Happy first day of autumn! We are happy campers here at The Touring Camper because fall is our whole family’s favorite time of year. It’s also such a wonderful time of year to go camping. The temperatures are cooler, campgrounds tend to be less crowded, and those pesky mosquitoes are (mostly) gone. We are gearing up for our fall camping trip next month to Assateague State Park in Maryland–home to the legendary wild ponies. Who else is excited about squeezing in some fall camping? Today we have a few tips to make it your best fall campout ever!
Consult foliage maps before making reservations. It’s an imperfect science trying to pick the best weekend to go fall camping, but there are a few tools that can help:
- The Weather Channel has excellent fall foliage maps that tell you when the average peak leaf season is for the region.
- If you are camping locally, check to see if your state has a foliage map like the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has here in the Keystone State.
Pick up the phone. If you decide to go camping at the last minute and the campground is booked online, it’s time to start making phone calls. Some campgrounds reserve a small number of sites for walk-ins, and many campgrounds have cancellations at the last minute.
Pick “sunny” sites. During the hot summer months we try to choose campsites in the shade, but for fall camping, it’s often better to choose a site in full sun to help stay a bit warmer on cooler days.
Crack a window. If you are running your propane heater or cooking inside on the gas stove, make sure to crack a window and open the roof vent to prevent moisture and condensation from building up on the camper’s interior walls. (This can lead to delamination issues if you do not properly ventilate the camper–ask us how we know. 🙁 )
Pack the heat. Bring along a small space heater in case your camper’s furnace can’t keep up with the dropping temperatures. On our trip last year, the temps dipped into the low 30s! Everyone in the campground kept their fingers crossed that none of the water lines would freeze overnight.
Think comfort. Plan comfort food type meals, like chili and soups. These will cook well in crock pots while you are off enjoying the day and then warm everyone’s bellies at the end of the day.
Pack enough! Bring more warm clothes than you think you’ll need. Sometimes the temperatures will be colder than expected, and sometimes kiddos are having so much fun playing they inadvertently get soaked–ahem, ask me how I know. Also make sure to include a pair of lightweight gloves and hats for everyone. One year we didn’t bring any gloves and the kiddos’ fingers were frigid during the evenings around the campfire.
Have a backup plan. One year it rained on our fall camping trip, and then last year at Berlin RV Park, the cold temps caught us off guard, so our grand plans of spending lots of time soaking up the autumn sunshine no longer seemed very appealing. Thankfully we were able to find some fun alternatives–that were inside!
So those are our secrets for planning an awesome fall campout–what tips would you add?
To read more about our past fall camping trips, check out these posts: