10 Best Camping Destinations For Fall in the United States
Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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The most popular time to camp in the United States is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the temperatures are warm, and kids are out of school. But fall is also an ideal time to set up camp, whether pitching a tent, hooking up a trailer, driving out an RV, or settling into a cozy cabin. There are ten fantastic camping destinations for fall in the United States to feel the crisp air, see the changing leaves, and smell the familiar scent of campfires wafting through the air.
White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire
New Hampshire is one of the quintessential fall destinations that every nature lover should experience from a campsite. Head to the White Mountain National Forest this fall to see the gentle hillsides, flowing streams, and colorful leaves. It is also a historical place with lots to see and do in the area if you’re interested in history and culture. Various camping options are available in the national forest, including designated campgrounds in the Androscoggin, Pemigewasset, and Saco ranger districts. Three cabin rentals are available in the Saco Ranger District, and dispersed camping is allowed in the backcountry more than 200 feet from trails and bodies of water.
Stretching through parts of Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains are a centrally located destination in the United States, perfect for fall. The park has multiple forest systems and lots of flora, fauna, wildlife, waterfalls, and panoramic views to see. Developed campgrounds are available at 10 locations throughout the park, each with its restrooms, running water, and flush toilets. Backcountry camping and horse camps can also help you enjoy the outdoors. In Tennessee, check out Falls Creek Falls State Park around this time of year to see the impressive waterfall, forested trails, colorful leaves, and plenty of campsites.
The Grand Tetons are stunningly beautiful during any season, but they are uniquely special in the fall. Here you can go rafting, horseback riding, or take a long hike through the mountainous region. Backcountry camping is available if you want to get off the grid. Or you can camp at the developed campgrounds for electric-only hookups and full hookups. The best places for RVs and trailers are Colter Bay RV Park, Headwaters Campground, and the RV sites at Flagg Ranch.
There are many beautiful places to spend the fall season in Michigan to see the changing leaves and reflective lakes, including Isle Royale National Park. It is an ideal place to see fall colors in the Midwest, and you can catch a ferry to ride across the lake to get here. Campgrounds across the islands are available by watercraft or on foot. One epic way to see this park is to move from one campground to the next, traveling about six to eight miles per day.
We also love experiencing the rugged landscapes and impressive rock formations of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park in the fall. The park’s Island in the Sky campground has sites for $15 each, and the Needles campground has sites for $20 each. The park also has an extensive backcountry where you can find your adventure this fall while backpacking and four-wheel driving.
Acadia is an iconic place to be in the fall season and experience the great outdoors in a national park. Leaves begin to get more colorful at the beginning of September, so you can witness the colors for yourself even in the early part of the season. There are three campgrounds here, including the Blackwoods Campground, which is ideal for being among the trees and forest. Blackwoods is open year-round. Meanwhile, the Seawall Campground is typically available until the end of September and the Schoodic Woods Campground through Columbus Day.
Fall foliage also doesn’t get much better than in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. From this national park, you can see the Blue Ridge Mountains and thousands of acres of forests while enjoying a pleasant climate only a few hours from the D.C. area. Backcountry camping is available, as well as the more developed campgrounds of Matthews Arm, Big Meadows, Lewis Mountain, and Loft Mountain.
Big Bend National Park is one of the lesser-visited national parks in the United States because of its remote location, which makes it ideal for campers who love finding solitude, peace, and quiet in the outdoors. It also stays warm throughout the fall season and offers a comfortable way to spend your days outside in the autumn. Fall is also an excellent time to visit Big Bend because summer’s hot and steamy days have passed. Chisos Basin, Cottonwood, and Rio Grande Village are the developed campgrounds here.
Colorado is another state known for its stunning fall colors, and the Gunnison National Forest is a beautiful place to set up your home base for fall exploration. Late September and early October are the best times to camp here in the fall to see the fall colors and enjoy crisp and cool temperatures that aren’t too chilly. Campground camping is available nearby at Grand Mesa, Gunnison, North Fork Valley, the San Juan Mountains, and the Uncompahgre Plateau.
Crater Lake reached depths of more than 1,900 feet and formed out of an ancient volcanic eruption that left an otherworldly natural site here today. There’s not a single bad view along the Rim Trail and several other nearby hiking trails, including a peaceful forested section of the Pacific Crest Trail. If you’re camping in an RV or tent, pick a site at Mazama Campground through the end of September. It doesn’t have hookups, but it does have bathrooms and spacious areas. You can also camp at the Lost Creek Campground on a first-come, first-served basis if you have a tent a little later in the fall through mid-October.