Spring Camping Getaways Off the Beaten Path
Ditch the Crowds But Not the Splendor
You’re looking forward to getting outdoors this spring, right? Are you dying to head to the beach or walk among the wildflowers? Well, so is everyone else… and their brother. Maybe their dog too. Spring camping trips are filled with the joy of winter’s end, celebrating the arrival of the long-awaited stretch of warm weather for enjoyable outdoor living.
What may not be enjoyable for a lot of folks, however, are the huge crowds at some of the country’s favorite spring destinations. If you head to somewhere like Myrtle Beach, South Padre Island, or dozens of Florida beaches, it may feel a bit like walking around an amusement park.
If the spring camping crowds are not your thing, here’s a selection of some fantastic destinations that are a little off the beaten path.
Cumberland Island National Seashore – Georgia
A warm beach destination is the most highly sought-after spring camping retreat so finding one that’s not jam-packed with people can be a bit of a challenge. The Cumberland Island National Seashore along Georgia’s southern coast is home to some of the most pristine and undeveloped beaches in the country. There are tons of water-based activities (swimming, fishing, kayaking, etc.) as well as plentiful hiking and biking to enjoy.
Although the onsite campgrounds don’t allow RVs, there are plenty of great options within 25 miles. The Country Oaks RV Park and Campground is only about 10 miles away and offers full hookup sites and plenty of amenities like their fully stocked fishing pond.
San Juan National Forest – Colorado
Come springtime, campers flood Rocky Mountain National Park and pour into the little town of Estes Park in incredible numbers. If you still want to enjoy spring camping in the Colorado mountains, but don’t want to compete for campsites and trail space, consider heading to the San Juan National Forest instead.
Positioned in the southwestern corner of the state, the San Juan National Forest is an under-recognized gem that still offers plenty of Colorado mountain scenery and fun. Its nearly 2 million acres of gorgeous terrain are filled with countless hiking, biking, fishing, and wildlife viewing opportunities as well as more unique destinations like old mining ghost towns and ancient Puebloan cliff dwellings.
As for RV camping options, you’ve got more than 20 to choose from within 25 miles of the heart of the forest. The Oasis RV Resort in Durango is a particularly good option with plenty of full hookup campsites and great family-oriented amenities like mini-golf, a heated pool, and a group barbeque area.
Second Beach – Washington
Although it may not be your typical springtime beach destination, Second Beach on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is a unique camping setting with tons to do. Second Beach averages temperatures in the low to upper 60s for late spring, so you might not be packing the swimsuits for this trip. Instead, pack some solid footwear for endless exploring along the rugged coastline of the Pacific Northwest.
What makes Second Beach so unique is its seclusion. In fact, you have to hike about a mile off of the nearest road to reach the actual beach. Once there, take in the mystic beauty of the gnarled driftwood scattered across the shoreline and the massive rock features rising out of the ocean (some are even home to a few mature evergreens).
Probably the best home base for your RV will be in the town of Forks (famous as the setting for the “Twilight” saga books and films), about seven miles to the east. There are a few campgrounds to choose from, but the Riverview RV Park is the best option. You can count on full hookup campsites here and if you happen to be an angler, you’ll be in heaven. The campground is seated at the confluence of three major rivers and features its own bait and tackle shop and fish cleaning station.
Hoosier National Forest – Indiana
Yep, a spring camping getaway in the Midwest! For those of you not so familiar with Indiana, it’s not just flat cornfields. Southern Indiana is full of rolling hills, winding river valleys, and lush forests. The national forest is more than 200,000 acres of some of the most scenic natural lands in the region.
Why is Hoosier National Forest a great spring camping destination? For starters, temperatures in the area will hover around 80 degrees, making it perfect weather for shorts or sundresses. In addition, the forest borders the Ohio River so you can add boating and world-class catfishing to the usual outdoor activities (hiking, biking, etc.). Make sure you also hike to the top of Hickory Ridge and climb the observation tower to get an incredible panoramic view and breathe in the fresh spring air rising up from the blooming plants below.
There are three RV-friendly campgrounds within Hoosier National Forest and all offer water and electric hookups. If you prefer a campground with more amenities and modern entertainment options, check out the Lake Rudolph Campground and R.V. Resort. Here, you’ll find full hookup campsites and also have access to a waterpark, restaurant, fishing pond, mini-golf, and more.
If none of these options are reasonably close to you, a good rule of thumb for finding a low-key camping experience is to look for destinations 20+ miles from interstate or major highway access.
We all love those first few spring camping trips, but sometimes the crowds are just too much to enjoy yourself properly. Give one of these more unique, off-the-beaten-path destinations a look for all of the camping fun without the high-traffic hassle.