Off-Season Camping: Why Spring Is a Great Time to Avoid the Crowds

Off-Season Camping: Why Spring Is a Great Time to Avoid the Crowds

Now that the weather is warming up, you’re probably starting to plan some camping trips. However, you might wonder whether it’s better to go soon or wait a couple of months. We’ve found that Spring is a particularly great time to venture to your favorite — or a new-to-you — camping spot.

Minivan at sunset with surfboards on top.

You Can Beat the Crowds

You’re all set to enjoy a weekend getting back to nature, and you can hardly wait. But, you naturally find your mood spoiled slightly by the sight of a long line of vehicles slowly proceeding through the entrance of the place you planned to camp.

Certain factors can cause minor variations in how popular a campsite is on a given day. For example, you’ll find them more crowded on a sunny day than a rainy one. However, data from Statista about National Park Service sites shows April is usually one of the less-busy months for visitor traffic. Then, as you might imagine, the spots get progressively busier and peak around July.

School Is Still in Session

April has another advantage in that it’s a month when public and private schools haven’t let out for the summer. Maybe you have your sights set on a more extensive camping trip during your kids’ summer vacation but want to see how they do on a shorter excursion first.

April is an ideal month to plan a test run. Experts recommend keeping your kids in the loop about where you’re going and what you’ll do at the destination. Encourage them to provide input on things that matter to them, such as what kinds of snacks you’ll bring or what activities you’ll do while camping.

A barren field holds a single TETON Sports Vista Tent.

The Weather Is Usually More Moderate

Weather forecasts can certainly throw occasional surprises your way. Generally, though, April gives you a good chance of pleasant weather. It lets you avoid the sweltering heat of the middle of summer and the potential blizzard conditions that hit some campsites during the winter.

Speaking of winter, many amenities close or are only available on a limited basis during that season. However, that’s not the case in April because campground workers are ready to welcome visitors that want to make the most of what’s left of spring.

Even so, keep the old saying about “April showers” in mind and make sure you’re ready for the rain if it comes. Bring waterproof boots and a dependable rain jacket at a minimum. Browse our rainflies and covers for even better preparedness.

You’re More Likely to Have a Larger Choice of Sites

The National Park Service has more than 130 dedicated park units for camping. You can also choose from various options, such as camping in a cabin or your car or opting for a backcountry excursion. However, the busier parks get, the harder it’ll likely be to get the camping spot you want. The same goes for other places you might camp, such as an RV park or a beloved local site in your community that has a small but well-equipped campground.

Since April is still an off-season month, you’ll have the best chances of getting great spots that suit your needs. Maybe you want a site closer to the toilets and showers, or perhaps you’d love to camp near a scenic lake. All those things and more are easier to manage when you’re camping during a less-crowded month. It’s still smart to familiarize yourself with any relevant reservation processes, and don’t wait until the last minute to book if you can help it.

A woman lifts her small dog into her TETON Sports Vista Tent in the middle of Southern Utah's red rocks.

Wrap Up Spring With a Fun Camping Trip

These are just a few of the many reasons we think you’ll love off-season camping in Spring. Before heading off to your site of choice, check out our camping accessories. Whether you want a self-inflating pillow or an under-cot storage option, these handy products will help you have a comfy and convenient time.