Tips to Beat the Memorial Day Camping Crowds

Last Updated on April 20, 2023 by Jess

A Memorial Day weekend camping trip can be full of excitement and adventure.

From parades to fireworks to live music, it’s a fun time of year. It’s often the end of the school year and the beginning of summer vacation.

It is also a time when military families gather to remember those who have not come home. We are all encouraged, amidst our hot dogs and red, white and blue decorations, not to lose sight of the real reason for this holiday.

We have a few tips for you if you’re looking for a place to avoid the crowds while camping on Memorial Day. So before you plan, let’s learn more about camping this busy weekend!

Memorial Day camping is popular because this weekend marks the beginning of summer break for many families across the country. Kids have been hard at work the past few weeks with end-of-year tests, projects, and essays. This weekend celebrates the arrival of summer.

Other people camp out on Memorial Day because of the significance of the holiday. They have their own traditions and ways of honoring their fallen military heroes.

Campgrounds near national cemeteries or towns with a large military presence are usually full. Military families gather to comfort each other and honor soldiers who have died in battle.

What other holidays result in large campground crowds?

Because many major holidays fall during summer vacations. For example, many Americans take trips on Independence Day and Labor Day, which leads to large crowds at the campground.

On July 4, many people have an extra day off. Some use their vacation to take the whole week off. And Labor Day heralds the end of summer, so many campers try to take one last trip.

Since many employers give their employees the day off on Labor Day, it’s a long weekend perfect for a camping trip.

The other time of year when there are many campgrounds is Spring Break. Since this varies from place to place, there is no specific date.

However, when planning spring camping trips in March or early April, it is always a good idea to check the local school calendar.

8 Tips to Avoid the Memorial Day Camping Crowds.

If you want to join the millions of Americans hitting the trails and campgrounds this Memorial Day weekend, be prepared for large crowds and heavy traffic.

Camping on Memorial Day brings special challenges. Here are eight tips to help make your weekend getaway enjoyable and safe.

1. Avoid national parks

Even if you love the national parks, Memorial Day weekend is not the time to visit. Choose a less crowded weekend or visit the parks on a weekday.

If you have to fight through traffic outside the entrances to the national parks and then deal with long lines of travelers waiting to get in, your vacation weekend is starting off on the wrong foot.

The same goes for state parks. You’re also likely to find crowded trails, packed overlooks and nightmarish parking. Memorial Day camping is not a good idea in these places.

Remember: Some national parks should be skipped altogether during the summer months. Take a look at the worst national parks for summer trips!

This may sound strange since popular campgrounds are usually the best. But you want to avoid these options because of the number of people there.

Look at the ratings and find a nearby campground with the same number of stars but fewer ratings.

You may find a small campground 5 miles away with only 10 sites that still gives you the Memorial Day experience you want. Often these sites compete with other popular campgrounds and offer special deals or activities for the weekend.

In addition, many popular campgrounds are booked months in advance.

3. avoid campsites near airports

You may never have thought about air travel when camping, but on Memorial Day weekend, it’s important to keep that in mind. People travel by air just as they do by car or RV over the holiday weekend.

Campgrounds near airports will also fill up with campers who may be meeting family or friends over this long weekend. Plus, you don’t want to deal with traffic at these locations. If you are camping near an airport on Memorial Day, it will be crowded and noisy.

4. try boondocking

Now that we’ve told you what to avoid, let’s look at the places you should go. If you’ve never camped on public land, Memorial Day weekend is a good time to try it.

Team up with a friend who has dry camped before and can help you, or read some blogs and watch some YouTube videos to prepare. Even though rural campgrounds are more crowded than usual, you won’t encounter as many people as you would in paved campgrounds.

Generally, these sites are farther apart, so you can still enjoy the camping experience even if you’re surrounded by 10 other campers.

A van camping on Memorial Day weekend

5. visit from a friend and moochdock

Like boondocking, moochdocking is a great way to camp out on Memorial Day. Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while and plan a fun trip to see them.

Spend the night in the driveway of a family member you only see at Christmas. You’ll be dry camping, but you’ll have access to drinking water and probably a 12-volt extension cord if you need it.

Plus, you’ll get to spend time with friends and relatives you may not see regularly.

6. to the north to cooler temperatures

Memorial Day camping is better the farther north you go. In some southern states, temperatures can reach 90 to 100 degrees in late May.

If you want to stay in North Carolina, head to higher elevation in the mountains. If you want to experience the Southwest, check out Flagstaff instead of Phoenix.

Especially if you want to dry camp, you may not be able to run the air conditioner all weekend. So choose a location in the northern states or at higher elevations to celebrate Memorial Day.

7. Explore the great outdoors instead of participating in campground activities.

If you choose a popular campground or are surrounded by too many people, get away from the campground during the day.

Check AllTrails for a hiking trail nearby. Book a kayak tour on the river. Go exploring during the day to avoid the crowded campground.

The campground can offer great activities, but if 50 people show up, the event may not be as much fun as expected.

Remember: Looking for more ways to avoid the crowds during your road trip? Here are 17 secrets guaranteed to to help!

8. completely skip camping over Memorial Day.

Even if you have an extra day off, don’t go camping on Memorial Day. Take a few days off on Tuesday and Wednesday and head to the campgrounds when everyone is gone.

Plus, you can probably still participate in many local activities without having to be parked in a campground.

Stay home, attend a downtown parade, watch the fireworks at a local park, and then head out once the campground crowds have dispersed.

Several American flags are held high during a Memorial Day parade

Don’t wait until the last minute, plan your Memorial Day now

If you’re planning to camp over Memorial Day, don’t wait any longer to make your reservations. Campgrounds fill up quickly, and you don’t want to be left without alternatives.

Some people book the same campground for this weekend year after year, so sites are reserved months in advance. Go to Campendium, Google or AllStays and search for campgrounds today!

Will you be camping this Memorial Day weekend? If so, where?

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