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When most people talk about going camping, they often are referring to the summer months of June, July and August. Sometimes they include May as well because there is usually good weather for camping in May. But once Labor Day rolls around, many people are focused on settling in to their Fall and Winter routines, kids going back to school, and other things that start up with the changing of the seasons. But why does tent camping have to end with the flipping of the calendar?
Fall time is an excellent time to do more tent camping! Not only does the weather cooperate for several weeks after Labor Day, and sometimes longer, but there are a host of positive aspects to camping in the Fall months that you don’t typically get during the summer months. So at this Fall time of the year, let me give you the top 10 reasons why you should get out tent camping at least one more time before calling it a season.
#1 – Less Crowded
One of the things that always happens is that between the holidays of Memorial Day and Labor Day, the campgrounds get more crowded. Sites are reserved months in advance, the first-come, first-served sites are often picked up on Thursdays (and sometimes Wednesdays), and in general there’s just more people to contend with. While this is a good thing because people are spending time outdoors and enjoying nature, it also means that when you want to “get away” by going camping, you don’t really get away from all of the people, and that can mean that you still have a stressful camping excursion. But after Labor Day, things thin out considerably in most areas. Reservations drop and more sites are available, including some really premium sites in your favorite park/campground. There is a much greater chance of finding a good site by just showing up without a reservation as well. And the lack of people is refreshing as well. More silence and enjoying nature, that’s a big win!
#2 – Fall Foliage
During the later spring and summer months, the color green dominates everywhere you look: the trees, the ground, and sometimes even the water (yuck!). Nothing wrong with that, as that means positive things, like health and growth in nature. Plus you can get some great pictures with the nice green forests and hills. But one of the benefits of tent camping in the fall is that, for a few weeks, you get treated to a bounty of other colors besides green: flaming reds, bright yellows, unmistakable oranges and more. People like to go on fall time drives to see these great colors, but just imagine tent camping in the woods amidst these colors? Not to mention taking a hike through this rainbow of colors! I think the brevity of seeing these colors makes it all the more special and another reason to keep camping into the fall.
#3 – Great Weather
Many times during the summer months it just gets HOT! There are no two ways about it, heat can make a tent camping excursion not as much fun because you’re just trying to stay cool. But when you get into the fall time, the weather becomes much more bearable, both during the day and at night. You still have beautiful sunshine, but the temperatures aren’t as hot during the day, and they drop lower at night for nicer sleeping weather. All around, fall time provides weather that so many people can enjoy and not complain about.
#4 – Reservations Not Needed/Taken
This point goes along with my first point above with parks being less crowded. Because the number of people wanting to go camping in the fall is much less than during the summer months, I find it unneccessary to actually do a reservation for the park/campground that we want to go to. In fact, at many places they will not take reservations past a certain time of the year, often around October. Unless you have a very specific site that you just need to have, I’ve found it easier to just make plans to go camping and take the best site from what is available. This offers you a chance to check out other sites in the park/campground, and you just might find a site that is your new favorite!
#5 – Food Tastes Even Better Over The Fire
Now I’m sure that we can all agree that in general, no matter the time of the year, food always tastes better when its cooked over a fire. However, when fall rolls around, that same food goes up a couple more notches in the taste and flavor department. With the cooler temperatures, having something hot to fill your belly is just divine! So if you’ve ever wanted to find out if fire-cooked food could ever taste better, try cooking a great meal in a dutch oven over a fire for a few hours. You’ll swear that you were in heaven!
#6 – Attractions Get Easier To Use/Get Into
Many times, during the warmer summer months, area attractions are difficult to get into, or you have to wait in long lines in the sun just to get in or on. That’s time that is wasted when you could be doing anything else. Well, during the fall months, because there are less people out camping, there are also less people at these attractions. That means less waiting and more enjoying!
#7 – Gas Tends To Be Cheaper
Every year, without fail, we hear the news reports about gas prices inching up as the Memorial Day weekend rolls around. Supply and demand and all of that stuff, which is fine, but it doesn’t change the fact that it will now cost you more to get to that favorite campground during the summer. What doesn’t get the fanfare is the drop in gas prices after the Labor Day weekend, when summer “officially” ends. Again, supply and demand, but this time its working in your favor. This means more bang for your buck, and a more enjoyable tent camping vacation. Maybe it means the ability to add an extra day to your vacation because you are going in the fall and not summer. That’s a big win!
#8 – Less Bugs
We all know the bugs will get us during the summer, but we go anyway, armed with spray, spritzes and chemicals of all kinds. And some of those bugs are nasty! But when fall rolls around, many of those little pesky bugs go away. It’s not always the big things that make the vacation, sometimes it’s the little things, or in this case the lack of little things, that really make tent camping in the fall worthwhile.
#9 – The Fire Is Actually Comfortable
Have you ever noticed that when you’re camping, you love to have a fire, but sitting next to it, even at night, can feel like a hellish sauna? And cooking over that fire feels the same way, and you’re trying not to dribble sweat onto the food while slaving away over the flames. But in the fall, with the air getting crisper, sitting next to the fire feels downright comfortable, even desirable. It’s even easier to get lost in the hypnotic dance of the flames of a nice campfire, and in fall you won’t have any hair burnt off your arms or legs while enjoying it.
#10 – You Can Actually Hear The Wildlife
Sure, even in a really busy campground, you can occasionally catch the call of a bird, but it’s few and far between that you hear that. Usually it’s the next door kids that are playing and yelling, or the parents yelling at the kids, or people just talking loudly. But that all changes as you go tent camping in the fall, when less people want to venture out in the cooler weather. That means you have a golden opportunity to take in the glorious silence, and to really listen to nature. You can listen to the breeze rustling the leaves of the trees, the sound of a bird flitting from tree to tree, the woodpecker searching for food in a tree, and more. Wildlife are all around you, and now you get a chance to actually hear them!
Fall is an absolutely fabulous time to go tent camping, and I’m sure you can think of even more good reasons why this is so. If you haven’t done camping in the fall past Labor Day, you owe it to yourself to do it at least once. And if you have gone in the fall, keep doing it and try to squeeze out just one more excursion before it gets too late in the year for you to go. Living in the northern part of the country means we need to take advantage of the good weather while we have it, and that includes camping during the active fall months before it gets too cold and the snow flies.
Got some of your favorite reasons to camp during the fall? Leave a comment below. And I’d love to hear from you! Send me an email or share it on social media! Happy Tent Camping!
Featured Image photo courtesy Nhu, 10/27/2012. Photo was taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nhu313/