Camping in Idaho is an experience you’ll never forget. Idaho boasts waterfalls higher than Niagara, hundreds of miles of nearly untouched forests, hot springs, and famous volcanic areas. Idaho doesn’t draw as much tourism as other states like California or Florida, and because of this has a charm all its own.
There are 7 national parks in Idaho, and Idaho is also the 7th least densely populated state in the US. This means Idaho is full of mountains, lakes, forests, and land where you’ll be awed by the wonders of nature, in peace and quiet.
If you’re looking to experience nature free from the influence of thousands of visitors, Idaho is the place to go. From wilderness camping in Sawtooth National Forest to hiking in the Craters of the Moon volcanic preserve, or seeing geysers in Yellowstone National Park, this guide has a campground in Idaho for you.
Because many people come to Idaho to camp in the national forests, we’ve broken this list into four sections. First, you’ll find brief guides to the best camping in Idaho’s major national parks, then the best tent camping in Idaho, best RV camping in Idaho, and best glamping in Idaho.
Find more of the best places to go camping in your state.
Best Tent Camping in Idaho
There’s no experience quite the same as sleeping in a tent in the forest. Idaho has wonderful campgrounds where you can pitch your tent and camp the good old-fashioned way.
If you’re new to tent camping or just getting back into it, check out our guide to buying a tent for camping. You won’t regret a good tent to make your experience camping in Idaho even more enjoyable!
Tent camping doesn’t have to mean roughing it, either. Check out our guide to making any tent camping trip luxurious and make your time camping in Idaho comfortable and memorable.
Swan Falls Dam
The Swam Falls Dam is a recreation area with plenty of activities and first-come, first-served camping. If you’re a bird-lover, you’ll want to camp here. Swan Falls Dam is part of the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area, where you’ll see many bird species including owls and falcons.
The Swan Falls area also offers water activities, mountain biking, and fishing docks. Twenty campsites are available, along with basic amenities including garbage service and restroom facilities.
Lava Hot Springs KOA
Lava Hot Springs campground is not only a comfortable and fun place to stay but has received awards for outstanding service and excellent quality.
The campground is near to the natural hot springs and swimming complex. It’s also close the Portneuf River, where you can enjoy water activities such as tubing. With the endless activity opportunities, Lava Hot Springs is a great place to bring the family camping.
Shower and laundry facilities, a playground, and other amenities are available. Cabins, tent sites, and RV sites can be reserved.
Lava Flow Campground
Lava Flow Campground is located in the Craters of the Moon national preserve. Craters of the Moon is a volcanic preserve filled with breathtaking scenery, lava flows, volcanic rocks, and caves that are thousands of years old. There are many hiking trails, guided tours, and other opportunities for exploration.
While Lava Flow is a campground in Idaho you won’t want to miss, be sure to read the safety instructions to make sure you have an enjoyable stay in the unusual conditions. The campground offers water, restrooms, and grills, but there are no hookups or showers.
Mann Creek Campground
Mann Creek Campground is a small but peaceful campground in western Idaho. It’s along the Mann Lake Reservoir near the Payette National Forest. Thirteen sites are available for tent camping.
The Mann Lake Reservoir is a wonderful place for water activities. It’s popular for boating and fishing. In the Payette National Forest, you’ll find several hiking trails that are a great option for exploration or a day trip.
Lake Cascade State Park
Lake Cascade campground is part of the Idaho state park system. It’s a popular place to fish and hosts the annual Howdy Fishing Derby. Four regular camping areas are available, and two group camping areas can be reserved as well.
There are several day use areas and boat launches. Drinking water is available at all campsites, and showers and electrical hookups are available at some. During your stay, fish in the lake, hike or bike the trails in the park, or go white water rafting on the nearby Payette River.
Best RV Camping in Idaho
RV camping is a wonderful way to have a relaxing vacation and still see all the sights and wonders of Idaho. If you’re new to RV camping, it can still be for you: check out our guides to renting an RV or buying an RV, you can even view current RVs available to rent here.
From waterside campgrounds to quiet RV resorts by national parks, this list has the best RV camping in Idaho.
Snake River RV Park
Snake River RV Park is a riverside campground that’s the perfect landing place to explore everything the area has to offer. Nearby you’ll find the spectacular Yellowstone National Park, Idaho Falls, the Museum of Idaho, Tuathphaus Park Zoo, and Craters of the Moon National Monument.
The campground itself is an enjoyable place to stay, too. There is a pool and hot tub on site, a playground for the kids, and a pet area. Laundry and shower facilities are available. Snake River RV Park offers full-hookup and electric RV sites, tent sites, and cabins.
Village of Trees RV Resort
Village of Trees RV resort is near Snake River and many other Idaho attractions. During your stay, there’s plenty of activities on site and nearby to keep you occupied.
The resort offers a catch and release fishing pond, swimming pool, river activities, and a camp store. Just a short drive away is the Craters of the Moon monument and preserve where you can hike and admire the volcanic landscape.
The resort has full-hookup RV sites, tent sites, and cabins with a view of the river. It also offers a Village Grill food service that delivers to your campsite.
Redrock RV Park
RedRock RV Park is a quiet, scenic RV park located near many national parks, wildlife refuges, and other attractions. The campground is 20 minutes away from Yellowstone National Park and the Redrock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, various theaters, and shopping centers.
The RV sites are full-hookup, and facilities are clean. Redrock RV park is an excellent place to RV camp in Idaho while exploring what the area has to offer.
Ravenwood RV Resort
Ravenwood RV Resort is a new, comfortable RV resort just a mile away from Idaho’s largest theme park, Silverwood. There’s a swimming pool, basketball and volleyball courts, and a fenced dog park.
It’s one of the best RV parks in Idaho to bring the family, dog included. If you’re going on a family camping trip, check out our family camping checklist and make your experience memorable in a good way.
The resort offers complimentary shuttle service to the theme park. Full hook-up sites and water and electric sites are available.
Wagonhammer RV Park
Wagonhammer RV Park is located on the banks of Salmon’s River. The RV park is pet friendly and allows dogs to roam freely on the nature paths and swim in the pond.
While here, you’ll enjoy learning about the local history and culture. The Lewis and Clark museum and trail is just a short drive away, and the Sacajawea Educational Center offers programs to keep the entire family occupied and interested.
Wagonhammer offers full and partial hook-up RV sites, tent sites, and teepees.
Canyon Pines RV Resort
Canyon Pines RV resort is located just a few miles from Little Salmon River, known as Idaho’s whitewater capital. The resort offers clean facilities, some on-site activities, and a wonderful location to explore nearby attractions.
Canyon Pines has 54 RV sites with water and electric hook-ups and a center with restrooms, showers, laundry, and a recreation room.
Best National Forest Camping in Idaho
Many people come to Idaho hoping to see the famous national forests. It’s a wonderful idea, and there’s no better way to see the forests than camping in them. The national forests of Idaho are wonderful places to camp and enjoy nature.
It can be daunting to realize how large the national parks are, and how many options of campgrounds you have. That’s why we’ve located some of the best campgrounds in the most well-known Idaho national forests.
Make sure to check out our National Park & Forest Camping Guides.
Sawtooth National Forest
Sawtooth National Forest is a special place to camp in Idaho. It’s a beautiful place with plenty to do, but it is also a “working/producing” forest that works with other agencies to be self-sustainable and produce goods for people. Sawtooth National Forest is called the best camping in Idaho because there are hundreds of places to camp, hike, fish, ride bikes or horseback, or boat.
Even so, because the forest covers over 3,200 square miles, so it can be daunting to try to plan out a camping trip to the forest. Two particularly popular campgrounds are on opposite sides of the forest and offer a good taste of what the forest has to offer.
Glacier View Campground
The Glacier View Campground is near the famous Redfish Lake and accepts reservations for its tent sites. It’s beneath the Sawtooth Mountain Range and has access to the extensive trail system through the forest. While at Glacier View, you can fish in the nearby creek or lake, canoe or kayak, or hike or ride horseback on the trails.
Elk Creek Campground
Elk Creek Campground is at the foot of the Sawtooth Mountains near its namesake Elk Creek. It’s a small but pretty site with three tent sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Elk Creek is an excellent place to camp if you like birdwatching and seeing wildlife, or want to hike the trails and have a quiet place to return at night.
Otherwise, the USDA Forest Service has listed the districts of the forest and campgrounds in each, so learn what’s special about each area of the forest to find a campsite in an area that meets your needs, from near-wilderness to more developed sites.
At any of the sites, there are many nature activities to keep you occupied, from hiking to birdwatching, rock collecting, and water activities. You’ll have a special, memorable experience experiencing nature in Sawtooth National Forest.
Boise National Forest
Boise National forest has over 500 trails and 250 lakes. If you enjoy canoeing or kayaking, Boise National Forest is a great place for you to camp in Idaho. If you want to try canoe or kayak camping in Idaho this is the spot.
The North Fork Payette River and Middle Fork Salmon River are both over one hundred miles long and will delight those who kayak and canoe. Prepare for an enjoyable trip by checking out our guide to canoe and kayak camping.
South Fork Salmon River Campground
South Fork Salmon River Campground is near the Middle Fork Salmon River as well as several lakes and creeks. It’s an excellent place to camp and kayak, canoe, or fish.
Here you’ll find eleven campsites shaded by ponderosa pines with plenty of nearby wildlife and recreational opportunities. The sites are first-come, first served.
Kirkham Campground is one of the best campsites in Boise National Forest for several reasons. It’s a beautiful site and well-maintained site, near all sorts of activities, and is most famously home to the Kirkham Hot Springs.
The hot springs have several soaking pools and waterfalls, and a river runs nearby. Kirkham campground is also famous for its scenic Kirkham Ridge Trail, which is 35 miles long and open to hiking, horseback riding, and biking.
This campground has several accessible family sites. All sites are non-electric. Drinking water is available and there is a small café nearby. Reservations are necessary as this popular campground fills up quickly.
Boise National Forest has a campground for every sort of camper, whether you enjoy solitude in the wilderness or prefer to be nearer to a town. If you want to go the wilderness route, check out our tips for staying safe in the wilderness. It will be worth it to get the most out of your experience camping in Idaho’s Boise National Forest.
Payette National Forest
Payette National Forest has a wide range of recreational activities all year round. It has extensive backcountry trails where you’ll find complete solitude, as well as canyons, rivers, lakes, trails, and mountains.
If you’re planning a longer stay at Payette National Forest, you may have considered what kind of food you’re going to bring. Check out our camping recipes or make ahead camping meals so that you can keep focused on having a fun,k relaxing camping trip.
Payette is a vast forest, and you’ll find it has campgrounds for anyone who visits. Horse camps, RV camps, group camps, more or less developed… all sorts of campgrounds are detailed on the USDA Forest Service site. However, two campgrounds are particularly popular with those camping in Payette National Forest.
Ponderosa Campground is popular for its beautiful view of the Secesh River and access to the river and trails. Fishing is excellent, and the site is reported to be clean and quiet. There are ten campsites available on a first-come first-served basis.
Upper Payette Lake Campground
Upper Payette Lake Campground is the most popular of all campgrounds in Payette National Forest. You’ll want to plan ahead and make reservations before the site fills up in the peak summer months.
Although it is popular, it’s still a wonderful nature getaway. The campground is near the Upper Payette Lake, which has a boat ramp and is popular for fishing and other water activities. There are paved trails along the lake, and the site is a good base for exploring other parts of the forest.
Payette National Forest is an excellent place to camp in Idaho and explore the forested, mountainous regions of the state. You’ll enjoy everything the forest has to offer at the campgrounds here.
Caribou-Targhee National Forest
Caribou-Targhee National Forest is another of Idaho’s extensive wildernesses filled with nature, wildlife, and activities. This forest stretches over 3 million acres to the Montana, Utah, and Wyoming borders. It’s filled with majestic mountains, big and small animals, birds, horseback riding and hiking trails, and water activities.
The forest has 52 designated tent campgrounds. When choosing where to stay, you can always visit the USDA Forest Service site to find out what’s special about each site and determine which site meets your needs. There are two popular campgrounds on opposite sides of the forest that are excellent places to stay.
Alpine North Loop Campground
The Alpine North Loop Campground is 2 miles from the town of Alpine, and near the Palisades Reservoir. During the summer, wildflowers grow in the campground. Three rivers merge nearby making an excellent spot to fish or watch for birds and animals. The nearby Palisades Creek Trail is an excellent place to hike, bike, and ride horseback. Tent sites are available.
Big Springs Campground
Big Springs Campground is popular for its excellent fishing and breathtaking scenery. The forests are dense and full of pines, wildflowers are abundant, and varieties of large and small wildlife may be spotted. Big Spring is one of the largest springs in the country, and the Big Springs National Recreation Water Trail can be accessed from the campground and cuts through beautiful scenery where wildlife is often spotted. Many trails are in the area. There are 15 campsites available on a first-come first-served basis.
No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll find that Caribou-Targhee National Forest is one of the best places to camp in Idaho with its breathtaking scenery and recreation opportunities.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park has been called one of the wonders of the United States. It’s definitely a must-see for anyone camping in Idaho. Yellowstone may be best known for its geothermal activity, including the famous Old Faithful geyser, but it’s also filled with an array of wildlife and stunning landscapes.
The park is over 3,400 square miles and spreads over parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. It may seem daunting to find a place to camp in a park so large, but don’t worry! Our complete guide to camping in Yellowstone National Park has everything you need to know for an enjoyable camping adventure in this natural wonder of the world.
Idaho Panhandle National Forest
Idaho Panhandle National Forest boasts over half of the entire state’s surface water. As you may imagine, it’s filled with creeks, rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. Many varieties of wildlife fill its evergreen forests, and historic sites and interpretive centers let you learn about the historic, majestic place you’re camping.
Beaver Creek Campground
Beaver Creek Campground has beautiful views of the mountains across Priest Lake. It’s one of the best campgrounds in Idaho Panhandle National Forest because of its beautiful location, an easily accessible beach, and scenic trails for riding and hiking.
Trout fishing is excellent in Beaver Creek and Priest Lake, and a boat ramp is available at the campground. In the winter, Beaver Creek is an excellent place to stay while skiing in the Kanisku Forest on the other side of the lake. Drinking water and toilets are available. Beaver Creek offers standard non-electric sites and tent-only sites.
Sam Owen Campground
Sam Owen Campground is notable because it is on a sandy peninsula of Lake Pend Oreille, which it shares with the Sam Owen Game Preserve.
While you camp here, you can swim, sunbathe, hike, and watch for wildlife making its home in the game preserve. Reservations can be made for the tent and RV sites.
Idaho Panhandle is a historic forest with culture, charm, and views just as marvelous as any of the other forests. Camping in Idaho Panhandle National Forest is an enriching experience for anyone.
Best Glamping in Idaho
Glamping is the glamorous sibling of traditional camping. It can mean anything from updating your tent experience to renting a comfortable cabin for a few days.
It’s a comfortable way to explore nature and is an excellent option for families or people who prefer a roof over their heads to roughing it in the wilderness.
Whatever kind of luxurious camping you’re looking for, here’s some of the best glamping in Idaho.
Make sure to check out 35 Items To Turn Camping Into Glamping.
Camp Coeur D’Alene
Camp Coeur d’Alene is revered as one of the best campgrounds in Idaho to explore nature in comfort. It’s considered by many to be one of Idaho’s destination campgrounds. It has water access to Lake Coeur d’Alene and is near the mountains. All sorts of wildlife frequent the area, including bald eagles and other birds.
The campground offers hiking, canoeing, swimming, and many other activities. The 73 mile-long Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is a scenic place to bike and hike, following an original rail line that was built during a gold rush in the late 19th century. Nearby are many recreation areas, wildlife refuges, hiking trails, and viewing areas.
All sorts of amenities are available including laundry facilities, hot showers, and a pet station. Camp Coeur d’Alene offers full and partial hook-up RV sites, tent spaces, and luxurious modern cabins.
Heyburn State Park
Heyburn State Park is reported to be the oldest park in the Pacific Northwest. Not only does this park have historical heritage, it’s also a fun and comfortable place to camp.
While you’re at Heyburn, you can enjoy hiking and biking, water activities, and boating, and kids will enjoy the playground. Nearby you’ll find the Hiawatha Trail bike path, the historic Coeur d’Alenes Trail, and other fun activities.
At Heyburn State Park there are various camping options to suit your needs. You can either camp in a tent or RV or rent two different types of cottages.
The first has two bedrooms, a furnished kitchen, and eating areas, while the second has one bedroom, outdoor eating areas, and is near the Trail Coeur d’Alenes. If you’re planning a longer stay, consider getting a good cooler to keep food fresh during your trip.
Teton Valley Resort
Teton Valley Resort is the place for a luxurious camping getaway. Reserve cabins, tipis, and glamping tents, or make your tent camping experience just as relaxing. Full hook up RV sites are also available.
If you come during the winter, you’ll have the opportunity to ski in the Teton Mountains, go dog sledding, or take a ride in a horse sleigh. You can make the Teton Valley Resort your base as you explore the Yellowstone National Park or Grand Teton National Park as well.
Wolf Lodge Campground
Wolf Lodge Campground is a comfortable, friendly campground with four different rustic cabins. The campground offers creek access to Lake Coeur d’Alene and kayak and canoe rentals. The grounds also have various activities including a playground, horseshoes, dog park, and geo-caching sites.
Wolf Lodge has tent sites, RV sites, and four unique cabins with different accessibility and amenities.
Eagle Ridge Ranch
Eagle Ridge Ranch is a destination vacation spot at the base of the Centennial Mountains. The ranch has breathtaking views and activities to keep everyone occupied. It’s near Yellowstone National Park, so you could plan some time to visit the historic park while enjoying the quiet of the ranch.
Eagle Ridge Ranch offers guided horse trip packages, fishing trips to one of the top trout fisheries in the U. S., and other activities. There are family cabins, cottages, and little cabins available for rental. All three types offer a relaxing glamping experience and great location to explore the surrounding areas of Idaho.
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Thursday 25th of August 2022
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Thursday 26th of March 2020
Idaho is full of camping no matter how you choose to do it. In and around lava hot springs are severl different areas. Salmon Idaho has several different areas as well. Check out Mackay and Stanley and challis as well. All areas have a little something different to offer some are free to stay at but most charge. With that said cost usually isn't bad. If you never been to yellow pine it's a trip well worth taking and theres several areas in the area to camp. Almost anywhere you go in Idaho you can do some sort of camping. I love living in the area and getting out and exsploring it! We always try to go somewhere new every year but I always seem to gravitate back towards the areas surrounding salmon, challis, and Stanley. No matter what you enjoy doing the areas haveyou covered.