The Ultimate Camping Season Guide (For the US & Canada)

You want to go camping, but you aren’t sure when peak season is or when the parks will be open. If you’re planning on camping this year, you need to know when the parks will be open and when you can load up the car for a weekend trip.

Camping season varies based on the state or province, but peak seasons tend to stretch from May until October. It is often bookended with Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend. It is less busy during the shoulder seasons before and after these dates. Experienced campers may go in the winter.

Here is what you need to know for more detailed information on when you can expect camping season to begin and end in each state or province.

US and Canadian Camping Season Beginning and End – Summary Table

Click on your US state or Canadian province to reach the desired section directly for more info and save yourself the trouble of having to scroll all the way down.

United States
AlabamaMid-March to end of October
AlaskaMid-May to end of September
ArizonaMid-April to mid-October
ArkansasThroughout the calendar year
CaliforniaApril to October
ColoradoMay to September
ConnecticutEarly April to early October
DelawareMost campgrounds open year-round
FloridaOpen year-round
GeorgiaBeginning of April to end of October
HawaiiOpen year-round
IdahoMay to end of September
IllinoisTwo distinct camping seasons
IndianaOpen year-round
IowaMid-April to mid-October
KansasApril to November
KentuckyMid-March to mid-November
LouisianaOpen year-round
MaineFebruary to mid-October
MarylandFirst Saturday in May to first Sunday in November
MassachusettsMid-February to October
MichiganMost campsites are open year-round
MinnesotaMostly April to September
MississippiOpen through all four seasons
MissouriApril to October
MontanaThird Friday in May to third Sunday in September
NebraskaLast week of May to the first week of September
NevadaApril to November
New HampshireMay to October
New JerseyApril to mid-December
New MexicoOpen year-round
New YorkMid-May to early October
North CarolinaOpen year-round
North DakotaEnd of May to end of September
OhioOpen year-round
OklahomaOpen year-round
OregonOpen year-round
PennsylvaniaMid-April to mid-December
Rhode IslandMay to October
South CarolinaOpen year-round
South DakotaMid-May to end of October
TennesseeMid-March to mid-November
TexasOpen year-round
UtahMany campgrounds are open year-round
VermontMay to September
VirginiaFirst Monday of March to first Monday of December
WashingtonMid-May to mid-September
West VirginiaEarly spring to late fall
WisconsinSome state parks are open year-round
WyomingOffers year-round camping
AlbertaOffers year-round camping
British ColumbiaMost campgrounds open from May to mid-October
ManitobaMid-May to mid-September
New BrunswickMay 15th to October 15th
Newfoundland and LabradorOpen year round
Nova ScotiaLate May to late October
OntarioMost campgrounds open from end of April to end of October
Prince Edward IslandJune to September
QuebecMay end to October beginning
SaskatchewanEnd of May to early October

Camping Seasons in the United States

Each state will have its own camping season, so here is what you can expect from each of the 50 states.

Camping Seasons in the United States

1. Alabama

Alabama permits camping at their national parks as early as March 12th, when the weather starts warming up.

Most people wait until April or May for better weather once spring is more solidly underway.

However, it will run until the end of October so that you can take advantage of the fair weather that accompanies fall.   

2. Alaska

Camping season will begin in the spring in Alaska, usually around mid-May. At this time, temperatures typically reach the 50s and 60s during the day, and some snow on the ground will melt.

Camping in Alaska is a bit trickier as their winter days are much shorter than those in the rest of the country.

The winter solstice will only provide six hours of daylight which is not ideal for camping. This is why most people end camping season around mid-to-late September.

3. Arizona

Arizona is known for its warm weather and sunshine, so it makes sense that the camping season begins early.

Some campgrounds permit reservations as early as April 15th, while others will hold off until May 15th. Despite the warm winters in Arizona, camping season still ends midway through fall on October 15th.

However, due to the excellent weather, you may be able to find some campgrounds that are open year-round.

4. Arkansas

Much like Arizona, Arkansas has fantastic weather throughout the calendar year. This allows you to find some campsites to enjoy even through the dead of winter.

Peak camping season in Arkansas starts around early May, usually running through mid to late October. 

5. California

California is a sunny haven for many campers, allowing you to camp during peak times in the middle of the summer and through the shoulder season.

Campers will find they can enjoy a weekend in the great outdoors in California from April through October.

6. Colorado

Because of Colorado’s heavy snow during the winter, their prime camping season usually begins a bit later than in other states.

Memorial Day weekend technically kicks off camping season in this state, but many campgrounds are still covered in snow.

Less experienced campers will want to hold off on their plans until June, allowing for camping through the middle of September. If you intend to camp in the Rocky Mountains, you may have a shorter window.

The mountains are great for camping from May through September, as this is when the first snow usually takes place.

7. Connecticut

Connecticut is a beautiful state with a generous camping season. Many state parks and areas will be open for camping reservations from April 8th through October 10th.

Most campgrounds will stay open through Labor Day weekend before closing for the winter weather.  

8. Delaware

Many of the campgrounds in Delaware are open year-round, but you should be an experienced camper to brave the winter.

The peak season is typically during the height of summer in July and August. 

9. Florida

Florida is known for its balmy weather and endless sunshine, making this a great place to camp year-round.

You can enjoy many campgrounds, no matter what time of year. Keep in mind that the temperatures do get very warm in the middle of summer with high humidity.

Most people prefer camping in the early spring (March) and late fall (October).

10. Georgia

Like its neighbor Florida, Georgia has wonderful weather throughout the calendar year.

Many campgrounds are open seasonally from the beginning of April through the end of October. You will find some sites that are open year-round as well.  

11. Hawaii

Hawaii has beautiful weather throughout the calendar year, so it makes sense that they don’t have a specific camping season.

Many campgrounds are open all year long, but others are available only from April 1st through Labor Day weekend.

12. Idaho

Idaho is a beautiful place to go camping in spring and summer. Campgrounds typically open in May and close by the end of September as winter eases in. This allows you to camp during peak seasons.

13. Illinois

Illinois has two distinct camping seasons that you should be aware of. The first covers spring and summer, ideal for campers of all experience levels.

This ranges from May 1st through September 30th. The second covers the fall and winter seasons from October 1st to April 30th.

While the weather may be mild at the beginning and end of this season, the winter weather can be harsh, with highs only reaching into the 30s or 40s, depending on your location.

Not to mention, you may be subject to heavy snowfall.  

14. Indiana

At Indiana State Parks and many other campgrounds, you can camp year-round.

Keep in mind that the winter weather will be pretty cold, and you should only camp during this time if you are quite experienced at camping.

You can check out my guide on winter camping essentials to know everything you need for a cozy and adventurous winter camping experience.

It usually doesn’t make it out of the 30s during the day and drops much lower at night.

15. Iowa

You may find that some of the state parks are open year-round, depending on the weather. In Iowa, the camping season typically runs from April 15th through October 15th.

They may close due to heavy snowfall as the sites do not typically have road maintenance during this time.  

16. Kansas

Camping season typically starts around April and ends by November, but Kansas also has a few campgrounds open year-round.

Plan your trip accordingly, and you could enjoy the winter in a cabin or a warmer setup in a less busy season.  

17. Kentucky

Kentucky has a camping season that starts earlier than most, around March 12th. It will also stretch longer than some other states, running through mid-November.

A few state parks will stay open through the winter for those who prefer a chill in the air while enjoying the great outdoors.

18. Louisiana

The balmy weather in Louisiana allows you to experience the best of camping all through the year.

Peak camping season will typically start around March when the spring weather begins to debut. It typically runs through late fall (October), when the temperature drops.

Keep in mind that the temperatures never get too low in Louisiana, though. The average winter temperature usually reaches the mid-40s to low 50s.

19. Maine

Maine is a beautiful place to go camping; the season starts earlier than in other states.

Some of their parks open as early as February 1st, though most will hold off a few more days until February 4th.

Remember that the weather will still likely be very chilly at this time, with the temperatures usually only reaching the mid-30s.

Maine camping season ends before the winter weather blows in. Many state parks will allow you to make reservations until September 12th.

After this point, they are first-come, first-served until they officially close around October 15th.

20. Maryland

Tent camping in Maryland at their state parks is usually available starting on the first Saturday in May.

You can enjoy the amenities at their campgrounds until the first Sunday in November. After this point, the weather will likely be too cold for tent camping to be enjoyable.

If you are camping in a self-contained camping unit, a few campgrounds are open all year.  

21. Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Conservations and Recreation starts their camping season as early as mid-February. It remains open until October.

Off-season camping is also permitted at several campgrounds, running from the end of peak camping season to the end of November.

22. Michigan

If rustic camping interests you, Michigan has some of the most beautiful campsites that are open year-round.

Despite their availability, the snow limits these campsites at times, so be sure to keep tabs on the weather before you head out camping.

Peak camping season usually stretches from June to August, giving you the best weather. During the summer, temperatures hover around the 70s to 80s.  

23. Minnesota

Like many other states, Minnesota allows you to camp year-round but has peak seasons where the most campsites are available.

The standard camping season runs from April to September, when the weather is warmest. Off-season camping is also permitted at some state parks from October through March.

24. Mississippi

Mississippi’s beautiful weather allows you to enjoy camping throughout the year. The state parks are open through all four seasons.

Even in the height of winter, the temperatures still tend to be in the 50s, while areas closer to the Gulf Coast may be in the 60s during peak winter weather.

This makes it ideal for camping, regardless of your experience level.  

25. Missouri

While the camping season in Missouri can vary, most campsites are available early in the season, around April 1st.

You can enjoy the outdoor weather a bit later than some states, with peak season camping ending at the end of October.

Some state parks will also open in the shoulder season, stretching from March through November.

26. Montana

Montana campsites are available starting from the third Friday in May.

You can enjoy camping here until fall and winter approach, with the last dates scheduled for the third Sunday in September.

27. Nebraska

If you want to experience the great outdoors every season, Nebraska should be on your list of places to visit.

Peak season runs from the last week of May to the first week of September, but you can find many campsites all year round.

Remember that winters in Nebraska can be pretty harsh, and you might want to opt for a self-contained camping unit such as an RV or a cabin.

Be sure to keep an eye on the weather during the winter months, as Nebraska has an average snowfall of 20 to 40 inches each winter.

28. Nevada

While the weather is gorgeous throughout the calendar year, Nevada’s prime camping season runs from April to November.

A couple of campgrounds are available year-round, including their Lower Lehman Campground. During the off-season, campsites are first-come, first-served.  

29. New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a wide-open range of dates in their camping season, starting on Memorial Day (May) and running through Columbus Day weekend (October).

Occasionally, some camping sites open before and after these dates for more year-round camping.  

30. New Jersey

Unlike many other states, New Jersey’s parks are open for quite a long time through the spring until the end of fall and the beginning of winter.

Most campgrounds will open on April 1st and will continue to take reservations until December 15th. At this point, they will be closed for the winter, which can be pretty harsh in New Jersey.

31. New Mexico

The warm weather of New Mexico makes it ideal for year-round camping. Most avid campers prefer three-season: spring, summer, and fall camping.

If you want to escape the brutal heat of a New Mexico summer, the best time to go camping is in September and October.

Despite being in the south, the winter weather can be pretty chilly, with temperatures reaching only the mid-30s.  

32. New York

Some facilities will be open throughout the year in New York, but most will start their camping season around mid-May.

The end of the camping season will vary based on the campground. Some facilities will close early September, while others remain open until early October.

33. North Carolina

North Carolina has beautiful weather throughout the year, with minimal snow in the winter.

This allows them to remain open for camping year-round at their state parks. Tent camping does best during peak seasons ranging from April 1st to October 31st.

34. North Dakota

Camping in North Dakota begins at the end of May, around the third weekend of the month.

The end of camping season is accompanied by water shutoff in many of the campgrounds.

The date ranges anywhere from October 1st through December 1st, depending on which part of the state park you want to go camping.

Many of the campsites in North Dakota close around the end of September and October.

35. Ohio

Ohio has a robust camping season offered year-round but with limited facilities open during the winter months.

Peak camping season runs from April through October, but you will still find many of their campgrounds open from November through March.

36. Oklahoma

Some campgrounds open year-round in Oklahoma, but many try to avoid the summer heat. July and August often have record highs that can make being outdoors uncomfortable.

Most people prefer to camp at the beginning of peak season, around March or April, and again in the fall from September to October.  

37. Oregon

Oregon is an incredible place to visit, especially if you plan to go off-grid for a few days. Many trails and camping sites are open year-round if you don’t mind roughing it a little.

If you prefer to stay in a more developed campground, the peak camping season usually extends from mid-May through September.

38. Pennsylvania

State parks in Pennsylvania have a generous camping season spanning from the warm springtime of mid-April to a chillier winter in mid-December.

If you look hard enough, you may be able to find some campgrounds or primitive campsites open from December to April as well.

39. Rhode Island

Rhode Island camping season starts around Memorial Day weekend in May and will run through Columbus Day weekend in October.

You can still make reservations at their state parks, even in the off-season. Shoulder seasons are a popular time to go camping (April to May and September to October).

40. South Carolina

South Carolina is known for its beaches and balmy weather, so it is no surprise that their camping season extends year-round.

More than 3,000 campsites are available regardless of the time of year. Even in the winter, the highs will often hit the 60s.

41. South Dakota

You can start to plan early for your South Dakota camping trip, with reservations opening as early as February for mid-May arrivals.

Many campgrounds are open until the end of October, weather permitting.

42. Tennessee

Tennessee’s warm weather allows for a generous camping season starting in the early spring days of March, opening on the fifteenth of the month.

Camping season at public recreation areas will run through November 15th.

43. Texas

Texas has extremely warm weather year-round, permitting its campsites to open all year. While peak camping season is typically during the summer, you may want to avoid this in Texas.

The blistering heat can make your camping expedition miserable, so consider going in the shoulder season (early spring or winter).

44. Utah

Despite the extreme fluctuations in temperature, many Utah campgrounds are open year-round for reservations. Spring and fall are still the best times to go camping in this state.

Winter camping in Utah should be avoided for less experienced campers as many trails will close, and temperatures frequently drop below freezing.

For detailed information, be sure to check out my comprehensive guide on winter camping to help you prepare effectively.

Depending on the elevation of your campsite, you may also get caught in a snowstorm.  

45. Vermont

For Vermont state parks, you can expect that most will open from Memorial Day (May) through Labor Day (September).

Be sure to check with the facility or campground where you would like to stay, as some open a bit earlier or stay open a little later.

46. Virginia

Because Virginia is situated in the middle of the south, it tends to have more agreeable weather than many New England states, allowing camping season to run longer.

Full-service campgrounds are open from the first Friday in March to the first Monday in December.

47. Washington

For the most part, camping season in Washington runs from May 15th through September 15th.

Some parks are open year-round or have an extended camping season, so you can go during the shoulder season instead of the peak summer months.

48. West Virginia

West Virginia typically opens its camping season in early spring, around March.

Depending on the weather that year, the season will run until late fall, when the winter starts to surface and temperatures drop. Try to plan your trip from spring to fall for the best results.

49. Wisconsin

Despite the winter you may encounter in Wisconsin, some state parks are open year-round.

Depending on the equipment you plan to use, you can find campsites in mid-December.

50. Wyoming

Like many other states, Wyoming offers year-round camping.

The peak season is typically during the summer months (June through August), but most avid campers will find that fall is the best time to go. It allows you to experience cooler weather with fewer crowds.

Camping Seasons in Canada

If you plan a camping trip in Canada, here is what you need to know about the ten provinces’ open seasons.

Camping Seasons in Canada

1. Alberta

Alberta is a great place to go camping for its beauty and its year-round availability.

There are dozens of campgrounds open all year long, as well as backcountry campsites and the ever-popular free crown land camping.

Peak camping season in Alberta is from mid-May to early September, though.

2. British Columbia

Much like Alberta, there are plenty of places in British Columbia where you can camp no matter the season.

However, most campgrounds will be open from May to mid-October. Many prime camp spots will book up quickly this season, so snag your spot early. 

3. Manitoba

Manitoba has many campsites available for you to book in advance.

Their camping season runs from mid-May (usually May 13th to May 20th, depending on the location) until mid-September. There are a few campgrounds that remain open until early October.

4. New Brunswick

New Brunswick may be the ideal destination for you if you want to go camping during the spring or fall.

Their campgrounds are open from May 15th through October 15th.

5. Newfoundland and Labrador

Camping in Newfoundland and Labrador is just as easy as finding a place to pitch your tent in the crown land. It is open year-round, with the peak season in the warm summer months of July and August.

If you prefer to camp at a campground, most parks are open from Victoria Day weekend through mid-September.

6. Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is open later in the year for camping than some of the other provinces.

In their national parks, you can experience camping from May 20th through October 23rd, giving you access to beautiful campsites while the weather is still agreeable.

7. Ontario

Camping seasons in Ontario will vary.

Many campgrounds open around the end of April through October 30th. Some are open year-round, such as Tamarack or backcountry camping on the Bruce Trail.

8. Prince Edward Island

On Prince Edward Island, you can expect that their camping season is relatively short compared to other provinces and even campgrounds stateside.

Camping season will run from June to September here.

9. Quebec

Quebec extends to cover a large area, so it makes sense that their campgrounds have different seasons. Some stretch from May 27th through October 9th, while others run from June to September.

Be sure to check in with your desired campsite to see their official start and end dates.

10. Saskatchewan

If you want to stay in a national park, you will find that most Saskatchewan parks are open from the end of May through early October.

Some backcountry camping spots are also available year-round, depending on your preferred camping location.

Camping Seasons Shape Outdoor Adventures…

While there are plenty of options for camping year-round in both the United States and Canada, you will find that most camping seasons stretch from May to October.

Visit more southern regions for warmer winter weather or prepare to rough it in the cold in some northern climates.

Either way, you’re sure to have a great time in the great outdoors if you are prepared during the peak camping season.

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with his pet bunny when not out in the woods, exploring the infinite beauty of mother nature.

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