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Warm days and cool nights are bountiful in most of the United States during the fall season.  There is also no better season than fall when it comes to scenic road trips.  There is a great deal of great RV camping left after the summer ends.  After Labor Day, RV parks and campgrounds are less crowded, and many offer enticing incentives.

Why go RVing in the Fall?

The Weather 

Fall ushers in some great weather in most of the United States.  Gone are those hazy hot and humid days that make it difficult to enjoy those scenic hikes or a cozy campfire.

The warm, muggy nights of summer give way to cool crisp nights in fall which is perfect for enjoying S’mores around the campfire.  Take a look at the average minimum temperature map for the United States for October, and you have to agree, fall makes for great evenings at the campground.

The clear nights away from the city lights make for great astronomical viewing.  Take a night stroll out to the field and take in the stars. 

As the sun breaks in the morning, wake with a nice warm coffee (or tea if you prefer) and start the day with a scenic hike.  The days should warm nicely and allow great weather for exploring.

This wonderful weather welcomes the activities which summer’s heat would just make unappealing.  Take in these fall activities while on your camping trip:

  • Apple Picking
  • Pumpkin Picking
  • Take that morning or mid-day hike
  • Explore a local winery
  • Fire up that campfire for some excellent campfire cooking
  • Take a scenic leaf-peeping drive

Less Bugs

Cool crisp nights of fall have an added bonus for us humans when it comes to RVing, the bugs hate it.  Mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and other biting and buzzing insects can really bring down a camping trip.  Fall can chase those critters away.

Insects are considered cold-blooded.  Because they are so small, there body is not able to hold their temperature over from the warm day, throughout the night.  They also cannot generate enough heat from their movement in flight to keep their temperature up.  

As the temperature gets cold, many insects go into a hibernation as a freeze avoidance measure or migrate to warmer regions.  This means a mostly bug free experience at the campground.

The Scenery

From New England to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and from the Pacific Northwest to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, all over these United States fall unleashes vibrant colors among the scenery.  Fall scenic drives or hike will expose a riot of orange, yellow, and red colors.

The colorful, vibrant foliage of fall painted across the landscape, contrasting against a blue sky dotted with small fair weather clouds can only be viewed for a brief period each fall.  Get out and go camping to find that perfect time when the foliage hits that peak leaf-peeping time.  Be sure to grab the camera and do your best to capture the awe-inspiring beauty of fall while you have the change.  Most people can’t get these scenic views from inside their office!

Weather Channel’s Fall Foliage Peak Times Map – Image Credit The Weather Channel

Fall Festivals and Events

Fall ushers in great festivals throughout the country.  Getting out to the campground or RV park can bring you close to some great fall events.

Octoberfest is a celebration which originated in Munch German and features Bavarian traditions.  Octoberfest is celebrated with great beer, food and German music, costumes, and traditions.  These festivals are a popular event in communities throughout the United States.

Throughout the United States, we find plenty of harvest festivals in the fall.  These annual festivals often celebrate the main harvest of a particular region.  Cranberries, apples, hay, and pumpkin harvests are all celebrated (along with many other regional crops). 

Some of the more unique or notible fall festivals include:

  • Leavenworth Oktoberfest, Leavenworth Washington
  • Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Sun Valley, Ketchum, and Hailey, Idaho
  • Adirondack Balloon Festival, Glens Falls, New York
  • Madison County Covered Bridge Festival, Winterset, Iowa
  • Scarecrow Festival, St. Charles, Illinois
  • Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival, Stowe, Vermont

Find your destination and take a quick search on the internet and you are sure to find a nearby festival for your enjoyment.  Fall makes for great festivals.  Great festivals can often be located near great RV destinations.

Less Crowded Campgrounds

As school begins, families pack up their RVs for the winter and leave many camp and RV sites vacant in the fall.  Finding the perfect weekend getaway within a few hours drive or taking advantage of the long Columbus Day weekend will get you into one of those vacant sites, usually at a discount (See the section on incentives below.)  

The less crowded campground also lead to less crowded hiking trails.  Less crowded hiking trails let you feel closer to nature without the hassle of dealing with the summer crowds.  

Fewer people will also allow you to relax and rest your mind.  That crowded summer campsite on the busy, boater infested lakeshore will often provide a secluded, colorful, scenic view of a quiet still waterway in the fall.

Halloween

Many campgrounds are big on celebrating Halloween.  Halloween is usually the end of the line for the campground’s season.  This spooky and scary fun in many campgrounds is celebrated each weekend throughout October.

One particular campground I visit each October is in Cape May New Jersey.  The town of Cape May celebrates Halloween in October with historic haunts tours, murder mystery dinners, and ghost trolley tours.  The campground hosts campsite trick or treating, spooky glow dance parties for the kids, site decorating contests, costume parades and pumpkin decorating each weekend. The nearby breweries and wineries do their part by featuring special fall events as well.

Cape May, NJ is not unusual.  Halloween themes events can be found throughout the United States in October.  Seek, and you will find a great, spooky Halloween RV or camping adventure.

Great Campground and RV Park Fall Incentives

Many RV parks and campgrounds operate seasonally and the fall is there last push to get those visitors through the gate.  Cooler weather means the pools, lakes and summer amenities will usually shut down for the season.  Many campgrounds will recognize less amenities being available and offer incentives to get your RV in one of their sites.

As mentioned above, there is a campground in Cape May, NJ where I take my family every fall.  During the summer months they have a three lifeguard staffed swimming pool, a lifeguard staffed lake, and they are in close proximity to boardwalks, ocean beaches, and many shore oriented attractions.  Come fall, these attractions start shutting down.  They offer the following incentives to get you parked in their sites:

  • Each weekend they offer Halloween themed activities such as hayrides, trick or treating, costume parades, site decoration contests, and glow in the dark dance parties for the kids.
  • Columbus Day Weekend this year they are offering a deal if you book three nights, the 4th night is free!
  • Dramatically lower nightly rates.

The Cape May campground is just one example of the great incentives for you to get out to the RV park in the fall.    Just going a quick search for fall specials I have found similar specials in every camping region.  Several campgrounds offered great “fuel saver” deals where you could leave your RV at their campground all week and come every weekend throughout fall! 

Fall Gear and Cold Weather Tips

Fall is a time to put away the swimwear and sunscreen.  There are some things we can take with us on our fall trip to make for a perfect getaway.

Cooking and Food

Fall is a great time for bring some slow cooked goodness to our dinner table.  Having that campfire going for a longer period of the day bring the perfect opportunity to use that fire for some great eats.  Get out the cast iron dutch oven and get use that camp fire to cook up something that embraces fall.  I like to cook chili, sausage and peppers, pork tenderloin, and other fall favorites in the dutch oven over the campfire on my fall getaways. 

Cold Gear and Night

If your fall getaway takes you to the more northern and colder regions, you days may be nice and mild but the temperature at night may plummet.  Think about keeping your RV protected so you can keep warm on those cold nights.

If you are traveling to a region which will see temperatures below freezing at night, you may have to worry about the water lines or holding tanks in your RV freezing. 

Make sure your LP tanks are full, and your furnace is working correctly.  Keeping the temperature in your RV in the upper 60’s will keep the furnace running enough to heat your holding tanks.  Many RVs have underbelly insulation which will keep the heat in during the cold nights.

If the campground still has water service turned on, you may have to worry about your city water connection freezing on those very cold nights.  Heated water hoses are available to help keep that water flowing throughout the cold night. 

If you do not have a heated water hose, think about disconnected the city water at night.  You can fill the fresh water tank about 3/4 of the way full to provide enough water to get through the cold.  The fresh water tank should be kept warm enough from the furnace used to prevent freezing.  If it gets icy, the extra room in that tank will allow for expansion.

Conclusion

Do not give up on RVing just because the summer came to an end.  There is no reason not to take advantage of all that fall camping has to offer.  The weather, scenery, less bugs, less crowds, great incentives, and memories you will be creating all lend the fall to a great RVing experience.

Don’t let the fall go by without taking that one last trip.