What Is the Busiest Camping Weekend?

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A busy campground filled with RVs

You can make some unforgettable memories during a weekend camping adventure. Unfortunately, those memories may not be overly positive if you book your trip during one of the busiest camping weekends.

Some weekends are notorious for bringing out the chaos in a campground. The noise level gets cranked up to 11, and it feels like people swarm everywhere.

If you like peace and quiet, you should avoid camping on these busy weekends. So what is the busiest camping weekend of all? Let’s find out!

When Is Camping Season?

Unfortunately, camping season varies based on the location and climate of an area. Camping season runs from late spring until mid-fall for much of the United States.

However, locations like Florida, Arizona, and Texas have their peak camping season in the winter due to the warmer climates in the south.

Camping season in some areas means increased crowds and premium prices for camping reservations. You may even encounter rules and regulations requiring you to book a certain amount of nights, especially during prime holiday weekends.

Some campgrounds around the country remain open year-round. However, they may not offer all the services or amenities during their off-season. On the other hand, camping during the off-season can mean fewer crowds and potentially cheaper camping fees.

What Is the Busiest Camping Weekend?

The busiest camping weekend in the United States is typically the last weekend of May, Memorial Day weekend. For many families, this three-day weekend marks the start of summer vacation. They use it as an opportunity to camp with their friends, family, and other loved ones.

Depending on the campground, you may need to book your site several months in advance. Those trying to snag multiple or neighboring sites may need to make reservations six to 12 months before their trip. If you choose to camp during this crazy weekend, best of luck!

Other Busy Camping Weekends

While Memorial Day is a busy weekend, it’s not the only chaotic weekend for camping.

A handful of other weekends can get a little crazy in campgrounds. Let’s see what other times of the year you might want to consider avoiding during your adventures.

Fourth of July Weekend

Another busy weekend for camping is the Fourth of July weekend. Many people get Friday or Monday off from work, depending on when the holiday falls.

This means three free days for families to get out, spend time together, and celebrate America.

With summer heat arriving and pools open, summer is in full swing. It’s the perfect opportunity to soak up some sun and enjoy s’mores around a campfire. However, expect premium prices for camping reservations and area attractions.

A boy camping with his family during Fourth of July

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day marks the official end of summer for most of the country. Some school districts wait to return from summer vacation until after this holiday weekend. 

As a result, many campers use it as an opportunity to say goodbye to summer. They’ll soon return to the grind of school or sports schedules controlling their lives.

Camping on Labor Day weekend can be challenging in some parts of the country as temperatures may already trend downward. It may be too cold to swim in lakes or swimming pools by this point. However, it can be the perfect temperature for gathering around a campfire to stay warm.

Halloween Weekend

One popular camping weekend, especially with families, is Halloween weekend. It’s an excuse for anyone looking to book a campsite and spend time with their loved ones. 

Some campers make the weekend an annual tradition. However, not everyone can participate, as seasonal campgrounds tend to have closed by the end of October.

Some campgrounds will hold costume contests and encourage campers to decorate their campsites. Some sites we’ve seen are beyond incredible and add to the experience. Campgrounds tend to have a completely different vibe on Halloween weekends.

During Local Festivals or Events

Unfortunately, you may arrive at a campground and discover it’s insanely busy.

This is especially true if you book a site in an unfamiliar area. For example, Indiana’s Parke County Covered Bridge Festival is a mid-October tradition for many. As a result, area campgrounds can fill up quickly and charge premium prices.

If you plan to go camping in an unfamiliar area, look for area events. You don’t want to arrive and discover that you’re camping next to a massive music festival or in the town with a big rivalry game. It could ruin the experience for you and your family.

A busy campground at a music festival

Tips for Camping During Busy Weekends

We have some tips for you if you’re still not convinced to avoid camping during busy weekends. Following these tips will help you to have a fun and memorable weekend with your loved ones.

Make Reservations Early

If you plan on camping during these busy weekends, you better plan as early as possible. Some campgrounds accept reservations a year or more in advance. 

However, other campgrounds may open their reservation systems on a specific date. If so, you must know when and set a calendar reminder, so you don’t forget.

Plan Your Arrival/Departure Wisely

Most campers will roll in on Friday and depart on Sunday or Monday during most busy weekends.

Unfortunately, this can mean long lines when checking in and at the dump station on your way out of the campground. However, it’s possible to avoid the stresses of these long lines.

If you can arrive a day or two early or stay a day or two later, you can have a much smoother arrival and departure. Waiting in a long line at the dump station isn’t the best way to end a memorable trip.

Keep in Mind: Life can be unpredictable! If you end up arriving to your campground late, follow these Tips for a Late-Night Arrival

Be Flexible

Camping during a busy weekend will require some flexibility. You may not get the specific campsite you want, or the shower house may be further than you like. However, at least you still get to camp. Right?

Flexibility will be important if camping with friends or family. Only a few things will ruin a trip faster than someone that can’t adjust to change. You may have to adjust your plan based on the weather or other circumstances beyond your control.

A campground sign

Bring Your Patience

Don’t forget to pack your patience when camping on a busy weekend. As we said, there’s a good chance that everything will take longer.

Busy weekends can test the efficiency of a campground’s check-in and check-out procedures. Unfortunately, some are better at handling them than others.

If you struggle with patience, consider arriving as early as possible and staying as late as possible. This will help you avoid the crowded and frustrating situations that can send someone lacking patience into a rage.

Keep in Mind: 2023 is the year of travel! If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, then you’ll need to avoid These Destinations that Will Be Overrun With Tourists

Follow Campground Rules

Following the campground rules is important no matter when you go camping, but especially during busy weekends. Remember to obey quiet times, keep your dogs on a leash, and clean up messes. 

If you do, you’ll likely have an uneventful weekend, and the camp host and management won’t know your name at the end of your trip.

A campground’s rules aren’t suggestions. You and the other campers need to follow them. No matter how special you think you are, you’re not the exception to these rules. 

If you step out of line, you could find yourself on the losing end of a heated discussion with an angry camp host or campground manager.

Is Camping During a Busy Weekend Worth It?

There’s never a bad time to go camping. However, camping during a busy weekend can be challenging in some circumstances.

Camping with a large crowd can leave you feeling crowded, making it hard to enjoy some of the campground’s amenities. Choose your camping weekends wisely and know what you’re getting into when making a reservation.

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