The Best Bucket List Camping Destinations For 2024, According To Hikers

There is no simpler magic than the kind found in nature. You never really need to go far to find it, but for those who grew up camping in their backyard, the travel bug likely hit early. Far-off places that look up at that same night sky could become more than just a childhood fantasy. There are amazing camping opportunities across the globe, from high mountain peaks and deep canyons to volcanoes and waterfalls. Hikers and backpackers who have explored all over the world have spoken, and we listened to compile a list of their favorite hiking spots that make magnificent campsites.

Sometimes, the more jaw-dropping the destination, the riskier it can be, so follow safe camping practices, like bringing someone with you and letting people know where you are. There is no view worth your well-being, and even experienced hikers and campers should take care when exploring new spots. Take care of yourself, and there is plenty of magic waiting to be discovered under the stars. Follow avid hikers' lead and add these epic camping destinations to your travel bucket list.

Patagonia, South America

Chile and Argentina's Patagonia region is home to nine impressive national parks — that's a whole lot of nature, and it's incredibly diverse. Rocky mountain peaks, colorful flowing rivers, and massive glaciers can be found throughout Patagonia, creating some interesting hiking opportunities and gorgeous camping spots. Wild camping is generally encouraged in most areas of Patagonia, but you'll find ample opportunities to set up at a campsite.

The hardest part about exploring and finding a place to lay your head here is narrowing down a location. Patagonia is huge, and even if you're spending a month traversing its backcountry, you'll likely feel a bit of FOMO. It's a good idea to hit some of the more well-known and celebrated sites as well as some underrated beauties when making your itinerary.

Torres Del Paine is one of the most popular destinations for hikers and campers within Patagonia, with amazing views of the snow-capped mountains. If you make it to Southern Chile, Osorno is a not-so-hidden gem that gets surprisingly little traffic. The views of waterfalls and the active glacier-coated volcano are certainly worth writing home about. No matter where you pitch your tent in Patagonia, take care to keep warm, as the scenery here is accompanied by significant wind chill.

Glacier National Park, Canada

Montana's Glacier National Park gets a lot of hype, but the Canadian park of the same name also deserves some serious credit. Located near the border between Alberta and British Columbia, Glacier National Park is a gorgeous collection of Rocky Mountain ridges and deep-running valleys. Camping here will take just a bit of planning, as some sites require reservations; some areas do not allow random camping, and winter camping is limited. Taking a little time to plan your journey and camping areas is well worth it, though, because spending the night under Glacier National Park's sky is glorious.

According to explorers on Reddit, hikers searching for a clear view of the night sky should camp out on the Hermit Trail. The trail is strenuous and puts you at a high elevation, which, when matched with no light pollution, makes for some killer views of the stars above. You likely will not be able to access the Hermit Trail until the winter snow melts, so experienced winter campers should head to the backcountry, where the park has unrestricted winter access. Note that avalanches occur throughout the park, and you must be thoroughly prepared and trained if taking a trip here in the winter months.


With about a third of the country still very much wild (according to a 2011 article in Tourism Geographies), Iceland is a hiker's haven, and the views are extra special when you stay overnight. The ever-changing landscape you see during the day pairs well with a night sky that dances with the northern lights. Wild camping, or pitching a tent wherever you see fit, is not allowed in Iceland (as per Visit Iceland), but the country has plenty of designated camping spots where adventurers can set up and enjoy the view.

Head to the Highlands, where open skies meet cascading waterfalls, for some pretty epic hiking and backpacking. Campsites near Glymur Falls and Thórsmõrk Valley offer dramatic landscapes so comforting that you'll wonder why anyone would prefer a hotel room. If glaciers are more your speed, Iceland has some beauties. The Skaftafell campground puts you close to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon for some icy walks.

The most popular time to camp in Iceland is the summer months of June, July, and August. This season gives you long daylight hours to enjoy the scenery and feel-good weather. However, if your goal is to camp your way through Iceland under the aurora borealis, then you'll want to plan your trip sometime between September and April. The two may be tradeoffs, but once you see Iceland, you may be inclined to plan a return trip.

Grand Canyon National Park, United States

According to the official Grand Canyon website, millions of travelers visit the iconic landmark every year, but less than 1% of visitors (as per the National Parks Foundation) actually head into the canyon itself. This means that while a massive amount of people do get to see the awe-inspiring view from the rims, few truly get to experience what a beauty the canyon really is. Avid hikers take to the challenge and even backpack from rim to rim, camping in the depths of the great hole-in-the-ground.

Most of the campgrounds in Grand Canyon National Park are located on the rims, but there are three located within the canyon that allow two consecutive night stays each. In order to use the campgrounds or backcountry camp, you need to obtain a backcountry permit. For campers wanting a break from tent life, Phantom Ranch, located within the canyon, has cabins available that need to be reserved 15 months in advance.

The Grand Canyon is a popular hiking and camping spot worthy of any nature lover's bucket list. For this reason, not everyone who applies actually gets a backcountry permit when they want it. Beware of pushing forward with a camping trip without a permit; rangers will ask for one, and you'll have to leave the park (easier said than done) if you're caught.


Known for its greenery and awe-inspiring cliffs, Scotland is a gem held dear to nature lovers. Scotland openly shares its natural marvels with the world, having a code of access for most of its land and waters, as long as those accessing take care and treat the area with honor and care. This is great news for hikers and campers, as they have near free rein of the country's beauty.

There are campsites throughout the lush and rocky country, but wild camping is another way to see some of the spectacular sights that may be rarely trekked. Hikers rave about the Scottish Cairngorms, and one Reddit user stated, "I've backpacked in the American Rockies, Sierras, and the Smokies. The Cairngorms is among the most dramatic and beautiful places I've ever been." The diversity of the landscapes appeals to nature lovers, as the Cairngorms contain rolling mounts, lush valleys, ancient glaciers, lochs, and fjords.

As epic as the Scottish Highlands are, areas outside the region are just as magical. The Isle of Skye is a popular hiking and camping destination, with the Old Man of Storr loop making for an interesting stop on your tour of the island. Those who wish to take a dip in enchanted waters should pitch their tent around the isle's Fairy Pools.

Blue Ridge Mountains, United States

Once you visit the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and Virginia, you'll know where it gets its name. All shades of blue can be found in the mountain range as it touches the sky. Hikers on Reddit consistently name areas in these mountains as their favorite section of the Appalachian Trail. From the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, there are miles of rolling ridges to explore.

The Blue Ridge Mountains might be part of one of the best thru-hikes in America, but campers set on the mountains don't have to participate in the actual hiking part. The Blue Ridge Parkway allows nature lovers to see a huge chunk of the mountains as they drive through the treetops. There are 11 established campgrounds (eight developed, three backcountry) along the parkway, and wild camping is not allowed.

Campgrounds are not open during the winter months, but this is no worry. The other seasons are when you should visit because the mountains transform into gorgeous layers of color. Spring and summer see those titular shades of blue, and fall brings rolling hills of fall foliage that is tough to beat.


Camping isn't all tents and sleeping bags, and Mexico's camping culture is a delightful reflection of this. Free camping isn't recommended in El Águila Real, as you may accidentally camp on private property. Cabin camping, however, can be a nice change of pace for traditional campers while exploring the beaches, mountains, and valleys of Mexico. When you can find solid primitive camping spots, they are absolutely magical.

Believe it or not, you can try camping on a volcano if you feel extra spicy! Popocatépetl is an active volcano, and while you can partially hike the big hunk of rock, volcanic activity keeps the higher areas restricted from visitors. Izta-Popo National Park's Iztaccíhuatl volcano is a steep climb that is more manageable when split up with a night of camping.

Mexico is a large country and, just as with any other destination, some areas are safer than others. Take care when choosing where you will lay your head at night. Yucatán and Baja are both some of the safest regions for camping, but research where you are going and follow typical safety measures when camping. Knowing which areas of Mexico are most dangerous is responsible behavior when traveling to the country.

Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru

Hikers looking for a scenic place to pitch a tent — this one's for you. Many avid hikers all but worship trails that take months on end to complete, but Peru's Cordillera Huayhuash should take hikers anywhere from a week to two weeks to complete. The trek is a circuit, and every night serves up a different gorgeous view from your tent, as hikers pass many lakes and peaks and do not need to double back to finish the hike. Wild camping is ideal here, and stunning spots are everywhere.

Though both are within the Andes mountain range, the Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit is hundreds of miles from the iconic Incan citadel Machu Picchu. This means you will not feast your eyes on any architectural wonders on this hike, but the awe factor is still present as you camp amongst some of the most impressive mountains in the world. One Reddit user calls the trek one of their all-time favorites, saying, "It was definitely one of my favorite hikes ever. Just stunning views and super remote and peaceful." Other users claim the circuit as a to-do item on their bucket list.

Pool of Memories, Australia

Besides being known for deadly animals, Australia is famous for its gorgeous and diverse terrains and landscapes. Tropical forests, desert tundras, coastal paradises, and snow-capped mountains — take your pick, as they can all be found on this vast continent. One spot in particular calls to hikers and campers alike, though it isn't yet incredibly well known. Referred to as Australia's best-kept secret by one Reddit user, the Pool of Memories in Tasmania is mesmerizing.

The Pool of Memories is located in an area known as the Labyrinth, which in turn is in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park. You will need a park pass to enter, and the area has cabins and campsites. You need to be conscious of how you care for the nature here. There is a diverse range of flora and fauna found in Tasmania, some of which are only found on the Apple Isle. Respect the area and the life that is thriving here.

New Zealand

Australia's neighbor across the Tasman Sea is just as gorgeous, especially if you are trekking into the wilderness. New Zealand is as close to Middle Earth as you're going to get, and there are a plethora of camping spots that are worthy of a high fantasy. When it comes to camping in New Zealand, you have a slew of options, whether you prefer to be in a camper, cabin, or just a plain ol' tent.

Much like Scotland, New Zealand has an open access policy regarding outdoorsy types enjoying the nation's awe-inspiring nature. As long as you respect the land and sea, you are free to unroll your bedroll almost wherever you please — New Zealanders call this Freedom Camping. The Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk is a great place to start, as you'll see some fantastic rainforests and waterfalls as you traverse the land surrounding the lake. Alternatively, Cape Brett Track comes highly recommended by Reddit users. It takes you along the coast on cliffs for a dramatic hike and amazing views of the Bay of Islands.

South Africa

South Africa probably isn't the first place you associate camping with. After all, no one wants to wake up to a lion prowling around their tent. However, the wildlife of South Africa is serene and majestic, one of the best parts of overnighting it in this part of the world. With that being said, wild camping is pretty much a resounding "no," but sticking to the designated campgrounds still makes for a pretty amazing time.

The Otter Trail is one of the most beloved in South Africa, a lengthy walk of utmost beauty. There are four overnight stops along the way for campers, and the coastal views will greet you as you hit the road in the mornings. There are so many campsites throughout South Africa that one Reddit user suggests renting a car for a road trip surrounding some of the cooler campgrounds.

Keep an eye out for wildlife as you trek through the gorgeous coastlines and lush lands of South America. Monkeys and other creatures are known for stealing food from travelers. While a little food is a fair trade-off for the experience, you'll need your nourishment for traversing the country. Find a balance, and you'll have a brilliant time.


Backpacking through Thailand is as much of a journey through culture as it is throughout nature, and there's plenty of both to reflect on as you set up your tent. Unsurprisingly for such a popular bucket list vacation destination, Thailand has over 100 national parks and protected nature areas. Spending time in numerous areas is a great way to see the diversity of Thailand's nature, but visitors really are spoiled for choice; let's narrow it down a little.

As far as campgrounds go, Khao Sok National Park has some tremendous options. There are the typical huts that can be found in campgrounds throughout the country, sure, but you can also stay in a floating bungalow. The park is a favorite of hikers, with many Reddit users declaring it the top choice. Another option is camping out on the coast. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park has gorgeous beaches, and you can camp directly on the beach in certain areas. Both Laem Sala Beach and Sam Phraya Beach allow overnight stays on their sandy shores.


Arguably, there's no one better to ask about amazing camping spots than backpackers and avid hikers, because camping is typically a part of why they love getting out in nature for extended periods. Some treks take days, weeks, or months, and the days spent in a tent really add up. We took to Reddit, specifically the Camping and Hiking subreddit, to sift through some of these hikers' favorite hiking and camping destinations.

A combination of beauty and natural diversity were deciding factors in what made this bucket list compilation, but hikers also tended to recommend destinations that challenged them physically. As such, you'll notice a lot of these chosen destinations have trails and treks that are hard or even expert-level. Of course, most destinations will have lower-level access points, and some do not require hiking at all. The one thing all have in common is they boast awe-inspiring views, perfect for that morning coffee.