6 Reasons To Try Camping on a Weeknight

March 13, 2024

Much like summer vacation, weekends are the most popular time for travel, road trips, and adventures. With more free time for families, it often makes the most sense in terms of timing, but for those who can finagle a free day or two, weekdays are when the magic really happens. Weekends, much like summer vacation, has its down sides — and its myriad benefits. Here are six reasons to try camping on a weeknight.

Weeknights Are the Perfect Time to Camp – Here’s Why

An older couple enjoys an evening by the fire in front of their small towable RV.

1. Fewer Crowds

The obvious benefit to camping on a weeknight vs. a weekend is the comparative lack of crowds. For those who have scoured campgrounds looking for a campsite, or squeezed through crowds at a national park, they can attest that weekend masses can sometimes reach impassable levels. If you’re able to get away on a weekday, however, the crowds diminish exponentially, freeing you up to enjoy the vast expanses of nature at your own pace — without having to navigate hordes of fellow travelers with the same idea and same work schedule. It’s a sentiment that holds true year-round, even during summer, so it’s well worth keeping in mind for future camping plans.

A father and two kids sit in chairs around the campfire at a KOA campground.

2. More Campsite Options

The immediate upside to fewer crowds is the increased availability of campsites. Compared to busier weekends, when more travelers are hitting the road, weeknights are typically far easier to find a space. This is true of campgrounds that accept reservations, as well as those that are first come, first served. The inevitable abundance means campers can take their time accessing their campsite and enjoy the whole process at their own pace rather than rush to secure a spot and pitch their tent.

3. Less Traffic on Scenic Routes

Going at your own comfortable pace is also a crucial part of the journey, made all the easier when traveling on a weekday. As long as you avoid rush hour on your way out of town, it’s smooth sailing en route to most campgrounds, which means travelers can take their time and enjoy the scenic route — rather than beeline to the nearest campground to beat the crowds. For many, the journey is as important as the destination, and for those who can embark on a weekday, it’s an absolute win-win.

A family gathers at a Deluxe Cabin on a KOA campground.

4. More Rental Availability

Campsites aren’t the only things available on weekdays. Along with the lessened crowds and increased space, this also means there is more of everything else too. Rental equipment, across the board, is far more plentiful mid-week than on a clamorous weekend. This runs the gamut from the big, obvious stuff — like RV rentals, cabin rentals, etc. — to the less-obvious add-ons, like firewood, s’mores kits, rental gear, and kayaks.

Couple holding hands on a day hike.

5. Take Your Time

Going slower, and taking the scenic route on the way there, is just part of the fun. Taking your time, and really savoring the overall camping experience, is really essential to the overall camping experience, and something that comes natural when camping on a quieter weeknight. With far fewer people out and about, the whole vibe is that much more relaxed and nourishing, from leisurely hikes or strolls around the campground, to cozy breakfasts with endless coffee and conversation. A weekday camping experience is innately a slower pace, and one that makes a world of difference in every facet of the trip.

Crowds of tourists gather to watch elk in Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park.

6. More Options for Activities

In addition to greater availability with rental equipment, there are also far more open slots for activities, tours, and really anything that requires a reservation, be it a restaurant or a ranger-guided tour. In national parks, especially, a weekday camping trip makes a huge difference, in that it’s far easier to secure desired slots for tours and activities. For those with tighter capacity restrictions and smaller groups (e.g. cave tours at a park like Carlsbad Caverns National Park), opting for a weekday outing rather than a weekend can make or break the whole experience.

Born and raised in New Hampshire, Matt Kirouac grew up with a love for camping and the outdoors. Though he’s lived in Chicago since 2006, he’s always on the lookout for new adventures. He writes about travel and food for outlets like TripExpert, Money Inc, Upventur, DiningOut, Food Fanatics magazine, Plate Magazine and Zagat, and he currently serves as Chicago editor for What Should We Do?! He’s the author of The Hunt Guides: Chicago (2016) and Unique Eats & Eateries of Chicago (2017).

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