What’s best? What’s worst? That’s up to you to decide. But here are campsite recommendations for those of us looking to explore winter camping on the extremes.
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You’re finally done being hot and sweaty. No more funky wicking t-shirts! Winter is right around the corner and it’s about time. There’s nothing better than hiking through a quiet snow covered forest, and you usually get the park all to yourself. The sun worshipers can hide under covers on the couch while you go and camp in winter wonderland.
Average Dec/Jan Temp: 22 degrees
It’s absolutely gorgeous, and you can camp anywhere you want, as long as there is two feet of snow. Well, if you have 12+ people you’ll have to camp at Paradise, but we both know you won’t talk 12 of your friends into winter camping. Mount Rainer gets a lot of snow, giving you the option of going straight up igloo. Oh – make sure you pick up a permit at Longmire Museum.
Yellowstone National Park
Average Dec/Jan Temp: 24 Degrees
Why would you want to winter camp in Yellowstone? Um, have you ever been there in the summer? It’s a madhouse. In the winter there will be far less people around and you can tour the park with ease. It’s also one of the most beautiful places in the country during winter months.
Denali National Park
Average Dec/Jan Temp: 2 Degrees
Now we’re entering a slightly different game. Temperatures can get down to -50 degrees on the north side of the range, so don’t “try winter camping” in Denali. This is for seasoned winter campers. That said, the payoff is worth it. Denali should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Rather than embracing the cold, you’ve decided to retreat for warmer weather. There’s no shame in that. You are simply getting a jump on the rest of the people that eventually winter in warmer climates. Maybe you just have an old soul… Regardless, if any of your winter-loving friends give you a hard time about going south, you won’t be able to hear them over the gentle roar of the ocean and warm air blowing over your deck chair. Bring on paradise.
Cayo Costa State Park
Average Dec/Jan Temp: 71 degrees
Precipitation: 4.1 Inches/Month
With miles of beautiful untouched beach, Cayo Costa is one of Florida’s last untouched vacation destinations. You will find some of the most secluded camping in one of the most beautiful environments in Florida. Only accessible by private boat or ferry, Coya Costa provides ample opportunity to either spend your days laying on the beach or partake in numerous daytime activities. Both sound great, we won’t judge.
Garner State Park
Average Dec/Jan Temp: 65 degrees
Precipitation: 2.2 Inches/Month
Enjoy a winter sunset overlooking the Frio River valley and you’ll have trouble deciding if you’ll ever go home. Temperature can dip at night but the daytime hiking and views overcome the rare chilly night you might experience. Bring along a fishing pole and test your skills in the Frio River.
Average Dec/Jan Temp: 81 degrees
Precipitation: 2.75 Inches/Month
We saved the best for last. Gorgeous ocean views, waterfalls, miles of beautiful hiking trails form an amalgam of epic winter camping. This is truly the ultimate warm weather camping getaway. Temperatures can climb into the mid 80s in December/January so be prepared for the discomfort of leaving this paradise to return home to colder temperatures.