5 Camping Destinations for Adventurous Travelers

Jan 20, 2023 | Campgrounds, Glamping

5 Camping Destinations for Adventurous Travelers

Whitewater rafting, ziplining, mountain biking, and rock climbing all in one day? These campgrounds are perfect for adrenaline-seekers.

By Karuna Eberl & Steve Alberts

For some, camping is about relaxing in nature. For others, it’s all about the outdoor thrills. From the high peaks of Montana to the red dirt of Utah, here are some of the best campgrounds and cabins in the U.S. for adventurers.

Campers sit by an illuminated tent as the night sky comes alive with a dazzling array of stars.
Adventures on the Gorge, West Virginia. | Photo courtesy Adventures on the Gorge

1. Adventures on the Gorge, Lansing, West Virginia

Perched on the rim of New River Gorge, Adventures on the Gorge (AOTG) packs in thrills with water, land, and aerial adventures, all set along the backdrop of the country’s newest national park. The camp-resort’s origins date back to the 1960s, when some daredevil friends began camping along the river, navigating it in U.S. Army surplus rafts. Today, AOTG has evolved into a full-blown adventure facility, with whitewater rafting, multiple zipline courses, and a ropes course.

The camp-resort also outfits guests for area adventures, including rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, lake paddling, and one experience that’s particularly unique to the location—bridge walking. AOTG overlooks West Virginia’s iconic New River Gorge Bridge, one of the longest single-span bridges in the world, and brave guests can take a stroll along the catwalk that runs underneath.

Camping and Lodging 

AOTG offers extensive on-site lodging options, including hotel-style and rustic cabins, glamping tents, and RV and tent sites. There are multiple restaurants on location with good food and live music. The camp-resort especially caters to families, though it’s a good place for every type of traveler. Nearby, the artsy town of Fayetteville is also worth a visit.

Mountain bikers race down a well-tread mountain path.
Biking down Pikes Peak, Colorado. | Photo courtesy Pikes Peak Region Attractions

2. Royal Gorge Cabins, Cañon City, Colorado

One of Colorado’s most adventure-packed regions lies between Colorado Springs and Salida, making the Royal Gorge Cabins a great location from which to experience it all. Next to the cabins, you’ll find Echo Canyon River Expeditions, one of the area’s most respected and experienced rafting outfitters. They guide trips along the Arkansas River, ranging from scenic family floats to gnarly Class IV whitewater excursions.

Scenic desert hiking and fossilized dinosaur prints can also be found nearby, as can the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, where you can cross the river via suspension bridge, gondola, or zipline. The park also offers a via ferrata rock climbing course and a skycoaster. Nearly an hour away, thrill-seekers will find the intimidating Broadmoor Seven Falls ziplines, one of which travels 1,800 feet across a canyon, as well as a 224-stair climb to the falls. Other nearby challenges include the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, which you can ascend via cog railway and descend on a bicycle (grab one of the famous donuts at the summit); the Manitou Incline stair hike; horseback riding; and more ziplining. West of the cabins, mountain bike around the hip town of Salida.

Camping and Lodging 

The Royal Gorge Cabins range from architecturally-intriguing luxury cabins, complete with indoor-outdoor glass fireplaces and patios, to glamping tents with French doors, and pitch-your-own tent sites. On-site, the 8 Mile Bar & Grill serves up craft comfort food and beer. Nearby there are also numerous public campgrounds and RV parks.

Related Why RVers Love Colorado’s State Parks 

A SCUBA diver swims near a colorful coral reef formation surrounded by yellow and black fish.
Scuba diving near Key West. | Photo: Bob Care, Florida Keys News Bureau

3. Boyd’s Key West RV Campground, Key West, Florida

Just over the bridge from the island paradise of Key West, Boyd’s Campground is the southernmost place you can pitch a tent in the contiguous U.S. It’s just 4 miles from the end of the road (Mile Marker 0 on the Overseas Highway), and surrounded by ocean adventures.

Try scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, tall-ship sailing, jet skiing, and sport fishing. You can also dive for sunken treasure, take a yoga class atop a stand-up paddleboard, go kayaking with your pup through mangrove tunnels, try skydiving, and see wild dolphins aboard one of the first electric-powered passenger boats in the U.S.

Most Key West outfitters are happy to pick you up from the campground, but rental scooters and bicycles are also great ways to tour Key West with its iconic architecture and libation-lined Duval Street.

Camping and Lodging 

Boyd’s offers both tent and RV sites, some of which are waterfront. It also has a pool, store, and boat ramp. The camping here is highly social, meaning the sites can be cramped, but the neighbors are usually friendly and entertaining. Make sure to visit the nearby Hogfish Bar & Grill and try the namesake signature sandwich.

Related RV Campgrounds Along Florida’s Overseas Highway

The inside of a glamping tent reveals a bed sporting fashionable, crisp linens and a sink.
Moab Under Canvas, Utah. | Photo: Abigail Wry

4. Under Canvas Moab, Moab, Utah

Surrounded by iconic red-rock desert and starry night skies, Under Canvas Moab‘s glamping tents make a relaxing oasis basecamp for the area’s wild outdoor adventures. Moab’s quintessential outdoor sport is mountain biking. Trails range from the quick 2.2-mile Slickrock Practice Loop, which climbs up and down surprisingly grippy sandstone, to the 100-mile White Rim Trail, which traverses sweeping rocky mesas and isolated desert.

Moab is also known for its off-road ATV scene, but beyond the rubber there is rafting along the Colorado River, hiking through Arches and Canyonlands national parks, rock climbing,  sandstone pinnacles, canyoneering, petroglyphs, petrified dinosaur tracks, and other archaeological and natural history wonders.

Camping and Lodging 

Under Canvas Moab is a cozy safari-inspired glamping village with nightly campfires, complimentary s’mores, outdoor cooking, live music, and morning yoga. Tents range from romantic two-person accommodations to layouts big enough for large families. It’s 7 miles from Moab, and offers a concierge service for booking adventures and tours. The area also includes many public land campsites and commercial RV campgrounds.

Related 5 Alternatives to Utah’s Popular National Parks

A skier launches airborne while tackling a snow-covered hillside dotted with towering snow-white trees.
Snow sports in Whitefish, Montana. | Photo: Brian Schott, Explore Whitefish

5. BaseGlamp, Whitefish, Montana

BaseGlamp’s geodesic dome cabin-tents look out across a private, peaceful canopy of conifers. Beyond the camp, the adventure wonderland of Northwest Montana beckons. The closest playground is Whitefish Mountain Resort, where winter powder brings snowboarding, cross-country and downhill skiing, dog sledding, and snowmobiling.

Summers open up new possibilities, including hiking and backpacking in Glacier National Park. Whitefish Mountain comes to life with zipline tours, an aerial adventure park, and lift-assisted mountain biking. Nearby are seaplane and boat tours and the mountain town of Whitefish.

Related 9 ski resorts that are just as much fun in summer

Camping and Lodging

BaseGlamp is about 15 minutes north of the town of Whitefish. It’s open year round and strives to be eco-friendly. Each of its 12 domes have their own cedar hot tub, and a central resort dome contains more extensive amenities and an outside campfire pit. Beyond the glamp camp, there are extensive public lands and commercial RV campgrounds.