The crisp air, golden leaves and the waning sunshine of the year, make fall one of the best times of the year to get outside and camp without fighting summer crowds. Read on to discover the best places to camp across the country this season.
Written by Caroline Hughes
Acadia National Park, Maine
Rugged Acadia National Park, with its rocky coastline and granite peaks, is an East Coast camp site unlike any other. The park is home to trees, abundant wildlife, and the highest point on the Atlantic Coast. You will hear waves crashing and birds signing as you hike along the coast. The nearby town of Bar Harbor is a good place to stock up on last minute supplies, and is also an idyllic destination to explore all on its own.
Arches National Park, Utah
The landscape in Arches National Park feels otherworldly. The park contains over 2,000 natural sandstone arches which give way to extensive hiking trails and consistently spectacular desert camping. Yucca, cacti and desert wildflowers make up the landscape of this adventure playground. Moab is just a few miles away – making it a perfect stop for any last minute supplies.
Assateague Island, Maryland
What is better than camping on the beach? Select a camping spot on Assateague Island National Seashore and you’ll be able to do just that. The stunning beaches, marshes and forests make way for hiking trails and uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean. Soak all this in while watching the famous wild horses roam free and frolic at the water’s edge.
Lake McDonald, Montana
At 10 miles long and nearly 500 feet deep, Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park. Once occupied by the park’s namesake – glaciers, this area has been carved out by glaciers over thousands of years, and now is filled with hiking trails, gorgeous vistas and a and abundance of wildlife. Lake McDonald will take your breath away. Make it your home base for a night or weekend as you explore all beauty the park has to offer.
Mongollon Rim, Arizona
Mongollon Rim stretches across the Coconino National Forest and at some parts drops off nearly 2,000 feet, giving way to gorgeous views. The expansive area above the Coconino National Forest makes for excellent hiking, but the real highlight is enjoying the sunset from your campsite and start-gazing from this spectacular vantage point.
Olympic National Park, Washington
The towering ancient trees make Olympic National Park a magical place to pitch your tent. The temperate climate makes this an inviting spot for late-season camping on the west coast. Hike to your heart’s content – miles and miles of trails will lead you to waterfalls and alpine lakes – and then return to your campsite to relax to the sounds of the old growth forest.
Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
Waterfalls abound and lush greenery set the stage for hiking, biking and good fishing in this park surrounding Asheville, North Carolina. If you are bold enough to brave the dropping temperatures you can also find secluded swimming spots to enjoy during your stay.
Watchman Campground – Zion National Park, Utah
Cream, pink and red cliffs collide with the brilliant blue sky in Zion National Park. Watchman Campground is the place to base your adventures to enjoy these gorgeous colors, the impressive monoliths and the dazzling sunset. You can easily take a nearby shuttle from the campground to par-take in the many activities Zion offers – including trails to hike and bike through this stunning park.
Whitewater State Park, Minnesota
Camp right on the river to make the most of the excellent trout fishing in Whitewater State Park. Brown, brook, and rainbow trout are plentiful in the Whitewater River and Trout Run Creek. Located in the southeastern bluff lands area of Minnesota, rocky limestone bluffs, deep ravines, and scenic overlooks make Whitewater State Park a fun area to explore.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone sits on one of the most active volcanic hot spots in the country. There are hundreds of geysers to explore in the park – and don’t miss the most iconic geyser of them all – Old Faithful. Spend the day hiking in pursuit of spotting the extensive wildlife, and then relax in the hot springs before retiring to your campsite for a night of star-gazing.