Chill Out at these Winter Camping Spots
Tired of storing your rig for a ‘long winter’s nap’? Winter camping might become your favorite camping experience yet! Winter is the quietest season of the year and offers new opportunities you may have not experienced before. With a little preparation, there are some incredible locations to visit.
Here are a few top winter camping spots!
1. Hocking Hills State Park Campground
For real winter camping, the beauty of Ohio’s Hocking Hills State Park can satisfy camping cravings in any season! RV campers can find electric sites and amenities for the whole family!2. Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
For you east coasters, Hilton Head island hosts an incredible upscale RV resort. Choose from a short walk to the beach or hangout at the pickleball and tennis courts. You might even forget it is winter!3. Zion River Resort
Around the corner from Zion National Park and among the beauties of southern Utah, this year-round campground offers an array of amenities. Sites include full-hookups for RV campers, an off leash dog area, social hall, and much more!4. Sea and Sand RV Park
Oregon Coast, Oregon
If freezing temperatures and the warmer south alternative isn’t your favorite, then the Oregon Coast is likely the best destination for you! During the winter you can watch whales migrate south along the stunning coastlines. This campground boasts great sites for RV campers.
Rates vary depending on the type of RV site and the season. Look for daily winter rates as well as weekly rates and extended stay rates for the season.5. Napa Valley Expo RV Park
Pour yourself a glass and relax in the heart of Napa Valley. Check out the Napa Valley Expo RV Park where you can find year-round hookups and beautiful vineyards ready to be explored.6. Point of Rocks RV Campground
Arizona is always a go-to winter camping destination. If camping to you means experiencing the thrill of the outdoors, then stay at Point of Rocks. Only a 10-minute drive to Prescott, you can enjoy great hiking and mountain biking trails!
If you do choose to head to a colder climate, here are some tips for you first-timers!
Winter Camping Tips
Winter camping could look like setting up the rig in one snowy location for an extended period of time or sleeping in the parking lot at the resort you are skiing the next day! Preparing is specific to you and your style of camping.
When planning to camp long term at locations that dip below freezing, make sure your RV is cut out for the job. Making extensive modifications to any rig can prepare you for those low temperatures.
Plan In Advance
It is important to look at the weather and analyze the overnight lows. Temperatures right above freezing, while still chilly, do not take as much preparation as below freezing nights.
If the temperatures are dipping below freezing at night, then you will need to care for your pipes and pack a few extra items while carefully coordinating travel plans.
Things to Pack for Winter Camping
- Extra blankets for sleeping
- Spare batteries
- Full water tanks/jugs (some campgrounds turn off their water in the winter)
- Warm socks and slippers
- Insulated coat
- Thermal underwear top and bottom
- Collapsible snow shovel
Prep Your Pipes
Some folks prepare their rig by using an RV skirt, covering drain hoses with insulation, and using supplemental space heaters for extreme temperatures. It’s always good to get advice from others on what works for them.
If you are traveling to destinations that are consistently cold - the water in your pipes could freeze. These few easy tips will help prevent them from freezing:
- Consider winterizing pipes and using water jugs to wash dishes, hands, etc.
- Plan on using campgrounds’ bathrooms for showering and bathroom use instead
- While running a furnace, keep cabinets containing plumbing open to allow the warm air to circulate. (Remember to test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors regularly.)
Travel With Caution
Winter temperatures bring winter driving conditions that involve ice, snow, and sleet. Be aware of your comfort level while navigating the roads to these snowy destinations. If you don’t have much experience with snow driving, plan your travel time when the roads will be dry. It isn’t worth the risk even if you are an experienced snow driver, towing a large rig makes it difficult to have full control of your vehicle.
It is important to stay flexible with your plans during winter camping because your safety has to be top priority. Always be aware of potential storms and bad weather conditions. When these are present, consider changing destinations or staying where you are to avoid scary traveling conditions.
Carrying an emergency vehicle kit is essential when driving in the winter. We also recommend packing a snow shovel, ice scraper, and reflective triangles to use in an emergency.
Stick to established campgrounds because boon docking in the winter can be dangerous. If a winter storm comes through you could be stuck for days, weeks, or months until the road is safe to drive. Established campgrounds are able to keep their roads clear and are safer locations to stay at during the winter.
Winter camping is going to become one of your favorite things if you take the extra time to plan and stay aware of your winter conditions! Happy camping!
Mike Ward on
Many northern states, like NH, have laws for snow be cleared off vehicles and trailers before hitting the road. You are liable for damages to other vehicles from snow/ice coming off your roof on the highway. Police sometimes setup “ticket traps” looking for offenders.