8 Best National Forests for Summer RV Travel

Wondering where to travel on your next RV expedition? We know just the place for you! Whether you hike, fish, bike, or simply enjoy nature, a national forest is the perfect summer destination! With over 150 different areas across the US, there is sure to be a forest for you!

Siuslaw National Forest

At Siuslaw National Forest, located in Oregon, you can enjoy everything from the forest to the beach. The forest is best know for the sand dunes that line the coast that can be explored on foot or by OHV. Access to some of the best beaches on the Pacific Coast is found just beyond the dunes. Sea glass, sand dollars, and so much more can be discovered in the coves and tide pools scattered along the beaches. Hunting, fishing and hiking are all among the many activities available here. With plenty of areas to park your RV both near the beach and in the forest, you are guaranteed to find a campground that you love. While the campsites do not have dump stations, a few do have electrical hookups. To view the full list of campgrounds and amenities provided at each, you can visit their website.

Nantahala National Forest

While in Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina, visitors can enjoy a more scenic stay. As a system of mountains, valleys, and gorges, there is always a new sight to discover! However, there are still plenty of activities for the more adventurous. The forest has destinations to go whitewater rafting, mountain biking, off-roading, hunting and horse-back riding. North Carolina requires a proper permit for hunters and allows hunting on public game lands. Rentals and both daily and yearly permits are available at three shooting ranges throughout the forest. In addition to the typical water activities provided at national forest, Nantahala also provides areas for non motorized boating and swimming. Many of the campgrounds and day use areas also have great group picnic sites that are open for anyone to use.

Chequamegon – Nicolet National Forest

If you love to explore, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin is the place for you! With over 1.5 million acres of land, the opportunities for adventure here are endless. There are trails for hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and ATVs. Containing five different wildernesses in three districts, this forest is a great place to see new wildlife. Water Activities are always perfect for summer and with various bodies of water, this forest provides access to boating (both motorized and non-motorized), swimming, and water skiing through different campgrounds. With old, abandoned structures and information on early Indians’ use of quartz  on the Quarts Hill Trail, this is also a great site for any history buffs!

Custer Gallatin National Forest

If you love to fish, Custer Gallatin National Forest is said to be one of the best locations for fishing! Located in south central Montana and stretching more than 3 million acres into South Dakota, the forest has a mixture of rivers, streams, mountain lakes and reservoirs. Because of the vast variety of waterways here, there is a large assortment of fish species. This forest is also a great choice for anyone looking to hike and bike! Their website offers a full list of both the day hike and backpacking trails which include scenic and mountain views. The biking trails are also listed, with trails for both beginners and experienced riders. Climbing access is provided through the Chesnut Trailhead at the base of Chesnut Mountain.

Eldorado National Forest

History in nature is always a great thing to experience! At Eldorado National Forest in California, visitors can learn about the unique history of gold mining and even try gold panning themselves. An hour outside of Sacramento, this forest provides a great escape to anyone looking for a break from city life. There are trails through the forest, around lakes, and on mountains. If you love the water, this is also a great place for boating and windsurfing. The many lakes, rivers, and ponds make this a great destination for those who love fishing as well. Eldorado is a perfect place for families and groups with various picnicking areas at many of the campgrounds.

Coconino National Forest

Many people don’t think “forest” when they think of Arizona. However, with one of the most diverse landscapes, Coconino National Forest in Arizona contains scenery ranging from forests and mountains to canyons and and red rock. If you love history and archaeology or trails and rivers, this is a perfect destination for you. Coconino houses both the Elden Pueblo Archaeological site and Fossil Creek. Elden Pueblo was believed to be one of the major trading cities of the Sinagua in ancient American times. At the site, they offer Public Archaeology Days, where you can participate in artifact excavation, washing and classifying, as well as trying out ancient hunting weapons. Fossil Creek is a river in the park that appears to flow out of nowhere at 20,000 gallons a minute. The river is known for the travertine that creates its unique appearance. It is a great place to go to enjoy the view, take some pictures and observe the wildlife.

White River National Forest

If you love photography and wildlife, White River National Forest is the perfect place to visit this summer! Most known for the wildflowers, this Colorado national forest is the ideal destination for anyone looking to enjoy nature during the summer. The forest is home of the Wildflower Festival, taking place this year July 7-16, and provides guided hikes through the fields. Containing eight wilderness areas, White River offers an array of outdoor activities including hiking, climbing, photography, and biking. This forest is also known for the abandoned, historic Crystal Mill. It is a great area for photography due to the many rives, waterfalls, mountains, and trees.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

If you are adventurous, we suggest parking your RV at Gifford Pinchot National Forest. This forest is home to a landscape unlike most which includes a vast system of caves and caverns. Ape Cave provides a 2.5 mile lava tube that is open for exploration year round. Gifford Pinchot is also home to the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Visitors can hike the surrounding trails that were in the blast zone or stay at the observatory and enjoy numerous educational activities on the story of Mount St. Helens. If you are an ambitious and experienced climber, you will enjoy the Monitor Ridge Climbing Route that leads to the summit of Mount St. Helens. There are also plenty of waterfalls along the trails where you can cool off after a long hike.

No matter what kind of adventure you are looking to go on this summer, there is a national forest RV campground waiting for you!

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