Go RVing to These 5 Must-Experience Wildflower Festivals
Spring camping is just around the corner! As the weather starts to warm up and the last bits of snow melt, the first wildflowers begin to bloom signaling the start of the camping season!
Camping in the spring has a special feel, and for many. It’s their favorite time to enjoy nature. Everything is fresh and untouched. Wildlife is active, and the wildflowers that add so much color to the landscape are in full bloom.
On top of the beauty of nature in the spring, crowds at parks and campgrounds are often smaller. Many people wait for the warm weather and for kids to be finished with school for the summer before going camping. After a long winter, spring camping amongst the fields of wildflowers is the perfect way to awaken the soul!
Tips for Finding Wildflowers
Spring camping will almost certainly bring wildflowers wherever you find yourself. Roadsides are lined with color. Once empty fields are exploding with new growth and bushes are awakening after winter.
For prime wildflower experiences, however, there are some locations that can offer more than others. The U.S. has many different landscapes from plains, to mountains and deserts to lush forests, and each has its own special flora and fauna.
Wildflowers bloom at different times throughout the country depending on the weather of an area. In general southern states will have blooms as early as March and April while some northern areas can be delayed until June. Elevation plays a role as well with new growth beginning in valleys and continuing to the alpine valleys and mountain trails as late as July and August.
If you are planning a spring camping trip and want to include some wildflower exploring, look to valleys and southern-facing slopes and head out after rainfall for the best sites! The U.S. Forest Services interactive wildflower map is a great resource for checking bloom times in your area.
Top 5 Spring Camping Locations in the U.S. to Explore Wildflowers
Antelope Valley, California
Amongst the beautiful Mojave Desert lies the Antelope Valley Poppy Reservation. With almost 1800 acres of natural resources, this California State Park is very popular in spring. The online photos don’t do this special place justice, and it’s a bucket list trip for flower lovers.
The Antelope Valley poppy fields are an amazing site that brings flower lovers from all over to witness this spring bloom. Poppies are very sensitive to temperature and wind so the bloom can be unpredictable and shorter some years than others.
There are over 8 miles of walking trails amongst the poppies including paved wheelchair-accessible paths. There are no dogs other than certified service animals allowed in this section of the park. Since this is a busy park and the poppy season is short, it’s best to check with the California State Park website for the best time to visit.
The Californian RV Park is a 193-site, full hookup RV park that can accommodate large RVs. It’s conveniently located only 30 minutes from Los Angeles and 30 minutes from the poppy reserve.
Pyramid Lake RV Resort has 117 sites with full hookups just 35 minutes from the poppy fields. A pool, mini putt, and laundry services are available.
Skagit Valley, Washington
Held from April 1st-30th, celebrating millions of tulips bursting into bloom, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is the perfect way to ring in springtime.
Tulips are a favorite of flower lovers as the variety of colors can be visually stunning. The tulip and daffodil fields in the Skagit Valley are widespread. For this reason, this is a vehicle tour with areas for photos and to get out and enjoy the tulips.
The month of April in the area offers other events and attractions to fill out your spring camping time. Maps are available, so you don’t miss any of the wildflower fields!
Sedro Woolley Riverfront Park is a beautiful riverfront RV park less than 10 minutes from Skagit Valley. It is a smaller park with only 36 sites, so reserve your spot!
Skagit Valley RVis a short 10-minute drive to the tulip fields of Skagit Valley. They offer 120 full hookup sites and are located close to a Walmart and restaurants.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Mountain trails in the alpine wildflower environments in and around the Gunnison Valley offer some picturesque day trips.
Crested Butte is the wildflower capital of Colorado. The local wildflower festival is a 10-day event offering over 200 workshops in wildflower expertise each July. Painting, pollination, photography, and culinary arts, all geared toward wildflowers are just some of the activities. Maybe the most fun activity is hiking into the wildflower-rich trails surrounding the area of Crested Butte.
Some of the activities taking place during the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival do have participant limitations. Check ahead if there are certain activities you want to participate in and get signed up!
Crested Butte RV Resort is a small park with only 20 sites; however, the views are epic, and they can accommodate large RVs.
Gunnison KOA Journey has 73 full hookup sites just 40 minutes south of Crested Butte. The resort includes all the amenities you expect from KOA with the convenience of small-town Gunnison.
Hill Country, Texas
The hub of beautiful Texas bluebonnet fields, Hill County, is home to wildflower seed farms that produce a variety of blooms every spring.
Spring camping in Texas comes early, and so do the blooms. March has some wildflower activity, and the season runs right through October. so there is ample time to take advantage of the beautiful wildflowers.
With over 100 wineries and vineyards, Hill County has lots to offer after a day of enjoying the flowers. Wildseed Farms, the nation’s largest wildflower seed farm, is located just a few miles from downtown Fredericksburg. They offer the chance to see lots of different varieties of wildflowers with tours of their vast property.
Fredericksburg RV Park offers 100 full-service sites in the heart of wine and flower country. They are pet friendly with a great dog park and lots of hiking trails nearby.
Heritage Oaks RV Park is a new and very private 88-site RV park. The park offers large RV sites with patios, storage areas for your gear, and covered parking.
Sugar Hill, New Hampshire
Lupine lovers should head to the northeast; New Hampshire to be specific. In peak lupine season, typically in early June, you can see endless purple, pink, white, and sky blue lupines filling the fields that line Sugar Hill’s roads.
The Sugar Hill Lupine Festival includes open-air markets, local artists, concerts, and town dances bringing this small town alive. If you are looking for a quiet getaway and want to experience the raw beauty of New Hampshire, Sugar Hill will be a spring camping destination.
Littleton / Franconia Notch KOA Holiday offers 70 full hookup sites and lots of amenities including a pool and fishing. This area is a great home base for wilderness exploring.
Twin Mountain RV Park has 30 full hookup sites conveniently located 20 minutes from Sugar Hill.
Spring Camping Brings More Than Just Flowers
Camping in the spring offers lots of excitement in not only the form of fresh wildflowers but also wildlife. Early spring hikes are a great time for some wildlife sightings including the newborns. As with all wildlife but especially with babies, make sure not to get too close!
Where there are flowers there are birds, and all the new blooms will have the birds active. Bird watching is a favorite for many campers and spring is the perfect time to check a few species off your list.
Hiking in the spring can bring some challenges as the trails can be wet in some areas; however, with proper footwear and a raincoat just in case, you’ll be fine. Popular trails are less busy as well as many campgrounds including backcountry hiking campsites.
Newbie flower and wildlife photographers will appreciate the small crowds as they can hone their photography skills without being rushed. The pros love the untouched spring landscape as well since they can take advantage of all the untraveled spaces before the crowds show up.
Tips for Planning a Spring Camping Wildflower Trip
Spring camping trips can be a little unpredictable for multiple reasons. Weather is very unpredictable in the spring, especially during early spring and in mountain areas. Having the right clothing for warm, cold, and wet weather is a must for a comfortable trip.
Depending on your location, snow and unplanned winter storms can and do happen even after the winter snow has all gone. Footwear for muddy trails and campgrounds is a smart idea as well as staying up to date and checking forecasts for your destination.
It’s not just the weather that’s unpredictable early in the camping season. Services and attractions can be as well. If you are traveling to a more remote area that attracts summer crowds, spring may be too early for all services to be open. If there are certain attractions you plan to visit, make sure they are open and accessible.
With your spring camping trip planned, you’ll want to pack some things to make the most of the wildflowers and other spring sites. We mentioned having the proper gear for yourself including footwear and weather-specific clothing. There is some other important gear you will want to have as well. A good camera, binoculars, and a notebook or guide for flowers, wildlife, and birds.
As much planning as you do for your trip, mother nature has her own plans, and she doesn’t change them for anyone. When flowers will bloom or when the bear cubs will be active are all out of your hands. A spring camping trip is a perfect way to kick off the camping season and recharge for a great year.
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Kendall lives with his wife and their two cocker spaniels full-time in their RV currently in Mexico. He is one half of DashboardDrifters.com and the co-founder of RVSpotDrop, a web service for full-time RVers.