Fall Camping a Weekend Get-Away for the Family
Everyone thinks of camping as the ultimate outdoor activity for June, July and August. Every year thousands of families enter campgrounds of all shapes and sizes to enjoy swimming, biking, hiking, kayaking, and a host of other recreational opportunities. But even though there are fewer adventurers heading out, many campgrounds stay open into the fall (or even winter, for those few hardy souls!) months. With fewer crowds and plenty of nice weather, fall camping can be a great low-cost weekend get-away for the whole family.
Depending on where you live, many state parks are open past the peak summer season weeks. Often these camping sites can be rented on a daily or weekly basis right online, and there’s less competition for prime spots. However, if you’re going on a spontaneous camping weekend retreat, you will likely find that there are vacancies available on a walk-in basis, even at campgrounds that have waiting lists in the summer. Just be sure to do a quick check ahead of time to be sure that walk-ins are accepted at the campground you’re visiting. You may be able to get the space you’ve always wanted at your favorite park!
Private campgrounds are another option to consider for a late-season adventure. Many private campgrounds have extra amenities to keep kids entertained, such as game rooms, playgrounds, and special activities. Since fall camping means fewer visitors, it’s likely there will be fewer kids at the campground for your children to make friends with; having extra things to do a the campground may be a bonus for your trip. Check online or with the local department of tourism to get a listing of campgrounds in your area and the amenities they offer.
When you’ve decided on where to go, it’s important to remember that there are a few extra issues you need to think about before you head out. First, late season fall camping can bring colder temperatures and unexpected weather. In the fall the temperatures can fluctuate wildly between day and evening, and storms can bring cold, wet weather into your camping plans. Being prepared with appropriate clothing, rain gear, bedding and food choices (warm meals are good plans for chilly nights) is important. Even if you generally use a tent to camp, you may choose to use a travel trailer in case of bad weather. It’s important to note that amenities within the campground, such as toilet or shower facilities, may be closed later in the season, too. It’s a good idea to check in with the office or ranger station for the campground to see if there are any special pieces of information you should be aware of when coming late in the season.
Also, if you’re going into an area with local attractions, some attractions close earlier in the season than the campgrounds do. Financially some businesses can’t afford to remain open with fewer guests paying their fees. To help work around that, plan trips to areas that have natural attractions or indoor attractions (theses are also great in case of foul weather) open year round. Most businesses are listed online, and fall and winter hours of operation are often posted for visitors. Be sure to check to see if the things you want to see and visit will be open when you’ll be in the area.
Fall camping can be one of the most restful, relaxing, and peaceful vacation experiences for a whole family to enjoy. By doing a little research and having an adventurous spirit, you can have a fantastic fall vacation in a way that is Positively Green!
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