Ten Tips for Fall Camping in Minnesota

Big Island State Park

A touch of fall!

The fall season is quickly setting in and getting in those last trips to the campground will come to a screeching halt. Where has the summer gone? Not to worry if you are prepared for fall camping it can be just as, or more, than summer camping fun. Consider these 10 tips before venturing on your next camping outing.  Check for campgrounds that are still open You need to contact the campgrounds to find out if they are still open and what is still available in amenities. A simple call directly to the campgrounds and or visiting their website before you go can really help make or break a weekend of fun. For example, most of my campground stays are usually in a state park. I just plug in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource (DNR) website to check on camping status at a specific park. Furthermore, it gives great information on the fall colors and where you might want to plan a fall get away. Check for the weather Checking the weather a head of time will help to prepare you for the elements you may encounter. Thus allowing you time to really plan for the type of attire you will need. Simply go to weather.com or find other great apps for your cell phone to check out the weather 10 days in advance. Furthermore, dress in layers because it maybe warm during the day, but when the sun goes down it can get down right chilly. Wear a hat and bring gloves just in case. Indeed, knowing the weather helps to plan for not only the clothes you need, but it helps to determine the type of extras you may need for sleeping in cooler weather. Especially if you are tent camping compared to an RV or trailer camping. Check you're sleeping bag for the cool weather ratings. Use a mummy shaped bag to hold in the heat better. Use an insulated sleeping pad to keep you warm, as well. Check for Burning Bans Fall camping is a great time to have a campfire to cook over or enjoy during the cool evening hours. Since we have had a very dry summer restrictions to burning at all might be a problem you could encounter. If you camp at a state park, I highly recommend you check the Department of Natural Resource website for restrictions. Furthermore, some parks do not allow you to bring your own firewood, but you know you will have the opportunity to purchase wood at a state park that has been approved by the DNR. Indeed, check ahead of time to see the rules and regulations for firewood at the state park or other campgrounds. Check for Camping Rates and Gas Prices Fall camping for some campgrounds may change from the standard fee during peak camping times. Now that will help to cut down on your expenses a little. Likewise, the gas prices are changing here in Minnesota to a winter blend, which may bring the cost per gallon down from the average of $3.89 that I have seen now. Again giving you a break on travel to the campground. Leave your plans with others If you plan to do a fall camping trip be sure to leave your plans with other family members of when you leave and return and where you will be. There are less people out doing what you may enjoy and safety is very important. Plan a Fall Foliage Trip Starting from the north of Minnesota to the south you can really get a perspective of colors from one end of the state to the other. The fall colors can be followed on the DNR website to see where they have peaked in each part of the state. Follow the map each week and plan for your fall camping from September to the middle of October. Bring a Camera Bring a camera to take fabulous fall foliage shots. In fact, the DNR website welcomes your photos on their website. Not only that, it is very easy to submit one of your photos. Allow for the time of day Be aware of your time of day for cooking and activities at this time of the year. The days are shorter and planning your meal times and activities with the amount of daylight are a must. In fact, it takes longer to cook in cooler weather so plan accordingly. Be aware of wildlife This is the time that wildlife, like bear, becomes a concern as they prepare for the winter ahead with food foraging. They become more determine to find food, as their natural foods become less. Keep your food in airtight containers and securely in your car, if you are car camping, to avoid attracting them to your site. Furthermore, look out for bees and wasps this time of year too, they become more aggressive.  Have fun Fall camping is awesome fun! There are fewer crowds to contend with as well as not as many pesky insects. Take advantage of the fall colors and cool crisp air here in Minnesota. At the same time, you may enjoy the evening sky for stargazing. It truly brings out the brightness of the stars this time of the year. With that said, why not download a star gazing app on your smart phone and learn about the different stars and constellations. May I suggest Google Sky Map? What fun for the whole family. The app shows you the stars, planets, and constellations and where to find them in the sky with the help of GPS. Enjoy your fall frolics in the great state of Minnesota! You never know unless you try it. If you are prepared for the weather it can be a lot of fun for the whole family.        

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