8 Stunning Fall Camping Destinations in the US

Aug 31, 2021 | News

8 Stunning Fall Camping Destinations in the US

By Sara Sheehy

Summer may be coming to a close, but that only means that we are entering what is arguably the most spectacular camping season—fall. What makes fall camping so special? Where are the best fall camping destinations? Let’s find out.

Campsite covered in yellow fall trees.

Killbear Provincial Park | Carling, ON, Canada – Photo by: Margot Bai

Why Camp in the Fall?

Fall is a wonderful season for camping. Here are just a few of the reasons why we love it so much.

Fewer People: With kids back in school, many (but not all!) families have wrapped up their big camping trips for the year. Fewer people traveling in the fall means a quieter experience at the campground, on the trails, and at the visitor center.

Perfect Weather: While not every fall day is perfect, the mix of warm days and cool nights can make for ideal camping conditions. Shorts during the day and a cozy sleeping bag at night? Yes, please.

Bug-Free Bliss: Those cool nights have another purpose beyond comfortable sleeping—they help to keep the bugs away, too. Cold-blooded bugs, like mosquitoes, hibernate or die off when the temperatures start to dip below 60 degrees.

Fall Foliage: As the natural world gets itself ready for winter, deciduous trees like oaks, maples, beeches, and aspens drop their leaves…but not before producing a vibrant show of color that paints the landscape.

With so many reasons to experience fall camping, where shall you go? Below are eight gorgeous fall camping destinations.

RV with awning out overlooking green field and mountans.

Skyline Wilderness Park | Napa, CA – Photo by: TouringNomad

Napa Valley, California

Fall is the harvest season at Napa Valley’s famous vineyards, and it’s the perfect time to tap into the celebration of winemaking. From August to October, you’ll find something to do around every corner in Napa Valley, including events, tours, parties, classes, and even the opportunity to take part in the harvest.

Camping options in Napa Valley include Skyline Wilderness Park, Napa Valley Expo RV Park, and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park.

Airstream with bikes out parked near sand dunes at the beach.

Oceanside Campground | Berlin, MD – Photo by: Trekerboy

Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland

In the mid-Atlantic, fall ushers in cooler weather, less crowded beaches, and beautiful autumn colors in coastal marshes. Assateague Island National Seashore offers up a spectacular fall camping experience, with quieter campgrounds and tree-crowned dunes.

Oceanside and Bayside campgrounds are well-known destinations within the national park but don’t overlook the camping at nearby Assateague State Park.

Fifth wheel surrounded by trees, mountains and a lake.

Jordanelle State Park | Heber City, UT – Photo by: ketah777

Park City, Utah

There is nothing like an American West mountain town in the fall. Autumn comes early at these high elevations, but the experience of warm days, cool nights, and an explosion of orange leaves in the aspen trees make these towns worth seeking out.

Park City is one such destination. Located less than an hour from Salt Lake City, this mountain-ringed outpost is more accessible than most. Check out Jordanelle State Park and River’s Edge at Deer Park for camping.

Several RVs parked in an RV campground surrounded by trees.

Rippling River Resort | Marquette, MI – Photo by: Scott Free RV

Upper Peninsula, Michigan

Getting to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula isn’t an easy task, but those who undertake the journey will find gorgeous foliage, quiet beaches, and endless miles of trails to explore. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, the trek to the Keweenaw Peninsula, which stretches into Lake Superior, is worth every mile.

Well-rated Upper Peninsula campgrounds include Rippling River Resort in Marquette and Bay View Campground in Brimley.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Soak up the unique landscape of Great Sand Dunes National Park with a trip this fall. September and October have some of the nicest weather days in the park, with peak foliage hitting between late September and early October.

The park’s campgrounds, which are typically booked solid during the summer months, often have more open sites in these quieter fall months. Pinon Flats and San Luis State Wildlife Area Campground are both loved by the Campendium community.

Class C parked in a paved campsite.

Element Campground | Gatlinburgy, TN – Photo by: Dude RV

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina

Escape the hustle of the city with a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. Autumn color begins at the higher elevations in mid-September and continues to turn in stages down at lower elevations until early November.

RV campers inside the park will want to check out Elkmont Campground, which can accommodate up to 35-foot rigs. The free camping at Santeetlah Lake in Nantahala National Forest is a favored spot to get a bit more off the beaten path.

Pop up tent camper parked in the woods with a dog.

Hancock Campground | Lincoln, NH – Photo by: CTFF

Kancamangus Scenic Byway, New Hampshire

If there is one place that people equate with dreamy foliage, it’s New England. New Hampshire’s 34.5-mile Kancamangus Scenic Byway is the epicenter of leaf-peeping. If you can brave the crowds, it’s an unforgettable experience to drive through the canopy of color while waterfalls crash down the roadside rock faces.

Campgrounds along “the Kanc,” as it’s locally known, include Hancock Campground and Covered Bridge Campground.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Autumn in Grand Teton National Park starts in early September and ends in mid-October. While short, those six weeks are glorious, often with warm daytime temperatures, sights (and sounds!) of rutting elk, uncrowded trails, and even a dusting of snow in the higher elevations.

There are seven campgrounds within the park itself. Jenny Lake (tents only) and Gros Ventre Campground are two favorites. There are plenty of campgrounds and boondocking spots in nearby Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Note that all of Grand Teton National Park’s campgrounds have moved to a reservation system, and their campsites can be booked up to six months in advance. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Where is your favorite place to camp in the fall? Let us know in the comments!

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