7 Great Destinations for Fall Camping

Fall is one of the absolute best times to go camping. Not only is the summer heat quickly fading from memory, but the landscapes are painted with vibrant colors as the leaves make their annual change as well. The crisp autumn nights are perfect for gathering around a campfire and later snuggling inside a warm sleeping bag. Best of all, many of the trails and campsite are far less crowded than they are during the warmer months of the year. 

If you're planning a camping trip for this autumn, we have some suggestions on where you should go, no matter which part of the country you live in. Read on for our selections of the best camping destinations for the season. 

  • 01 of 07

    Northeast: Acadia National Park, Maine

    Jesup Trail Boardwalk at Sieur de Monts in Acadia National Park in the fall
    Byron M. O'Neal/Getty Images

    Fall comes early to Acadia National Park, with the leaves beginning to change colors in early September. Still, the park is one of the absolute best places to pitch your tent during the autumn, offering stunning views of the wonderful shades of crimson, orange, and gold that highlight the trees there. The park is home to three different campsites, all of which are perfect for a fall getaway. But, if you want to experience autumn in Maine at its finest, book a spot in the Blackwoods Campground. Nestled in amongst the forest, you'll be surrounded by the sights and sounds of the season. 

  • 02 of 07

    Southeast: Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee

    USA, Tennessee, Fall Creek Falls State Park, waterfall, spring
    Tom Till/Getty Images

    The centerpiece attraction at Tennessee's Fall Creek Falls State Park is the massive namesake waterfall, which plummets off a rock face 256 feet in the air. But, the park has amazing options for campers too, including more than 220 campsites spread out across five different areas in various parts of the 26,000 acre landscape. There is even 34 miles of tail to explore, which are awash in the colors of the seasons starting in October. 

  • 03 of 07

    South: Big Bend National Park, Texas

    Bluffs above the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park in Texas
    Buyenlarge / Contributor/Getty Images

    Fall in Texas often remains warm well into November, but it is still the perfect season for visiting Big Bend National Park, a remote section of the map that offers plenty of solitude to adventurous travelers. Located along the U.S.-Mexico border, this seldom visited park lacks much in the way of fall colors, but makes up for it with stunning views of the surrounding landscape, deep canyons to explore, and some of the clearest night skies you'll find anywhere. 

  • 04 of 07

    Midwest: Isle Royal National Park, Michigan

    USA, Michigan, Isle Royale National Park, Chippewa Harbor, sunrise
    Eddie Soloway/Getty Images

    The midwest is always blessed with plenty of lovely fall colors, but few places offer a more adventurous way to see them than Isle Royal National Park. Visitors first have to hop on a ferry and ride out into Lake Superior just to get to the park, and once there they'll spend several days in remote isolation as they hike their way across it. Along the way, they'll discover 36 unique campsites, reachable only on foot or by kayak, in which they can pitch their tents. Many of these spots offer spectacular views not only of the island itself, but the lake too. Watch out for amazing wildlife as well, as Isle Royale is home to moose, wolves, foxes, beaver, rabbits, and other creatures. 

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  • 05 of 07

    West: Gunnison National Forest, Colorado

    Gunnison National Forest in autumn, Colorado, USA
    Danita Delimont/Getty Images

    With plenty of wild backcountry to explore, thousands of trails to wander, and some of the best fall colors found anywhere, Gunnison National Forest is a paradise for campers. The region has 56 designated campsite, allowing visitors to choose from their favorite settings. Options include the banks of alpine lakes, open meadows, aspen groves, and even mountain peaks. Since much of the park is located at higher elevations, fall tends to come early to forest, often peaking in late September or early October. But even later in the season, the trees still hold plenty of color for backpackers to soak in. 

  • 06 of 07

    Southwest: Carson National Forest, New Mexico

    Middle Ponil Creek, Valle Vidal Unit, Carson National Forest, New Mexico, USA
    Danita Delimont/Getty Images

    Home to New Mexico's highest point — the 13,161-foot Mt. Wheeler — Carson National Forest offers visitors plenty of surprises. For instance, in contrast to most of the rest of the state, the region isn't a desert. It also gets cold enough to snow there in the winter. The forest features a 16-mile long hiking trail as well, and is home to elk, bear, cougar, big horn sheep, and other large creatures. There are plenty of campsites to be found across the 1.5 million acres that make up Carson, but one of the best is Laguna Larga, which is found at 9000 feet in elevation and sits on the shores of a lake, making it the perfect fishing destination. 

  • 07 of 07

    Pacific Northwest: Desolation Wilderness, California

    Desolation Wilderness, Tahoe, California
    Kraig Becker

    The Tahoe region of California offers plenty of outdoor spaces for visitors looking to escape the trappings of modern life, but few compare with the Desolation Wilderness. This amazing backcountry setting stretches out across nearly 64,000 acres and is sprinkled with alpine lakes, snowcapped peaks, and dense forests. Camping is available pretty much anywhere in the backcountry, allowing visitors to settle in where they choose. During the fall, the trails get less crowded and the cooler air makes for a pleasant experience both on the trail and at the campsite. Flashes of color dot the landscape as well, reminding visitors why autumn is one of the best seasons for outdoor adventures.