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5 Warmest Winter Camping Spots Around the US

Roofnest Team

Feb 22, 2024

After being stuck inside for the better part of 2020, the cabin fever is probably pretty real. Add in the winter blues that can sneak up around this time of year, and you’ve got a recipe for restlessness. It might just be time to give yourself a little socially-distanced vacation. While camping in the snow can be a blast, by mid-February, you could be itching for some vitamin D. Especially if you live somewhere that doesn’t see a lot of sun throughout the winter. There are plenty of incredible places in the US that can offer you a dose of warmth and sunshine, either for a long weekend or longer week off. And many state parks are open for hiking and camping, as long as you practice social distancing and other COVID-19 travel rules. If you’re ready for a fun winter road trip, this list is for you. Grab your sunscreen, favorite hiking sandals, and set your GPS to any of these warm places to camp during winter.

Valley of Fire State Park–Nevada

If you’re looking for the ultimate Instagrammable location, look no further than the winding caves and rugged terrain of the Valley of Fire. The expansive red sandstone formations cover 40,000 acres and include campgrounds, hiking trails, and 2,500-year-old ancient petroglyphs to snap pictures of along the way. The Atlatl Campground has everything you’ll need in terms of amenities — tables, grills, bathrooms, a dump station, and showers. But if you head past the RV campsites, you’ll find wide-open spots with no trees in sight. This could be the perfect spot for stargazing! If you find yourself there with your kids around Valentine’s Day, take the family to the Walker River State Recreation Area. There, they can make earthy Valentine’s Day cards and see a live demo of how to make a tasty treat in a Dutch oven. Everglades National Park–Florida To really beat your cabin fever and get your winter camping on, try parking your Roofnest in the largest tropical wetlands in the United States. The Long Pine Key and Flamingo campgrounds both offer pull-through parking along the Florida Bay. After you settle in, you can enjoy a hike along Anhinga Trail, or get out your fishing gear near the pond. No matter how you spend your day, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to take a backcountry boat tour. The expert locals will tell you all about the plant and animal life as you cruise along the historic Flamingo Everglades. If you’re really invested in being on the water, you can even book a night for the family in a houseboat. As long as you have a boating license, you can float your way down Shark River. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, you can even check out this detailed itinerary of what to do during your weekend in the Everglades. Who knows what you’ll find on your travels? You might just see a manatee, crocodile, and of course, the area’s namesake majestic flamingo!

Big Bend Ranch State Park–Texas

You know the saying: Everything is bigger in Texas. And that’s certainly the case in the largest state park in Texas. You won’t be desperately searching for a campsite here as the 300,000-acre site provides abundant options for you to satisfy your winter camping fix. Big Bend is notable for its rugged terrain and miraculous views. Make sure you load up your mountain bike, kayak, and hiking boots for this trip. You can even rent a horse for a day and take your backcountry exploring to a whole new level. When you’re ready to rest for the night, take your pick from their four “primitive” campsites. Here you can select your own area surrounded by prehistoric cultural sites. Best of all, you might not see another human for miles! Now that’s primitive for you.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park–Texas

While this isn’t the Grand Canyon, that doesn’t make this spot any less cool. Boasting itself as the second-largest canyon in the United States, there is plenty of rugged terrains to explore here. You can hike on foot, mountain bike, or take the kids for a fun geocache adventure. You can take your pick of campsites with or without electricity here. Some have available fire rings, restrooms, and wheelchair access, while others are more basic. Either way, as long as you’ve got your Roofnest, you’ll sleep in comfort. Looking for a little entertainment out in the backwoods? Why not enjoy an outdoor musical, play, or live concert at the nearby amphitheater? Now that the venue has opened back up, they are eager to fill seats for live entertainment. Bring your blankets if it’s a chilly night! And if you end up there around The 4th of July, you might just catch some fireworks.

Dinosaur National Park–Colorado

This is surely one of the best winter tent camping spots around. Nestled in the Uinta mountains between Utah and Colorado, you’ll be in primetime backcountry territory out here. You’ll be camping where dinosaurs used to roam, with their remains fossilized in the surrounding rocks. Not to mention all the fun to be had in the area for those of us still alive! The Petroglyphs are a fine place to start. Here you’ll find walls of carved pictures left behind by the Fremont Native American people who used to live there. The designs are fragile from many years of wear and tear, but the legacy they’ve left behind is a pretty cool sight to behold. Feeling extra adventurous? Go white water rafting in the park’s remote canyons. If you’re new to rafting you can get a guided trip. And if you’ve got the experience and gear, you can take on a solo quest. Just don’t forget that helmet. These are Class III and IV rapids, my friend!

Best Car Camping in California

Speaking of warm and sunny getaways, California is absolutely a great spot to escape the winter for your next adventure. Not only is the weather warm year-round, but the landscape can’t really be beat. Check out the 5 best camp spots within 1 hour of San Diego >