What Is Walk Up Camping

What is Walk Up Camping

Do you love passing time in nature and stargaze at night? Are you always on the lookout for campsites to reserve a spot and wait until the day to go camping? Then, you need to know what is walk up camping.

Camping is an exciting experience, and campers want it to be perfect. If you are a spontaneous and decide on a whirlwind to camp, then walk up camping is ideal for you. Here are all the details to know about what is walk up camping.  

What Is Walk Up Camping?

You must be wondering what is walk up camping, right? Well, the concept is not that difficult; it is relatively easy to understand. As the name indicates, walk-up camping means you can go to a campsite,  set up your tent, and enjoy nature. No advance booking, or reservation, walk up camping works mostly on the first-come, first-serve basis. 

You can search for the nearest campgrounds and check if they offer walk up camping. Once you find a campground, pack your gear, and get there. You will find a spot as per the availability of it. However, as convenient as this camping might sound, it is not. There is a risk that you would not find an empty spot. So, for that, you will have to show up early to find a space for your camp. 

Further, it is a possibility that you would not find any walk up camping site at the weekends or during peak season. So, sometimes, campgrounds do reserve spots for the campers and pre-book the campsite. Hence, look it up if you want to camp on weekends or in peak season. 

Difference Between Walk up Camping and Walk-In Campsite

Walk up camping and walk-in campsite sound similar, but they mean entirely different things. Do not confuse both the terms, as they relate to camping. 

Walk-in camping means you will have to park your car in the parking lot and walk a distance. The campsites are present at a farther location. You cannot take your vehicle there. In contrast, you will have to carry your camping equipment to the camp and walk in there. A small path might be there to lead you to your tents. There might also be a reservation to book your tent.

On the other hand, walk up camping might not require walking. You can drive your car to the campsite and park it. Also, you can show up anytime without a reservation and get a spot. However, sometimes, the site you find can be less than ideal. 

How Do Walk Up Camping Works?

Walk up campgrounds work on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want to claim a popular spot with no hassle, then get to the campsite earlier. Most of the people show up one or two hours before checkout time. That way, the chances of acquiring soon-to-be-empty camp spot increases. 

All the weekends or public holidays book out in advance. That is why; if you are also planning to visit campgrounds on weekends, then reserve a spot for yourself. Hence, try not to be too fussy with available sites; you might never get a perfect camp.

Best Season For Walk Up Camping

There is not any specific best season for the walk up camping. The time of the day and the time of the year plays a role in making the campsite popular. Also, some seasons are peak season for the walk up camping.

There is a high chance that throughout the whole summer season, you might not find an empty campsite. It is a peak season, and the weekends also lessen the availability of camping tents. However, early spring and late autumn are not regular seasons for the walk up camping. If you try out in these seasons, you have a higher possibility of getting a free spot.

Tips To Find A Walk Up Camping Site

Now, you want to try out walk-up camping, but you need to bear a few points in mind. I have written down all the tips to make sure you get a walk-up camp spot. Go through these and make notes of these things. 

Be Flexible

When you have decided to go for a walk up camping, be flexible in your approach. You never know where you will get a spot. The probability is that you will not find your desired campsite. So, try to accept whatever comes your way.

Moreover, you might also not get the perfect view in the first go. So, be ready to walk a little further than you anticipated. In the end, you will enjoy it despite the initial discomfort.

Get To A Camping Site Early

Since the campsites sell out quickly, you need to get there as early as possible. Mostly, campgrounds have an 11 AM checkout time. So, you have to try getting there by 9.30 AM to 10 AM. That way, you will get the same spots as the previous night’s guests. Otherwise, you will miss the chance of getting a perfect location. 

Therefore, be quick in your approach, or else all the tickets will sell out before lunchtime. Try to do some research about the opening time and reservations beforehand. Plan your trip according to the opening time, so that you get there earlier than other people do. Also, if they take reservations, call and book a place to make the process easier. 

Try Other Camping Sites

When you are looking for a walk-up campsite, keep two or three in mind. If, by chance, a camp spot is not available at the first campsite, you can go to any other campground. Otherwise, you will have to go back home with a heavy heart.

Further, remember that in peak season, popular walk-up campsites are usually unavailable or fully booked. So, make sure that you have a backup camping spot in mind. You can also choose to go to a less popular walk-up camp. That way, you have a better chance to get a camp spot. 

Camp In The Middle Of The Week

People prefer to camp over weekends. That is why most of the campgrounds are inaccessible. But, if you go to the camp in the middle of the week, you can get a spot quickly. Also, when you arrive at a campsite mid-week, you can extend your visit and stay through the weekend. 

Travel Further From The City

Campgrounds that are near to the city fill up faster. In comparison, the campsites that are far from the town have available walk-up camps. So, if you want to ensure a spot, travel a bit far from the city. You will find a camping site smoothly. 

Look Out For The Weather

Whenever you are camping, weather plays a significant role outdoors. In rough weather, people avoid camping and prefer to stay indoors. That is why all the walk up campsites are usually empty. So, if you are adventurous and can endure rain, then go to a walk-up camp in rough weather. You will get a spot quickly without any hassle.  

Go With A Group

Usually, group campsites are available when single camping tents are not. So, if you go to a group campsite, then there is a chance of getting a group camp. But, there is also some risk; if the site is unavailable, then more people will suffer. 

Be Ready For A Walk

Once all the drive-up camp spots are booked, then only walk-in sites might be accessible. So, be ready to walk in for the walk up camping. You will have to carry your camping equipment to the site. Hence, try to pack as lightly as you can transport. 

Camp In Fall Or Spring

Sometimes, the spots that are not available in summer might be available in spring or fall. You might even get the sites that are popular and pre-booked. So, try camping in these seasons; however, you would want to bring a tent heater with you.  


Now you know all about what is walk up camping, start planning for one. It is quite different from a traditional camping style; but, it is exciting and flexible. Once you start doing walk up camping, you will love it. However, do try to follow the tips, and you will be good to go. 

Steve Hudson

I have been an outdoor activities enthusiast from teenage. I have been going out with my parents on different outdoor activities such as camping and hiking. After moving to a town surrounded by three well known fishing spots, I started fishing and started using all kinds of tricks and equipment to make the most out of each adventure I pursued. Over the years I have been camping outdoor, hiking and following my passion of enjoying life at full. Few years ago, I started writing about my thoughts, experiments and ideas about outdoor, fishing, hiking and more. This blog is a compilation of that plus tips, ideas and products that can make life more meaningful, enjoyable and a pleasant.

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