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What Is Walk-Up Camping? A New Way To Experience Camping

Are you looking for a new way to camp?  Walk-up camping could be for you.

The idea of walk-up camping can seem very appealing, especially if one has not reserved any sites at all before.

Walk-up camping is an informal way of camping that allows people to set up a tent on the ground, usually in a park or forested area, without having reserved a specific campsite.

So, what is walk-up camping? What’s the difference with walk-in camping?

In this article, we’ve got your question covered.

Read on!

What Is Walk-Up Camping?

Walk-up camping

Walk-up camping is a term used for campsites that do not require reservations.  These walk-in campsites are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

For walk-up camping, you simply walk up to the campsite, and hopefully, you can get any available campground if it’s not fully occupied.

Why Do People Enjoy This Walk-Up Camping?

The reason many people enjoy walk-up camping is that it allows more freedom and spontaneity. You can walk up to a campsite whenever you want, as long as there are open spots available. 

So, walk-up camping lets you enjoy the freedom of planning your own schedule and doing what you want. This walk-up camping experience is completely different from walk-in camping or reserving a campsite month in advance.

What Disadvantages Of Walk-Up Camping?

The main disadvantage for walk-up camping is that you can’t reserve specific campsite months in advance, which makes availability unpredictable.  Also, walk-in sites tend to fill up faster on weekends and holidays because most people make reservations at those times.

Sometimes, walk-up camping might mean having to walk or drive around a certain area for hours. So if you feel unprepared for these conditions, then walk up camping might not be right for you.

Walk-Up Camping Vs Walk-In Camping

The difference between walk-up camping and walk-in camping is essentially walk-up camping has no reservation required while walk-in camping does.  So walk-in camping is more restrictive and walk-up camping is more flexible.

Tips For Walk-Up Camping

Some walk-up camping tips are:

  • Walk up to the campsite as soon as possible after arriving, around 7 am. This way, walk-up sites are likely to be open because most people won’t have arrived yet.
  • If you want a walk-in site but it’s already taken, go to another walk-in site on the other side of the campground so long as there are still walk-in sites available.
  • Have a backup plan for walk-up camping. If walk-up sites are not available, bring a backup plan like camping in your car.

What Are The Best Walk-Up Campsites In The US?

There’s a lot of great options for walk-up camping in the US:

There are hundreds of walk-up campsites all across the US so you can walk up to camp no matter where you go.


Walk-up camping lets you enjoy more freedom over your schedule while reserving specific campsites months in advance ensures you get exactly what you want.

Walk-up camping can be stressful because of the uncertainty and inconvenience. Not having a reservation means not knowing if you’ll get any campsite. 

Plus, walk-up campsites tend to fill up faster than reservable campsites, so there’s always the added pressure of making it in time before all walk-in sites are gone.