Stunning foliage and the slightest chill in the air can only mean one thing, its fall! Some might think fall means football games, pumpkin spice lattes, and flannels, but if you want to truly experience fall, there is no better way than to partake in some camping. This rustic activity is not only a great way to reconnect with nature, but it’s an opportunity to unplug from the real world and reconnect with those who matter most—your family or loved one.
Whether you’re after stunning fall foliage, some tasty s’mores or simply fresh air and zero cell reception, these fall camping destinations will provide stunning views, adventure, and unforgettable memories.
Best New England Fall Camping Destination: Acadia National Park
If you are looking for fall camping destinations in New England, Acadia National Park will easily top the list. This fall camping spot is located in Maine at one of the highest points of the east coast. Not only will you have absolutely stunning views when summiting Cadillac Mountain, you can also view the “nation’s first sunrise” during the fall. On clearer days, you might even be able to score views of mountain peaks in Nova Scotia and beyond. The great thing about Acadia National Park—aside from the breathtaking scenery and awesome hiking—is that there are so many camping options and locations throughout the park. You can utilize tents, RVs, pop-ups, and there are even cabins and cottages for those interested in ‘glamping’ instead.
Top East Coast Seaside Camping Destination: Assateague Island Campgrounds
The Assateague Island Campgrounds provide a fall camping experience unlike any other. That is because Assateague Island, a barrier island located in Maryland, is home to bands of wild horses and sprawling beaches. Camp sites are generally $30 to $50 per night and they can accommodate RVs. It is important to note that this barrier island can suffer from harsher elements than most camping sites, so you’ll need to be prepared and bring firewood that is locally purchased, insect repellant, sunscreen, screen tents, and long tent stakes to protect your tent from sand and wind. From kayaking, bird-watching, dolphin-watching, and more, adventure awaits you at this fall camping spot.
Top Fall Camping Spots in the Midwest: Canyonlands National Park & Routt National Park
There are plenty of great fall camping spots in the Midwest. Routt National Park is one of them. Located in Colorado near Steamboat Springs, this fall camping spot will give you a little slice of heaven in the Rocky Mountains. During the fall, the Aspen Trees will sport stunning colored foliage for your hikes and the nearby Strawberry Park Hot Springs boasts 104-degree mineral water to warm you up from the crisp mountain air.
Canyonlands National Park in Utah is another great spot for fall camping in the Midwest. You won’t find colorful trees at this camping site, but you will have endless canyons to explore instead. This truly is a view you won’t find elsewhere. At this site, you’ll see towering rock formations and ancient rock paintings unlike anything else. You can explore this site by foot, horseback, mountain bike, or SUV. When you’re ready to kick your feet up and relax, check into one of the two rustic—and yes, we mean RUSTIC—campgrounds, The Needles or Island in the Sky. You can expect to pay $15 to $20 a night and reservations are limited, so be sure to book in advance!
Can’t Miss West Coast Fall Camping Destinations: Joshua Tree State Park, Big Sur & Crater Lake National Park
If salty sea air is on your must-have list for fall camping, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in California is one to consider. The park, simply called Big Sur by most, offers scenic views from dramatic cliffs and gorgeous bluffs sitting high above the sparkling Pacific Ocean waters. If you are looking for a place to relax and escape hectic city life, Big Sur is the fall camping spot for you. This camping site is extremely popular though, so it’s best to book 6 months in advance.
Also located in southeast California, Joshua Tree State Park is another top fall camping destination on the west coast. This site is where two desert ecosystems—the Colorado and Mojave—meet and that’s why you’ll find a wide variety of plants and animals in these lands. Not only will you see surreal geologic features here, there is also a wide variety of camping sites available, each with a unique atmosphere. Sites can be as low as $15 per night and during the peak months, all campsites are first come, first served. That’s why fall is such a great time to camp at Joshua Tree State Park because June through September, you can reserve a site ahead of time.
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is another top west coast fall camping spot. Located in Oregon, Crater Lake is the country’s deepest—and coldest—lake. Swimming isn’t all Crater Lake National Park provides though, as there are also great hiking destinations throughout. Keep in mind that fall in Oregon doesn’t last too long, and most campsites like the Mazama and Lost Creek are only open until early or mid-October. You can also partake in some backcountry camping by permit, but those are typically only available through the month of September.
So, where to? Will you hit up the best west coast camping spots or try your luck in New England at Acadia National Park? In reality, the great thing about camping is that you don’t even have to leave your backyard if you don’t want! Simply pitch a tent, stoke up a fire, and enjoy.