Most people think that once summer is over, the family camping fun is over. After Labor Day, visitors to campgrounds, parks, and recreation areas slow down—mainly because kids are back in school. Fall is a great time to plan a camping trip to destination hot spots that may have been too busy during the summer to get reservations.

The weather is still warm in September—technically it’s still summer—but days are not as hot, and nights are cooler. October can produce some beautiful Indian summer weather perfect for camping and outdoor activities. Another bonus to fall camping is the fact that campgrounds and parks are less congested and campgrounds often reduce their rates after Labor Day.

Even though the kids may be back in school, that doesn’t mean you can’t schedule a weekend camping trip. Look into campgrounds and parks closer to home so you spend less time driving and more time camping. This is also a great time to take advantage of the lower fall rates that most campgrounds offer after the summer. Many campgrounds and parks remain open through October or November, and some are even open year round.

Consider a fall color tour while camping—from mid-September to late October the autumn foliage colors can be spectacular. To help you plan your fall color drive or nature hike near your destination, check online for tour dates and maps that list the best locations to view the changing fall colors. If the weather is warm enough, consider renting a kayak or canoe to view the changing leaves along a nearby river or stream.

Fall is also a great time to visit the many orchards, farms and u-pick markets throughout Michigan. Seasonal fall fruits and vegetables include apples, cranberries, chestnuts, pears, plums, pumpkins, squash and sweet potatoes. Cider mills and apple orchards are usually busiest during the fall months, offering fresh apples, apple cider, doughnuts and caramel apples. Check for farms near your campground that offer corn mazes, wagon rides and pumpkin picking during the fall months.

Be sure to call ahead to ensure that the campground or park you will be staying at will be open during the fall months—some campgrounds close after Labor Day or shortly thereafter. Whether you plan a week or weekend, fall is a great time to enjoy all that Michigan has to offer.