Travel Tips

9 Reasons Why Fall Is the Best Time to Camp

The dog days of summer are over. Autumn has arrived! And along with it, brisk winds, gorgeous foliage, and all the hot cider and comfort food you can handle.

What better time to break out of the camping tent. Here are nine reasons why fall is the best time to camp, from fewer crowds that make it easier to find dry camping sites to colorful fall foliage for leaf-peepers and photographers.

The Crisp, Cool Weather

The crisp, cool weather of autumn is one of the best things about the season. Taking a deep breath of cold air into the lungs is good for the mind, body, and soul. But as you can see, listed below, the cold temps bring lots of other advantages, too.

Camping in cooler temps also makes camping with dogs easier. You don’t have to worry about Fido overheating like he would on a summer day.

While it’s easy for humans to shed layers, a dog with a thick coat of fur prefers a bit of a breeze. Not to mention, cuddling up with your pup inside the tent on a crisp, fall morning is just heavenly.

It’s Easier to Keep Food Cold

Cool weather makes it a lot easier to keep food cold. You won’t be going through multiple bags of ice in a single weekend, wasting time running back and forth to the gas station each day.

Instead, the cold air might reach the high 70s by peak day and then cool off again overnight, possibly enough to refreeze the ice.

Still, whether you camp in summer or fall, it’s a wise idea to get a rugged cooler with wheels with long-lasting ice retention to transport foods and drinks to your site.

Colorful Fall Foliage

If you are a leaf-peeper, fall is the best time to camp for obvious reasons. As the leaves turn their vibrant colors, you can take in some of the most impressive sceneries.

Whether you head to the northeast and camp in New England states like Vermont or New Hampshire or head to the west where Colorado’s birch are peeping through, you will discover all sorts of awe-inspiring views.

Camping in fall is also a great time for landscape photographers — or any kind of nature photographer, really — with fewer crowds to get in the way of their shots. 

Lighter Crowds

As mentioned, one of the major advantages of camping in the fall is the lack of crowds. Sure, you might come across a packed campground near a lake holding a fishing tournament or a marathon where anglers and runners need a place to crash, but on the whole, you will find campgrounds to be relatively quiet.

Meeting fellow camping enthusiasts is one fun part of camping, but sometimes it can be overwhelming, especially when trails become overpopulated. So if you prefer some solitude while camping, go in the fall.

More Site Availability

After summer, when kids head back to school and vacations are through, campgrounds can open up a good bit. If you struggle to find a site in the summer months during peak camping season, aim for the fall instead.

Check availability after the Labor Day weekend and consecutive weeks. This is about the time that crowds begin to diminish and campgrounds become a bit more peaceful and quiet. Fall months might even offer reduced rates or offer walk-up sites on a first-come, first-served basis.

As long as you are flexible and can take your vacation outside major holidays, the fall is the best time to camp, especially if you appreciate the sounds of nature instead of noisy neighbors.

Less Pesky Bugs and Insects

Once the weather begins to cool off, you will find fewer bugs and mosquitos. Chilly fall air will make them head into hibernation, leaving you insect-repellent-free, offering several advantages.

For starters, you can leave your rainfly off or even choose to fall asleep in a hammock without worrying about what will make its way inside.

Of course, keep bug spray packed just in case, but for the most part, you can enjoy a bug-free campsite during the cooler fall temps.

Piping-Hot Meals and Drinks

Cooking in a cast-iron Dutch oven is a lot of fun and a must-know for camping enthusiasts. However, it’s hard to appreciate most piping-hot Dutch oven meals in the dead heat of a summer afternoon.

So instead, save that little gem for camping in the fall. From breakfasts to dinners and desserts, hot meals can warm your body up thoroughly.

For breakfasts, consider a potato hash with sizzling bacon and eggs. And for dinners, think spicy chili and cornbread or a pot of venison stew to really stick to your ribs and warm you up.

Even if you are backpacking, a package of warm oatmeal for breakfast and a dehydrated bag of quick noodles offer a soothing meal to warm you up.

Don’t forget all the coffee, hot chocolate, and apple cider you can carry!

Deep Sleep

Struggling to sleep? Camping can reset your circadian rhythm in a jiffy. If you don’t enjoy a sauna-like tent in the summer months, fall is the best time to camp.

With chillier nights that make you want to bundle up in a down-filled sleeping bag as you drift to sleep after a piping hot meal by the bonfire, you will find the best sleep of your life. Crisp fresh air opens up your lungs, too.  

Fall-Festive Activities

Another reason why fall is the best time to camp? All the fall-festive activities. Nothing says fall like apple-picking or a visit to the pumpkin patch to pick out your Jack-o’-Lantern.

Research the local area ahead of time and find an orchard that offers a pick-your-own system. It’s a fun activity for kids and adults alike. Oktoberfests also offer an amazingly fun time for adults who want to partake in a pint or two.

Campgrounds might also host their own activities. Check into the calendar of events. You might find anything from stargazing to fall fishing tournaments to marathons.

Sometimes, campgrounds even offer their own fall festival with hayrides and autumn-related activities.

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