5 RV Destinations That You Should Seriously Consider Visiting in the Off-Season

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An RV in the mountains during off-season, avoiding the crowds

Visiting certain areas during the peak travel season can be a nightmare. You’ll often find yourself fighting traffic and standing in line once you arrive at an attraction.

This can be a miserable way to spend your time and lead to frustration. If you want to avoid crowds and make the most of your time during your RVing adventures, this article is for you!

Today, we’re sharing five RV destinations you should consider visiting in the off-season. Let’s dive in!

What Is Considered Off-Season Travel?

Off-season in the travel world refers to the time of year when crowds are the lowest. Many of the most popular tourist destinations have predictable patterns for gatherings.

However, the off-season for one tourist area may differ from the off-season for another destination.

In general, winter is often the lowest season for most locations due to weather conditions and the structure of the American education schedule. Most families schedule vacations to avoid educational conflicts.

On the other hand, due to extreme summer weather, particularly in desert areas, the off-season could also be the summer months.

Acadia National Park at sunset with no crowds overlooking the ocean

What Does Shoulder Season Mean?

While many travelers only consider peak and off-season, shoulder season can be an excellent time to visit many locations. Shoulder season refers to the period just before and after the peak season.

Visiting during this time often means fewer crowds and less predictability regarding weather.

Depending on the location, it may be a gamble regarding rainy seasons, heat, or even cooler temperatures. However, enjoying an area without fighting crowds can be worth it in many instances.

What Months Are Off-Season Or Shoulder Season?

Off-seasons and shoulder seasons often vary by location. The off-season will typically be November through March, and the shoulder season from April through mid-June.

Depending on where you plan to travel, you’ll want to check the travel patterns. A state like Florida has a very small off-season and shoulder season.

From the middle of fall until late spring, hordes of snowbird travelers flock from the north to escape the snow and cold temperatures. On the other hand, families often head south for vacations from spring break until the start of school in early fall.

Bryce Canyon National Park covered in snow

Perks Of Traveling During the Off-Season

We’ve found that traveling to certain areas during the off-season can be beneficial. If you plan to visit popular tourist areas, many attractions will have smaller crowds. This means less time waiting in line and battling traffic.

While traveling, we’ve also found that visiting during the off-season can be a more cost-effective option. Some businesses get creative when enticing potential customers.

Many campgrounds and other local companies will offer discounted pricing to customers during the off-season. This can allow you to enjoy almost the same experience at a fraction of the cost.

It’s no secret that we love to get out in the wilderness and adventure. Traveling during the off-season can allow you to experience some of the most epic hikes and landscapes without noisy hikers.

If you want to sit and enjoy the view without the noise, you stand a better chance during the off-season.

View of Yellowstone National Park during off-season

5 RV Destinations That You Should Seriously Consider Visiting in the Off-Season

There are many RV adventures that you can enjoy. However, we’ve selected five RV destinations that we think you should consider visiting during the off-season. Let’s get started! 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If your RV travel plans involve visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’d better come expecting crowds. This park welcomed over 14 million guests in 2021 and is easily the national park with the most visitors.

Whether you’re hoping to enjoy a quiet hike on a section of the Appalachian Trail or spot some wildlife, the massive crowds during the peak season can make it nearly impossible.

The area surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a famous year-round travel destination. Visiting during the “off-season” of January, February, and March will likely still be busy but not nearly the rest of the year.

Visiting during these months can give you the best shot of hiking or exploring without others ruining it for you.

The Florida Keys

Visiting the Florida Keys during peak season is highly expensive and off-the-charts crowded. Not only will you be battling costs and crowds, but also the Florida heat. If you’ve never experienced Florida’s humidity, it’s sweltering. The heat and humidity linger from March to April and don’t fade away until November.

Key West’s off-season runs from June to November, with September and November typically the cheapest months. You’ll have a much better chance of snagging one of the hard-to-get reservations at some of the best state parks in Florida. 

Keep in Mind: There’s a lot to do in the Florida Keys, so you need to plan ahead! Here’s how to plan an RV trip to the Florida Keys.

People on a boat in Florida Keys, avoiding the crowds during off-season

Grand Canyon National Park

You don’t want to make the mistake of visiting Grand Canyon National Park during the wrong season. The peak season for visitors to the Grand Canyon is July and August.

Not only do you want to avoid this due to the crowds, but temperatures can easily reach 100+ during these months. Save yourself the trouble and visit between April and June.

Person sitting on the edge of Grand Canyon National Park, avoiding the crowds during off-season

New England

A visit to any New England state can be an exciting adventure. However, New England’s peak season typically lasts from the 4th of July until Labor Day. Many outdoor activities will have crowds during these eight weeks, especially on weekends. The shoulder season in New England can be rather busy until the leaves change.

Depending on what you’re hoping to experience, visiting New England during the early winter months can be an ideal option. With most tourists leaving in September, you can still get the tail end of fall in October and November.

Just be sure to start your journey south before December. Some winters, they measure the amount of snow in feet instead of inches! When the weather cooperates, New England can be an excellent place to explore and adventure in your RV in the late fall.

A view of a New England lighthouse and the ocean during off-season

Yellowstone National Park

Another national park on many travel bucket lists is Yellowstone National Park. The park welcomed almost five million visitors in 2021. The busiest times occurred during May, June, July, and August.

While the park offers so much to see and do, visitors tend to build along the Grand Loop trail, Old Faithful, and Upper Geyser Basin. Finding a parking spot or seeing the Grand Prismatic Spring can be a gamble. You may need to arrive at the park very early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

However, it’s a must-see if you’ve never been to Yellowstone National Park. The incredible geysers, geological formations, and thermal pools are breathtaking. It isn’t easy to find anything else like it in the world.

If you don’t mind risking a little snow, we found visiting Yellowstone in late September or early October to be the best. While we did have to bundle up, we felt like we had the park to ourselves!

Keep in Mind: Yellowstone camping reservations can book up quickly! Check out these secrets to booking your Yellowstone camping reservations!

Which RV Destination Will You Visit Next?

You should make the most out of wherever your travels take you. Even if you run into crowds or traffic, embrace the adventure. The RV destinations we’ve shared are fantastic ways to explore some unique locations.

Don’t let anything stop you from experiencing them and making memories with your loved ones. However, visiting during certain times of the year makes it easier to enjoy than others.

What are some RV destinations on your travel list?

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