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While many people stick to camping during the summer, fall camping can be just as good. It may require some adjustments and more effort, but don’t overlook how exciting a fall camping trip can be for you and your loved ones.
Some excellent places country-wide are even better when you visit them in the fall.
So don’t pack up that camping gear when the temperatures start dropping. There’s still plenty of camping season left.
Let’s dive in!
Pros Fall Camping
There are many reasons we think you should embrace fall camping. First, cooler temperatures are a factor.
You may not be able to splash in the lake, and the campground pool may be closed for the season, but chilly weather makes it easier to enjoy camping.
Hiking in the summer can be challenging when battling elevation changes and the heat.
The chilly nights make your campfire more inviting while donning hooded sweatshirts and snuggling under blankets. Insects typically don’t like cold weather, so you won’t worry about swatting away annoying mosquitos and other flying insects.
However, the biggest pro of fall camping is fewer crowds. Many families get busy once school starts with sporting events and other activities, so camping is the last thing on their minds.
You may get a hard-to-snag campsite with a view or book a campground you’ve always wanted to visit.
Cons Fall Camping
While the changing leaves may be beautiful, they’re not the only things changing. Weather changes in the fall can be very unpredictable and make fall camping challenging.
You may hit the jackpot and get the perfect fall weekend; however, you could just as easily have an entire weekend of cold rain. Once the ground is soggy in the fall, it may not dry out until after your camping trip.
Another con of camping in the fall is that campsites might not be nearly as private. Trees and other vegetation providing privacy for camps will begin to lose their leaves.
As they do, they will slowly decrease the privacy a campsite might have. By late fall, a campsite might be entirely visible to others in the campground.
What to Take Camping in Fall?
If you’re planning a fall camping trip, you’ll want to bring some things. All of these items help keep you warm. Extra warm clothes, gloves, hats, blankets, and portable heaters will be essential.
The weather can be unpredictable, and temperatures may drop quickly at night. It’s better to have these items on hand and not need them than not to have them and spend your camping trip shivering.
It’s also best to pack rain gear. Fall in many parts of the country can be a rainy and wet season.
Since temperatures aren’t likely to get incredibly warm during the day, there’s a chance that once something gets wet, it will remain wet for the rest of your camping trip.
The Best Places in the US for Fall Camping
Let’s look at a few of the best places in the United States to enjoy fall camping. Some provide epic views of fall foliage; others are epic locations you’ll want to explore in cooler temperatures.
Let’s dive in!
Michigan’s Lower Peninsula
What’s Great About Fall Camping: If you’ve never experienced the fall foliage, there are few better places to do so for the first time than Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
The bright colors of the leaves paint the landscape in many colors. If you can find a campground on the lake or a body of water, seeing the leaves reflect off the calm waters only enhances the experience.
How Late Are Campgrounds Open: Many campgrounds in the Lower Peninsula remain open year-round. Fifteen of Michigan’s state park campgrounds are open all year for any campers willing to brave the cold.
However, not all campgrounds will be open. Some will close around the middle to the end of October to prepare for the harsh winters that Michigan typically experiences.
Things to Do: Fall in the Midwest means fall festivals, corn mazes, and apple picking. However, don’t wait too long into the season, or the experience won’t be nearly as grand.
It would be best if you also considered visiting Michigan’s Little Bavaria in Frankenmuth as they celebrate Oktoberfest. It’s a fun annual tradition with polka music, dancing, and beer.
What’s Great About Fall Camping: Moab is an incredible and exciting place to visit, but the summer heat can be intense. While the average August temperature for Moab hovers around 97 degrees Fahrenheit, the average high in October is 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
Which sounds like better camping and hiking weather to you? We’ll take a Moab fall any day! You can enjoy hiking and sightseeing around Moab without worrying about dehydrating.
How Late Are Campgrounds Open: The campgrounds in Moab are open year-round. You won’t have to worry about seasonal closures if you’re visiting Moab in the fall.
Things to Do: Fall is the perfect time to hike in the national parks or find a mountain biking trail.
What’s Great About Fall Camping: The Smoky Mountains are some of the most popular camping destinations in the country. The leaves change through the mountains and hills of East Tennessee and North Carolina. It is one of the best ways to experience fall foliage.
How Late Are Campgrounds Open: Most campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountain National Park will typically close at the end of October. However, there are a few campgrounds throughout the Smokies that remain open year-round.
Things to Do: It’s hard to beat the fall foliage in the Smokies. The changing leaves drive many visitors to this area in autumn.
If you want to experience southern hospitality, the Smokies are the perfect place for your fall camping trip.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
What’s Great About Fall Camping: Myrtle Beach is a hopping place for most summer months. A fall camping trip allows you to experience the area without the crowds and chaos.
If you want to stay close to the beach and walk without stepping over people, visit during the fall.
How Late Are Campgrounds Open: Most campgrounds in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, are open year-round.
The temperatures usually don’t spend much time below freezing, so campgrounds see a continual flow of traffic.
Things to Do: Once the tourists leave, the area comes alive for residents. The Fall Jerk Fest is at the start of October, the Myrtle Beach Bike Week Fall Rally is at the end of September, and Taste of the Town is in the middle of October.
Oregon Pacific Coast
What’s Great About Fall Camping: Oregon’s coast is gorgeous anytime. However, camping during the fall allows you to avoid the busy season.
You can visit the many famous attractions without navigating crowds, paying premium prices, or battling the weather.
How Late Are Campgrounds Open: Many Oregon campgrounds, especially along the coast, will begin to close for the season at the end of October.
This helps them protect their infrastructures against the cold weather typical during the winter months.
Things to Do: Oregon has many breweries, and the fall provides the perfect weather to explore them. You’ll likely find that many breweries have outdoor seating and yard games to play.
While these may not have been your first choice during the summer, the cooler temperatures make them more inviting.
Keep in Mind: Before your camping trip in Oregon, you’ll need to know these 10 Mistakes People Make While Camping in Oregon!
What’s Great About Fall Camping: Pennsylvania is another place that radically transforms during the fall. The leaves paint the landscapes with a new and exciting look.
You’ll find incredible views to enjoy while you walk or hike anywhere in the state.
How Late Are Campgrounds Open: Many campgrounds in Pennsylvania are seasonal.
They’ll typically close in the middle or end of October and open again in the spring.
Things to Do: Not only do the changing leaves bring new life to the area during the fall, but so do the many fall festivals and activities.
Visit Pumpkinland Festival at Linvilla Orchards from mid-September through the beginning of November, Highland Orchards Fall Apple Festival, or walk along the massive Hellerick’s Family Farm in Doylestown.
What’s Great About Fall Camping: While some places claim to provide the best views of the fall foliage, New England is the place to go.
The colors are crisp and bright, unlike anywhere else on the planet. There are some incredibly scenic drives, making for a relaxing journey through some of the most vibrant fall colors in the country.
How Late Are Campgrounds Open: Due to the extreme winters in New England, many campgrounds in this region will start to close in the middle of October and reopen at the beginning of May.
Things to Do: If you want to experience the fall foliage from a new perspective, take a hot air balloon ride. Experiencing the bright colors from such a unique view will be something you will never forget.
Take a drive along Vermont’s Route 100, which many people feel is the most scenic drive in New England.
You can experience more than 200 miles of changing leaves and mountain views while driving through some of the most adorable New England villages.
Pro Tip: The perfect fall day calls for a hike! Luckily, New England has 10 beautiful options for a Fall Hike!
Don’t Skip the Joys of Fall Camping in the US
We understand that life gets crazy as summer changes to fall. However, take the time to build a fall camping trip into your schedule.
Make it a priority to experience the changing seasons from a campsite.
Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, taking one last camping trip before you call it quits for the camping season can be an excellent way to say goodbye to summer and welcome fall and the soon-to-be holiday season.
Where will you be camping this fall?