Historical Camping: 7 Sites That Offer a Glimpse into the Past

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Discover the allure of historical camping. Explore ancient ruins and battlegrounds, packing your gear for an unforgettable journey through time.

If you’re a camping enthusiast like me, you know there’s something magical about pitching a tent amidst the remnants of ancient civilizations or the battlegrounds of historic conflicts. In this article, I’ll take you on a journey through seven incredible historical camp sites that offer a glimpse into the past.

We’ll pack our bags with the right gear, sprinkle some humor along the way, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

What Makes Historical Camping So Special?

Historical camping isn’t just your ordinary camping trip; it’s a captivating journey into history. Picture yourself waking up to breathtaking views of ancient ruins, exploring once-thriving civilizations, and feeling the echoes of events that shaped our world.

It’s like walking through the pages of a history book, only better, because you get to camp under the stars.

Ready to embark on a camping adventure like no other? Join me as we explore these fascinating historical sites together.

Historical Camping Gear: Packing for an Adventure through Time

Before we dive into the historical wonders, let’s talk packing. Packing for historical camping is a bit different – you need the right gear to ensure a comfortable trip through the ages. Here’s a list of essential gear that will make your adventure seamless:

  1. Sturdy Tent: A reliable tent will be your time-traveling home. Choose one that’s easy to set up and can withstand various weather conditions.
  2. Warm Sleeping Bag: Nights might get chilly, even in the summer, so a warm sleeping bag is a must for cozy slumbers.
  3. Flashlight: Exploring ruins in the dark? Don’t forget a trusty flashlight to guide your way.
  4. Historical Garb (optional): Embrace the spirit of the era you’re visiting by dressing the part. A toga for Pompeii, perhaps?
  5. Portable Charger: Capture memories with your camera and keep your devices charged with a portable charger.
  6. First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen in any era, so be prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit.
  7. Historical Books: Bring along historical books related to the sites you’re visiting. They’ll add depth to your experience.

With our backpacks loaded and historical garb packed (if you’re feeling adventurous), we’re ready to embark on our time-traveling journey. Let’s explore these incredible historical camp sites that bring the past to life.

7 Historical Camping Sites You Should Visit

1. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, North Dakota, USA

Our first stop takes us back to the 19th-century fur trade era at Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site in North Dakota. Imagine the bustling trade, the trappers, and the diverse cultures converging at this trading post

The picturesque landscape surrounding the Missouri River offers a serene backdrop for our historical camping adventure.

A Journey to the 19th Century Fur Trade Era:
Fort Union Trading Post served as a vital hub for the fur trade in the mid-1800s. Traders from different backgrounds, including European-Americans, Native Americans, and Métis, gathered here to exchange goods.

It’s a fascinating glimpse into a time when fur pelts were highly prized commodities.

The reconstructed fort stands proudly, transporting visitors back in time. As you walk through its gates, you can almost hear the echoes of bartering and the clatter of wagon wheels.

Campsite Facilities and Tips:
The campgrounds here have basic amenities like restrooms and picnic tables, making it a comfortable base for your historical camping adventure. With the Missouri River nearby, fishing and canoeing are popular activities.

Pro tip: Pack your binoculars for birdwatching along the river – you might spot some majestic eagles soaring above.

2. Pompeii, Italy

Next up is an ancient city frozen in time – Pompeii, Italy. Camping amidst the well-preserved ruins of this Roman city is an awe-inspiring experience. Walk through the streets once teeming with life, visit the amphitheater, and gaze upon the majestic Mount Vesuvius, which famously buried Pompeii in 79 AD.

Camping Amidst the Ancient Roman Ruins:
Pompeii is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the ancient Romans. The city’s ruins offer a glimpse into daily life, with remarkably preserved buildings, frescoes, and artifacts.

As you explore the remains of temples, baths, and villas, it’s easy to imagine what life was like before the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Camping nearby allows you to experience the tranquility of the site before the crowds arrive, and the stars above Pompeii make for a breathtaking night sky.

Campsite Facilities and Tips:
Camping options are available near Pompeii, offering convenient access to the archaeological site. While the amenities may be basic, the experience of waking up near ancient history is worth it.

Pro tip: When in Pompeii, try some traditional Italian pizza – it’s as timeless as the ruins.

3. Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico, USA

Prepare to be enchanted by the ancient wonders of Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. This UNESCO World Heritage site showcases the sophisticated Puebloan culture of the Southwest. The mesmerizing architecture and celestial alignments of its buildings will leave you in awe.

Discovering the Puebloan Culture of the Southwest: Chaco Culture was once a thriving center of Puebloan civilization, home to impressive multi-story buildings and an advanced astronomical knowledge. The Great Houses, including the famous Pueblo Bonito, stand as a testament to the engineering prowess and cultural significance of the ancient inhabitants.

Wandering through the intricate masonry and petroglyphs, you can’t help but wonder about the rituals, ceremonies, and daily life of the people who called Chaco Canyon home.

Campsite Facilities and Tips:
The park has several camping areas, and some offer pit toilets and picnic tables. Camping under the vast New Mexico sky allows you to connect with the natural beauty of the region and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage.

Pro tip: Gaze at the stars during clear nights – Chaco Culture is renowned for its spectacular night skies.

4. Bannerman Castle, New York, USA

For those seeking a historical camping experience with a touch of mystery, head to Bannerman Castle in New York. Perched on Pollepel Island, this enigmatic castle once served as a military surplus warehouse.

The ruins now offer a unique camping spot with a riveting history.

Camping with the Ghosts of a Military Arsenal:
Bannerman Castle’s imposing ruins rise from the island like a fairytale fortress. The castle’s purpose was to store surplus military equipment in the early 1900s, but it fell into disrepair after an explosion in the 1920s.

The castle’s haunting beauty adds an air of mystery and adventure to your camping experience.

As you explore the crumbling walls and turrets, you can’t help but wonder about the stories behind this forgotten castle.

Campsite Facilities and Tips:
Since the island is accessible by boat, be sure to check ferry schedules for a smooth trip. Camping on Pollepel Island is a truly unique experience, offering stunning views of the Hudson River.

Pro tip: Bring along a good ghost story book to immerse yourself in the eerie atmosphere.

5. Hadrian’s Wall, England, UK

Our next adventure takes us to the northern border of the Roman Empire – Hadrian’s Wall in England. This formidable wall stretches across the stunning countryside, and camping nearby allows you to walk in the footsteps of ancient Roman soldiers.

Camping Along the Roman Empire’s Northern Border:
Built by Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD, Hadrian’s Wall marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire in Britain. The wall’s construction showcased Roman engineering and military might and was designed to defend against northern invasions.

As you walk along the remnants of the wall, you’ll be transported back to a time of Roman legions, watchtowers, and military strategy.

Campsite Facilities and Tips:
Several campgrounds are available near Hadrian’s Wall, offering beautiful views of the countryside. Camping in this historic landscape gives you the opportunity to hike sections of the wall and visit nearby Roman forts.

Pro tip: Pack a mini Roman helmet – you never know when it’ll come in handy for a hilarious photo op.

6. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Illinois, USA

Travel back in time to the flourishing pre-Columbian city at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Illinois. Home to the largest prehistoric earthworks in the Americas, this site will pique your curiosity and wonder about the lives of the ancient Mississippian people.

Unraveling the Mysteries of an Ancient Native American Civilization:
Cahokia Mounds was once the center of an advanced civilization that thrived between 600 and 1400 AD. The site’s mounds served as ceremonial, political, and residential areas, providing a glimpse into the social structure and spiritual beliefs of the Mississippian culture.

Walking among the mounds, you can imagine the bustling activity of the city, with traders, artisans, and farmers contributing to its vibrant community.

Campsite Facilities and Tips:
Cahokia Mounds offers a campground with modern amenities, perfect for a comfortable stay. Camping here allows you to explore the site’s various mounds and learn about the people who called this place home.

Pro tip: Roast some marshmallows over the campfire while reminiscing about the city’s historical significance.

7. Battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA

History comes alive at the Battlefields of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. This significant site witnessed one of the bloodiest battles of the American Civil War. Camping here offers a profound connection to the past and an opportunity to honor those who fought for their beliefs.

Reliving the Pivotal Moments of the American Civil War:
The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the American Civil War, a conflict that defined the nation’s course. As you explore the battlefield, you’ll walk in the footsteps of soldiers who fought bravely for their ideals.

Visiting landmarks like Little Round Top and Cemetery Ridge brings the courage and sacrifice of those involved into sharp focus, fostering a deeper appreciation for the tumultuous history of the United States.

Campsite Facilities and Tips:
Campgrounds near Gettysburg offer a range of amenities, including showers and laundry facilities. Camping here allows you to attend guided tours, witness historical reenactments, and pay homage to the fallen soldiers at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

Pro tip: Visit the museum to delve deeper into the events that unfolded on these hallowed grounds.


As the embers of our campfire flicker, and the night sky twinkles above, we’ve completed our thrilling historical camping journey. These seven sites have offered us a glimpse into the past like no other adventure.

Remember, history isn’t just found in books; it’s etched into the landscapes waiting for us to discover.

So, pack your bags, put on your explorer’s hat, and venture forth into the captivating realm of historical camping. Embrace the adventure, make memories, and cherish the moments that connect you to the past and inspire your future explorations.

Quote of the day:

“The past is not dead; it is living in us, and will be alive in the future which we are now helping to make.” – William Morris

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