When you travel with your horses and search for campgrounds, it isn’t always easy to distinguish between horse-friendly and not. That’s why we put together a list of the top five horse-friendly campgrounds in the United States, along with tips for camping and traveling with your favorite equine.
Are you ready to ride? Let’s get going.
About Camping with Horses
One of the significant considerations (other than where to camp!) when traveling with horses is how you are transporting your horse. You may already have an equestrian trailer, but if you are looking for a camping-friendly way of transportation with your horse, look into RVs that are equestrian-specific, toy haulers with a horse stall, or a standard horse trailer that has living quarters inside.
Any of those options give you comfort when on the road and leave space for your horse. You can also opt to travel with the horse trailer you already own and tent camp alongside.
If your horse has never been camping before, be sure to give them a few practice runs close to home before you take a bigger big trip. You should only attempt horse camping with a horse that you are familiar with, is used to traveling, and is well-trained. Camping with unfamiliar horses can be extremely dangerous.
Even if you are basing your camping locations off of our list of equestrian camping areas, be sure to call ahead before you leave. Some horse-friendly camping areas have specifications for the type of feed you can bring (weed-free), proof of vaccinations, and more. To be sure you’re prepared for what the campground requires, check-in with them ahead of time.
Horse Camping Packing List
As you are packing for a horse camping trip, here are a few things you do not want to forget:
- 20 gallons of water per horse per day (check with the campground to see if they have water on-site or if you need to bring your own).
- Enough feed for the length of stay.
- Food and water troughs (if traveling through desert/sandy regions, do not let your horses eat off the ground).
- General paperwork: proof of ownership, vaccinations, registration, and other health records.
- Other gear like blankets, muck bucket, fork, riding gear, etc.
It is very easy to overpack for your first horse camping trip, but in this case, it is better to be over-prepared than underprepared.
Tips for Horse Camping Safety
Before we get to our list of camping locations, here are a few tips for camping safely with your horse:
- Shoe your horse at least a week before going camping if you plan on trail riding.
- If you need to switch to a weed-free feed based on your camping destination, transition your horse over slowly before the trip.
- When traveling to a new environment, research plants and animals in the area that can be dangerous for horses.
- Find out if there are places to tie your horses other than to your trailer. You can also opt to bring a portable fence to make things easier.
- If you’ve never camped with your horse before, bring along an experienced friend or family member to help you get the hang of things.
The Campendium Community’s Favorite Horse Campgrounds
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
Palo Duro Canyon is a top-rated state park located just outside of Amarillo, TX. Since it is a state park, there is an entrance fee along with an overnight camping fee. You can easily make reservations for camping online and pay ahead of time.
Horseback riding is a common activity in the canyon, which is why the park’s campground allows horses. The ground in this desert area is made up of red clay-type soil, so it does get muddy if there are high precipitation levels.
All-in-all, this is an ideal spot for horse campers of any experience level. There are full amenities at this campground, but with limited cell phone service. Be sure that your horse is used to other people and vehicles since this tends to be a popular spot.
Tuttle Creek Campground, California
If you’re looking for a spot camp with horses in California, Tuttle Creek Campground is a great place to check out. This is a camping area located on BLM land, but they have water available, vault toilets, and a dump station.
While this is a dry camping area, there is still a small fee for staying at the campground. Once you enter the campground, the road is a bit rough, so be prepared for that and drive slowly when hauling horses. It can take some time to find a level place to park and camp, but there are plenty of great spots to park and enjoy some solitude.
There is a horse corral here and wide-open spaces to enjoy with your horse.
7th Ranch RV Park, Montana
Located Southeast of Billings, MT, the 7th Ranch RV Park is a horse-friendly place to stop in your RV. It’s situated close to the interstate, so it is easy to access but is still far enough away to avoid too much noise from traffic.
If you are looking for a more modern camping experience with your horse or are merely looking for a stop-over place on your way elsewhere, this is a great place to checkout.
Usery Mountain Regional Park Campground, Arizona
Close to the Phoenix Metro area, Usery Mountain Regional Park Campground in Arizona is a fantastic place to get the hang of horse camping. All of the campsites have electric and water hookups, and you are close enough to the city to get any supplies you need easily.
Although it is close to the city, you will enjoy the desert wildlife and plenty of hiking and riding areas nearby. There is plenty of room between campsites, so you and your horse won’t feel too crowded.
Since this is a camping area is near Phoenix, do call ahead and make sure there is room for you to stay before you arrive.
Nehalem Bay State Park, Oregon
If you’re looking for a beach camping experience, then camping with your horse at Nehalem Bay in Oregon is worth a look. They have a shorter camping season, and because of that, this park can get busy. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time.
The campground has full amenities, and there is a horse corral. If your horse is newer to trail riding, this can be a great place to get them acquainted since the trails tend to be flat, with many right along the beach.
Plus, if you stay here, there are manure bins, so you won’t have to haul your horse manure away with you.
More Horse-friendly Campgrounds
How to Search for Horse Campground on Campendium
Finding horse-friendly campgrounds on Campendium is a breeze. Begin by searching for your destination. Once you have a list of results, click More Filters and scroll to Facilities. Check the box next to Horse Corral and then scroll back to the top of the page, and click the blue button that says See Locations.