Summer 2020 may not be going how we originally planned back in January. Right now we would be in the heat of summer camping festival season—probably a little delirious from waking up countless mornings in overheated tents, but looking forward to grabbing breakfast from the nearby food trucks and spending the rest of the weekend with your rave fam. Even though these fests have been postponed until 2021, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your camping trip.
There’s a long list of reasons why camping festivals are such a unique experience. One of the most important reasons being the gorgeous venue locations. While some of these venues don’t offer camping without an accompanied festival, there are typically plenty of other campgrounds close by that offer the same breathtaking views and additional recreational activities.
If you were planning on attending a destination camping festival this year, think twice about canceling your trip completely. We’ve gathered a list of great alternate campground options that will let you keep the camping festival spirit alive, while staying CDC-safe.
Nocturnal Wonderland continues to be one of Southern California’s most popular camping festivals year after year. This funky festival typically takes place at the tail end of the summer, right when the California heat starts to drop. The Glen Helen Regional Park venue has always been a highlight for the Nocturnal attendees, but did you know that it’s a short car ride away from the scenic views of Lake Arrowhead?
Dogwood Family Campground North Shore Campground are considered two of the best places to pitch a tent and enjoy nature near Lake Arrowhead. Both boast access to incredible hiking trails, tent and RV camping, and short trips to Lake Arrowhead Village. Bring your own glow sticks, those iconic string lights, and good vibes to bring the Nocturnal Wonderland experience to your site.
Bring back the nostalgia for Glen Helen Amphitheater by hanging up some of the iconic Nocturnal Wonderland laterns at your campground! (Photo Credit: Nocturnal Wonderland)
The Gorge is one of the most iconic festival venues in the U.S. If you follow the festival scene, chances are you’ve seen the unbelievable views of ravers resting on sloping green hills, gazing at the main stage that is complemented by a beautiful canyon backdrop. This venue hosts unforgettable EDM shows each year including Paradiso and Bass Canyon.
Unfortunately, The Gorge doesn’t host campers without also hosting festivals. However, there are plenty of scenic campgrounds within the area to get a similar experience. Fort Spokane and Spring Canyon are both campgrounds that offer tent camping along the Columbia River and Spokane River. The rivers are open for recreational use which is perfect for beating the summer heat.
Although you won't actually be able to camp AT the Gorge, beautiful views & sunsets will still be part of your experience! (Photo Credit: Bass Canyon)
Sonic Bloom is the perfect immersive camping festival experience that takes place during the first few days of summer. This nature-filled fest is set at Hummingbird Ranch in Colorado, and is surrounded by miles of natural beauty and recreational activities.
Golden Eagle Campground is the perfect getaway spot for anyone looking to fully immerse themselves in the beauty that lies in Colorado. It’s located just south of Colorado Springs and is connected to 12+ miles of hiking trails. Take a day trip to Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, or just breathe in the fresh air and take in the natural endorphins of the earth.
Tons of hikes with amazing views are available all throughout Colorado! Don't forget to stock up with a stylish backpack for your hike!
Imagine Music Festival
In need of an escape from your daily life? That’s exactly what Imagine Music Festival in Atlanta offers. Imagine brings together the dreamers of our community to celebrate in a civilization that is only as grand as you, well, imagine it. Imagine takes place towards the tail end of the summer when those southern heat levels take a dip.
Stone Mountain Park Campground is also a popular destination in Atlanta for the late summer lovers. It hosts options for any campers wanting to pitch a tent, park their RV, or rent a yurt or safari tent. Imagine Music Festival goers will love the adventuristic nature of this huge park, as well as the ropes courses and hiking trails close to the campground.
EDC Las Vegas
While camping at EDC LV is fairly new, it has quickly become one of the most anticipated (if not the most) camping festivals of the year. Camping in the Vegas heat without attending EDC might seem ludicrous, but there are incredible state parks right outside of the strip.
Red Rocks and Valley of Fire are short trips away from the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and even though they don’t have fireworks, they’re just as breathtaking as EDC itself. Immerse yourself in the otherworldly landscape of the bacon stripped rolling rocks in the Valley of Fire—Atlatl Rock Campground is a choice campground for this state park. Explore the scenic hiking trails throughout the mountainous boulders in Red Rocks by staying at Red Rock Camping. Make sure you check to see if these campgrounds are open before planning your trip as they do close during the hottest times of the year.
Want to REALLY pretend like you're at EDC? You can actually buy a shiftpods, like the one featured above, for your squad online or from your local Sporting Goods store. (Photo Credit: EDC/Insomniac)
This wouldn’t be a true tribute to camping festivals if we didn’t mention Electric Forest. If you are an annual Forest Dweller I’m sure you’re itching to get back to an outdoor oasis. While Electric Forest might be postponed until next year, there’s no reason you can’t take the magic of the forest to a close location to Sherwood Forest.
Lucky Lake Campground is the perfect location to get out and enjoy the natural surrounding of 180 acres of woods, lakes, and critters. Walk along the pine needle trails and view the white tailed deer drinking from the residential lake. If you look hard enough, you might be able to find some forest fairies getting ready for next year’s fest!
Bring the Festival to You: Tips for a Ravers to Enhance their Camping Experience
It’s heartbreaking that we can’t safely enjoy our favorite festivals this year, but we still have the power to bring the magic and unique vibes that accompany our favorite fests, right to our own campsites. If you do decide to travel to your favorite destination this year, here are a few ways you can turn your tent or RV into your own festival, headlined by you.
- Decorate your space with solar-powered lights! Get a variety of different colors and sizes to get the full feeling that you’re looking out at the main stage. Keep your lights out during the day so they can recharge before the sun goes down.
- Plan your outfits! Even though you won't have the opportunity get truly festival-ready this year, you can still look comfy-cute while camping! And why not take the opportunity to have a photoshoot with a gorgeous background?
- Bring portable speakers and play your favorite festival sets from years past. Just make sure you’re being mindful of any neighbors and campground noise policies.
- Set up a portable grill or stovetop and try to recreate your favorite festival snacks. Maybe you’ll find a great new recipe for lobster mac n cheese or gourmet pizza that you can share with your crew.
- Don't forget your mask! Even though you'll be in the great outdoors, you'll still need a mask for stops you make along the way and if your campground has a public restroom.
- Don't forget the floaties! Make a statement by purchasing matching floaties for your squad, like these unicorns featured below!
Photo Credit: Imagine Music Festival
Wherever you decide to spend your destination camping trip this year, make sure you bring plenty of PLUR vibes… and bug spray.