When Fall starts to turn to Winter, a lot of people assume that camping season is over. That doesn’t have to be the case, though, and in fact late Fall is the best time to camp in many places a bit nearer to the equator. Especially with the current pandemic situation, if you’ve been quarantined for months and feeling that all your camping opportunities may have passed you by, now is a great time to hit up some of these Southern camping destinations that will be idyllic this time of year.
Here are a few of the best places to visit in the Southern U.S. in late Fall and early Winter, and why they’re awesome.
Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon
Everyone knows that the Grand Canyon is amazing, but what a lot of people may not realize is that fall is actually one of the best times to see it. The average high in the month of November is 69°F, with only two days of rain, and Las Vegas is in the same range. The city of Vegas may not be the ideal place to hang out right now, due to the lockdowns, but there are many national parks and beautiful hikes just a short drive away.
The California Coast
Of course, California is known for its beautiful weather, and although Northern California can get chilly in the Winter, if you start there when it’s warmer, and work your way South, you can actually get a really nice road trip out of the season. Personally, I recommend starting in the Yosemite National Forest, if possible, and then making your way down the renowned coastal Highway 1, staying in various national forests or camping on the beach along the way.
The Southern gulf coast of the U.S. is another area that stays nice well into early Winter, as long as you can manage to dodge any hurricanes that might be rolling through. There are numerous gorgeous national parks and beaches, and many cool beach towns like Biloxi, Gulf Shores, and Destin to check out. Expect lots of opportunities for BBQ and other Southern foods, points of historical interest, and friendly people.
Back over to California this time, if the coast isn’t your thing you may want to check out the Mojave desert. This unique environment is full of unusual flora and fauna, volcanic craters, and majestic dunes, with plenty of beautiful trails and camping areas. Probably the most well known park in this area is Joshua Tree, which has some unique trees that are it’s namesake along with beautiful desert vistas that are typical of the region.
Austin and San Antonio
If you’re thinking Texas thoughts, Austin and San Antonio are probably the most picturesque and pleasant places to visit and camp. You can take advantage of all the great food and culture of Austin, yet only a short drive away are the Balcones Canyonlands National Park, the Colorado River, Canyon Lake, and historic San Antonio with the Alamo, and even Corpus Christi.
Bourbon Trail Kentucky
If whiskey is your thing, you may want to check out the Bourbon trail in the beautiful state of Kentucky. While this isn’t the Southernmost area to be traveling, you’ll doubtless find plenty to keep you warm as you sample the various bourbons produced in the area. Add to that the bluegrass music and beautiful mountain scenery, and you’ll have to try pretty hard not to have a good time out there. Who knows, you might even want to pop down to Nashville for a country music concert or some nightlife.
Drink responsibly, and drive safely (not at the same time).
For those who haven’t been, you may not realize that Key West is actually connected to Florida via a long highway, so that you can actually drive your campervan all the way out to the warm sands and cool ocean breezes, if you really want to grab that last trace of Summer bikini life. In addition to beach van camping, there are plenty of ocean activities like kite surfing, dolphin swimming, scuba diving, and of course surfing.