When the frigid winter months roll around you may find yourself eager to get away, split town and escape to some place warm. For camping enthusiasts, winter can be a rough time, full of dampening spirits. That doesn't mean you should curl up and hibernate though. Instead, you can still get your fix of the outdoors — if you know where to go (and lucky for you, we do).
Death Valley National Park
In the summertime Death Valley lives up to its name with temperatures that soar well above 100 degrees. In the winter, however, the heat is bearable — enjoyable even. The night skies are crystal clear during this time, offering visitors the chance to see one of the best starry nights they’ve likely ever seen. Temperatures rarely drop to below freezing at lower elevations, so feel free to pack your gear and head to California this winter.
Joshua Tree National Park
Named after the unique, Dr. Seuss-like desert palms that blanket the area, Joshua Tree National Park is described as a “backpacker’s haven with mild winters, interesting rock formations and wildlife.” Its nine year-round campgrounds are surrounded on all sides by exceptional stone formations that are ripe for rock climbing and bouldering. The park is also crisscrossed with a vast network of trails perfect for backpacking, biking, and hiking.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
This recreational area on the Arizona-Nevada border is a low-key place to get out and enjoy the desert. Located less than 10 minutes from Hoover Dam, the park has two lakes for visitors to boat, kayak, and paddle board. The surrounding area has seven managed campgrounds featuring running water, picnic tables, restrooms and grills, so you can spend plenty of time exploring the area in comfort and style.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
The Organ Pipe Cactus for which this park is named stoically frames the more than 208 campsites in this area along the Arizona-Mexico border. RVs and campers are allowed at many of the sites, while the vast majority are reserved strictly for tent camping. If you want a primitive and remote experience away from the bright lights and bit city, Alamo Canyon is a sanctuary where motor vehicles are not allowed.
Big Bend National Park
The state of Texas has your back when wintertime comes calling, offering a mild weathered getaway just about everywhere. Big Ben's three campgrounds are each suited to different types of vehicles and elevations. The Rio Grande runns through the national park so there are also opportunities for visitors to engage in river-recreation while they’re there, too.
Everglades National Park
The hot and humid climate of Florida is a great place for snowbirds and outdoor enthusiasts to shed their winter coats. The wildlife in the Everglades is thriving with pelicans, herons, alligators, catfish, and turtles abound. There are two drive-in campsites with Everglades National Park, but the real treat is the backcountry one that's accessible primarily by canoe, kayak, or motorboat. Once you're there, the crowds are thin and the natural world is yours to behold.