9 Best Destinations for Solo Campers

 By Kaz Weida

If you’ve been hesitating to answer the call of the wild because you don’t currently have an adventurous co-pilot in your life, your best summer has arrived. Striking out solo inspires confidence, but it can also be challenging. We’ve rounded up our recommendations for the best places to venture alone, where you’ll be able to experience fantastic scenery but still enjoy support.

While you may be thirsty for some solitude, that doesn’t mean you need to feel stranded on your own. We’ve considered factors like experience level, affordability, and camper recommendations to determine which campsites would be the best fit for solitary travelers. To ensure the best solo experience, pay attention to the safety tips for each location and be sure to watch our camping safety video below. You can also brush up your general camping knowledge with our Ultimate Camping Safety Guide. Because knowing before you go is half the battle.

1. Bartlett Cove Campground

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

Remember: Permit Required

Best for: Backcountry Campers

Enjoy this wilderness walk-in campground clustered along Glacier Bay free of charge when you secure a camping permit. These rustic, wooded sites offer prime viewing for the whales that populate the bay, and they allow campers to access a picturesque section of shoreline beach. Solo campers will appreciate that while the campground is a bit remote, the visitor center is just down the road with hot showers and a fully stocked store.

Safety Tip: This is big-time bear country, so no cooking on-site is allowed. Campers are required to prepare food by the beach, then store their supplies in food caches provided by the park. Better safe than sorry is the motto in bear country.

2. Tingles Island and Pope Bay Campgrounds

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

Remember: Reservations Recommended

Best for: Campers with Some Experience

Wild horses couldn’t drag you away from these beautiful campsites, which are situated along a barrier island that shifts with the tide. Assateague is renowned for herds of wild ponies that roam the dunes and marshes. Paddle out to the island and choose from two ocean-side and four bayside campsites that’ll allow you to experience the horses in their natural habitat. Communing with your wild side has never been easier.

Safety Tip: Beach camping implies two things: lots of sand and lots of wind. Assateague delivers on this promise, so come prepared with additional stakes to secure your tent and plan to eat a little sand in the name of incredible scenery.

3. Jumbo Rocks Campground

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Remember: First Come, First Serve

Best for: Experienced Campers and Adventurers

This high-altitude desert campground is surrounded by boulders and prime rock-climbing opportunities. Situated where the Colorado Plateau meets the Mojave Desert, the park is famous for its cacti-like trees and star-studded, clear night skies. The friendly rangers, who are known to stop by your campfire for a chat, will keep your loneliness at bay and make up for the pit toilets. Almost.

Safety Tips: Remember this is the desert, so it’s unusually cold at night and blazing hot during the day. Plan your activities to avoid the heat and bring an extra jacket for when the sun goes down. Also note that the campground does not supply water, so you’ll need to bring plenty of your own.

4. Tuweep Campground, North Rim

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Remember: Backcountry Permit and Reservations Required

Best for: Experienced Campers and Adventurers

Get off the grid and trek out to one of the most remote campgrounds maintained by the National Park Service. You will need a 4×4 vehicle to make it out and should choose your route wisely. Three different rocky dirt roads lead to Tuweep, but some are impassable during certain seasons due to mud or snow. Every mile will be worth it when you get a glance at the magnificence of Lava Falls, with a 3,000-foot vertical drop to the Colorado River that only a handful of adventurous souls ever get to witness. The campground is consistently populated by fellow weekend warriors who will make you feel right at home.

Safety Tips: Because getting to this campground involves an extensive haul over backcountry roads and has no facilities or water, you’ll want to pack wisely and be fully prepared. Read Grand Canyon National Park’s guidelines thoroughly and pack a spare tire. Out of those who attempt it, 25% of all visitors to Tuweep’s wilderness end up with at least one flat somewhere along their journey.

5. Chisos Basin Campground

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Remember: First Come, First Serve

Best for: Campers with Some Experience

As one of the most popular campgrounds in the park, Chisos Basin sits at 5,400 feet and is the heart of Big Bend. The camp, snuggled in a bowl-shaped valley surrounded by hills, serves as a hub for hikers to head into the nearby mountains. Campers suffering from the hot, humid Texas heat will find relief in Chisos Basin, which has plenty of shade and typically stays cooler than other parts of the park. And if you get tired of hoofing it, the nearby Big Bend Lodge run by the park offers rooms that’ll help you recharge with a little R & R.

Safety Tips: Big Bend National Park straddles Texas and Mexico, so if you plan to visit the other side, be sure to bring your passport. There is a ferry that transports visitors across the border, and there are a few campsites on the Mexican side. However, you can’t bring a vehicle on board, so you’ll be limited to what you can pack and carry.

6. Kirk Creek Campground

Big Sur, Los Padres National Forest, California

Remember: Reservations Recommended

Best for: Campers with Some Experience

It doesn’t get more heavenly than this hippie haven, clustered along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean off Highway 1. The campground is walking distance to the beach below but is situated in an open, grassy knoll. Be prepared for lots of visitors, including whales that frequent the shores and a collection of local wildlife that populates the surrounding Los Padres National Forest. For the solo camper, there are plenty of nearby facilities, including a store and a handful of restaurants if you’re starved for a little luxury.

Safety Tips: There’s no water available at the campground, so bring your own and be sure to stay on the trail. Poison oak runs riot in the area, and the last thing you need is to take an itchy rash home with you. If you’d like to cast a hook in the ocean, note that fishing permits are required.

7. Flood’s Cove Campground

Friendship, Maine

Remember: Reservations Recommended

Best for: Beginning Campers

This is the first campground on our list that isn’t located in a national park or forest, but you won’t mind once you drop anchor on these quaint ocean island campsites. Situated on thirteen-acre Ames Island, the wilderness sites can seem like a secluded oceanfront vacation with amenities. Nearby outhouses will help guests take care of the essentials, and each site has its own kayak access. Tired of roughing it? Small cottages are available for rent so you can have the summer of your life, solo or not.

Safety Tip: First time out on a kayak? No problem. Study up on safety tips from the American Canoe Association below and remember to always strap on your life jacket.

8. 12-Mile Beach Campground

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Remember: First Come, First Serve

Best for: Campers with Some Experience

Situated on a sandy plateau, this campground gets its name from the beach below, which is a long, rocky shoreline that stretches nearly fourteen miles. It’s part of a circular rock cove that’s a haven for stands of white birch and creates a picturesque setting for your quiet vacation at the lake. Lake Superior, the largest (and coldest) of the Great Lakes, offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities like waterfalls, fishing, and maritime historical sites that’ll keep you too busy to notice even a tinge of loneliness.

Safety Tips: Only experienced professionals should be out on the water on Lake Superior. The lake is difficult to navigate, and the weather is unpredictable. Bring a variety of clothing and plan to layer up to avoid getting chilly. 

9. Ash Grove Mountain Campground

Brevard, North Carolina

Remember: Reservations Recommended

Best for: Beginning Campers

Ash Grove Mountain is the second private campground to make our list. It is nestled in fourteen wooded acres in Transylvania County, an area also nicknamed the “Land of Waterfalls.”  With a hot tub, heated bathhouse, and lots of other luxuries, it’s easy to see why Ash Grove is the four-time recipient of Trip Advisor’s Excellence Award and ranked by Fodor’s as a Best Place to Camp. Need to stay in touch while you’re trekking solo? Choose one of the camp’s “techno sites” that offer chargers for your electronics and access to Wi-Fi.

Safety Tips: Where there is shade and water, you’ll find mosquitos—and Brevard is no exception. Bring plenty of insect repellent and plan to wear long sleeves and pants in the evening to keep pests from making you their evening meal.

7 General Safety Tips for Camping Solo

Following these recommendations will make your next solo adventure a safe one.

1. Keep One Toe on the Grid

Tell someone where you’re going and what your contingency plans are in case of emergency, and carry a GPS locator beacon.

2. Get to Know Your Neighbors

Introduce yourself to your campsite neighbors or other people you meet on the trail if you’re backpacking solo.

3. Don’t Keep Food in Your Tent

Bring nonperishable food whenever possible and use bear canisters and bags. If you’re at an established campsite, use the bear boxes there.

4. Practice Fire Safety

Pick an open spot away from tents, cars, and trees. Clear the space by removing trash and debris from the existing pit or enclosing a space with rocks. Stay aware and watch the fire as it grows, building it with kindling rather than flammable liquid. Keep water nearby and put the fire out completely before going to bed.

5. Watch for Wildlife and Pests

Prepare for bears, bugs, snakes, and any other wildlife that might be native to the area. That means stocking up on insect repellent, bear spray, snake bite kits, and other first aid supplies.

6. Set Your Camp Responsibly

Pick a level spot on a durable surface or choose established campsites. Keep a safe distance from bodies of water, consider access to resources, and look at shade and what’s above and around you.

7. Bring the Right Gear

Bring warmer clothes for late-night temps, first aid supplies, water, appropriate shoes, any safety gear for planned activities, extra food and appropriate food storage, and a headlamp.

Know before you go. Review the Safewise Ultimate Camping Safety Guide to make sure your solo excursion is a trip to remember for all the right reasons.

*SafeWise has conducted impartial research to recommend campgrounds. This is not a guarantee. Each individual’s unique needs should be considered when deciding on chosen campgrounds.

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