Wanderlust and campfires: A global journey through the best camping spots

Along with food and music, appreciation for the outdoors seems to be a universal language. Just about every country has a reverence for getting outside into the wild places of the world to appreciate our natural surroundings. Whether it’s scaling the highest peaks of New Zealand or “roughing it” around posh Lake Como in Italy, there are plenty of amazing corners of the globe where you can set up your tent and campfire. 

Traveling great distances to get to these far-off places is one of the more underrated ways of experiencing the world. Cities are great – there’s no denying the cultural appeal of exploring a new place through its restaurants, museums, and streets. But heading to another country to experience its natural wonders is a whole other story. One that can provide as rich a travel experience as any museum or landmark. 

Logistically, traveling with all of your outdoor gear can require some serious planning. You might not be able to take all of your belongings to your destination, so looking into a luggage storage service is a great way to lighten the load for your journey ahead. That’s why Bounce has storage facilities in over 2,000 cities worldwide, like the Como luggage storage locations and plenty of them are smaller cities near national parks and outdoor destinations. 

Here are a few of the best campsites around the world for your next outdoor adventure: 

New Zealand’s Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park

While most people associate New Zealand’s great wilderness with the Lord of the Rings movies, outdoor enthusiasts will think of the epic mountains that cut through the country’s islands. Mount Cook (also known as Aoraki) is one of the most prominent national parks for camping and hiking. This rugged mountain range is home to the country’s highest peak and is a popular destination for adrenaline junkies that are insane enough to try heli-skiing through the glaciers. There are campgrounds at the base of the hiking and skiing trails, but there are also hotels in Mount Cook Village.  

Glacier National Park, Montana

If you’re into hiking, it simply doesn’t get any better than the 700 miles of rugged trails that Montana’s Glacier National Park has to offer. There are dozens of campgrounds in the park, but  St. Mary Campground along St. Mary Lake is one of the most popular. Kintla Lake Campground is great for novice hikers, as the backcountry is mostly along a meadow. Apgar Campground is ideal for highly active campers, with kayaking and horseback riding on offer. 

Lake Como, Italy 

Lake Como has long been associated with fabulously rich celebrities that have homes here.  While this opulence and glamor absolutely exist on Lake Como, normal travelers can head to the far north of Italy for a few days of camping along this gorgeous Alpine lake. With fantastic mountain views and incredible hiking on the Greenway del Lago di Como trail, there’s a lot to do.

You can rent a boat or go for a cruise in one of the many charters. You can stay in town at a hotel or vacation rental. If you want to camp, La Fornace, Camping La Breva, and Camping Gardenia are all popular campsites around the lake. The town of Como is located within a quick train ride or drive from Milan, making the campsite easily accessible. If you want to lighten the load for your time on the lake, you can use the luggage storage locations in Milan and Como.

The largest lake in Ouachita National Forest is home to incredible facilities for a week weekend in the woods. The Big Fir campground overlooks the lake and provides amenities for picnicking, swimming, fishing, boating, and more. You can take your RV here or use the full-service campgrounds for a bit of comfort. If you’re traveling from elsewhere in the country, Lake Ouachita and the surrounding terrain are within a few hours of Little Rock, so it’s easy to fly in, rent a car, and head out to Big Fir. Bounce has convenient luggage storage locations in Little Rock and Hot Springs (which is closer to the campgrounds). 

Laugavegur, Iceland

Because of (shockingly) cheap flights, Americans have discovered Iceland in a big way. Unfortunately, most of these quick trips never allow for experiences outside of Reykjavik. But outdoor enthusiasts have been flocking to this remote island for camping and hiking during spring and fall when the heavy snows subside. The most popular campsite in Iceland is Laugavegur and its camp cities (Landmannalaugar, Emstrut, and Thirsnörk being the most popular places to rent a hut), all of which are in the shadows of a glacier. There is hiking below the stunning mountains and wildflower meadows. You can even scale the side of a volcano and witness the lava fields. These are true once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

Miyajima, Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun has a lot to offer active travelers. With amazing skiing in Hokkaido in the north and incredible surfing throughout the southern islands, sports-obsessed tourists flock to Japan to get their adrenaline fix. There are plenty of gorgeous mountains and islands where camping is the main fixture. Japan’s “Island of the Gods” is one of the best destinations for hiking and camping. Miyajima is a secluded island off the coast of Hiroshima that’s been largely undisturbed, leaving its mountains, shores, and wooded areas pristine for hiking and camping. Mt. Misen is lined with hiking trails, especially the Omoto trail, and rock formations like Fui and Iwaya Taishi make for otherworldly sights. The campsites and cabins are perfect for a rugged but comfortable stay. 

Many travelers head to Colombian coffee country for day trips from Bogota and Medellin, and these are great. But for truly adventurous travelers, camping in the Valle de Cocora is the best way to experience Colombia’s countryside. The best way to get here is to take a bus from Bogota to Salento, where you can hire a jeep to get to the campsite at the foot of the mountains. The trip takes about eight hours each way, so you’ll want to pack in as much as possible during your stay. There will be plenty to do, with horseback riding, hiking, and wildlife to appreciate, like the hummingbirds that make their home near the campsite. Hiking around, you’ll notice the surrounding palm trees are unusually large, as the Quindío wax palms are the largest in the world, with some reaching 200 feet high