When Do Campgrounds Close for the Season? (General rules)

There is nothing more disappointing as when the camping or RVing season ends in your area.

Camping is one of the greatest experiences you can have with friends and family. In some places, the camping season can stretch as far as September or October, while in others you can barely camp past August.

Regions and weather patterns in the United States can vary in huge ways, and so you need to be prepared for when you can and cannot camp in those regions.

Furthermore, there are times of the year when camping is dangerous for those inside tents or even RVs, so make sure to camp when it is warm, safe, and the most fun!

When do campgrounds close for the season?

Campgrounds in the United States will close during mid-October, and will not reopen until early or mid-May. This is not only to protect campers from harsh weather but also to care for the campground and prepare it for harsh winters or cold snaps.

If you are looking to camp outside of those time-frames, you can usually find a place to camp in warmer locations such as Florida, or winter-camp in very specific campgrounds or national parks that allow it during harsh conditions.

However, you should ONLY camp in the winter if you are an experienced professional and have the proper training to do so.

Here is a list of some popular campgrounds and RV parks (usually both are allowed in each) and their seasonal months of operation:

CampgroundSeasonal Dates
Herkimer Diamond KOAOpen April 15 – October 31
Bend-Sunriver RV CampgroundOpen All Year
Port Huron KOAOpen May 8 – November 1
Fort Yargo, GeorgiaOpen All Year
Ventura Ranch KOAOpen All Year

When Does the Camping Season Typically Start and End?

The camping season in the United States – as a general rule – exists from early or mid-May until September or even mid-October.

These are the “warmer” months in most regions of the United States that experience four seasons. While some places are guaranteed to be warmer well into October, other locations like Michigan or Wisconsin are sporadic and have crazy weather patterns affected by the Great Lakes.

This means that campgrounds can often change their season dates depending on severe or harsh weather that might occur in September or October – especially for tent campers.

Are KOA Campgrounds Open All Year Round?

KOA campgrounds are incredibly popular and offer a wide variety of amenities and opportunities for campers who love to stay for a weekend or longer.

Not all KOA campgrounds are open year-round, but there are many that are. Depending on where you live, you could be near a campground that is open all year long.

They offer year-long hours for their locations to give customers the best experiences no matter the season!

If you do decide to go year-long, make sure you are prepared and read their resources and advice on how to camp safely.

Which Campgrounds are Open All Year Round?

We’ve listed the four main regions of the United States below and have added a few KOA campgrounds that are available all year round:

NOTE: This is by no means the “definitive list,” as there are many locations open all year. For more information, see the references below at the bottom of this article.

The Midwest

If you live in the Midwest, you know that seasonal weather is a random experience. You could have snow in September and 70 degrees Fahrenheit weather in November.

Because of this, it is hard to tell when it would be a good time to go camping outside of June or July.

However, here are a few KOA Campgrounds open all year:

  • Benton KOA Journey – IL
  • Allendale / W Grand Rapids KOA – MI
  • Canton / East Sparta KOA Holiday – OH
  • Crawfordsville KOA – IN
  • Waterloo / Lost Island Waterpark KOA Resort – IA

The South

Temperatures in the southern part of the United States are either warm or hot all year long, and while they do get a little colder in the winter months, you can usually camp all year long with proper training and resources.

Here are a few places you can camp all year long:

  • Orlando / Kissimmee KOA Holiday – FL
  • West Palm Beach / Lion Country Safari KOA – FL
  • Ashland / Huntington West KOA – KY
  • Americus KOA – GA
  • Tifton KOA – GA
  • Amarillo KOA Journey – TX
  • Kerrville KOA – TX
  • Gulf Shores / Pensacola West KOA – AL

The West

The “West” region of the United States is HUGE.

There is so much space out there that includes gorgeous national parks, mountains, canyons, and lakes. If you’re going to camp all year somewhere, you’re probably dreaming about the West.

Here are a few KOA locations open all year:

  • Carbondale / Crystal River KOA Holiday – CO
  • Denver East / Strasburg KOA Holiday – CO
  • Great Falls KOA – MT
  • Wendover KOA – NV
  • Las Vegas KOA at Sam’s Town Journey – NV
  • Avila / Pismo Beach KOA – CA
  • Los Angeles / Pamona / Fairplex KOA – CA

The North East

Last on the list of our KOA locations are located in the North East!

A little more predictable than the Midwest, but still cold in the winter months of the year, the North East is known for gorgeous oceanfronts and mountain locations that draw people to them every season.

Here are a few all-year-long locations to consider:

  • Madison / Pittsburgh SE KOA – PA
  • DuBois / Treasure Lake KOA – PA
  • Philadelphia South / Clarksboro KOA – NJ

Where Do you Camp When the Campgrounds are Closed?

There are many backyard campers in the world who continue to camp close to home when campgrounds are closed.

However, if you are looking for a more adventurous outing, you may be a “dispersed” camper.

“Dispersed camping” is defined by the USDA Forest Service as someone or a group of people who camp in national forests outside of designated campgrounds. This means that those campers forgo traditional services, such as trash removal, picnic tables, firepits, or facilities.

However, some dispersed campers do have access to bathrooms.

Who can Go Dispersed Camping?

Dispersed campers are much more experienced than your average camper, and have many more responsibilities and requirements if they are going to camp this way.

For example, a lack of amenities can be very difficult for campers who don’t know how to build their own fires, find their own water, restrooms, or maintain their own trash and refuse. They also will have to know where to camp and how to keep their equipment dry and safe.

Furthermore, to protect campers and wildlife, you may only camp in a dispersed area for up to 16 days.

After that, you must move at least five miles to another dispersed area. Campers may not return to the same campsite within the calendar year.

Whatever you’re up to, make sure it is legal to camp in those dispersed areas during a certain time of the year.

What About Campgrounds in National Parks?

You can camp in regular campgrounds (tent and RV), dispersed camping or cabin camping year-round in several National Parks.

While each park is different, there is usually one campground still open year-round in each major park.

We’ve listed a few below:

All Year Campgrounds

If you are interested in regular or dispersed camping in a national park, you will want to go during the warmer months of the year in order to stay as safe as possible.

However, if you are interested in the colder months when all other campgrounds are closed in the park, you will have to find specific places to do so.

Here are a few campgrounds open all year long in the National Parks:

  • Mammoth Campground – Yellowstone (The only one open all year)
  • Upper Pines – Yosemite Valley
  • Hodgdon Meadow – North of Yosemite Valley
  • Platte River Campground – Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
  • Watchman Campground – Zion National Park

These are only five examples of possible year-round campgrounds that you can visit in the off-seasons.

If you’d like to disperse camp, you will need to contact these areas and ask them about dispersed camping locations and their services.

What Are the Best Dates to Go RVing?

One of the best things about RV camping is that you are in an enclosed, climate-controlled space with basic amenities and entertainment.

This means that you have the potential to camp year-round without worrying about succumbing to the elements or wild animals.

However, each season has many perks and drawbacks to choosing them as the time to go RVing in:

Spring

Perks:

  • Spring Break for Families
  • Cooler Weather
  • Gorgeous Sights & First Blooms of Flowers

Drawbacks:

  • A Lot of Wind, Rain & Mud
  • Spring Break is a Small, Crowded Window of Time to Travel
  • Reservations Book Quickly
  • Gas Prices Increase on Spring Break

Spring and especially Spring Break are beautiful, cooler times to take your family camping.

Although it may seem harder to find the right window to reserve a spot for your tent or RV, the gorgeous views do not disappoint!

Summer

Perks:

  • Warmest Time to Travel
  • Waterparks, Beaches, Oceans & Lakes
  • Outdoors Sports, Events & Recreation
  • Festivals & Holidays (4th of July)
  • Summer Break for Families

Drawbacks:

  • Very Crowded
  • Most Expensive Time to Reserve
  • Hotter Weather / Sunburn
  • Fuel Prices Skyrocket on Weekends

Summer is by far one of the most popular times to camp, whether in a tent or in an RV. Warm weather, swimming, and being outside is ideal for camping with friends and family.

However, it is also the busiest, and for months, families are reserving campsites more than once to take advantage of the weather. Furthermore, gas prices and expensive reservation costs can deter families from staying too long.

Fall

Perks:

  • Fall Leaves & Scenic Destinations
  • Cooler Weather
  • Halloween & Other Festivals
  • Food & Harvest Tours
  • Less Crowded

Drawbacks:

  • Colder Weather
  • Unpredictable for Snow or Hail
  • School Starts up Again

Fall is one of the best times to go camping – if you’re willing to pull the kids out of school for a few days. Campgrounds love to host Halloween-themed events, and they even offer big harvest events or festivals in many areas of the United States.

Fall also suffers from cold snaps and unpredictable weather. One day it might be sunny and warm, and the next, it is cloudy, windy, and snow is in the air.

If you travel in fall, make sure to watch that weather report!

Winter

Perks:

  • Cheaper Camp Rates
  • Less Crowded
    Beautiful Scenery

Drawbacks:

  • Icy Roads & Unsafe Travel
  • Costly Fuel & Heat
  • You Miss Opportunities to Winterize your Trailer
  • Cold & Wet

Even with your climate-controlled RV, you still have the potential to get into some trouble in the wintertime.

Regardless of the perks, we don’t recommend beginners camping in winter without proper training and experience.

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