A woman tends to a campfire

East Coast Versus West Coast: Who Has the Best Camping

Many topics add up for the East Coast versus West Coast debate, such as Disneyland or Disney World, sunsets or sunrises, and Hollywood or The Big Apple. People can get pretty passionate about what they think is the best.

So, we thought we’d have a little fun and look at which coast has the best camping. Let’s get into it.

A woman tends to a campfire

The US Offers Two Coasts Worth of Incredible Camping

Before we anger 50% of you by declaring your favorite coast as inferior, we’ll admit that both have incredible spots to camp. They both have unique environments worth exploring. 

You can make a lifetime of memories with your loved ones and learn about the diversity of landscapes, history, and people who make this region their home. If you live on a specific coast, it’s worth considering a trip to the other side to experience what it offers.

East Coast Versus West Coast Camping

To help us decide on a winner, we’ll look at a handful of camping categories. This allows us to take a more holistic view of each side’s camping experiences. Let’s get started!

Scenery

East Coast: The East Coast has some beautiful landscapes, primarily forests and grasslands. You can see vibrant fall colors and rocky coastlines in the north.

In the south, you can experience white sandy beaches and tropical views. Due to the population size, many of these natural sights have turned into concrete jungles. 

West Coast: The vast and open West Coast has diverse landscapes. You’ll find deserts, forests, and mountains. You can enjoy giant sycamores or giant saguaros.

Take a trip to the pacific northwest for majestic volcanoes or breathtaking sunsets on the water with islands in the back. Whether you enjoy hiking or photography, the scenery here makes it easy to enjoy both. 


And The Winner For Best Scenery Goes To:
🥇 West Coast

Due to the rugged terrain and massive differences in elevation, the West Coast takes the scenery category. While visiting the East Coast in the fall can be a fantastic sight, it can’t compare to the diversity of the West. The mountains provide breathtaking, year-round views.

Weather

East Coast: The East Coast has one of the shortest camping seasons. The long and harsh winters in the northeast limit prime camping season to a few months. The southeast gets unbearably hot and humid for most of the year, restricting camping primarily to the winter months.

West Coast: Humidity is practically non-existent on the West Coast, especially in the south. While the summers at lower elevations have brutal temperatures, they drop substantially when climbing several thousand feet. This can allow you to enjoy year-round camping in most of the western portions of the country.


And The Winner For Best Weather Goes To:
🥇
West Coast

The feasibility of year-round camping in milder temperatures and the lack of humidity earns the West Coast another victory.

Critters

East Coast: The northeast has everything from moose to bears, and the southeast has bugs the size of your hand and waters filled with sharks and alligators.

You can also find timber rattlesnakes throughout the central portions of the East Coast. It’s fair to say you’ll want to keep your eyes open if you’re adventuring anywhere on this side of the country.

West Coast: The West Coast may not have alligators, but they have black bears, grizzly bears, and mountain lions. You also can’t overlook the scorpions, tarantulas, and more than 10 different rattlesnake species. Knowing how to safely camp in these parts is essential as it can get dangerous if you’re not careful.


And The Winner For The Critter Category Goes To:
🥇
East Coast

While some dangerous animals on the East Coast do exist, you can typically avoid the worst ones by staying out of the water. It also has unique wildlife such as manatees, dolphins, and alligators. We’re giving the East Coast the victory for this category.

Accessibility

East Coast: Most of the East Coast, especially the northeast portions, has infrastructure hundreds of years old. Many narrow roads, low clearances, and tunnels can pose issues for those in RVs.

You can typically only stay at established and private campgrounds and RV parks. However, camping on the East Coast can be insanely expensive.

West Coast: You can find all of the standard camping types on the West Coast and plenty of boondocking options. You can take advantage of camping on public lands.

While these will require you to be self-sufficient, they allow you to save a lot of money potentially. Due to the wide-open spaces, it’s typically much easier to maneuver big rigs on the highways and roads out west.


And The Winner For Accessibility Goes To:
🥇
West Coast

The West Coast gets the win when it comes to accessibility for camping. The opportunities to boondock work great for those looking for budget-friendly camping options. Plus, you have many more options.

Remote Locations

(can you escape from it all if you want?)

East Coast: Remote locations do exist in the east but are few and far between. This side of the country has denser populations and cities and towns closer together. If you enjoy getting away from others and having privacy, you may find fewer options when camping on the East Coast.

West Coast: The West Coast of the United States is incredibly remote in many locations. You can drive for hours through deserts and other very remote locations and not see a single soul. It’s so remote that you can go on the highway for 100+ miles in some areas with no restrooms, fuel stations, or other services. 


And The Winner For Remoteness Goes To:
🥇
West Coast

If you want to get away from it all, the West Coast can’t be beat. Just take a look at this 2020 Census population density map. It shows the East Coast population density compared to the West.

National Parks

East Coast: The country’s East Coast has a decent amount of national parks. You’ll find national parks like Acadia, Everglades, and the most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains. However, you can’t always visit more than one national park on the East Coast in a single trip.

West Coast: A vast majority of the national parks lie on the West Coast of the United States. California has nine, Utah has five, and Washington has three. However, you’ll find plenty more to visit throughout the West Coast.


And The Winner For National Parks Goes To:
🥇
West Coast

Because the West Coast is home to most of the 63 national parks, we’re declaring it the winner. However, remember that the United States has over 400 units in the national park system.

This map shows that the East Coast puts up a fight if you include these. This is largely due to the number of historic locations from the civil war and other significant events along the East Coast.

Which Coast Is the Best Coast?

Overall Winner:
🏆 West Coast

The East Coast has beautiful sights and wildlife, but the extreme climates and congested areas make it less ideal for camping. If you have to choose between coasts for your next camping adventure, consider heading out west.

You can easily find free camping spots that offer tremendous space and privacy. With the proper setup, you can camp for several days or even weeks in some locations, and it won’t cost you a penny in camping fees. 

Many RVers love the West Coast because you don’t have to worry nearly as much about low clearances, and you have much more diversity in camping locations. So if you want an adventure, we encourage you to pack your bags and head to the wild west.

Which do you think is the best coast for camping?

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