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  1. #1

    Default too hot to camp? deep south vs AZ/UT/CO

    My boyfriend and I are planning a three week roadtrip in August. We initially wanted to do a Boston-south-grand canyon-Boston loop, but after reading several posts, we realized we might be too ambitious given our time frame. Since I really want to see Arizona/Colorado, and he really wants to see the deep south, we have decided to pick one region: either fly to SF and looping through AZ, CO, UT, or cover the south eastern states from Boston.

    We would like to camp as much as possible.

    I am surprised that there are nearly no posts regarding the south. I did find one post from a Carolinian saying how hot it gets down there in the summer, and that August was the worst month. My question is: is it that people don't go to the south because it's so hot, or simply it's not that much of an attraction to roadtrippers? Will we survive camping three weeks in that weather?

    I would assume that AZ is probably as hot as the south, although probably humidity makes the great difference comfort-wise. Or is it that it's also crazy to consider camping in Arizona?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default August in the South

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    August is not the best time to be spending a lot of time either in the South or Southwest. In Atlanta, the average highs are around 90 and "lows" around 70, and yes, the humidity is everything you've heard. Arizona is no better. In Phoenix, average highs are 105(!) and it's the middle of monsoon season when Arizona gets most of its annual rainfall in afternoon thundershowers. If you're not used to it, it can be terribly uncomfortable. I'm now in my 17th year here in Tucson after moving from Maine, and I'm still trying to get acclimatized. One thing that can help is to stay at higher elevations. Consider staying in the Appalachians if you want to see the south or on the Colorado Plateau or in the Rockies if you want to see the west. But in the end, if you have to go in August, and you have to go someplace warm, just look at it as part of the adventure and a new set of experiences, and drink lots of water and get an air conditioned motel room as often as possible.


  3. #3

    Default The humid South

    Perhaps I'm that Carolinian referred to in your original post. I have, in fact, cautioned some folks about the summer heat down this way.

    That said, people most certainly do camp, throughout the South, throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall. It's a matter of perspective and being used to it, I suppose. I give the cautions when it appears someone has overlooked the question of heat (ie: a poster pondering sleeping in a closed-up vehicle during the summertime).

    The heat is very elevation-sensitive. My alma mater, Appalachian State University, is in Boone, NC at around 3,500' of elevation in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Surrounding peaks are 4-5,000' or more. Up there the days are often delightful with highs in the upper 70s to mid-80s and nights downright chilly, with lows dipping into the lower 60s or even the 50s. The Appalachian Mountains are long and wide, so large swaths of northern Georgia, SC, eastern TN, western NC, and southwestern VA are at high elevations in the Blue Ridge, the Blacks, the Smokies, and the Unakas. The elevation provides such relief that much of the 19th and early 20th century resort development in places like Blowing Rock, NC was based upon proximity to the textile and tobacco industries down in the nearby Piedmont. The same holds true today.

    Similarly, camping along the coast can be very comfortable. Only when there is a stubborn "Bermuda High" weather system present (which pumps heat from the landward side on southwest winds for days on end) is the coast unduly hot and uncomfortable. Much more prevalent are afternoon "seabreeze" phenomena which are entirely comfortable.

    In between--it's a gamble. There are some days with highs in the 80s and overnight lows in the 70s. There are also days with highs in the upper 90s and it's still +85 to 87 degrees at 10pm. Those are the nights when camping isn't much fun.


  4. Default

    In my part of North Carolina most July /August days are in the low 90s. We have the occasional couple days that're high 80s, and the occasional couple that hit 100+.

    Farther south is hotter.

    Camping during these months is do-able under certain circumstances: The mountains are decent, but still hot mid-day. The wind always blows at the beach; some people love beach camping, others don't -- it is different from other camping. If you have access to a nice cold lake or a swimming pool, it makes all the difference in the world. And finally, timespan makes a difference. Camping in the hot, hot weather is okay for a weekend, but three weeks would get old, old, old.

    Would I do a three-week camping trip here in August? No, but late September - October is ideal weather. Jeans and a tee-shirt are perfect in the day, and the nights can be nippy but not uncomfortable.

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