What Is Walk Up Camping? Best Ways to Get a Pitch

Do you want to know what walk up camping is all about? A love of nature, camping, and spontaneous adventures are just some of the main aspects this type of camping has to offer. If you’ve found yourself wondering about walk up camping, this article is the perfect place to start.

So, what exactly is walk up camping? This type of camping offers first come first serve campsites that are usually available at a lower cost than reserving a campsite in advance. The availability and amount of walk up campsites vary at each individual campground.

Two tents overlooking moutains and lake


What does walk up camping mean and what is a walk up campsite?

As the name implies, walk up camping is simply a campsite that you can walk up to and stay at without any prior reservations. Walk up campsites are different than regular campsites in that they are the only areas at a campground that you can access first come first serve.

Some campgrounds offer a specific amount of walk up campsites, usually less than the amount available for reservation, and other campgrounds only offer walk up campsites. Some campgrounds also change their amount of walk up campsites depending on the time of year and the demand for them as well.

Walk up camping is simply a way to experience camping without having to make prior reservations or plans ahead of time. It is a bit more spontaneous and connected with nature as walk up campsites are areas that usually only allow tent camping.

How does walk up camping work?

Since walk up campsites are based on a first come first serve basis, you will want to claim a spot at your desired campground as soon as the day allows. Many campgrounds offering walk up campsites will sell out usually before noon so it is important to be there early.

Group of tent at night in the forest woords trees

To claim a walk up campsite, all you simply need to do is go to the main office at the campground and ask what they have available. If multiple sites have not been claimed yet, you may get the option of choosing your location, otherwise, the location will be chosen for you based on availability.

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Once you claim a spot and pay for your stay, the campsite is yours. Claiming a walk up campsite is a very easy process. The hardest part of this venture is usually finding a campground that has available campsites.

Is there a difference between walk in camping and walk up campsites?

Despite the similarities in their names, walk in camping is different from walk up camping. Walk up camping is a first come first serve way to reserve a campsite, whereas walk in camping offers campsites that require a short walk to the campsite.

Many walk in campsites will have a parking lot which you will leave your car at and carry all your necessary camping gear from there to your actual campsite. Some people prefer this type of camping as it offers a bit more of a rural and private nature experience compared to campsites that are all located within view of each other.

Looking out of a tent at the forest trees

The downside to walk in camping is that you have to carry all of your camping gear to your actual campsite. For those who pack light and only bring the essentials, this shouldn’t be an issue.

Others who tend to pack heavy may have to make multiple trips. On the bright side, most walk in campsites usually aren’t too far from the parking lot that you begin your walk at.

Some walk in campsites may also require you to reserve them in advance and others may not, it all depends on the location you are camping at.

What are the best ways to get a walk up campsite?

Walk up camping can be a great way to camp at a location that is fully booked with reserved campsites, however, the more popular the location the more difficult it may be to claim a walk up spot. Avid campers are highly aware of the limited ability of campsites and are ready to claim whatever they can.

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The first best way to increase your chances of claiming a walk up campsite is to arrive early. Despite afternoon check out times, it is always good to arrive early in the morning and talk to the camp host about what may become available later in the day.

If some campsites are booked when you get there but will become available after check out time, you can claim the spot early and take a hike to pass the time until you can check in.

An important thing to note is peak camping seasons and holidays, as they will be busier than usual. Popular campgrounds, usually in national parks, may be harder to get into as well. If you’re camping during busy times of the year or in busy locations, give yourself other nearby options instead of being deadset on one campground.

Lastly, be as flexible as the process. Walk up campsites that are available may not be in a location you prefer, however, there also may not be any other options.

Remember that the purpose of camping is to enjoy the outdoors so don’t focus too much on obtaining the perfect campsite. Walk up camping is more about convenience than about having the most ideal spot.

Overall, walk up camping is a great way to take part in an affordable and unplanned camping experience. It also allows one to practice going with the flow and enjoying the simplicity that camping has to offer. Remember to have fun and don’t get stressed with the process.

You will find walk up camping opportunities offered at almost every campground and for costs that are less than the typical cost of a reserved campsite. Walk up camping is great for individuals, groups, and families all alike. If you’ve been wanting to experience a walk up camping experience, there is no greater time to do so than right now.