Like many western states, Nevada covers a lot of terrain, with varying landscapes from deserts to high mountains. There are many interesting places to camp as you explore “The Silver State”. While you can certainly camp year-round here, there are some campgrounds to avoid in the summer due to high heat, and those to skip out on in the winter due to cold temperatures.
Top Nevada Campgrounds by City
For those looking to camp by Nevada’s major cities, you’ll be in luck. There are plenty of choices around Las Vegas, Reno and a few other sizable destinations in this Southwest state. Here’s a look at the best campgrounds closest to these tourist hot springs in order of proximity.
Where To Go Camping in Nevada
While many other states in the American West come to mind when you think of camping, Nevada is home to several underrated gems. Though it holds a variety of terrains and the largest percentage of public land in any state, Nevada is an outdoor destination that routinely runs under the radar.
Best Times to Go Camping in Nevada
Fall and spring are the best times to camp in Nevada. In fall, temperatures are coming down from triple-digit summers in much of the state, making for a moderate and comfortable camping experience.
Popular destinations like Valley of Fire State Park (and other spots in Southern Nevada) have highs in the 70s and 80s in the fall, and the lows stay above freezing. Campers often underestimate just how cold southern Nevada can get, with overnight lows in winter often dropping below freezing. For the same reasons, spring is also a great time to visit southern Nevada.
Campers who can only travel during summer should stick to northern Nevada and places like the Ruby Mountains. There are plenty of spots in the upper portion of the state where the highs hit the mid-80s to low 90s but don’t get much warmer. Compare that to Las Vegas and Boulder City, both popular destinations in southern Nevada that routinely top 100 degrees (and sometimes 110).
In a similar fashion to other Southwestern states, campers are better off staying north or in the mountains during the summer and heading south when winter is in full swing.
National Park Service Sites in Nevada
Nevada has 7 National Park Service (NPS) sites, and two of them offer camping. While Death Valley National Park stretches across the California border into Nevada, there are no campgrounds on the Nevada side of the border. Several Death Valley Campgrounds are near the state line, though: around half an hour’s drive away.
- Lake Mead National Recreation Area
- Great Basin National Park
National Forests in Nevada
Nevada has one national forest, split into two sections: the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. This is the largest national forest in the country, not located in the state of Alaska, at nearly 6.3 million acres. While managed as one forest, there are two units with the Humboldt section in the northeast and the slightly larger Toiyabe section in the southwest.
- Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
Best Free Camping in Nevada
Nevada has far and away the largest percentage of its land managed by the federal government. 80% of Nevada is federal land, with the Bureau of Land Management and National Forest Service managing a combined 94% of the state’s federal land. This means that Nevada is a paradise for those seeking free camping.
Some of the most popular spots for free camping in Nevada include Mack’s Canyon in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Fish Lake Valley Hot Springs near Piper Peak, and Water Canyon Recreation Area near Winnemucca, Nevada.
Nevada State and Public Parks
There are 27 state parks in the Nevada State Parks system, and 18 of them offer camping. While there are lots of great state parks here, Valley of Fire State Park easily draws the most awe, with Cathedral Gorge being another strong contender. Those both should be on any good Nevada camping itinerary, along with any of the others on this list.
- Beaver Dam State Park
- Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area
- Cathedral Gorge State Park
- Lahontan State Recreation Area
- South Fork State Recreation Area
- Valley of Fire State Park
- Cave Lake State Park
- Dayton State Park
- Echo Canyon State Park
- Kershaw-Ryan State Park
RV Resorts and Unique stays
While many of the RV resorts and glamping options tend to center around Las Vegas, there are several great spots in some of the more remote locations in the state. If you want to explore more of the state while staying in comfort, these six stops should be on your list.
- Mojave Desert Ranch
- New Frontier RV Park
- Solstice Motorcoach Resort
- Ruby 360 Lodge
- Virginia City RV Park
- Mustang Monument Eco Resort & Preserve
Nevada has more free camping than even the most avid adventurer could see in a lifetime. However, even with the wealth of free camping, the established state and national parks top any good travel itinerary in the Silver State.