For some, Labor Day is the unofficial end to camping season. However, fall camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. As the leaves change, many national parks and campgrounds offer beautiful scenery and the cooler weather makes fall a great time for outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. Here’s our top picks for great fall camping.
Why camp in the fall?
Throughout the summer, popular campsites are often packed with travlers and campers. But in the fall, most campgrounds are less crowded and you won’t have to deal with pesky bugs like mosquitos. If you’re not sure where to go camping in the fall, read on. Here are my favorite fall camping destinations across the US.
Places for great fall camping
1. Pawtuckaway State Park Campground, New Hampshire
If you’re looking for a place to camp and hike in the northeast, Pawtuckaway State Park campground is a great fall camping spot. There is mountain biking, boating, swimming, and fishing available. Many of the campsites offer views of lake, which is beautiful as the leaves start to change in the fall.
2. Indian Cave, Nebraska
Indian Cave has 22 miles of hiking trails in the park and fall is a great time to explore the beautiful surroundings. The park hosts a number of events for campers each fall, including an RV decorating contest around Halloween. This year’s contest runs weekends in October and winners are posted at the park entrance each Sunday.
3. Allegany State Park, New York
Known for the mountain bike trails and cross-country skiing, Allegany State Park is a great fall camping destination. There are five miles of paved trails around Red House, one of the developed areas within the national park. Plus, if you visit during late fall and it’s a bit chilly for a tent, they have more than 150 winterized cabins.
4. First Landing State Park, Virginia
Open year-round, the site of the first landing of settlers to Virginia has a lot to offer campers. It’s within minutes of many of the Virginia Beach tourist attractions and has 1.25 miles of beachfront. First Landing holds a Fall Harvest Festival each year in October with candle making demonstrations, pumpkin carving, kids’ games, and special exhibits. They also have night hikes and hayrides available.
5. Chatfield State Park, Colorado
This Denver-area park has abundant wildlife and is known for views of beautiful rolling foothills. Fall is a great time to visit Chatfield State Park to see the leaves changing and enjoy the crisp weather while hiking on the miles of trails throughout the park. All of the nearly 200 campsites are within walking distance to the lake.
6. Del Valle Regional Park, California
Del Valle Regional Park is surrounded by more than 4,000 acres of land that is perfect for hiking, horseback riding, and enjoy scenic views. It is also the gateway to the Ohlone Wilderness Trail, nearly 30 miles of back country trail. This Northern California park is conveniently located near Oakland and Berkeley. Or, go a little further and you can enjoy a drive through wine country in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
7. Chula Vista, CA
We’ve added a seventh mention to our list because we just came back from a four-day trip camping in San Diego. We visited San Diego in the off season (fall) and had a blast camping. We had great weather and avoided the crowds. It’s close to the beaches and to the incredible San Diego attractions.
If you’re planning a fall camping trip, remember nights can get cold. Be sure to pack plenty of warm clothes for layering and add a warmer liner to your summer sleeping bag.
Where are your great fall camping spots? Where are your favorite campsites?