in Camping / by Roofnest Team
Camping and summer go hand in hand, but just because the season is ending doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up and store your gear in the garage. Our roof top tents are made for exploring.
Our team got together to debate the best spots that can help extend summer months long into fall. Fewer crowds and more colorful landscapes make September and October ideal months to getaway. Whether you’re camping with pups or planning a family excursion, consider adding one of these stunning destinations to your itinerary:
Goosenecks State Park
The rugged, remote landscape of Goosenecks State Park is the perfect setting for rooftop tents. Park high above the San Juan River and marvel at the winding ridges of this captivating canyon. Campsites are limited, and it’s first come, first to stay. But with any of our low profile hard shell roof top tents, you won’t have to waste a moment unraveling equipment and can race out to explore this otherworldly landscape. Don’t forget to pack layers; in October, Utah’s daytime temperatures can rise to the mid-70s and drop to a crisp 40 at night. If you’re going this way with your dogs, take a leash. Dogs are allowed in the park but must be leashed at all times.
Best when paired with: Valley of the Gods. This long stretch of highway road will lead you past impressive free-standing rock formations. It’s free to drive, and while there are no campgrounds, you will find excellent car camping parking spots along the way.
Canaveral National Seashore
One of the best parts of rooftop tent camping is that it doesn’t matter where the campsite is or what it looks like — even the most primitive, desolate camping areas become backdrops for unforgettable adventure. That’s why we love Florida’s Canaveral National Seashore. With 25 miles of coastal land, this undeveloped region is unique to the United States. And with average temperature in the 80s and plenty of sun, your vitamin D levels will be restored. Bring your fishing rod and hiking books; this untamed land offers both water and land for outdoor enthusiasts.
Tips for travelers: Many of the parking areas have restrooms, but there is no running water. You must enter and exit from the same point (if you use the north entrance, you have to depart from the north; same goes from the south entryway). Around the Klondike Beach area, there is no road access, and permits are required to hike the trails and explore this section of the coast. Camping season in the “backcountry” — the middle of the barrier island between Apollo Beach and Playalina Beach — runs from November until April. You’ll need a permit, and you can reserve one of the limited camping sites six months in advance.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Deep in the heart of the Texas Panhandle lies Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Get your cameras ready; America’s second largest canyon packs in over 30 miles of colorful terrain. While the there-and-back drive can be completed in under one hour, we recommend that you set up camp along the canyon rim or at the base of the canyon’s trail. Nights of hearty laughs and campfire meals are plenty. And, yes, the songs are true: nighttime stars somehow seem bigger and brighter here. (We recommend our Sparrow EYE so you don’t miss a wish on any shooting star.)
Keep your eyes open: The Palo Duro mouse and Texas horned lizard, two threatened species, call this area home. You may also spot coyotes, wild turkeys, bobcats, roadrunners, and an assortment of lizards and snakes. Entry fee is $8 per day, with children under 12 free; trust us, it’s worth it.
Baja California Sur
Baja is a paradise for campers. Here, people are as warm as the weather. Raise your rooftop tent along Big Sur Valley streams or plot out a site with a view of the ocean. Salty air will lift your spirits and the crash of ocean waves become the perfect background soundtrack for lazy afternoons spent reading. When you’re ready to re-enter civilization, fold down your car tent and head into one of the charming towns like San Ignacio and Los Barriles to marvel at local architecture and cool off with a cold drink.
How to get there: You have a few options to enter Baja. Each station is manned differently, but we prefer Mexicali. From this entrance, you can get your permit. There are a few documents that are helpful to have copies of before you begin your travel (and there’s a ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan that may ask for any or all of them): the title of your vehicle and registration documents, insurance (try Baja Bound for affordable coverage), your driver’s license, and passport.
Cloudland Canyon State Park
Cloudland Canyon is one of Georgia’s most beautiful parks. Though temperatures gradually dip in the autumn months, miles of outdoor playground will warm you from the inside: hike into canyons and caves, pedal your bike past waterfalls, toss discs at one of the many recreation areas, or book a horseback riding excursion. Whether you’re new to car camping and not sure what to pack or an experienced traveler searching for your next thrill, this area has activities for both you and your family to enjoy.
Park perks: Cloudland Canyon is open all year-round; splurge on the $50 annual ParkPass ($37.50 for military service and veterans). The park also has some of the cleanest showers and restrooms we’ve seen. One of our favorite hikes is the 6.2-mile canyon trail: You’ll pass over the Overlook, Waterfalls, and West Rim Loop Trails right next to plummeting falls and canyon walls. Should you want a change of camping pace, you can find yurts and cottages in addition to a limited number of backcountry campsites — reservations required — throughout the park.
Have camping spots of your own you think we should check out? Want to share photos of your RTT out on the road? Tag us @roofnest on Instagram or join our Facebook group Roofnest flock. We’d love to see where your adventures take you.
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