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  • Writer's pictureRobert Loewendick

Avoid the Crowds at Camp

The summer camping season is in full swing with thousands of campers buzzing in and out of campgrounds like a busy beehive. It’s tough during busy weekends at campgrounds, to find the peace and quiet we campers prefer, without belting up the backpack and hit the trail. On holiday weekends it’s even tougher to find that elusive peace and quiet. But with a few amendments to your camping plan or schedule, it’s possible to avoid the crowds, or at least make the best of getting away for a few days.

If your work schedule (or school) permits, select the weekend before or after a holiday or popular event themed weekend. The weekend after is usually the better of the two options – the campground has been cleaned up and the surrounding environment has settled back to its routine. During the week at most campgrounds, only a few campers are present. And occasionally, you may be the only one in a particular section of the campground. This provides a feeling of remote camping, which is a treat rarely found at public campgrounds. Plenty of privacy and quiet times are present both day and night. Not only are more campsites available for the choosing, so are better chances at having the lake or other local attraction to yourself or just with a few others.

Not camping during the holidays is the easiest answer to eluding the camping crowds, but for many, that’s not possible. If that’s your situation, then consider a less popular campground or park. Parks with most planned activities and attractions draw the most campers, so search out a park that may appear boring in the number of events category. Even if your favorite pursuit is not available at such an often overlooked campground, the simple enjoyment of no crowd is a treat. Plan your action-packed camping trip for the weekend following the holiday. A quick call to the campground office will reveal to you if a quiet camping experience is waiting for you. While you have the campground personnel on the phone, ask what weeks of the year are the busiest, and plan to camp elsewhere.

Of course, the obvious busy times will be mentioned, but each campground or park has a niche, or specific attraction that draws more visitors: such as paddling events, fishing tournaments and popular, annual events held close to the campground. Find out what that is, and more importantly, when it is, and plan accordingly.

If you still can’t beat them, you may as well join them – but out of sight and hearing distance as best as you can. Most campgrounds have a few sites that are isolated from the primary, or most popular blocks of sites. These off-to-the-side sites provide a bit of space between busy sites and campers. A cluster of trees or vegetation provide a barrier for privacy as does a rising knoll or bend in the campground road. Keep an eye out for these campsites when camping there at other times, and reserve one before the holiday or busy weekend. These sites may not be the most attractive or laid out at other times, but during crowded weekends, these sites are prime for those searching for the calm, camping experience.

As it is for most of us at times, we have to take the opportunity to camp when it arises. It doesn’t matter if the campground will be likely full or not – we camp, we make the best of it. I’ve met several great folks over the years, which were camping neighbors at the time. As with other recreational activities, the camaraderie shared with avid campers is a treat. Stories swapped, suggestions for other camping opportunities, and doing so circled around a campfire is also a great side of camping. Simply appreciate each trip to the fullest.

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