What is Walk Up Camping & What Does it Mean?

what is walk up camping

The weather looks good this weekend doesn’t it? It could be the ideal time to make the decision to go camping, but with such short notice, is it too late to book a campsite? It could be, which is why walk up camping is a great option. If you’ve not done walk up camping before, read on to find out what it means and how it works.

What does walk up camping mean? Walk up camp sites do not require a reservation or bookings in advance. You can just walk up to the campsite with your gear and start camping. You should arrive early in order to get a space. 

Short guide to walk up campsites

So now you know what a walk-up campsite is and how you can use them for camping at the drop of a hat, let’s get more into the detail.

It is easy to secure a walk-up campsite in early autumn or spring. During the summer, it might be a bit harder to find a walk-up campsite, as the camp might be busier. If this is the case, you could always arrive 2 hours before the site opens, or before checking out time.

what is walk up campsites
Be sure to get their early to book a campsite spot. Perhaps not this early though…

Essentially, I recommend that you are one of the first to arrive so you can get a spot. Walk up campsites, work on a first-come, first-serve basis. The only thing is though, that without a reservation, you might not get a spot.

Did You Know? Walk-up camping is also called no-reservation camping.

Is there a difference between walk up and walk-in camp sites?

The names walk up and walk in, sound exactly the same, right? Even though the two sound the same, they are actually both completely different.

Some campsites might require that you walk a distance, from the parking lot to the actual campsite. There might be a path that you have to follow that leads to a tent-only campsite. This is ideal for hikers, who have not made a reservation.

Sometimes the walk might be a bit harder, and a bit more inconvenient, but the views pay off. This is a walk-in campsite.

Whereas with a walk-up campsite, you would be able to park your car right adjacent to the site.

Would it be better to book a spot on advance?

If you want to visit a popular campsite, it would be a better idea to reserve a spot. You could do this through the ReserveAmerica.com website. The reason it would be better to book a site in advance is that you might have all your camping gear packed, and when you arrive, there is no space.

Remember that most popular camping sites are booked out months in advance. It would be really disappointing to arrive at your holiday weekend, and not be able to camp, you might even end up camping in your car.

If you don’t book a spot, there is always the possibility that someone forgot about their reservation, or perhaps they didn’t show up. If this is the case, you could be able to just “walk-up” and get a spot.

Would you be able to find a walk-up spot during peak season?

During peak season, you could still find a walk-up spot. Some campsites will convert the spots that have not been reserved for walk-up spots.

The campsites will take a few days to organize their reservations, and if there are any open spots available, they will then use these spots as walk-up spots.

You can also call the campsite and find out if any walk-up spots are available. But remember to try and get there quickly as these spots will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

How to make sure you secure a walk-up campsite spot 

When it comes to making sure that you get a walk-up camping spot, there are a few things that you can do.

  • Get to the camping grounds really early: if you want to secure that perfect camping spot, make sure that you arrive early. Most campgrounds that offer walk-up spots, sell out before lunchtime. So, if you get there early, the chances of getting a spot are higher. Most campsites have a check out time of 11:00 AM. If you get there a few hours before 11, then you will be first in line when others leave the site. If the campgrounds are particularly popular, arriving early is even more important.
  • Choose a different campground: if you get to your chosen campsite and they are fully booked, consider a different camping site. You might be able to find a walk-up campsite if you choose a camping spot that isn’t as popular. If you want to try to find a spot at a popular camping ground during peak season, this will be almost close to impossible. So, choosing a different time of year might be a better option for walk-up camping.
  • Be prepared to be adaptable: remember if you do decide to walk up camp, you might not find the perfect spot. Be flexible when the campgrounds give you a spot. Maybe the view isn’t exactly what you were hoping for, or you might have to walk a bit further with all your gear than you expected, but at least you got to enjoy a mini getaway and a spot.
  • Watch the weather: if you really want to rough it, you could also watch the weather. If the weather is less favorable, then you could also easily get a walk-up spot. Many people don’t enjoy camping in the rain. If you love adventure and roughing it out, you could always choose a weekend that doesn’t have the best of weather.
  • Go in the middle of the week: another way to secure a camping spot during peak season is to try camp during the week and not on a weekend. You could try to go after a bank holiday, instead of during one. If you do this, the chances of securing a walk-up spot will be greater.

The weather for the weekend is going to be incredible! You feel like you need a break, work has been rough, and becoming one with nature seems like the way to do it. You might see yourself staring at the stars, swimming in lakes and enjoying some smores.

There is a breath-taking camping spot nearby, that you have always wanted to see. You might be wondering if you need a reservation. As you look at the camping website, it mentions that they have walk-up camping.

What is walk-up camping you wonder?

I hope I’ve answered that question for you!

To conclude, when it comes to camping, there are a few things you need to consider before just showing up. You might like the adventure of an unplanned trip, which is great, but to secure a spot, you need to make sure that you choose a campsite that isn’t crazy busy.

Remember to get there early or go during the week. Walk up camping sounds like great fun, but to avoid disappointment, you need to follow the tips given above!

You might also like…

  • What is equestrian camping? If you are a horse lover then this guide is for you. It explains in depth what equestrian camping is all about and whether there are walk-up camping sites that accept horses.
  • Winter camping tips for dog lovers: Taking your dog camping isn’t as hard as you might think, but it can be challenging in winter time. Here’s how you can keep your dog warm and some advice on walk-up camping sites that accept dogs.

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