Get your gear ready. It may be winter, but it’s a great time to go camping. Not only will you find comfortable temperatures, but you’ll also enjoy spectacular scenery, lower costs, and fewer crowds. Here are some of our favorite destinations for winter camping.
Twin Peaks Campground
Sonoran Desert, Arizona (2 hours from Phoenix)
Cost: Starting at $20 per night plus a $25 entry fee into the park
Average winter temperatures: Daytime highs in the 60’s to low-40’s at night
What you need to know: This is the main campground for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The area is surrounded by desert plants and cacti and has numerous hiking trails.
Joshua Tree National Park
Jumbo Rocks Campground
Twentynine Palms, California
Cost: $20 per night plus entrance fee
Average winter temperatures: Daytime temperatures average 60 degrees with freezing nights
What you need to know: There are several campsites at Joshua Tree National Park. The Jumbo Rocks is centrally located and offers beautiful views of the rock formations. The park is known for hiking, climbing, and stargazing. Pets are not allowed on trails. Make your reservation early; the park is busiest during February and March.
Everglades National Park
Cost: Starting at $33 a night
Average winter temperatures: Range from high 50’s to high 70’s
What you need to know: This park features towering Cyprus trees and an abundance of animals who call the Everglades home. Choose from front country and wilderness back country campsites, the latter reached mostly by canoe, kayak, or motorboat. Reserve early as this park is busiest from November through April.
Reed Bingham State Park
Cost: From $35 per night plus $5 parking fee
Average winter temperatures: Low 40’s to mid-60’s
What you need to know: This park features a 375-acre lake, and there are rentals for canoes and kayaks. Visitors also enjoy fishing, birding, and hiking. There is abundant wildlife, including tortoises, snakes, alligators, and nesting bald eagles. During the winter, thousands of black vultures and turkey vultures make their home here.
Grand Isle State Park
Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
Cost: Starting at $18 per night plus $3 per person admission fee
Average winter temperatures: mid-40’s to mid-60’s
What you need to know: This park offers fishing, birding, crabbing, hiking, and boating throughout the lagoons and the Gulf shore. There is a toll bridge to get to this state park. While the park is open, the boardwalks are currently closed due to damage from Hurricane Ida and campsites are limited.
Valley of Fire State Park
Cost: $20 per night for Nevada residents and $25 per night for non-Nevada vehicles, an additional $10 for utility hookups (WiFi for an additional fee)
Average winter temperatures: Can range from freezing to 75 degrees so pack accordingly
What you need to know: This 40,000-acre park is known for its bright red Aztec sandstone and its ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years.
Harris Beach State Park
Cost: Starting at $20 per night for residents (non-residents pay 25% more)
Average winter temperatures: Mid-50’s in the day to low-40’s at night
What you need to know: While winter is not beach weather, this park includes a beautiful beach for strolls, as well as walking paths and hiking trails. There are tent sites, RV sites, and yurts. Some of the campsites are closed during the winter so please check before you book.
James Island County Park
Charleston, South Carolina
Cost: Starting at $35 per night campgrounds and cottages are available
Average winter temperatures: Mid-40’s to low-60’s
What you need to know: The 643-acre park features open meadows and miles of paved trails for walking, biking, and skating. While the Splash Zone is not in operation during winter months, there is a climbing wall and disc golf course. Not only is the park pet-friendly, it also features a dog park.
Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
Cost: Starting at $14 per night plus a day pass fee of $8 per person; no RV or vehicle camping
Average winter temperatures: Daytime highs of mid-60’s to nighttime lows of low-40’s
What you need to know: The park features a huge pink granite dome that gives it its name. There is 1,600 acres of desert landscape, including opportunities for hiking and rock climbing. Pets are limited to one trail, and there is no bike riding on any trails.
UTAH / COLORADO
Dinosaur National Monument
Cost: Camping starts at $0 in the backcountry and ranges from $6-$40 at other sites plus an entrance pass ranging from $15-$25
Average winter temperatures: Elevations in the park may influence temperatures which can fluctuate from 0 degrees to 30 degrees in January. Pack accordingly.
What you need to know: This is your chance to camp where dinosaurs once roamed. The park covers 210,000 acres at the intersection of Utah and Colorado, and offers hiking, river rafting, and petroglyph viewing. Six campgrounds provide a variety of options. Not all are open in the winter. There are places where pets are permitted and where they are not.
Do you have a favorite winter camping spot? Share it in the comments.
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