Back when Henry David Thoreau famously called man’s periodic return to the “wildness” of nature his crucial “tonic,” we can safely assume that air-conditioned tents, Egyptian linens, and 64-inch plasma TVs weren’t part of the deal. In other words, let’s leave last year’s “glamping” craze—pricey “glamorous camping”—where it belongs: last year. Camping should be simple, and a raft of studies have shown that slumbering outdoors is indeed something of a tonic: Away from artificial light, you not only catch up on sleep but also reset your biological clock. With assistance from Boulder, CO–based camping expert Doug Schnitzspahn and hardcore outdoorsman Dusty Allison of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, we’ve located three easy-access camping spots across the U.S. that will provide you with miles of solitude and lots to do. And because we’re all guilty of fantasizing about greasy food and cold beer while roughing it, we’ve taken the liberty of providing the best après-trip comfort-food stops for after you’ve broken down your tent.
Where you need to hit to get your outdoor-adrenaline fix.