9 Camping Trips For History Buffs!

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A Brief History

On July 4, 1776, The United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress.  Ever since the Declaration of Independence was agreed upon, a great deal of history has occurred all over the United States of America (USA).  It is inconceivable how places we presently consider as urban, like the Northeast megalopolis that contains Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Boston, and Washington, D.C., was previously a wilderness covered with thick forests.  The European pilgrims had never even gone past those forests. As Americans extended to the West, they deserted noteworthy spots, relics, abominations, and interests that can still pique our interests.

Regardless of whether you are a major history buff who appreciates things like Civil War reenactments or care about whether your child knows all the presidents – it is never a bad idea to go for camping trips in one of those historically famous places.  We would like to tell you about the nine campgrounds that are pretty close to historically significant event grounds.  What is more, there are plenty of museums nearby for you to learn all about the pilgrim Minutemen, Antebellum warriors, wilderness pioneers, Western gunfighters, and many more!

Digging Deeper

1. Boston Minuteman Campground, Massachusetts

Map of the Minute Man National Historical Park.

This campsite will take you in the middle of colonial and revolutionary war history. With a name like “minuteman”, I would say that is to be expected.

Boston Minuteman Campground offers tent destinations, RV hookups, and lodges, so you can expect to be suited, no matter what your camping style is; however, faveable.com recommends you to prepare yourself with proper camping gear and essentials before a trip. Luckily enough, there are a lot of options you can choose from.

It does not feel too much like an urban zone; you do not feel it once in the campground. Maybe you hear a distant train whistle sometimes, but that is about it.

Minute Man National Historical Park, Boston, Salem, Plymouth, Cape Cod, and Providence have vast territories and you can have fun exploring those!

2. Fort McAllister State Historic Park, Georgia

Sign at the entrance of the park.  Photograph by Bubba73 (Jud McCranie).

For any Civil War history buff, Fort McAllister State Park is a dream come true. With the old earthwork still in sight, the campground is entirely the site of a memorable fight.

With a lot of artifacts to find among the coastal serenity, you will also find a Civil War museum. You can even fish in the campsite so make sure to bring your gears.

There are a lot of kayaks for lease as well. The historical center is astonishing so spend at least half a day here to soak up all the history. You will come across what the Confederate daughters have refurbished.

You will definitely be taken to that time with all the cannons and cannonball ovens around.

3. Trail of Tears State Park, Missouri

Map of National Historic trails.  Image credited as NPS.

The ancient tribe of Cherokee was forced to cross the Mississippi River sometime in the winter between 1838 and 1839. They were approaching Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears.

This State Park is constructed in memory of that relocation as this is the area where they made the crossing. There is a museum where you can learn the history of those who crossed and those who died along the journey.

You should be prepared for overwhelming feelings among the characteristic excellence. The gallery ought to be visited first, and then you can go on serene strolls on numerous trails.

Truth be told, the history is of the tragic kind. You will find yourself wondering about the terrible conditions of the tribe while they crossed the river in the cold hard winter, but keeping all that aside, you will also find a lot of scope for different activities. There are two campgrounds, one for tents and one with power/hookups (tents welcome there as well).

The last is open all year so you can appreciate XC skiing.

4. Ingalls Homestead, South Dakota

Surveyor’s House, the first home in Dakota Territory of the Charles Ingalls family – De Smet, SD.  Photograph by Winkelvi.

A fan of the Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder? Then you will definitely get a kick out of outdoors on the Ingalls Homestead. Ingalls’ family lived right here in De Smet during Laura’s puberty and the early period of her marriage to Almanzo Wilder.

Five of Laura’s books are actually set here, including By the Shores of Silver Lake, The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie, These Happy Golden Years, and The First Four Years.

At the Ingalls residence, you get the chance to pick between outdoors in a tent site, RV site, the bunkhouse, or one of 4 secured wagons. The wagons rest from 3-5 people and come with all the modern facilities like power, screened windows, a little fan and much more. If you have any family members that do not feel comfortable camping, this site could definitely be a step up for them.

5. Rock Creek Station, Nebraska

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park, located east of Fairbury in rural Jefferson County, Nebraska.  Reconstructed East Ranch buildings and corrals, viewed from generally eastward.  A reconstructed West Ranch building is visible through a gap in the trees on the opposite slope, near the right edge of the photograph.  Photograph by Ammodramus.

Freedom City, Missouri, and Oregon City, Oregon are undeniably more acclaimed for their Oregon Trail than Rock Creek Station. This trail is special because of all the wagon trains that passed through here to the West.

One of the frontier hero “Wild Bill” Hickok, who gave life to the mythology of the Old West made this former pony express station famous as well. Horse camping is quite famous here with enough land to explore.

You will find a lot of amenities here for both yourself and your four-legged buddy.

6. Donner Memorial State Park, California

Donner Lake from Donner Memorial State Park.  Photograph by Flickr user “NileGuide.com”.

Remember the Donner Party tragedy? Some may feel the heebie-jeebies outdoors at the site of this notorious incident. For those that are not so paranoid, this State Park is a major bit of California history and one of the more memorable spots from the extension of the West.

Every one of the campsites is spotless and has decent flame pits with a barbecue grill station. If you can get out of the squeamish feeling, you would definitely want to come back here!

Donner Memorial State Park is not a long way from Lake Tahoe (otherwise known as the Bay Area’s back yard). Appreciate the Donner Museum while you are here before flying into the close-by town of Truckee for pizza.

7. Sand Island State Recreation Area, Hawaii

Looking over Sand Island.  Photograph by Daniel Ramirez from Honolulu, USA.

Hawaii is known for ravishing shoreline campgrounds, tropical hikes among the green and chances of a volcanic eruption are also there.

The first two campsites are only a 20-minute drive from Honolulu’s most iconic place- where the USS Arizona and the Pearl Harbor Memorial rests. Loosen up by the Sand Island’s crystalline waters, which is perfect for body surfing.

Know that Hawaii Sand Island State Recreation Area is an entirely urban campground (there are two airports nearby). So if you want to escape the crowd, you need to go off-road.

You need to keep in mind that you are sacrificing history for all the scenic beauty so that is definitely a trade-off for history buffs. All things considered, it is also difficult to beat the unbelievable Hawaiian sunrise/sunset.

8. Gettysburg Campground, Pennsylvania

Custom signs.  Photograph by Gene Golden.

This campground can be an ideal choice for people who are looking to camp with family and want to take their pets along. This site has a primitive tent area along the creek and has options of both shady and has options for both sunny and shady RV sites.  The site is bordered by the scenic Marsh Creek and is located only about 3 miles on the west of the center of Gettysburg.

The onsite facilities are adequate as they provide a whopping 260 sites, so you do not need to worry about space. You can accommodate anything from a full-sized RV to just a normal tent. The best part is, they even have an onsite RV repairing facility, the only one of its type.

The camping site offers amazing facilities such as lp gas, laundry service, on-site pump-out service, and 2 dump stations. They also have a store where you can find toys, books, clothing, food items, and gifts.

The nearby town of Gettysburg is rich in history boasting of museums, exhibits and Civil War Battlefields. Bus tours are also provided to nearby Washington, D.C if you are up for a day tour.

9. Mammoth Hot Springs Campground in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

North Entrance Road to Yellowstone National Park; part of the North Entrance Road Historic District in Wyoming. Within the hairpin bend is the Mammoth Hot Springs Campground.  Photograph by Magicpiano.

Among the 12 campgrounds at Yellowstone National Park, mammoth Campground is the only one that stays open all year round. The ground that is at an elevation of 6,200 feet is given out at a strictly a first come first served basis.

The site is conveniently located at the park’s north entrance and is about 5 miles south of Gardiner, Montana. For camping, during the hot summer months, campers can get shade from the scorching sun by the shade from Douglas fir and scattered Juniper trees.

If you are into greatly into wildlife viewing then this camping ground is ideal for you as you can also see the likes of bison and elks passing through the campground on a few occasions. Being next to the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces means there are plenty of hiking and fishing opportunities available.

Final Thoughts

A campsite at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina.  Photograph taken by en:User:Mwanner, June, 2005.

It is a huge nation out there. Across the nation’s 2,680 miles to investigate, notable spots can be found around each corner.  These nine campgrounds are only the tip of the notorious/significant iceberg, so do not stop here.

Question for students (and subscribers): Have you been to any of these nine historic campsites?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

White, Mel.  National Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States, 2nd Edition: 400+ Parks, Monuments, Battlefields, Historic Sites, Scenic Trails, Recreation Areas, and Seashores.  National Geographic, 2016.

Wright, Don.  Camping With the Corps of Engineers: The Complete Guide to Campgrounds Built and Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Wright Guides).  The Wright Guide, 2015.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Yellowstone National Park from Yellowstone NP, USA of an RV at Madison Campground, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  This image was originally posted to Flickr by YellowstoneNPS at https://flickr.com/photos/80223459@N05/16710089815. It was reviewed on  by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.

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Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland