Best Time Of Year To Go Camping With Toddlers (…and WHY?)

three different photos side-by-side of toddlers camping

As long as you’re well prepared, camping at any time of the year is possible with toddlers. There are advantages to going in certain seasons though.

The best time of year to go camping with toddlers is late spring or early fall. The weather will be warm but not too hot, and the days will be long enough for you to enjoy your evenings in daylight. Campgrounds will not be overly busy and there will be plenty for kids to do.

In this post, we look at the pros and cons of going camping in each season. These recommendations are for countries in the northern hemisphere.

Before we look at each season in detail, take a moment to think about the following that might affect your decision on when to go camping:

  • Do you and your family prefer lots of outdoor water-based adventures or do you prefer to stay closer to the camp, enjoying the warmth of a campfire?
  • Are you happy to mingle with other campers and let your children play with other kids, or do you prefer a quieter camp?
  • Are you looking to relax with your family and enjoy the sun, or are you the more adventurous type?

Camping with toddlers in the spring

Spring is a wonderful time of year, for the most part, things are warming up and nature is coming back to life after the winter.

two toddlers playing soccer in the spring


  • The start of spring is still the low season so not only will you have lots of choices when it comes to campgrounds, but you’ll likely pay less for your pitch too.
  • As campsites will be quieter, you’ll be able to let your toddlers have more freedom, without the worry of them constantly wandering into other people’s camps.
  • There will be fewer insects than in summer, insects can be particularly bothersome if you camp near a wood or water.
  • Late spring tends to be warm, but not too hot, so it’s the perfect season for hiking and exploring the outdoors (provided you can avoid any April showers!)
  • The nights are still early enough to enjoy a campfire in the evening.
  • Nature is at its best with flowers, trees, and animals waking up after a long winter’s rest.


Camping with toddlers in the summer

Summer is the classic season to go camping, it’s warm, it’s bright, and pretty much every campsite and outdoor facility is open.


  • Better weather is the biggest advantage to going camping in the summer, it’s generally warm and dry. Summer is a great time to take kids camping as it hopefully means you can avoid rainy days stuck inside the tent!
  • The days are longer so you can enjoy relaxing with your family in the warm evenings.
  • If you have older children as well, they’ll be more likely to be off school during summer so it will make planning a camping trip much easier.
  • Although campsites will be busier, most campsites will be open for business so you should still find a spot.
  • The whole family can enjoy swimming and exploring outside.


  • Unless you have a blackout tent, the early sunrises can mean early starts for your kids too and it’s very difficult to send children back to bed when you’re all in the same tent!
  • It’s similar in the evenings as well. In some places, such as areas of the northern United States and Canada, and places in northern Europe like the UK, it doesn’t get dark until well after 9 pm in mid-summer. So, if you have toddlers who are sensitive to the daylight, then they’re going to want to be up and playing well after their bedtime.
  • In some places, the summer heat can be unbearable, and toddlers can be particularly susceptible to the heat. If you do head for a camping trip in the heat then read our guide to keeping your little ones cool and safe in the warm weather.
  • Summer, particularly July, is a super popular time to camp, so you’ll need to book early to avoid disappointment.
  • Bugs can be rife in the summer months and mosquitos are a particular pest if you’re camping near water or woodland.

Camping with toddlers in the fall

Fall is the most colorful season and you’re in for a visual treat if you head to the great outdoors at this time of year. The weather can be cooler though, especially if you’re camping in the north.


  • Fall is beautiful! Kids of all ages will love exploring the colorful leaves and berries on woodland walks. You might even be able to forage for apples and blackberries, but obviously, only eat foraged food if you’re sure you know it’s safe to do so!
  • It’s cooler this time of year so ideal if you’re not a fan of the heat, and the cooler weather can make it easier for kids to settle at night.
  • There are fewer bugs so you can enjoy trips out without everyone being plastered in layers of insect repellent!
  • You can still enjoy some outdoor activities although, unless the weather is particularly warm, your kids may not fancy swimming outdoors.
  • Campsites are quieter, so if you’re not a fan of crowds and want to relax with your family it’s a great time to camp. An exception to this is Labor Day weekend in the USA, which is one of the busiest weekends for camping!
  • If you love a campfire, then fall is the best time to go camping. Snuggle around the flames with hot chocolate or pumpkin soup as the evenings draw in.


  • The drawbacks of camping in the fall are similar to camping in the spring, with the main one being it can get really cold, especially in the late fall, so you may not be able to do as many outdoor activities as in summer.
  • Quieter campsites can mean fewer people to hang out with, which may not be a problem unless your kids like playing with other children.
  • Many kids go back to school and kindergarten in the early fall and a camping trip may be the last thing they need if they’re starting school for the first time and are adjusting to multiple changes.

Camping with toddlers in winter

The winter months can be truly beautiful, and you’re sure to avoid the crowds if you camp at this time of year. But, you guessed it, it’s going to be cold and, depending on where you camp, it might just be too cold for kids to come along too.


  • It’s a beautiful time of year to camp with plenty of peace and quiet from other campers.
  • In the US, many states don’t actually get that cold during winter so this season may actually be the best time to camp. Florida, California, Nevada, and Arizona are just some of the states where you can enjoy camping all year round.
  • As winter is off-season, you’ll be able to get low-cost campground fees.


  • Not all campgrounds will be open, in fact, some state parks aren’t open at night at all during winter so you’ll need to do some research on where you can camp before you go.
  • Activities and events are likely to be scarce in winter.
  • It’ll be cold in many places and the nights will be longer, so you’ll need to think of ways to keep your toddlers entertained in the dark.
  • You’ll need to invest in extra thermal gear to keep everyone warm.

Camping in any season has its pros and cons, but if you want the best chance of the whole family enjoying the trip, pitch your tent in late spring or early fall.

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