part of the grand canyon national park

Incredible! The Best Camping In The U.S. | 8 Must-See Destinations

Camping is one of the best ways to truly see the natural world in all of its glory.

Camping in some of the most gorgeous areas in the world will give you a new perspective about some of the amazing places you can find and visit in an otherwise “regular” life.

But what about in your own “backyard?” What are the best camping spots in the United States?

vw van full of camping gear

There are so many locations in the U.S. that have fantastic camping adventures awaiting you. So, before you back up the vehicle, let’s take a look at 8 of the tops spots!

Throughout all 50 states, there are certainly many amazing areas to explore. Although we cannot get to all 50 states in this article, we’ll cover some awesome camping opportunities for you to consider below.

So, without further adieu, let’s cover the best camping locations in the U.S. right now!

Click any location in the list below to jump straight to it!

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park boasts not only majestic mountain views, but 13 campgrounds as well.

Located in the Rocky mountains of Montana, Glacier National Park is one of the most underrated camping destinations in the country. With incredible mountain landscapes and other natural features, everywhere you look, you will be surrounded by beauty.

Throughout this huge national park, there are 13 campgrounds and hundreds of individual sites to enjoy. So, there is plenty of room for everyone. And, If you like hiking, there are over 700 miles of hiking trails stretching through many areas and ecosystems.

Overall, Glacier National Park is a quiet, serene location to camp in the United States that has tons of fun opportunities and so much scenery to enjoy.




Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park, in Utah, is famous for its beautiful natural rock structures and great hiking.

Due to the natural rock structures and mountainous areas, Arches National Park is a site to behold. This is one of the more exclusive camping opportunities as there are only 50 campsites at the Devils Garden campground.

However, Moad, Utah is known for its other camping opportunities, but they will be off the main property. The park gets its name from the natural rock arches that are all over the property. This is a great place to hike and explore while taking in this area’s natural beauty.





Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park is an absolute must-see location, but be sure to plan ahead!

No list of the best camping locations in America is complete without mentioning one of the natural wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon is certainly one of the most impressive places in the entire world.

Camping in Grand Canyon National Park can happen in four developed campgrounds. If you would rather rough it, you can enter the backcountry on a permit if you are able to secure one.

Now, all of these opportunities fill up quickly, so the earlier the better in terms of planning.




Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park has over 100 individual campsites.

Joshua Tree National Park is a great camping destination for a number of reasons. The biggest of which is the location. Located in California, this park is a few hours drive from cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.

When you can get away from the big cities easily and access natural beauty like this, it is a game changer.

In terms of parking at the actual park, there is plenty of room. There are over 100 individual sites with a few off-site places offering spots as well.

Temperatures in this part of the country get insanely high in the summer, so you might consider planning your trip during the other three seasons to get the best experience possible.



Assateague Island

horses running on assateague island

Looking for an island with wild horses… Assateague Island is the place to see! (photo credit: National Park Service)

Located off the coast of Maryland sits Assateague Island. This is a natural paradise with nearly 40 miles of coastline and plenty of beach camping available.

Assateague Island is a place not too many people away from the east coast know about, so it is a bit of a hidden gem, at least on the national level.

A super unique factor of Assateague Island is the population of wild horses that inhabit it. These are gorgeous horses that roam the island and frequent the various campgrounds on the beach. This is a really unique experience that does not happen much in the United States, especially on the east coast.




Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

The Florida Keys may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering camping locations, but they are home to the beautiful Biscayne National Park (photo credit: Biscayne National Park Institute)

Further down the east coast and around the tip of Florida sits Biscayne National Park in the Florida Keys.

The Florida Keys is a series of gorgeous islands and land masses connected with one major road down from the mainland. As you work your way down, there is so much natural beauty to enjoy.



One of the focal points along the way is Biscayne National Park. There are not many areas where you can see a large city and also have the natural features such as this park. With downtown Miami off in the distance, you can pitch a tent and enjoy southern Florida life all in one location.

There are two campgrounds in the park, but both are on individual keys and have to be accessed by boats.



Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park is a great location for backpacking and seeing incredible views like this.

In order to make the Top U.S. Camping Spots list complete, we need an entry or two in the midwest. One of the most impressive of which is Badlands National Park in South Dakota. This is a large park that harbors incredible views and hiking opportunities.

In terms of camping, there are two campgrounds on the property and one of them is only accessible through the backcountry. So, if you would like to do some backpacking, you are covered in areas that cannot be reached by RV travellers and others.



Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has three drive-in campgrounds. (photo credit: Tim Trombley)

Michigan is a very underrated destination when it comes to natural beauty. However, it’s home to the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Here, there are three picture-esque campgrounds that are actually drive-in sites. This means that you pull your vehicle into a spot and enjoy the park.

Between the three campgrounds, there are a total of 65 sites and each one requires a reservation to secure the spot. The gorgeous rocks pictured above are only a short paddle or boat ride away.



Closing Thoughts On Best U.S. Camping Locations:

Although these are several of the top camping locations in the United States, this really only scratches the surface as to what there is to explore. However, this is a great starting point.

Each of these locations brings something unique to the table, and camping on-site puts you in the very best position for enjoying it all fully, whether solo camping or with friends and family.

Enjoy these best camping locations in the United States! Good luck, and happy camping.


tent in snow

9 Smart Hacks To Stay Warm In Your Tent

on . Posted in Blog, camping

Camping is no fun at all if it’s freezing and/or wet inside your tent the entire time. You’ll be quite uncomfortable and you could even end up catching a nasty cold!

If you’re a camper or even a backpacking hunter, you need to know how to stay warm in a tent. To do so, you need to know how to retain heat and dry off fast. This will allow you to have a pleasant outdoors experience any time of the year. So, in this article, we’re going to be going over some hacks for keeping your tent warm.

camping man with warm clothes

Once it’s time to get in the tent, a warm hat can make all the difference in staying warm.

1. Bring Along Warm, Comfortable Sleeping Clothes

When camping, it’s best to bring along a separate set of clothes for sleeping and store them in a stuff sack so that they’re always kept dry.

This should ideally include warm socks, base layers and a hat that can cover your ears. Make sure that none of the base layers are so tight that they prevent your blood from circulating properly!

When picking clothes, you’ll definitely want to go with those made of synthetic fibers and wool instead of cotton. This is because cotton is notorious for absorbing heat from your body, leaving you shivering when the temperatures drop.



2. Choose An Appropriate Sleeping Bag

sleeping bags in tent

Be sure that the sleeping bags you choose have a rating that is acceptable for the temperatures you will be camping in.

All sleeping bags will have a ‘lowest recommended temperature’ limit on their labels, which should help you determine whether it’s worth bringing along to the particular campsite you’re heading to.

For instance, if a sleeping bag’s limit is 45 degrees Fahrenheit, then it wouldn’t be ideal for camping in high altitudes, where temperatures may drop below freezing.

Just like with your pajamas, it’s important to keep your sleeping bag completely dry. When your body comes into contact with moisture, it can lose heat pretty quickly. Therefore, make sure you keep it stored in a stuff sack during the day.



3. Waterproof Your Tent

You’re never going to be able to keep warm if you’re constantly battered by raindrops leaking in through the roof of your tent. Hence, it’s absolutely necessary to learn how to waterproof your tent.

The bare minimum you could do is to spray water repellent on the roof of the tent and on the rainfly as well.

Since most leaks occur at the tent’s seams, you may want to invest in a good seam sealer as well. Keep in mind that not just any sealer will work on your tent’s fabric, so it’s best to do your research on what kind you need to buy.

Tents typically contain urethane coating which acts as a sealant against moisture. However, the coating tends to wear off over time. So, if your tent is a bit old, we recommend applying a brand new coat before setting out on your trip.




4. Get Yourself A Good Sleeping Mat

man carrying sleeping mat

Be sure that your sleeping mat has an appropriate “R-value” so that your body heat loss will be minimal in a cold tent.

If you’re going camping during cold weather, keep in mind that the ground you’ll be sleeping on will be cold as well. While a sleeping bag will keep you elevated, it’s not going to be enough to keep you warm, certainly not as much as a good sleeping mat.

When buying a sleeping mat, it’s very important to pay attention to its ‘R-value’ which indicates how good it is at retaining heat.

A high R-value means you’ll lose less body heat when you’re lying on top of the sleeping pad. We recommend going for one with an R-value of at least 5.




5. Dress In Layers

Most campers only put on warm clothing when they start to feel cold. This is a huge mistake, because by then you’ve already lost a significant amount of body heat (hence why you’re feeling so cold in the first place).

So, the best thing to do is to put on the extra layers before night falls.

Thermal attire is absolutely essential when you’re camping in cold weather. So, bring along a fleece hoodie or a warm windbreaker and make sure to keep them dry at all times.



6. Cover Your Head And Feet

Did you know that most of your body heat is lost through your head? That’s why you should always cover your head with a warm beanie before you go to sleep inside the tent.

Similarly, we tend to lose a lot of heat through our feet as well. Hence, thick socks are a must to bring with you. It’s especially helpful to have a long pair that extends beyond your ankles.




7. Snuggle A Hot Water Bottle

hot water bottle to stay warm in a tent

Keeping a hot water bottle close to your body can help you stay warm in a tent.

An effective way to keep yourself warm at night is to fill a hot water bottle and hug it close to a cold spot on your body while you sleep. Make sure the water bottle is a secure one and that the lid can be closed tightly, so that you don’t end up burning yourself!

In addition, we recommend choosing a bottle that is BPA-free so that you can safely drink from it if you wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.



8. Help Yourself To A High-Fat Dinner

hot dog roasting on campfire

Eating food with high fat content can help you stay warm on cold camping nights.

This is like stuffing as much wood into the fire as you can before you go to sleep. A high-fat dinner or snack will give your body tons of fuel with which to generate heat, allowing you to sleep comfortably for longer.



9. Drink Enough Water

You won’t feel as thirsty when you’re camping out in cold weather. However, this doesn’t mean that your body needs less water!

Hot coffee is certainly enjoyable and cozy when camping, but you’ll still need to drink enough water to keep regular body functions like digestion and blood circulation running smoothly. At the same time, make sure you don’t go overboard with hydration. Otherwise, you’ll have to go outside several times in the middle of the night for bathroom breaks.




Final Thoughts On Staying Warm In A Tent

In this article, we’ve covered several different ways to retain heat and keep dry, from waterproofing your tent to staying hydrated.

If you plan to camp out in cold or rainy weather, be sure that you’ve got everything you need to keep your tent warm and dry. Staying warm will make for a very pleasant camping experience and more importantly, it will keep you from getting sick.

animal skull on forest floor

What Do We Have Here? | How To Identify Animal Skulls

Have you ever experienced finding animal skulls and bones when you went out for a hike in the mountains or woods?

Hikers often find skulls during Spring and Summer, as animals of all sorts of species die of cold and hunger during winter months.

Skulls may just seem like they’re a piece of junk buried beneath the soil, but they can tell you a lot of information about the kind of animal that the skull came from.

animal skull

Examination of skull size, eye location, teeth and other characteristics can tell you a lot about what type of animal it was.

By examining the size of the skull, as well as its teeth and the position of certain parts, you can distinguish a predator species from a prey species.

You would also be able to tell whether it walked upright or it crawled on all four legs. You can even determine what types of food the animal ate.

So, let’s take a look at some questions Below are some things to consider when trying to identify various mammal skulls.



Location Of Orbits / Eye Sockets

You can tell whether the skull you’re holding belonged to a predator species or a prey species just by looking at certain characteristics of the skull. The key characteristic that you should check is the location or position of the orbits or eye sockets in the skull. 

deer skull

Eye sockets on the sides of a animal skull would imply that it belonged to a preyed upon animal, such as a deer, which has wide peripheral vision that is helpful in watching out for potential predators.

If the orbits or eye sockets are located in front of the skull, then it’s more likely that the animal belonged to a predator species. Having eyes in front means that the animal had binocular vision. This is the kind of vision that gives them depth perception when they survey their surroundings.

Predators need depth perception to figure out the distance of their prey and catch them.



If the orbits or eye sockets are located to the sides of the skull, it’s more likely that what you have in your hands is the skull of an animal which was part of a prey species.

Having eyes to the sides of the skull means the animal had wide peripheral vision. This allows a wide range of view which helps a prey animal watch out for potential threats of any predator trying to make a sneak attack.   


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Location Of Foramen Magnum

You can also tell whether an animal walked upright or on all four legs just by looking at the position or location of its foramen magnum.

The foramen magnum is the hole in the skull through which the spine makes its entry. Based on the position of its foramen magnum, you’d be able to infer how the animal moved. 

If the foramen magnum is located under the skull or at its very bottom, this means that the animal had the ability to walk upright as humans do.



A foramen magnum hole positioned at the bottom of the skull means that the spine entered the bottom of the skull in a vertical position. This can only mean that the animal’s spine was vertical and upright most of the time when it moved. 

foramen magnum

The foramen magnum, as shown here, is where the spine enters the skull, and it’s position can give clues about whether the animal walked upright or on all fours.

Some examples of animals that can walk upright are bears, ostriches, flamingos and gorillas, among others.

If the foramen magnum is located at the back of the skull, this means that the animal most likely roamed the earth on all its four limbs and legs as foxes and dogs do.

A foramen magnum located at the back of the skull reveals that the spine’s entry was in a horizontal manner. This means that the animal’s spine was often parallel to the skull and to the ground most of the time when it moved. This is the kind of skull that most quadrupedal (four-legged) animals have. 



The Teeth

You can identify whether you’re holding the skull of an herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore, based on its teeth.

vampire deer skull

Carnivores will have premolars, molars, canines and incisors, whereas herbivores will have only 2 or 3 of the four types. (skull pictured is a musk deer, also called a vampire deer).



The four major kinds of teeth are canines, premolars, incisors, and molars.

Keep in mind that herbivores have two or three of these types of teeth. On the other hand, all four kinds are found in carnivores. 

  • Premolars: These are bicuspid teeth in mammals. There are usually eight of them. They’re often arranged in pairs on the left and right side of both the upper and the lower jaws. They’re positioned in the middle of canines and molars. Their main function is to cut and grind food. 
  • Molars: These are broad, flat crowns. They’re found behind the premolars. Their primary function is to grind food. 
  • Canines: These are pointed teeth shaped like cones. They’re found in the middle of premolars and incisors. Their primary function is for piercing, and holding the prey. They can also be used as a weapon during a fight. 
  • Incisors: These have sharp edges. They’re found in the front part of the mouth. Their primary function is for cutting, nipping, or gnawing. 

There are also quite prominent differences in teeth amongst carnivores and herbivores.

Most carnivores don’t have gaps in their teeth and their teeth are pointed. On the other hand, herbivores have teeth whose surfaces appear ridged and grinding. There’s a gap with no teeth at all between their cheeks and their jaw front.




Identifying Specific Animals From Their Skull

You can identify specific types of animals just by looking at their skull, although medical researchers use medical scanning machines to detect similarities. 

If the skull you found is just about the size of the thumbnail of an adult, it’s more likely that it belongs to a shrew or a mouse.

cow skull

The size of the skull can provide information about animal type. One bigger than two clinched fists could be a cow, horse or other larger animal.

Rats and moles have skulls about the size of the index finger.

Skulls of rabbits and squirrels would have the length of a thumb.

If you find skulls about the size of two clenched fists, you might be holding the skull of either a fox or a badger. 

If you found a skull bigger in size than the combined size of your two clenched fists, then you might have found the skull of a horse, cow, deer, or sheep.



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Hedgehog Skull

Hedgehogs usually have a row of sharp teeth that are all very similar to each other.

Skulls of hedgehogs are also often found with the spine still intact and connected to the skull.



Rodent Skulls

You can identify rodent skulls by looking at their teeth. They typically have a pair of incisors which can be found in both their upper and lower jaws.

There would also be a gap between the incisors and their cheek teeth. They usually have flat and grinding teeth in their cheeks.

On the other hand, you can distinguish a squirrel skull from the skull of a rat by snout size. A squirrel would have a broader snout than that of a rat.




Mole Skull

Moles typically have a very elongated skull. The length of a mole skull would be about 30 mm. You would find tiny incisors in both jaws. There are usually no gaps behind the incisors.

The other teeth that you’ll find in moles are typically small and pointed. These are usually tightly packed. 



Weasel Skull

Weasels typically have long and flat skulls. A weasel skull which can pass through the average wedding ring.

The skulls of their males are usually larger than those of their females across their various species. Their sizes increase gradually from the stoat, mink, polecat, pine marten, and then the otter skull.

The otter skull would typically have a size of about 10 cm in length. 


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Hare and Rabbit Skull

You can distinguish a rabbit or hare skull from a rodent. Skulls of rabbits and hares typically have a second pair of small incisors. These smaller incisors are usually located in the upper jaws and behind the larger pair of incisors. 

a rabbit skull

Rabbit and hare skulls have prominent incisors, and often a second set as well.

It’s typical for both rabbits and bones to have prominently parallel cheekbones. You would also see something on their cheek teeth that look like blunt oval surfaces.

Hare skulls can also be distinguished from rabbit skulls because they’re usually larger than the latter. Hare skulls also have wide nasal passages.



How To Clean An Animal Skull

If you would like to clean the skulls you found, here are some suggestions on how you can do it:

  • Leave the skulls outside your house. Put them under a flowerpot. Leave just enough gap under the flower pot for beetles to be able to crawl into the insides of the skull.
  • You can whiten the skull by washing and wiping it with hydrogen peroxide. You don’t have to use bleach. It’s better to dilute the hydrogen peroxide a couple of times.
  • You can also lightly boil the skull in a pot containing water with a bit of sodium perborate. The liquid will act as a bleaching solution and clean up the skull nicely.

You can find more information on how to identify specific animal skulls at Boneyard Beetle Works or other similar sites.

ehd cwd dead head deer skull

You never know what you’ll find when hunting, camping or hiking. So, hopefully these tips will give you some clues! (photo credit: Brad Alan).

Final thoughts on identifying animal skulls

Skulls have very specific characteristics which can tell you a lot about the kind of animal they are. You’ll know by looking at certain features of the skull whether it was a predator or a prey, whether it walked upright or crawled on four legs, and whether it was a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore. 

So, next time you come across an animal skull while hiking or camping in the woods, do a little investigating and you could learn a whole lot more about what animal it once belonged to!