It’s no secret that fall is the best time to go camping. What many don’t realize is just how many fun activities there are to make the fall family camping experience extra special. If you’re thinking of taking the RV out for the last several months of the year, use this RVers guide to fall family camping. We guarantee it will add thrills to your adventure.
Why Camp at This Time of Year?
In addition to witnessing the gorgeous leaf changes up close, fall camping also boasts some of the best weather of the year. The crisp chill in the air warrants cozy hoodies and blankets, adding a layer of comfort and childhood nostalgia to the mix. Plus, there are numerous Halloween festivals to attend that pile on the fun… and the scares.
If you’re in the New Orleans, Louisiana area, or the bayou, it’s worth it to take the family to the “Boo at the Zoo” held at the Audubon Zoo, in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. The zoo is transformed with decorations galore, while kids (and adults) can visit their favorite animals trick-or-treat style. New Orleans also hosts parades and street parties with costumes and candy everywhere you turn.
Want to park the RV close by? Visit the Pontchartrain Landing RV Park and enjoy luxury waterfront sites with private outdoor kitchens and hot tubs. Use their shuttle service to slide right into the French Quarter for a boo-tifully good time. New Orleans isn’t believed to be “the Most Haunted City in America” for no reason. Plan a fall family camping trip here and see for yourself – you won’t regret it.
What Can You Do to Celebrate?
Celebrating Halloween has become quite the childhood ritual. Kids start brainstorming costume ideas early in the year, change their minds a million times leading up to October 31st, and make mental maps of the houses with the best candy to revisit (and those to avoid). What is Halloween, the actual holiday, about though? And why do many confuse it with Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)?
Halloween, or All Saints Day, was originally crafted out of an appreciation for the afterlife or survival after death. Over time, it became more fun and lighthearted with the addition of trick-or-treating, costumes, crafts, and parties. Halloween itself occurs every year on October 31st but it’s not uncommon to see celebrations throughout the weeks leading up to it.
Dia de los Muertos, more commonly referred to as Day of the Dead, actually takes place from October 31st through November 2nd. The Mexican holiday focuses on remembering and celebrating loved ones who have passed. Celebrations include visiting the cemeteries where family and friends are buried, leaving food and offerings shaped like skulls, and sometimes even sleeping there. If you’re RVing with the family, use this time of year as a roadschool opportunity to teach the kids about different seasonal celebrations. RV travel helps kids become global citizens if you introduce young travelers to food, culture, and traditions from other cultures.
Whether Halloween is your tradition or you celebrate Dia de los Muertos, there are plenty of ways to celebrate one or both of these holidays. For example, decorate your RV! Many, if not all, campsites get in on the fun by holding decorating contests to award the spookiest looking RV. Toy Haulers and Travel Trailers are often front runners because of their exterior shape and design but don’t count yourself out of the running if you have a Class B or Pop Up. It’s all about the decorations at the end of the day!
The fun doesn’t end there. Take the decorations beyond the RV and hang up some festive string lights or inflate a 4’ ghost who invites smiles more than scares. Who doesn’t enjoy a friendly ghost after all? Go pumpkin picking at a local pumpkin patch then carve your perfect pumpkin back at the campsite. Light them up when you fire up the campfire for s’mores and tell ghosts stories between bites of toasted marshmallows and melted chocolate. Campsite Halloween decorating ideas are endless!
Where Can You Celebrate?
The easier question to answer would be where can’t you celebrate? Almost everyone enjoys the thrill of Halloween, Fall Festivals, or Dia de los Muertos, and campgrounds all over the US get in on the entertainment. From hayrides to campfires, festivals to parades, there is something somewhere that will appeal to you and your family – guaranteed.
If you’re looking for family-friendly adventures for the youngest goblins in your crew, try visiting Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at River Bottom Farms located in Swansea, SC. There you’ll find several “no scare” events held on the weekends leading up to Halloween that are high on the fun factor but low on the scary scale. If you’re looking to be scared, hang around a little longer for their Spooktacular weekends closer to Halloween that will take you through a 400-foot long haunted barn full of actors and animatronics to leave you screaming in joy.
There’s a thin line between fear and fun and if you’re willing to balance it then The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO should be on your list. Noted mainly for its inspiration behind Stephen King’s The Shining, The Stanley Hotel’s reputation for rooms with paranormal activity bring in scare enthusiasts from all over. Want to stay in one of the rooms? Book early as they fill up quickly. Not willing to brave the paranormal? Stay at the Elk Meadow Lodge and RV Resort or the Spruce Lake RV Resort nearby and take part in haunted hikes instead.
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Want more scary settings? Visit Salem, MA where its witch trial legacy lives on with the annual Festival of the Dead. Summon the spirits at the Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo or dance the night away at the Halloween Ball at the Hawthorne Hotel. Visit Sleepy Hollow, NY, and risk coming face-to-face with the legendary Headless Horseman. Witness the Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze that features over 7,000 hand-carved jack-o-lanterns for the ultimate Halloween experience.
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA offers a music-filled Day of the Dead celebration where thousands of costumed spectators shuffle about the cemetery in celebration. Regardless of where you decide to visit, there are plenty of spooky destinations awaiting your arrival.
Fall family camping can be frightfully fun! Where are your favorite places to visit? How does your family celebrate?