If you enjoy camping, but you don’t enjoy waking up cold, you’re not alone. Winter months can be trying for an outdoors person. Even with the very best gear, camping in the winter can be challenging and uncomfortable.
If you dread leaving the warm confines of your sleeping bag in the morning, you may want to consider these seven warmer options to travel to this winter.
1. Homestead, Florida
Close to the Everglades National Park, which is a World Heritage Site, Homestead, Florida is the perfect place to escape the gloom of winter. With the average low temperature in the winter at a steady 55˚F, you won’t have to break the ice in your water bottle before drinking it in the mornings.
There are two state parks close to the entrance of the Everglades—Long Pine Key Campground and Flamingo Campground. If you want to camp in the wilderness, you may need a boat to get to your campsite, as many of them are only accessible by kayak or motorboat.
Besides biking and hiking through the Everglades, you can enjoy year-round fishing or visit the wildlife at the Everglades Alligator Park and the Everglades Outpost Wildlife Refuge.
2. Canyon, Texas
Canyon, Texas is one of the two neighboring cities close to Palo Duro Canyon. The area is the perfect jumping-off point for exploring the U.S.’s second-largest canyon.
The countryside around Canyon and the Palo Duro Canyon is the most breathtaking landscape you’ll find in the Texas Panhandle. Created by millennia of water erosion and the West Texas winds’ scouring power, the canyon walls are striated with beautiful pastel reds, oranges, and pinks.
Descend 800 feet to the canyon floor and explore nearly 16 miles of paved roads or tons of trails for hiking, birding, or biking. Don’t miss what is referred to as the Grand Canyon of Texas on your next trip.
3. Why, Arizona
For nature buffs who would like a showstopping destination, camping in Why, Arizona offers you access to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument—an ideal spot to chase the winter blues away.
Bordering Mexico’s Sonoran state, this is the only place in America where you can find organ pipe cactus growing in the wild. These cacti are not quite as iconic as the saguaro, which are also prevalent in the area, but they are equally as impressive, growing to heights of 16 feet.
There’s no better way to forget about colder climes than wandering the desert. For accommodations, check out the nearby Twin Peaks Campground, especially if you’re a fan of the show.
4. Mojave Desert, California
At 4,400 feet of altitude, Hole-in-the-Wall Campground is high desert camping at its very best. Before you arrive, brush up on the best way to build a fire to keep warm during your stay.
Hidden within the Mojave National Preserve, this backcountry camping spot serves as a perfect base camp for intrepid explorers attracted to the pocked volcanic rock that inundates the area. Millions of years ago, a volcano erupted and the surface was blanketed with layers of gas trapped in ash. As it all cooled, the gas escaped and left pockmarks on the rock.
There’s a challenging trail to Banshee Cavern that showcases these unique volcanic formations. You have to scramble over some sizable boulders to get there, but ring bolts help you. For less adventurous campers, there’s an overlook that grants visitors spectacular views of this one-of-a-kind landscape.
5. Hopkins, South Carolina
For a different kind of winter respite, look to the southeast of the continental United States. With higher humidity than the high desert but similar temperate weather, South Carolina makes a perfect winter getaway.
The Congaree National Forest is the largest bottomland hardwood forest left, and it has one of the world’s tallest deciduous forests. The landscape looks like a swamp, with tall, stately trees reaching the canopy 100 feet above your head.
You can camp at one of two campgrounds—Bluff or Longleaf—or look for more modern amenities in nearby Columbia, South Carolina. Explore the 25 miles of trails, charming wooden walkways, and bridges through cypress swamps with Spanish moss swaying above you.
6. Bryson City, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains may not be the most dramatic mountain range on the North American continent, but it is one of the most dynamic. People who live close to the Smokies note their ever-changing appearance, with a new aspect every season.
Just over the border of the Cherokee Reservation are Mingo Falls and nearby Mingo Falls Campground. The tallest waterfall in the Southern Appalachians, Mingo Falls is stunning in winter as well as summer.
Bryson City anchors the southeastern corner of the park, where you can access Lake Fontana or go tubing on the river. Hot Springs is another nearby hot spot worth a day visit.
7. Moab, Utah
Moab, Utah offers mild, predominantly sunny winters, although inhabitants occasionally experience light snowfall. However, the area still makes for a stunning winter camping area, thanks to the breathtaking beauty of Arches National Park. In the winter season, the campgrounds are less busy and camping sites are on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Utah’s red rocks look spectacular set against the backdrop of new snow, transforming Arches into a magical winter wonderland. Not only is the contrast between stone and snow breathtaking, but, with a fresh blanket, the exciting contours of the rock stand out, creating swirls and runnels through the landscape.
If you somehow tire of the gorgeous vistas, you can try your hand at bouldering with the best of them at Big Bend or climb at Kane Creek and Wall Street. Snowshoeing among the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon is another otherworldly experience to be had when you visit Moab in the winter.
The Final Word
For those who would rather avoid the winter cold, these camping spots provide a respite from the winter months’ grim weather. Whether it’s the high desert of Utah or the South Carolina swamps, these seven options will not disappoint.
If you’re thinking about a warm-weather getaway, be sure to get all the right gear at Mossy Oak—expert outfitters for every season.