Winter camping is often considered a pastime reserved only for dedicated outdoors people. But it can be a magical experience for anyone, especially for families. Fall, a prime season for camping, comes and goes quickly. The golden camping window is coveted for its cool temperatures, stunning fall colors, and fewer rain showers. But going camping during the offseason is worth experiencing – and here are 5 reasons why:
1. No Crowds
Camping during “ideal” weather is on everyone’s vacation list. For that reason, campgrounds during the fall months book up months in advance. For its lack of popularity, winter camping offers the best campsites in the best campgrounds. Plus, there are frequent cancellations in the winter, making last-minute planning a breeze.
Not only are the campgrounds less crowded, but the surrounding trails and waters are too. No need to fight over fishing holes in the winter, and you can set your own pace on the trails.
2. Winter Scenery
Imagine waking up to the sounds of snowflakes lightly dropping on your tent’s rainfly. You open the zippered window a find that overnight, the sky lay a white blanket across the ground. Brown limbs and black rocks peak through it like seams.
Though cold, consider yourself lucky to experience the outdoors in the winter. Fight the urge to stay in your sleeping bag all day and take a walk. Listen to the crunch of fresh powder under your favorite winter boots. Let the cool air clear your sinuses and take in your surroundings.
Bright light reflects off the ground and peeks through naked trees. Deer, rabbits, and birds leave perfect imprints in the snow. At the water’s edge, black inky water moves through the snow like a watercolor painting. And the quiet. The absence of noise helps focus and reset your active brain.
3. No Bugs
I can’t be the only one who worries about what large forest bugs I will encounter during a camping trip. In the fall, spiders will be all over your campsite and tent but will be tucked away by winter. In winter, keep those shoes inside the tent to keep them dry, not to smash bugs.
Also, look forward to bug-free recreation. Biting bugs like mosquitos are at large during prime camping seasons. But in the winter, you can spend all afternoon by the water without a swarm of them around your face. And if you or anyone in your group is allergic to bees, mealtimes will be much less stressful without the constant threat of a sting.
4. Best Campfires
Make them large and make them hot. The campfire is arguably one of the best parts of a camping trip. It brings people together and gives you something to look at and to poke at. It cooks your food. And late at night, it mesmerizes.
Finding the right size campfire in the spring, summer, and fall months is tough. You want it large enough to crowd around and keep the bugs away but cool enough to enjoy in the heat. In the winter, you can go wild and build large campfires that radiate warmth all the way to the picnic table where you prepare dinner.
*Make sure there’s no burn ban in effect.
If food is the best part of the camping experience for you, you will love winter camping for the opportunities to make soul-warming foods over the campfire. Dutch ovens, aluminum foil bags, and stew pots are perfect for campfire cooking.
Some meal options include:
- Chicken and dumplings
Your hot coffee and hot chocolate never tasted so good than in an easy chair by a campfire in the crisp winter air.
Check out the Teach512 blog for more family-friendly camping and recreation ideas.