The most popular time to camp in the United States is between Memorial Day and Labor Day when the temperatures are warm and the kids are out of school. But fall is also an amazing time to set up camp, whether that means pitching a tent, hooking up a trailer, driving out an RV, or settling into a cozy cabin. To feel the crisp air, see the changing leaves, and smell the familiar scent of campfires wafting through the air, here are 10 amazing camping destinations for fall in the United States.
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White Mountain National Forest
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. This is a historic place with lots to see and do in the area if you’re interested in history and culture too. There are a variety of camping options 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.
Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Stretching through parts of both Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains are a centrally located destination in the United States that’s perfect for fall. There are multiple forest systems in the park 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 own restrooms, running water, and flush toilets. Backcountry camping and horse camps are also available to help you enjoy the outdoors. Also 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.
Grant Tetons National Park, Wyoming
The Grand Tetons are stunningly beautiful during any season of the year, but they are really something special in the fall. Here you can go rafting, horseback riding, or just 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.
Isle Royal National Park, Michigan
There are lots of amazing places to spend the fall season in Michigan to see the changing leaves and reflective lakes, including Isle Royal National park. This is an ideal place to see fall colors in the Midwest, and you can catch a ferry to ride out across the lake to get here. There are 36 campgrounds across the islands that 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.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
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 12 sites for $15 each, and the Needles campground has 29 sites for $20 each. The park also has an extensive backcountry where you can find your own adventure this fall while backpacking and four-wheel driving.
Acadia National Park, Maine
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 in the beginning of September, so you can witness the colors for yourself even at the early part of the season. There are three campsites here, including the Blackwoods Campground that’s ideal for being among the trees and forest. Blackwoods is open year-around. Meanwhile, the Seawall Campground is typically open until the end of September and Schoodic Woods Campground through Columbus Day.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
For fall foliage, it also doesn’t get much better than 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 and being just a few hours from D.C. 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, Texas
Big Bend National Park is one of the lesser-visited national parks in the United States because of its remote location. This makes it ideal for campers who love finding solitude, peace, and quiet in the outdoors. It also stays warm here throughout much of the fall season and offers a comfortable way to spend your days outside in the autumn. Fall is also a nice time to visit Big Bend because the hot and steamy days of the summer have passed. Chisos Basin, Cottonwood, and Rio Grande Village are the developed campgrounds here.
Gunnison National Forest, Colorado
Colorado is another state that’s known for its stunning fall colors, and the Gunnison National Forest is a wonderful 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 National Park, Oregon
Crater Lake reaches depths of more than 1,900 feet and was formed from an ancient volcanic eruption that left an otherworldly natural site here today. There’s not a single bad view along the Rim Trail, and also other several hiking trails nearby, including a peaceful forested section of the Pacific Crest Trail. If you’re camping in an RV or a tent, pick a site at the Mazama Campground through the end of September. It doesn’t have hookups, but it does have bathrooms and spacious sites. You can also camp at the Lost Creek Campground on a first-come, first-serve basis if you have a tent through a little later in the fall through mid-October.