Follow Wildlife to Your Next Campground

Think you’ve seen all the great campsites? How about trying something new as part of your Great American Campout? Rather than following your normal camping route, mix it up and travel along with wildlife!

As National Wildlife Federation’s new book Migration Nation explains, migrating wildlife are on the move in various parts of the country throughout the year. On their migrations, wildlife often stop and “make camp” along the way, resting for a day or two to find food and water sources. Wildlife may not use tents or RVs to camp, but their routines may not be all that different from ours.

Here are a few of the migrating wildlife and places you can spot them while camping:

Gray Whales

Gray whale. Photo by Dave McKenna via Flickr Creative Commons

Gray whale. Photo by Dave McKenna via Flickr Creative Commons

Grey whales migrate up and down the Pacific Ocean along the west coast of the United States. They travel about 10,000 miles from Alaska to Mexico round trip each year. To catch up with gray whales, visit these camping sites:

  • Hike or boat into the backcountry campgrounds of Point Reyes National Seashore in California to see migrating gray whales in January, late March, and April.
  • See gray whales almost year-round in Oregon’s Depoe Bay. Since there are is no camping at Whale Watching Center, consider camping nearby then making day trips to search for whales:
    • Sea and Sand RV Park, Depoe Bay where you can camp in your RV and enjoy a variety of amenities provided by the RV Park. This is about four miles to Whale Watching Center.
    • Beverly Beach State Park where you can camp in a tent or even a yurt! This is about six miles to Whale Watching Center.

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill cranes. Photo donated by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Kathy Urbach

Sandhill Cranes migrate from Mexico to Canada, up to 5,000 miles. Migration Nation recommends Rowe Sanctuary in Gibbon, Nebraska and Crane Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Little Falls, Minnesota as two ideal places to spot the cranes during their migration. Since these areas do not offer camping for people, here are some nearby places to camp while making day trips to see the cranes:


One of the snakes you could see along snake road! Photo by Douglas Mills via Flickr Creative Commons

One of the snakes you could see along snake road! Photo by Douglas Mills via Flickr Creative Commons

Herptiles is a term used to describe reptiles and amphibians together. Herptiles have various migration routes and distances depending on the species. Migration Nation mentions that you may see herptiles such as snakes and frogs along Snake Road in Illinois. The best times to see migrating herptiles are during the evenings in the spring and fall. To catch up with herptiles consider these camping sites:


Which wildlife are you going to follow?

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