Love rated the safety as No. 6 out of all states. 

Related: 30 Stunning Photos of Iconic Landscapes in the American West

Winter Deserted Campground

8th Worst: Maryland

Maryland’s worst camping feature was the quality of campsites for which it ranks 44th. It also takes 43rd place for costs, making this a true double-whammy situation. Paying a lot of money for a dumpy campsite hardly sounds appealing. 

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High Point Monument

7th Worst: New Jersey

Although New Jersey also has the double whammy of poor quality campsites that are expensive, it has one saving grace. The state ranks 16th for access. So at least you’ll have a simple time finding a shabby, expensive campsite. 

Related: The Best Hidden Gem Destinations, According to RV Experts

Louisiana Marsh pond
Jaimie Tuchman/istockphoto

6th Worst: Louisiana

Basically everything about camping in Louisiana is awful. Access is ranked No. 46. Quality, supplies, and safety are poor, according to Lawn Love. It is, however, pretty darn cheap to camp here at least.

Scenic Coastline of Newport

5th Worst: Rhode Island

The Ocean State claims the 50th place spot for affordability, so be prepared to pay big money to camp here. On the bright side, you’ll get your money’s worth as quality is rated as 5th out of all states.

Deserted campground from above
Dana Dagle Photography/istockphoto

4th Worst: Delaware

Delaware ranks especially poorly for safety, access, and quality. It comes in 41st, 42nd, and 45th place respectively for each of these three categories. Its best rating, affordability, is still 29th out of all the states. If you’re planning a camping trip, make your plans elsewhere.

4Runner car camping

3rd Worst: Mississippi

Mississippi has poor camping ratings across the board. Not only will you have dangerous, inferior quality, and limited camping to choose from, but it isn’t even cheap. Not to mention attempting to sleep in a tent in Mississippi’s extremely hot and humid climate sounds like a sticky, sweaty mess. And did we mention the alligators?

Trailhead for Adam's Gap
Jacqueline Nix/istockphoto

2nd Worst: Alabama

Lawn Love ranks Alabama as having the 49th worst quality for camping. It also ranks 40th for access and cost. Save yourself the headache and the expense and head to nearby Florida for a much better camping experience.

Recreational Vehicles, Valley of Fire Campground, Nevada

Worst: Nevada

Nevada is, according to Lawn Love data, the worst state for camping in the United States. They rated it 50th for quality and 48th for access. Some camping and RV experts disagree, however. For example, full-time RVer Erick Young of RV Toolbox says Nevada’s last-place rank surprised him. “Many states out west, like Nevada, may rank lower because of having fewer developed campsites. But many of these same states offer lots of opportunities for boondocking (camping without hookups) if you prepare with the right gear,” says Young.

Related: Boondocking and Other RV Terms You Need to Know

Bike camping

10th Best: Oregon

Oregon is beautiful. It is covered with mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests. Not to mention this coastal paradise has plenty of oceanfront campsites to choose from. It should come as no surprise that Oregon claims the sixth-place spot for access. It also ranks 17th for both quality and supplies. Its biggest downfall is the cost, coming in 42nd place.

Campfire outside of tent and campsite on a lake in the Adirondack Mountains.
James Mahan/istockphoto

9th Best: New York

New York includes much more than just New York City. In fact, this state is quite a camping paradise. The state has plenty of campsites, trails, and parks available. You won’t want to miss New York’s natural wonders like Niagara Falls or the Adirondack Mountains. Be prepared to pay for your enjoyable experience, though. New York ranks 48th for affordability. 

Camping in the Rockies

8th Best: Colorado

With top 5 spots for both access and supplies, you can’t go wrong with camping in Colorado. “While there are plenty of campgrounds to reserve, you’d better book early because the state is popular for camping,” says Kelly Beasley of Camp Addict. However, if you can’t get a booking and you have a self-sustained RV, there are many places you can boondock, which means parking on public lands for free. When camping in Colorado, Beasley adds, “Do not miss the phenomenal stretch of road called the Million Dollar Highway (Highway 550). The drive consists of about 25 miles of twisty roads with striking mountain views that could not be any prettier.” 

Related: Beautiful Road Trips That Celebrate American History

tent in front of cliff

7th Best: Texas

Access, safety, and supply ratings for Texas are all in the top 15, meaning it is easy to get out and camp in Texas. Popular destinations include Big Bend National Park, Padre Island, and many other state parks. Unfortunately for Texans, campsite quality overall is so-so at 31st place, though. 

Related: This Is the Best State Park Near You

Fall colors in Hocking Hills Ohio

6th Best: Ohio

Many people wouldn’t think of Ohio when planning a vacation, however, it should definitely be on your list for camping trips. It comes in 10th for supplies, eighth for safety, and seventh for quality. Prices are not too bad falling in 23rd place. One of Ohio’s most beautiful recreational areas is Hocking Hills.

Motorhomes at an RV park with waterfront views in Everglades City, Florida, USA

5th Best: Florida

Florida is a snowbird camping mecca. With beautiful warm weather all year long and sandy beaches for miles, it's easy to see why. "Florida is one of the most popular winter camping destinations with hundreds of campgrounds and RV parks to choose from. But because of its popularity, reservations are mostly required for colder months and can sometimes require planning up to a full year ahead for the most in-demand campgrounds,” says Jeannie Dees, Escapees RV Club social media manager.

Camp site with tent in the morning

4th Best: Michigan

Surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, it's no surprise that Michigan makes for an amazing place to camp. Access, cost, supplies, and safety are all in the top 15. With safety coming in 5th of all states. Michigan’s campsite quality was rated more poorly than some other locations, perhaps because, especially in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, many primitive campsites are available but lack amenities like toilets and water. Depending on what you’re looking for, though, this type of rustic camping could offer the perfect summer getaway.

Evening Paddle

3rd Best: Minnesota

Minnesota is one of the nation’s most underrated states, if you ask this native Minnesotan. Smack dab in the middle of the country, it gets forgotten more often than not, except by those who claim it as home. To forget about Minnesota camping would be a mistake, though. It ranks third for both quality and safety. Camping here is also affordable, ranking 17th. In 2014, Outside named Duluth, Minnesota, the best town in America. The surrounding area also offers a plethora of camping at many Minnesota state parks.

Baker Lake Campsite

2nd Best: Washington

The beautiful state of Washington, with its ocean coastline and towering mountains, is well-deserving of its high ranking. It comes in second place for access with more campsites and parkland than most other states. It comes second only to California, which is hardly a fair comparison, since California has much more land to begin with. Olympic National Park should be on every Washington camping bucket-list. 

Related: The 20 Best Beaches on the West Coast

Yosemite National Park

Best: California

California always seems to claim the top spot. California is certainly beautiful with can’t-miss destinations like Yosemite. According to Lawn Love, California ranks first for both access and quality of campsites. However, the astronomical costs can overshadow some of that beauty. It ranks 49th in the country for affordability. You’re also likely to experience much smaller RV park sites and bigger crowds at popular destinations than in many other states unless you know where to look. “One of our favorite campgrounds along Highway 395 is Oh Ridge, ‌on the shores of June Lake. It has magnificent mountain views, is just a short distance south to Mammoth Lakes, and north to the less-traveled back entrance to Yosemite National Park,” says Young. 

Related: The Best of California for Budget Vacations

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