When Does Camping Season Really Start?


A quick search on the internet will tell you that camping season starts in May and lasts until October. But I’m here to tell you that that isn’t necessarily the start of camping season. Rather, it’s the start of the busiest time for state parks and other campsites.

When Do State Parks Open for Camping Season?

Most campgrounds and state parks open in April and close in late September or early October. Some campgrounds and state parks remain open all year long, and it becomes up to the individual’s discretion whether they would like to camp or not.

Busy Season for State Parks

During the summer months, especially June and July, campsites are swarming with campers and family. These months are peak season for camping because children are out of school and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities. Additionally, since most families find it easier to take vacations during the summer, it makes visiting the campgrounds more feasible.

Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend are some of the year’s busiest times for campgrounds and state parks. This is mostly because students and working adults get the weekend off, and they use their free time to spend the days outdoors, hiking, kayaking, camping, and relaxing in the beautiful weather.

Top Signs It’s Time to Start Camping Season

Everyone has a different opinion on when the prime time for camping is. There are several factors to consider when selecting prime camping times. Colder climates like near Mount Everest or Colorado’s mountains are better camped during the warmer months. State parks in Brazil or Death Valley, California, are better camped at during colder months. 

You can view our article Best Places for Extreme Camping for more information on camping at these locations. 

Weather During Camping Season

Weather is the first thing to consider when knowing the right time to start camping. Colder climates are best explored during the summer between May and October. Environments that have extreme heat are best camped between December and April because they provide cooler temperatures ideal for camping. I camped in Costa Rica in early March, for example, when the weather was most optimal.

Most people prefer to camp during June and July because the weather is warmest for colder climates. This makes summer months perfect for families with kids because they can have fun partaking in outdoor activities while still relishing in their relaxation. 

Crowds in State Parks During Camping Season

While each climate is most desirable during different parts of the year, it’s also important to consider how crowded any given campsite will be. If you prefer serene and calm wilderness exploration, you should probably avoid camping during peak season.

Alternatively, many families prefer camping during the summer despite the crowds simply because their children are out of school, and it’s more convenient for families to gather together.

Are State Parks Open in the Winter?

It may be surprising to some, but the best time to camp in certain climates can be during winter! Death Valley is an excellent place to camp during October and November, for example, since the temperature remains in the 90s during the day and lowers to just a little below 60 at night. 

Finding a campground can be a little tricky, depending on where you live, but it’s certainly not impossible! Since most people traditionally think of camping during summer and fall, taking advantage of the winter months can be the perfect idea for campers who want to enjoy nature’s stillness without crowds.

Another thing to consider if you’re interested in camping during the winter is that you may need to invest in additional equipment. Warmer sleeping bags, firewood, propane tanks, hatchets, and other winter tools may be necessary for a successful camping trip.

A durable camping tent is a must if you plan to camp during winter as seasonal rains and storms are more prominent this time of year. Our article Best Camping Tents can help you choose the perfect tent for you and your family based on your camping needs.

What is the Best Camping Season for State Parks?

Most campgrounds and state parks are notably better experienced during warmer seasons like spring, summer, and fall.

When it comes to cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, fall presents itself as a better camping season. A camping trip at this time of year is likely to be less crowded and better suited for campers who don’t want to freeze or overheat.

Plus, the autumn environment is a beautiful thing to behold. Who wouldn’t want to experience all of the colorful leaves?

What Is the Best Month to Take a Camping Trip to a State Park in Camping Season?

September and October are some of the best months to go camping because they are not too hot or cold and allow you to experience the outdoors with fewer crowds.

Arguably, there is a reason many people go camping in June and July, however. Swimming, fishing, and kayaking are a few camping activities best experienced when it is hot outside.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Camping Season

When choosing the best month or season to go camping, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are you okay with crowds? Or do you prefer peace and quiet?
  • Are you planning to swim or partake in aquatic activities? Or would you rather hike trails and have a bonfire?
  • Are you camping with kids? Or camping alone?
  • Do you like to challenge yourself when camping? Or do you prefer to relax?

When camping with your family, a more relaxing and leisurely approach is best when choosing the right time to go camping. The best time for leisure camping is during summer when the weather is beautiful, and swimming is abundant.

If you prefer to go it alone and you like a good challenge, camping during fall or winter can be a great option for you.

After answering these questions, it can be easier to decide which camping season works best for your needs.

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