We all like to camp to get back to nature. As you sit outside at the campground, you may see chipmunks and squirrels. Deer, raccoons, and armadillos are often seen on a hike.

Most state and national parks are havens for all types of animals but some have an outstanding variety of wild animals within their border or their animals can be more easily seen by the casual camper.

Note: These are wild animals. Please keep a safe distance!

A herd of bison grazing.

Yellowstone National Park

This is a great park for viewing large animals. Bison herds are easily seen from your car and may cross the road right in front of you.

A group of cars pulled over along the road is a sign that someone spotted an animal like an elk. Other animals include bears, bighorn sheep, bobcats, coyotes, moose, mountain goats, mountain lions, deer, wolves, and fox.

Of course, the tremendous views, hot springs, and geysers just add to the enjoyment of this park.

A bison strolling through Theodore Roosevelt campground.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

If you want to see bison without the crowds of Yellowstone, this park in North Dakota is truly amazing. During our visit, a bison walked through our campsite!

You might see a bison slide down the steep sides and cross the nearby river. It is always enjoyable to watch prairie dogs pop out of their holes in the prairie dog towns at several locations in the park.

Mule deer, white-tail deer, jack rabbits, and wild horses are all frequently seen either from a car ride or a hike. Other animals include elk, pronghorns, coyotes, bobcats, and porcupines. Of course, visit the badland section of the park, too.

Alligators enjoy the sun on Anhinga Trail.

Everglades National Park

Everyone should visit the Everglades at least once in your life. The Anhinga Trail and Shark Valley is chock full of alligators right along the trail.

On a drive along Tamiami Trail, I saw around 100 alligators from the RV. You can see crocodiles and manatees at the Flamingo section of the park.

Take advantage of the terrific ranger programs with an evening walk on the Anhinga Trail and the talks on the crocodiles and manatees. Don’t worry, the park is full of python snakes but people rarely seem them. This is also a great park for birding.

A bobcat behind our RV.

Choke Canyon State Park

I hesitate to mention this one since it seems to be a secret treasure in Texas. We have been to a lot of parks and seen a lot of animals, but this park has a great variety and the animals are easily seen.

We’ve seen deer, turkey, javelinas, armadillos, rabbits, coyotes, bobcats, squirrels, turtles, bats, and many species of birds. The deer and turkeys are normally seen every day in the campground but we’ve also seen bobcats and javelina walk through our own campsite.

We haven’t seen an alligator but we hear they are frequently seen in the park. While you are here, enjoy the hikes and the fishing at this park. Birding is also extremely popular here.

Honorable Mention

  • Caprock Canyons State Park in Texas has a herd of bison. You may have to wait for them to pass just to get to the campgrounds. The prairie dogs are also fun to watch.
  • Brazos Bend State Park in Texas is great for birding but especially great for alligators. Take a walk around Elm Lake for guaranteed sightings.
  • Crooked River State Park in Georgia has plenty of gopher tortoises all other the park. These tortoises are mentioned in many parks but rarely seen by the casual camper. Here they are frequently found slowing walking through the campground or along the road.
  • St. Andrews State Park in Florida has herds of deer that can be easily seen from the campgrounds or along the roads. The birds and sea life can also be exciting.
  • Catalina State Park in Arizona has plenty of javelinas and coyotes along with some amazing hiking trails.
  • The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma is home to easily seen prairie dogs, deer, coyote, longhorn cattle, elk, and bison.