Five Magical Campsites Within 50 Miles of a City

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Five Magical Campsites Within 50 Miles of a City

America's 62 national parks may get all the glory, but nearly three times as many people visit the country's 10,234 state parks each year. In total, they span more than 18 million acres across the US -- or roughly the size of South Carolina.


This summer, with so much of the world effectively grounded and many national parks closed, the state parks are poised for a long-overdue place in the spotlight, offering cooped-up Americans a chance to get out, stretch, and explore. Read on to learn about five dreamy parks that are local and are the cream of the state-park crop. Time to get outside. Here's how to do it right!

Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park

The Boston Harbor Islands National Park unit includes 34 islands situated within the Greater Boston shoreline, where visitors can see a Civil War era fort.


The islands are rich in natural and cultural resources. Imagine a place where you can explore tide pools, climb a lighthouse, hike lush trails and salt marshes, camp under the stars, or relax while fishing, picnicking or swimming, all within reach of downtown Boston.

Lost Dutchman State Park

Lost Dutchman State Park is located on the Apache Trail, State Route 88, north of Apache Junction. Highway 88 crosses the northwest portion of the Park, private land is on the south, and the Tonto National Forest on the north and east. The Park provides views and access to the most scenic portions of the legendary Superstition Mountains and maintains facilities to support the recreational activities.


The famous tales of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine are known throughout the world, with travelers from all over coming to seek the legend and experience the mystery. If not in search of the gold, they become entranced with the golden opportunities to experience the beautiful and rugged area known as the Superstition Wilderness accessible by trails from the Park.

The Vaudeville Urban Farm

Bring your tent to The Vaudeville! This urban farm is smack in the middle of Chicago only a 10 minute bike or train ride from Downtown, Lake Michigan, The Mag Mile and all Chicago has to offer! Bike the Lake Shore Trail, walk the 606, kayak the Chicago River, catch a blues show or Hawks game or just relax with the goats and chickens in the 9,000 square foot farm that you will absolutely love to share with fellow campers!

Panola Mountain State Park

Just 15 minutes from Atlanta is a recreational haven for all ages and interests. Visitors can picnic while children work off energy on the playground. The park offers archery, geocaching, orienteering, birding and tree-climbing programs. A paved trail is open for biking, roller blading, jogging and dog-walking, while forested fitness trails are open for hiking and running. Panola Mountain is a 100-acre granite outcrop similar to Stone Mountain, but smaller and much more pristine. Park visitors will see the outcrop and its rare ecosystem just as Native Americans did centuries ago.


The islands are rich in natural and cultural resources. Imagine a place where you can explore tide pools, climb a lighthouse, hike lush trails and salt marshes, camp under the stars, or relax while fishing, picnicking or swimming, all within reach of downtown Boston.

Angel Island State Park

Find serenity and adventure just a quick jaunt from San Francisco with a night of camping at Angel Island State Park. Begin your Angel Island camping adventure by catching a ferry ride across the San Francisco Bay from Tiburon or Pier 41. Once on the island, be prepared to walk up to two miles to your site, so pack wisely!


Choose from 16 campsites divided into four distinct camping areas (East Bay, Ridge, Sunrise, and Kayak Camp), each with pit toilets and water nearby. From the Ridge sites, enjoy picturesque views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, but expect a bit of wind. Sites in the East Bay section are more protected. Kayak Camp is also group friendly, accommodating groups up to 20, but don’t forget to secure your boat from high tide waters!


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