Camping in the fall is just as wonderful as camping in summer, and often with less crowds and more availability. Why else go camping in the off season?
Fall camping offers new opportunities from the summer camping season. Wildlife use this time to prepare for winter and can be seen running through the underbrush. Cooler weather pairs great with campfires and comfortable sleeping. Reduced leaf cover overhead also opens up stargazing opportunities at campsites which may have been further sheltered earlier in the season. Lastly, and most importantly for some, there are fewer active mosquitos.
Here are some tips to get the most out of fall colors from your campsite:
- Make sure the campground will be open during your trip date. Many campgrounds close for the off season and will not accept camping reservations. Find an available campground on the Wisconsin Going To Camp website.
- Look for fall events happening at our state parks, forests and recreation areas near or at your campground on our Events calendar.
- Expect reduced daylight when planning set-up and activities. Prepare with alternative light sources.
- Waterproof your gear and check your tent’s rainfly and groundsheet before heading out. Use waterproof containers and bags keep other gear dry, pack waterproof and quick drying clothing and invest in waterproofing boot spray if not already waterproofed.
- Pack layers and insulate your spaces, as daytime temperatures may be mild and pleasant but you could encounter surprisingly cold mornings, evenings and nights. Bring hats and gloves to cover extremities when needed, use thicker or multiple pads conserve your body heat and investigate sleeping bag temperature ratings to find comfort in cooler conditions.
- Plan for hot food and drinks to warm up before bed and in the morning after a cold night.
- Stay hydrated – it’s important to even without hot weather.
For those campgrounds that do remain open late into the season, most general water access is shut off at or before the ground freezes in that region. If you have a reservation, call ahead and ask for more information. Properties open for extended winter camping usually have a winter water source.
To explore available campgrounds and reserve a site, head to our Wisconsin Going To Camp website. Find some camping location inspiration from our friends at Travel Wisconsin. To find more parks near you, check out our Find a Park webpage.