When Does the RV Season Begin (and End)

Is there a beginning and an ending to the camping season?

The short answer: It depends. While many resume their RV adventures after the winter months pass, there are plenty of resorts open during all seasons. From Ontario and New York to Florida; British Columbia and Washington state to Arizona.

Utah Scenic Byway 12 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There really isn’t a month that can’t be considered part of the “RV season.” Any of the 365 days can be appropriate for an RV adventure. However, in many parts of the continent, in-season RV camping typically takes place between April and October while off-season makes up the remaining months.

While some RV sites close for the winter, many are open year-round. This article will provide some variations related to the RV season, but first, here are some pros and cons of traveling during the on-season versus off-season.

Gloucester, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Good and Bad for In-Season RV Camping

Choosing to take a trip between the spring and fall is popular mostly for the pleasant weather. Sunny skies always provide a reason to be out and about. There are warmer and longer days and clearer road conditions.

Another reason in-season camping is popular for many is that more tourist attractions are up and running. County fairs, music festivals, amusement parks, and swimming pools are all open during this time of year and seem to be major draws for travelers.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

On the flip side, in-season traveling also sees crowded conditions within RV parks and tourist spots. Sunny skies don’t just invite a few to come out and play. Many RVers favor this season. Crowded amusement parks and swimming destinations and more people than you might prefer are likely during the in-season.

Riviera Beach, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pros and Cons for Off-Season RV Camping

The biggest positive for RV travel during the late fall and winter months may be the reduced price of RV parks. Like most things, rent at RV resorts may be cheaper during the off-season. To attract more travelers, parks hope the lower rates will help increase business. This goes right along with another positive side of off-season camping: fewer crowds. Whether at a national park, state park, museum, theme park, or RV resort, fewer folks will be there. This is good if you like a bit more peace and personal space.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some cons during this time frame could range from bad weather and poor driving conditions.

This calendar period will not be as good for overly social people. If you love to make lots of new friends with every resort stay, the odds will not be in your favor. 

So, now you have the very long answer: there isn’t an end to the RV Season. When RV season starts is all up to you. Cold versus warm temps; snow-covered ground versus bright sunny skies.

Sonoran Desert RV Park, Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Snowbird Destinations

Snowbird locations can contradict all the pros and cons of in-season and off-season camping. Florida is the most popular destination for non-winter fans but Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and other southern border-states and parts of California also qualify.

Shuffleboard, pickleball, swimming, golf, and water aerobics can be found nearly year-round at many southern RV parks. Other favorite indoor activities like bingo, karaoke, and dances are often staples, too.

Hiking trails can be found at virtually any resort or within a few miles providing birdwatching opportunities and hiking and biking outings.

Coachella Valley Preserve near Palm Springs, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some popular destinations for snowbirds include the Rio Grande Valley, South Padre Island, and Rockport-Fulton in Texas; Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and the Keys in Florida; Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, and Quartzsite in Arizona; and Palm Springs and San Diego in California.

Main Street Downtown Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t limit the trip to large metro areas or well-known snowbird roosts, though. Consider some lesser-known destinations for a more unique adventure or a quieter RV park. Places that come to mind include Temecula and El Centro in California; Las Cruces and Deming in New Mexico; Mobile and Ocean Shores in Alabama; San Antonio and Galveston in Texas; and Biloxi in Mississippi.

State parks and county/regional parks are great for nature lovers.

Boondocking at Quartzsite, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Winter Destinations

For those who don’t mind a bit of cold and snow, there are some beautiful opportunities to camp up north. Outdoor adventurers have plenty of opportunities for winter activities such as snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and sledding/tubing. Spending evenings in the clubhouse by a roaring fire reading a good book also sounds appealing. While traveling to and from might be a bit more difficult, upon arriving you just might find yourself in a real-life winter wonderland. Don’t exclude the winter destinations completely; they might surprise you.

St. Marys, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Seasonal Camping Opportunities

As RV sales continue to grow, seasonal camping is becoming more popular with each passing month. Seasonal camping is the act of renting a long-term lot at an RV resort and leaving the RV there even when you aren’t camping.

Seasonal camping reduces the need to pack/unpack, travel, and set up/tear down as often. Arrive. Stay. Enjoy. Less work and more fun are always win-win, right?

Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buying a seasonal permit can save you money depending on how often you travel to the RV. Before committing, have an idea of many times throughout the season you will reside there and make sure the cost will be justified.

Obvious, but worth the mention, be sure to visit the resort before purchasing a season pass. If ordering via the internet, remind yourself that online photos might not show all the details of a place. Six months is a long time if you aren’t happy with your surroundings.

Buccaneer State Park, Waveland, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Buying and Selling Times

Thinking of upgrading your rig to a newer model? Primarily, we think of spring as the best time but with more RVs being used as a primary residence as well as weekend and holiday travels, the same answer shared about RV season applies here, too. There is no wrong time to sell or to buy. Every day there are plenty of RV sales lots, online ads, and individual buyers ready to take a rig off your hands, and/or place a new set of keys in your hands.

Worth Pondering…

We shall not cease from exploration 

And the end of all our exploring 

Will be to arrive where we started

And know that place for the first time.

— T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding