Aerial view of a packed campground next to a dirty river.

The Most Un-Scenic Camping Destinations in America

Sometimes, camping destinations are less about the view and more about what the area offers overall. We may camp in locations because we have other tasks in that area and not because it offers impressive scenery.

For instance, locals looking to spend the weekend around a campfire aren’t as concerned about their campground being scenic.

Today, we discuss some of the least scenic camping destinations in America and what makes them “un-scenic.” Let’s have a look!

Aerial view of a packed campground next to a dirty river.

With the invention of social media, it may seem that camping is an up-and-coming hobby. The reality is that camping has been a popular activity for a long time.

Camping is in demand worldwide, but there is no denying that it’s exceptionally trendy in America. With the fast-paced life that many Americans accustom themselves to, the need to get away from it all feels like paradise to many. 

Camping means different things to everyone. Some prefer a rustic approach, where they can kick back and enjoy a simple weekend without digital distractions and the conveniences of modern life. This typically involves tent camping with little to no access to electricity. It allows them to get out in nature and take a break. 

On the other hand, some like taking all the comforts of home with a “glamping” approach. These people also desire to get away from their everyday life but want to be extra comfortable. Of course, there is plenty of middle ground. 

Fancy yourself a glamper? Then you need to check out Autocamp.

What makes a Camping Destination Un-Scenic? 

We all know of spectacular camping spots that overlook snow-capped mountains, jagged coastlines, rolling hills, and steep cliffsides. These destinations stand out on Instagram and are frequently the backdrop to photos shared with family, friends, and the world. 

While these are the images we generally see on social media, it isn’t the only place people camp. There are many camping spots that some consider un-scenic.

These locations have little to view. They tend to be flat areas with no elevation changes or dominant features. 

The Most Un-Scenic Camping Destinations in America

A camping destination being un-scenic doesn’t mean it isn’t worth visiting; it means you aren’t there for the views. Let’s look at a few of the most un-scenic camping destinations.

Las Vegas, Nev.

You might be a bit confused that Las Vegas makes this list. We know what you’re thinking, “Las Vegas?! There’s much to see here!”

Sure, there are bright lights, rows of shops, and blocks of entertainment options, but it significantly lacks natural views. With such a vast urban area and seemingly endless crowds, you aren’t likely to get unobstructed views of this beautiful state. 

The Las Vegas Strip on a hot day with traffic and tall buildings.

Elkhart, Ind.

Those who own an RV likely know of Elkhart, Indiana. It is very likely that if you own an RV, the manufacturers built it in or around Elkhart.

Because of the town’s ties to the camping community, it has become a destination for RVers. Unfortunately, Elkhart is in a stereotypical midwestern landscape, with miles of farms and little else. You won’t find much variation as you look around. 

Bakersfield, Calif.

Bakersfield, California, is another camping destination with a fantastic landscape surrounding Bakersfield, but nothing worth writing home about further in the city. When camping in or close to Bakersfield, you aren’t likely to view the surrounding mountains due to the sprawling buildings and crowds. You’ll have to remove yourself far from the city to get any natural views. 

Birmingham, Ala.

While Birmingham may be the second-largest city in Alabama, its scenery is rather disappointing. With the lowest elevation at 275 feet above sea level and the highest point at 643 feet, don’t expect many elevation changes.

There are hills and valleys, but that’s about it. While the city may be diverse, its landscapes can be bland.

Orlando, Fla.

Orlando, Florida, is a famous tourist location. You have Disney, Universal, Sea World, and an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and shopping. What you don’t have is much like a scenic landscape.

With so much of the area in development to make room for more attractions, few natural spaces remain. Instead, many campgrounds and tourist areas have a prefabricated nature theme instead of actual scenery. 

Aerial view of a jam packed campground with zero landscaping between campsites.

Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa, has miles of flat, unchanging landscape. One thing that makes an area scenic is variety, something the Iowa scene lacks.

While endless farmland can be scenic in its way, it quickly becomes mundane and repetitive. Even if you could see beyond the city while camping in Des Moines, there wouldn’t be anything to see in the distance. 

Des Moines river through fields and low-lying land.

Champaign, Ill.

Champaign, Illinois, is the home to the University of Illinois; what visitors don’t know it for is its diverse scenery. You have a populous college town in the middle of corn fields and interstate roads.

Locals enjoy camping here, but those looking for a scenic getaway will be somewhat unsatisfied. This area is another example of how lack of variety creates an un-scenic camping destination. 

It’s no wonder that none of the places on the un-scenic list are in-demand camping destinations. So what is the most popular camping destination? There are many, but one of the most famous camping destinations surrounds Acadia National Park in Maine. 

It’s not hard to imagine why campers love this destination. The mountain views are beautiful and rustic, and glamping-style sites are available.

Hiking in Acadia National Park is fantastic, with opportunities for excellent views and wildlife sightings. Campers can spend one-day hiking and then comb one of the rocky beaches in the park. 

Aerial view of Bar Harbor, Maine, where camping is in high demand surrounding Acadia National Park.

Would You Camp in an Un-Scenic Destination? 

Are you someone who chooses a destination because of the scenery, or is the view less important than amenities and things to do? Sometimes your travels will take you to some destinations with less than exciting scenery. However, you can still have a wonderful time with the right attitude.

Are you likely to dismiss a camping area due to the lack of scenery, or are you willing to camp in an un-scenic area?

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