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When Are Campgrounds the Least Crowded?

Showing up at a campground expecting a fun, relaxing vacation and finding a crowded, chaotic park is no one’s idea of a fun time.

But it’s not an inevitable part of traveling.

With a little planning and knowledge of travel patterns, you can avoid the mobs of tourists. Let’s explore how.

When Are Campgrounds the Least Crowded?

If you’re looking for one specific month or season when campgrounds are least crowded, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that.

The best answer for when you’ll find the least crowded campgrounds is the low season or off-season. This will vary from place to place depending on the weather and other factors. 

For example, the off-season in Florida would include the peak of summer, when scorching hot temperatures make being outside uncomfortable.

Conversely, the off-season in a place like Maine would be the winter, when snow and cold temperatures make it more difficult to enjoy the state’s many outdoor attractions.

Multiple RVs parked at campsite
Traveling during peak season means lots of crowds at RV campsites.

What Does It Mean to Travel During the Off-Season? 

Traveling during the off-season essentially means scheduling your trips for times when demand is lower. This generally means lower prices and more choices for campgrounds.

You may have to sacrifice seeing some of the sights, as they may not be open. Weather or other issues may make things that are available less enjoyable. 

Pro Tip: Crowds can really ruin an experience! If you want to avoid the usual hoards of people, make sure to Avoid These 5 National Parks.

When Are Campgrounds the Most Crowded?

Campgrounds will be most crowded during their high or busy seasons. To use our earlier examples, for Florida, this would be the winter months when many people head south to escape the snow.

In Maine, it will generally be during the region’s mild and beautiful summers.

Naturally, when conditions are best, more people will want to go, which means more crowded campgrounds. 

Crowd in a national park.
Escape the crowds by traveling during the off season.

As RV Life Popularity Continues to Increase, Campgrounds Will Become Even More Crowded

The explosion of interest in RV life in the past few years has added thousands of new rigs to the road. Unfortunately for both new and longtime RVers, this means many more people competing for roughly the same number of spots at campgrounds.

With no signs the interest in RVing is waning, the competition for campsites may only worsen in the coming years.

As a result, RVers may have to make reservations far in advance or settle for less desirable campgrounds. 

How to Beat the Crowds During the Busy Season

While the best way to avoid tons of other travelers is to vacation during the low season, that’s not always possible or desirable.

After all, who really wants to be at the beach in the winter, or the desert at the peak of summer?

But there are ways to beat some of the crowds even in the busy season.

RV park campsite.
Avoid holidays, weekends, and touristy spots to steer clear of crowds.

Avoid Holidays or Holiday Weekends

If you’ve got an extra day or two off for a holiday, chances are tens or hundreds of thousands of people in your area do too. And just like you, many of them love to travel and get some camping in while they have the opportunity.

If you’re camping during a time of year when campgrounds are already busy, avoid these holiday weekends if you can.

You may even find periods before or after holiday weekends less active, as potential campers concentrate their trips over a few days. 

Avoid Weekends

The same principle applies here. Sure, it’s more convenient for you not to have to take extra days off or rearrange your regular weekday routine.

But if you’re looking to avoid crowds, you’ll find weekdays are the time to stay at campgrounds during the busy season. You’ll find more sites, less crowded amenities, and possibly even lower rates.

You’re also more likely to encounter people on weeklong or extended stays rather than deal with rowdy campers only there for a weekend. 

Avoid Campgrounds Near Tourist Destinations

Whether or not you’re planning on visiting the popular destination, staying a bit farther away will likely mean fewer crowds and more campsites.

Everyone wants the convenience of a campground close to the major sights. You’ll be competing with everyone if you try to stay right near your destination.

You may have to drive a bit more, but it could make the difference between a fun, peaceful spot and a crowded, chaotic campsite.

Pro Tip: Avoid crowds by boondocking, but before you go make sure you don’t break any of The Don’ts of Boondocking | 10 Rules to Follow for RV Campers.

Want to Beat the Crowds Altogether? Try Boondocking Instead

America’s public lands may offer some relief to those looking to leave crowded campsites behind entirely.

Boondocking, also known as dry camping, refers to camping with your RV or trailer in a natural, unimproved site. It won’t have any power, water, or sewer hookups. These sites might be roadside stops or remote campgrounds down miles of dirt road. 

Because they’re generally more remote and lack the amenities of RV parks and campgrounds, many people won’t even consider them.

But for those who prize solitude and nature, these spots can be valuable ways to have an incredible vacation.

The new world of RV travel may mean crowded campgrounds. But it’s not an unavoidable nuisance. Keep these principles in mind when planning your trips, and you’ll find plenty of spots in more relaxed campgrounds.

You may even discover unique experiences that keep you coming back time after time.

What are your tips for avoiding crowds? Drop a comment down below!

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