Real camping buffs know that winter weather is no real reason for spending the season indoors. In fact, some of the most glorious national parks and other outdoor areas in the country are better during the winter season. From wild golden sand beaches left all to yourself to epic desert landscapes that are simply too hot to explore in summertime, winter presents ample opportunities to get out there and enjoy some real natural splendor. So pack up the camping gear and let’s hit the road with these top winter camping destinations in the U.S.
Channels Island National Park
Made up of five separate islands off the coast of Southern California, the Channel Islands are heavily visited during the sun blasted summer season, yet few know that they are open all year for camping as well. Not only does the winter season bring smaller crowds and give you more time and space to explore this unique and rugged ecosystem, complete with hidden cove beaches and marvelous vista points over the raging Pacific, but it’s also prime time to spot a blue or humpback whale. Campsites are by reservation only and are located in spectacular settings on each island.
Rock Island State Park
A river oasis in the heart of verdant Tennessee, Rock Island State Park is a wonderland of waterfalls, forests and gorges that boasts a pleasant mild climate even during the winter months. Located on the confluence of three large rivers and the headwaters of the Center Hill Lake, the lush park offers endless outdoor pursuits all year long. Its 20 campsites are all family friendly and open 365 days a year, putting visitor’s right in the heart of paradise in any season.
Arches National Park
Home to a dazzling display of red rock pinnacles, giant balancing rocks and over 2,000 amazing natural stone archways, Arches National Park is a giant oven during the summer season, and is really much better explored by the entire family in the cooler winter months. Sites at Devil’s Garden Campground, located just outside of the park entrance and home to awesome views of the stone formation themselves, are first come, first served from November to March, making planning and preparing for a winter trip to Arches even easier.