Labor Day has passed and fall is in the air. For us outdoors lovers, that means prime camping season is in full swing. As temperatures start to fall, the dirt hardens, the rock dries out and those pesky bugs finally start to go away. The fall season is the optimal season for camping for a vast majority of the country, but for the midwest and the Southern Appalachian Mountains, you’ll never find a better time or place to be outdoors. For both of these regions, the general climate during the spring camping season involves high heat, with a heavy dose of rain and humidity making any camping trip, sticky. Condensation collects in the tent, sweat pours down your face, and everything just feels wet. It midst of summer the sun comes high in the sky and the temperatures rise with it. Sure, it’s enjoyable and there’s a blue sky, but backpacking in the 90-100 degree heat get old real quick. Let’s check out a couple of must-visit locations to hit up in the oncoming weeks.

Daniel Boone National Forest

The Daniel Boone National Forest is located about an hour east of Lexington, Kentucky. It’s buried right in the middle of the Red River Gorge, an area of the country long famous for its high-quality rock climbing and sightseeing. Little attention, however, is placed on the copious amounts of kayaking and canoeing, and the countless number of hiking trails. Generally, the DBNF is a damp, rainforest-like terrain with a thick, rich canopy of trees and an abundance of wildlife. During fall, however, the leaves change to a golden red/yellow that’s highly accentuated by the sunsets made via dry, crisp air.

Hocking Hills, OH

Ohio? Ohio?! Like, “the armpit of America,” Ohio? Yeah, that’s the one. Believe it or not, Ohio has a decent set of rolling hills, lush green wilderness and beautiful outdoors located on the southeastern side of the state. Hocking Hills offers an array of hiking and paddling areas with vast rivers and stunning waterfalls. It has mountain biking trails and overnight campgrounds as well as backcountry camping. And a special note? Historical reenactments. Hocking Hills was home to a number of historical battles through the civil war, many of which are reenacted throughout the season.

Isle Royale, MI

Isle Royale, located in the northern part of Lake Superior, is a must visit destination for any outdoor enthusiast. It is a unique location and highly-regulated, therefore it remains highly untouched. During the fall, it gets chilly, quickly and thus, the season ends early, however, it’s the one opportunity that the infamous black flies die off and the only place where you can have a front row view to the color change happening on both American and Canadian soil.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Time and Time again, Sleeping Bear Dunes is touted as one of the most beautiful places in America. Good Morning America even named it the most beautiful lake front in the entire country (they weren’t wrong). Come fall it only gets better. Be warned, it gets cold, so prep for chilly nights and sunny days. The cold is what makes it special, however, as it draws most of the moisture for the lake out of the air and makes the view even cleaner. Sunsets are amplified by staring through the crisp air rather than faded moist air, and, the crowds die off significantly as beach goers and weekend tourists disappear until the following summer.

New River Gorge, WV

Often touted as the Grand Canyon of the east, the New River Gorge is a mecca of outdoor activity. In the fall, however, there’s only one reason to head to the new, The Upper Gauley River. Listed as one of the top commercially guided whitewater rivers in the world, the Gauley only runs from the first weekend of September to the second weekend in October. 6 weekends in the season for 4 days at a time gives you 25 possible days for the ride of your life. It’s the river to ruin all rivers because once you’re run the Upper Gauley, everything else seems boring.

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