Our favorite outdoor playgrounds are big, empty, and easy on the eyes. But they can be tough to enjoy when you’re surrounded by other gawkers. To find those out-of-the-way places where you can still bask in the natural majesty on your own or with a few friends, the solution is simple: plan ahead. These seven superstar campsites are all but guaranteed to fill up between now and the start of summer.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Big Sur, California
Reservations for campsites at Big Sur fill up months in advance. You can book a site up to six months ahead of time—so do it now to ensure a spot in August or September. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has more than 1,000 acres of old-growth redwood, access to hundreds of miles of hiking trails, and gorgeous views of the rocky coastline. If you can, score a riverfront site along the Big Sur River. From $35; reserve a site.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Every campground in Grand Canyon gets busy, especially the North Rim Campground, thanks to its stunning views of the canyon and ideal North Rim location. The campground is open from mid-May until mid-October, and its 90 campsites fill up fast. Sites 11, 14, 15, 16, and 18 have the best views and get booked the quickest. You’ll have access to hiking trails and a small general store right from camp. From $18; reserve a site.
Napali Coast State Wilderness Park, Kauai
You’ll need a…