Camping in the summer is great. It's warm and sunny and the kids are off from school. But popular destinations can be jam packed with other campers. Sometimes, you can't reserve a spot at the place you really want to visit.
Camping in the Fall requires a little extra consideration on the weather side of things. But you won't have to worry about sites being booked for months in advance. The following campgrounds are still accessible, still beautiful (sometimes, even more so), and much less crowded when you visit after the peak season.
1. Watchman Campground, Zion National Park
Image from The Dyrt user Amanda D.
Snag a picture perfect view of the "The Watchman," a peak of red rock that towers over this popular Utah Park, from the opening of your tent at The Watchman Campground. The low elevation of Zion National Park keeps temperatures mild into the fall and winter, so waiting for the crushing crowds to leave for the summer is a smart move. The park does occasionally see snow, so keep your eye on the weather.
2. Burlington-Humboldt State Park, California
Image from The Dyrt user Joseph L.
Feel humbled by the presence of giant trees. Camping in The Redwoods should be on everyone's outdoor bucket list. This campground is a convenient stop for a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway, and it'll put you smack in the middle of the awe-inspiring redwood trees. You'll definitely need reservations in the summer time, but crowds thin out in the fall, and temperatures are relatively mild.
3. Manzanita Campground, Arizona
Image from The Dyrt user Irene L.
Exploring Arizona in the summer can be a drag. Despite the beauty of the red rocks and the endless desert landscapes, the heat can be unbearable. But fall or winter can mean cooler temperatures and fewer people crowding the most popular campgrounds, like Manzanita.
Manzanita Campground sits on Oak Creek, in the expansive Oak Creek Canyon. The campground is open year-round, and it's much easier to snag a site in the fall or winter months. You'll be just a short drive from Sedona, and surrounded by the Arizona desert colors.
4. Falls Creek State Park, Tennessee
The 256-foot waterfall is the main attraction at Falls Creek State Park. But when the leaves start to change, the landscape around the falls becomes even more beautiful. While the swimming options might be a little chilly this time of year, the 34 miles of hiking through fall foliage will make up for it.
5. Jumbo Rocks Campground, California
The bizarre landscape of Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park is a nature photographer's dream come true. The boulder towers provide shade and block the wind with their towering forms, casting strange shadows as the sunsets. Jumbo Rocks is one of the most popular campgrounds in the country. Luckily, fall provides a break from the crowds. The night sky above Jumbo Rocks is a breathtaking one. Break for a weekday in the fall and you might have it all to yourself.
Summer might be over, but that shouldn't mean camping has to end. This fall, embrace the changing colors, the cooler temperatures, and the relaxing atmosphere of quieter campgrounds.