Fall is almost upon us, and just because the weather may be a bit cooler, that doesn’t mean you have to stop camping, In fact, autumn is one of the best times to do just that, particularly the first half of the season, when you’re likely to enjoy decent weather, fewer crowds and perhaps some colorful foliage too.
Beverly Beach State Park and the Oregon Coast
September is often the real start of summer on the Oregon coast, and with the kids back in school combined with the often warm temperatures and lack of rain, it’s an amazing time to be here. Throughout the entire coastline, there are a wealth of fantastic campgrounds, though Beverly Beach State Park is a definite a favorite for many, located between Depoe Bay and Newport. It offers beach access via a tunnel underneath the highway as well as a mile and a half stretch of gorgeous sands edged by the crashing Pacific, and 273 campsites. Camping is especially ideal here from mid-September through the end of October.
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Silver Falls State Park is a great place to camp with the family, with its myriad of scenic hikes, waterfalls and campsites with all sorts of amenities. The highlight is the Trail of Ten Falls, a loop that showcases gorgeous views of 10 waterfalls, five of which are at least 100 feet tall – and, four you can even walk behind the cascade of water. There are 45 tent sites that are open through October 31st, as well as cabins for those who prefer camping inside – they come complete with heat, electricity, bunk beds and a futon.
Trillium Lake Campground, Mount Hood, Oregon
This campground sits along the shores of Trillium Lake at the base of Mount Hood, and makes for an incredibly tranquil escape, coomplete with stunning views of the mountain as well as being a fantastic place for activities like boating, fishing and swimming. There’s also a two-mile trail that winds around the lake, and a number of other nearby trails for hiking. The campground hosts numerous tent and RV sites, all of which come with a picnic table and fire pit with a grill rack. They also have lots of privacy in between sites.
Plymouth Park, Plymouth, Washington
Plymouth Park Campground sits on an island on Lake Umatilla just across from Umatilla, Oregon, 185 miles east of Portland. Set in the dry highlands, it’s a magnificent place to camp in the fall with wonderful autumn foliage as well as outstanding river fishing.
White River Campground Mount Rainier, Ashford, Washington
White River Campground is situated at the base of Mount Rainier, and offers some of the most stunning vistas in the park. It’s also the closest campground to Sunrise Point, famous for its jaw-dropping sunrises and 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys, Mount Rainier, and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range like Mount Adams. Camping is actually best here between late July and mid-October, as the snow tends to stick around until mid-July. Campsites directly on the river are the most spacious, and include a view of 14,409-foot Mount Rainier towering overhead. Campers enjoy easy access to hiking too, including the Wonderland Trail which passes right through.
Kalaloch Campground, Olympic National Park, Washington
Beach camping can also be enjoyed in Washington, with Kalaloch Campground offering some of the best. The campground provides direct beach access, and it’s ideal for beachcombers with lots of unique pieces of driftwood and shells strewn about. Bird watching is outstanding as well, with bald eagles and many other coastal birds nesting and feeding in the area. Large nesting colonies of puffins are frequently spotted along rocky outposts, while sea otters can be seen floating through the surf, and whales and dolphins occasionally emerge just offshore. Peek into tide pools, and you’re likely to discover all sorts of creatures like sea urchins, hermit crabs and starfish.
Salmon River Campground, Stanley, Idaho
The Sawtooth Mountains are spectacular in the fall, with towering trees boasting an impressive array of autumn colors. Pack your gear, including some hot cocoa or cider for sipping around the fire and head to Salmon River Campground in Stanley. Breathe in the crisp, cool air and enjoy the magnificent scenery along the Salmon River in Sawtooth National Forest, with the jagged Sawtooths looming overhead/ This is an outdoor adventure lover’s paradise, with the stretch of river popular for fly fishing, and you can also enjoy activities like rafting, mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding. The riverside loop sites provide direct access to the river, while the upper loop offers a little more privacy.