Where Can You Camp With A Roof Top Tent?

Roof top tents have gained popularity over the years given how comfortable and convenient they are. Despite being more expensive than any ground tent, they are an investment on comfort, a good night sleep, a durable product and most importantly yearly adventures with friends and family. If you want more information about them, take a look at our roof top tent guide.

That said, most people interested in them keep asking the same question: where can you camp with a roof top tent? Well, besides the obvious answer which is RV parks or parking lots, we want to tackle the real question: are there camp sites, national parks, or other places where I can camp on a rooftop tent?

Yes. Now let’s take a look.


Do Campsites Allow Roof Tents?

camping in tonto national park arizona

Most campsites in the United States tend to allow roof tents, however, some might just let you camp either on the RV site area, or some on the parking lot, which isn’t ideal. That said, given the popularity of the tents, how safe they are with wildlife when compared to ground tents, and the fact that they don’t take as much space a RVs, mot camp grounds are much more open to let you camp with them on the regular camp site. As you may already know, most camp sites have a space dedicated to park your vehicle next to the flat ground area to set a ground tent, so it makes sense they allow RTTs as well, and they’ve started doing that a lot.

In this article you will find a list of some camp grounds close to some national parks that let you camp with tents. That said, we strongly recommend you personally calling the camp ground in advance to learn if there are any restrictions or if they are all good with you bringing an RTT. Remember, what we say today can change over time, rules change, etc. Call in advance.


Where Can I Camp On My Rooftop Tent?

National Parks:

OVS Bushveld Hard Shell Roof Top Tent in a national park

Most national parks offer designated camping areas where you can set up a ground tent as well as your roof top tent. Call in advance to the exact park or site to understand first if there are restrictions, as well as which are the amenities they have: bathroom, shower, etc.

The parks will normally charge you a fee for spending the night or camping there, and despite most spots being for ground camping, there are more “modern” parks now offering spaces for roof top tents.

Be aware the public camping spots tend to follow some common rules, such as a first come first serve space basis, so if you get there late you run the risk of not finding any space to actually camp. In others, you’re able to make a reservation, so calling in advance or visiting the National Park website is a must.


Public Lands:

A public land is defined as a piece of land managed by an agency such as the US Forest Service, and some of them allow dispersed camping. To do so, you need to follow certain guidelines of safety, behavior, etc. Roof top tents tend to be much safer than a ground tent for secluded camping. Once again, do your research in advance.


Overland Routes:

Despite not being considered an official public land, and this being a grey area, overland routes will take you to far away places where you can camp on your roof top tent completely undisturbed. Most people won’t ever even find you, and you can camp on the side of the road or trail, or find a nice place in the middle of the forest.  


Private Property:

Clearly, if you own a piece of land and want to camp in it, you can. Also, if you manage to get permission from a landowner, they will let you camp on their property. From personal experience, I once had the pleasure of camping on my Thule roof top tent on a private property close to Sedona in Arizona. It was getting late, we were looking for RV parks or places to camp, we found a restaurant along the road, asked if they knew, they called a friend, and 20 minutes later we were camping in their property, which needless to say was large enough for us to have privacy and not disturb anyone. It was great!


Campgrounds And RV Parks:

Don’t confuse camp grounds with the national park itself. There are national parks with space and permission for you to camp in them. Others don’t, and as a result there are many camp grounds that have been built in land very close to the national park. Similar to RV parks.

You can get to both campgrounds and RV parks to inquire if there is space for you to set up your tent, and you’ll be able to do so. A good tip is to check Hipcamp to know where exactly these camp grounds or parks are, and what their regulations are. 

While roof top tents are more commonly associated with off-grid camping, they can also be used in traditional campgrounds and RV parks. Many campgrounds and RV parks have spaces designated for tent camping, and some may even allow roof top tents on vehicles.


Events & Festivals:

Although this is an overlanding website and we don’t really sell equipment for festivals, the truth is roof top tents have become popular for events such as Burning Man and many more. Rooftop tents are indeed a very comfortable and smart choice for festival and long event attendees to use. Most festivals have camp grounds or parking lots where they will allow you to sleep, camp, etc. You’ll save hundreds if not thousands on accommodation.


National Parks That Allow Roof Top Tents:

The following list contains 60 National Parks that allow roof top tent camping. We have personally tested some of them such as the Grand Canyon and Tonto in Arizona, Acadia in Maine, and Yellowstone. Some people have told us that they had issues in Yellowstone, but we personally didn’t after staying at Madison.

That said, given it can always change, we advice you visit the specific National Park website to inquire about the possibility, make reservations, so on and so forth. Remember, being responsible is always one of the most important things you can do!

  1. Yosemite National Park, California
  2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
  5. Zion National Park, Utah
  6. Joshua Tree National Park, California
  7. Acadia National Park, Maine
  8. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  9. Glacier National Park, Montana
  10. Olympic National Park, Washington
  11. Big Bend National Park, Texas
  12. Arches National Park, Utah
  13. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
  14. Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  15. Death Valley National Park, California/Nevada
  16. Redwood National and State Parks, California
  17. Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  18. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  19. Everglades National Park, Florida
  20. Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
  21. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
  22. Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
  23. Coconino National Forest, Arizona
  24. San Juan National Forest, Colorado
  25. Deschutes National Forest, Oregon
  26. Olympic National Forest, Washington
  27. Angeles National Forest, California
  28. Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, Georgia
  29. Sierra National Forest, California
  30. Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming
  31. Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon
  32. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington
  33. Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas/Oklahoma
  34. Custer State Park, South Dakota
  35. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
  36. Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
  37. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
  38. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
  39. Canyonlands National Park, Utah
  40. Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
  41. Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
  42. Tonto National Park, Arizona
  43. Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
  44. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
  45. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
  46. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
  47. Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas
  48. Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland/Virginia
  49. Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
  50. Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
  51. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
  52. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
  53. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
  54. Olympic Peninsula, Washington
  55. Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
  56. Joshua Tree National Park, California
  57. Zion National Park, Utah
  58. White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
  59. Glacier National Park, Montana
  60. Olympic National Park, Washington

Remember to verify camping regulations and availability at each location before planning your trip.