If you’re like us, you love winter. Snow days, ski days, hot springs, warm drinks...there’s plenty to celebrate during the snowiest season!
But sometimes, the middle of winter might have you missing the warmth of summer. You might be daydreaming about long hikes, camping trips, and getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
Got the mid-winter travel itch to be somewhere warmer? You don’t have to fly across the world to get some sun and relaxation. There are plenty of campgrounds around the southwestern US that stay warm and inviting year-round.
To break you of your cabin fever, we’ve rounded up some of the best winter camping spots to keep you warm and take a little break from the cold. So grab your bestie and your sunnies and hit the road!
1. Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada
Death Valley isn’t the place to be in the summertime. Even at night, the temps can hit up to 100!
But during the winter, Death Valley makes for the perfect warm weather camping site for you and your gal pals. With a diverse landscape and modest temperatures hanging around the 60s, you can look forward to swapping out those snow-boots for hiking sandals.
Death Valley has plenty of campgrounds available with your choice of elevation and amenities.
Looking for some epic views? Pitch your tent at Wildrose Campground at the foot of Telescope Peak, the highest mountain in the park. Once you’re settled, pack up your gear and tackle the 6-mile hiking trail.
And the best reason to camp here in the winter or early spring? Wildflowers are in full bloom!
Enjoy sunny days and beautiful scenery at the largest National Park in the US >
2. Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas
While the National Park with the same name gets most of the attention, neighboring Big Bend Ranch State Park is a must-visit winter camping destination.
Ready to dust off your mountain bike for a long ride? How about a heart-pumping 4-Wheel ride through acres of backwoods? You can get to your favorite summer outdoor activities early at this gorgeous campground nestled on the US and Mexico border, alongside the gorgeous Rio Grande.
Plus, since it’s a designated International Dark Sky Park, you’ll have a blast stargazing from your tent at night while staying warm and comfortable. Who knows, maybe you’ll even see a shooting star!
This is also an excellent place to enjoy soothing hot springs with your friends with an uninterrupted view into Mexico.
Skip winter and enjoy this warm weather camping spot >
3. Everglades National Park, Florida
As far as warm places to camp in the winter go, this spot can’t be beat. With over 1.5 million acres of wetlands, meandering rivers, and exotic species, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to escape the doldrums of winter.
Grab a canoe or kayak and explore 70-degree weather with minimal bugs to pester you on your ride. To really get the full experience, try a night or two in a “chickee,” wooden camping platforms all along the waterfront. As long as you practice Leave No Trace principles, you can enjoy the wonders of this National Park all winter.
Because it’s the dry season (December-April), you’ll find dozens of beautiful birds flocking to this campground. Se sure to bring a quality pair of binoculars and a camera to bird watch!
Explore the flora and fauna at this lively camping destination for the winter >
4. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona
If you’re getting bummed out by too many days of gray skies this winter, now’s your chance to reconnect to nature in this iconic campground guaranteed to boost your mood.
Belonging to the Navajo Nation, this 92,000-acre tribal park features towering sandstone and stretching blue skies. You probably recognize the “Mittens” buttes from just about every Hollywood Western movie. And they’re just begging for you to take a panoramic for your Instagram!
If you get situated at The View Campground, you’ll have access to restrooms and showers so you don’t have to rough it like a real cowgirl (unless you want to)! This area also includes access to guided tours and a trading post full of traditional American Indian art and memorabilia.
In the mood for something a little less rugged? Grab a premium cabin instead. They’re decorated in charming old West décor and have incredible views of the valley.
Skip winter at this warm weather camping spot >
5. Santa Catalina Island, California
If a warm weather retreat is calling your name, find it at this lively island surrounded by protected trails, wildlife, and isolated beaches. You’ll forget all about winter as you set up for the night at any of their primitive and secluded camping sites nestled in sunny beaches and private coves.
The hiking here can’t be beat — make sure you try Hermit Gulch Trail for full 360-degree views of the island. For a more difficult hike, try any of the routes along the rugged Trans-Catalina Trail.
While there aren’t too many amenities here, you can purchase a locker key for $20 for access to a few gallons of water and some firewood. Talk about getting off the grid!
This winter camping locale is super easy to get to. Just hop on the Catalina Express ($75 roundtrip) from Long Beach, and say hello to a weekend of sand, sun, and fun!
Say hello to white sandy beaches in California this winter >
6. Dinosaur National Park, Colorado
If you’re a local Coloradan looking for campgrounds near you, this winter camping spot in Colorado has a rich history and exciting activities to try.
For hard-core adventure-seekers, go white water rafting in the remote canyons of the park. You can get a guided trip or take your own solo ride through the beautiful waters (with plenty of gear to get you through Class III and IV rapids, of course).
Witness the legacy that dinosaurs left behind with hundreds of fossilized rocks surrounding you, and check out the ancient Petroglyphs from the Fremont Native people that used to live here.
February and March are excellent times to hit this site as the climate is semiarid and can get up to the 50s and 60s on a good day. Just be sure to check the weather reports before you head out, as higher elevated parts of the campground are still pretty susceptible to snow!
Add this winter campsite to your bucket list this season >
Make a Pit Stop at a Natural Hot Spring
Nothing completes a winter camp trip like a soak in a natural hot spring. From Colorado to California, these picturesque hot springs are the perfect way relax and unwind this winter.