We all love a family camping trip in the summer. We make plans to hit our favorite camping destination where you can fish, swim and sit around a campfire in the evenings. Summer is the premiere time for a camping vacation. Or so many people think.
More and more couples are taking camping trips in the fall months to take advantage of lower campsite costs, smaller crowds and cooler weather. Many campsites reduce their fees after Labor Day, making fall camping less expensive than summer camping, an especially nice savings during the current economic times. Because school has started, there are fewer kids and teenagers camping in the fall, making the campgrounds a little quieter for young and old couples to have a relaxing, and maybe romantic trip. The nights are often chillier as well, offering the perfect opportunity to snuggle up under a warm blanket with a friend or loved one. Plus, the scenery during the fall can’t be beat. The greens of summer turn into vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.
Fall camping does require two additional planning elements not necessarily considered when preparing for a summer camping trip.
1. Pack heavier clothes and bedding: The days may be sunny and warm, but nighttime temperatures can drop quickly and dramatically. Pack for the unexpected. If you think one sweatshirt should be enough for your trip, you should probably bring two.
2. Check the weather patterns where you will be camping: Prepare for potential changes in weather. Fall weather is more volatile than the summer. Pack rain or snow gear even if the forecast calls for blue skies.
Other supplies do not have to vary much from your traditional summer camping trip. Your camping packs should still include plenty of food in airtight containers, a fully-stocked first aid kit, and essential camping supplies, such as matches, flashlights, lanterns, plastic tarps, rope, and firewood.
Fall Camping Destinations
I am partial to the Northwest for outdoor camping and hiking trips. There are a large number of campsites open in Oregon and Washington year round, perfect for fall camping.
1. Castle Rock Campground: Located on Three Rivers, the Castle Rock Campground in the Siuslaw National Forest offers fishing and camping and is open year round.
2. Detroit Lake: Located in the heart of the Oregon Cascades, Detroit Lake offers a number of year round campsites as well as hiking, fishing, boating, and other fun outdoor activities.
3. Washington Coast: For exceptional coastal camping, visit Cape Disappointment, Pacific Beach, or Twin Harbors, all year round.
4. Cape Blanco State Park: This park located on the Oregon coast offers miles of coastal hiking, lighthouse tours, and extra large, private, sheltered campsites.
For more information on year round campsites, check out www.oregonstateparks.org
Fall camping is an easy way to enjoy a three day weekend in the great outdoors. Simply take a few added precautions when planning for your camping trip by bringing a few extra supplies and know the area you will be staying in. These simple steps will make any fall camping vacation, whether in the Northwest or beyond, an enjoyable excursion.