Dedicated campers need little to no encouragement to pack their bags, load up the car, and head out to their favorite spot for a few days.
However, for the rest of us, why should you choose camping vacations over others? Aside from the fun of the outdoor lifestyle, camping actually offers several benefits for your physical and mental health.
Here are just a few …
You’ll Feel Happier and Less Stressed
Ever seen a friend or relative come back from a camping trip with a lighter step and a sunnier disposition?
Spending hours outside, in the fresh air and sunlight, can hep to increase your serotonin levels. This hormone is known to lift your mood and encourage feelings of calm and focus.
Likewise, darker settings activate the release of melatonin, another hormone. This is responsible for making you feel sleepy and ready to get some shut-eye.
As you’re outdoors when camping, you’ll spend more time soaking up the sunlight. Without the bright glow of streetlights or excessive artificial lighting, your melatonin levels may well help you enjoy longer, better sleep.
You can Get Away from Your Everyday Life
Camping lets you get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
Whether you’re under pressure at work, fed up with college, or having relationship issues, just taking a few days to leave that behind can work wonders. For the most part, you’ll have no signal or internet when in the great outdoors, preventing you taking bothersome work-related calls or checking social media every few minutes.
You can use this time to reduce your stress levels, get some exercise, and consider your life without the ongoing distractions of ‘the real world’.
You’ll Get More Exercise
Too many of us live sedentary lifestyles. This isn’t new, of course, but actually finding the motivation to get some exercise is hard. Especially when there’s so much outstanding entertainment to keep us inside nowadays.
Well, with camping vacations, you’ll find yourself surrounded by so many picturesque views and gorgeous landmarks, you’ll genuinely want to get out there and explore.
Even walking can work your muscles, get your blood pumping, and burn calories, so you’ll get much-needed exercise while enjoying some leisurely sightseeing.
You might be able to go even further, too: some campsites offer various activities, such as canoeing, swimming, and more.
While camping, you may discover a love for exercise or specific activities you never knew before – and carry them back home with you.
You’ll Connect with Friends, Family, and Yourself
Whether you go camping with friends or family, it’s a fantastic way to reinforce your relationships.
When you’re out in the woods, walking the hills, or just sitting around the campfire, you’ll have more time and less distractions than in ‘real life’. This gives you plenty of time and freedom to just … talk. You’ll form stronger bonds and feel closer for years to come.
Going solo? This applies to yourself, as well. Maybe not the talking part, but you can use the time alone to think about who you are, where you’re going, and other aspects of life you may have neglected at home.
You may well leave that campsite with a renewed love for yourself, your friends, or your family.
Feeling inspired? There are countless gorgeous campgrounds across the USA, catering to campers of different kinds. Make sure you take the right gear to stay dry, safe, and happy!
The USA is one of the world’s greatest countries for camping.
We can all agree on that, can’t we? With a wealth of stunning national parks, incredible wildlife, and areas rich with cultural value, the States offers an amazing range of camping options.
While many of us prefer to go beyond our own borders for our vacations, the great American camping trip is a tradition millions of families enjoy every year. Whether you’re looking to try it with your loved one, your kids, or solo, join us for a look at some of our most beautiful campsites!
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Acadia National Park is based on Mount Desert Island, and provides visitors with three fantastic campsites. Blackwoods is placed within comfortable range of Bar Harbor, the island’s center). Meanwhile, Seawall is the site of choice for visitors craving a more authentically-rustic camping experience.
Last but not least, Acadia National Park’s Schoodic Woods is close to the peninsula, offering all the picturesque views you’d expect.
Green Mountain National Forest (Vermont)
The mere mention of Vermont is enough to get plenty of hearts racing, and its Green Mountain National Forest is truly breathtaking.
There are multiple different campsites throughout, but you’ll have to go without your mod cons: there’s no electricity to charge your phones and tablets. Each of these is developed though, and you’re surrounded by plenty of impressive views.
During the day, you can take part in hiking, canoeing, and other activities. You may need to book a space, depending on the campsite you have in mind, so do inquire to avoid disappointment.
White Mountain National Forest (New Hampshire)
New Hampshire’s home to a wealth of unforgettable sights, and you’ll find many of them in its White Mountain National Forest. Visit in the fall to see some astounding colors and enjoy crisp, clear air.
There are around 800 different campsites spread across 24 drive-in zones, but some of the strongest are in the northern part. If you’re looking to stay in one of the more modern, developed sites, you’ll have to make a reservation.
Fancy going a little more old-school? Tent camping outside of specific campsites is permitted, but there are some absolute no-camping spots, so be careful not to pitch-up in a forbidden zone.
Pine Grove Furnace State Park (Pennsylvania)
Pine Grove Furnace State Park has a range of 70 campsites, for tents and trailers, but it’s recommended to book ahead of time (you can do this almost a full year in advance, to guarantee a spot). You can even take advantage of electricity and water for a more luxurious experience.
What can you do during the day? Well, the legendary Appalachian Trail runs throughout the park’s forest, but only the most dedicated and hardy manage to walk the full 2,000 mile-plus hike. So, don’t feel too downhearted if you only do a mile or two instead!
No hiking overnight is allowed, though, so limit your walking-time to daylight hours only.
So, that’s it! We hope we’ve given you some useful inspiration and ideas for your next camping trip. There’s lots to enjoy in our most beautiful parks, and roughing it in the great outdoors is an unforgettable experience for year-round vacations.
Buying a tent for your first camping trip might seem simple, but once you actually step foot into a store or browse online catalogs, you’ll see just how hard it can be.
Why? There are many, many different tents available on today’s market.
As with buying any new product, you want to be sure you’re investing in the best model for your needs, which is easier said than done.
Depending on the specific camping trip you plan to take, various factors will affect your purchasing decisions. Are you going alone, as a couple, or with your family? Are you staying in a hot location or a national park prone to drizzle?
Don’t let yourself be too daunted by the sheer variety on offer. Read our buying guide to get the answers you need …
Size: How Big Does your Tent Need to Be Anyway?
Generally, you’ll see tents sized by their berths, or the number of people it can comfortably accommodate.
Without doubt, this is one of the most crucial factors. Choose a tent designed for two bodies for a five-man camping trip, and you’re likely to face problems. Likewise, a family-sized tent might leave a solo holidaymaker feeling a tad small.
Typically, two adults will be perfectly comfortable with a four-berth tent, while families of three or more people will need to go for at least double this. 10-man tents are available at the bigger end of the spectrum, but remember that the larger it is, the longer it takes to build.
Design: A-Frame or Pop-Ups?
There are numerous different types of tent, and we haven’t the space to explore them all here. Instead, we’ll look at the two most common.
A-frame tents are the traditional design. These are pretty easy to put together when you’ve had a little practice, with poles running along the center and meeting at either end with your fabric laid across them.
Pop-up tents are much easier to put together, as the poles are already inside the fabric. Once you set them up, the tent will just pop-up by itself, saving plenty of time. This can be a big help if you get caught in heavy rain or you want to get in out of the cold in a hurry.
Layers: Single or Double?
Not every tent has two layers of fabric protecting you from the elements. Some basic designs come with just one sheet, which is fine for a warm night in dry weather.
However, for lower temperatures in rainy seasons, you’ll want two layers to keep you as warm and safe as possible. Check how much space sits between the two layers: if you can fit your fist in there, you’ll be fine. With both layers touching, you’re less likely to escape the dreaded leak in wet weather.
Whichever tent you choose, be sure to practice setting it up at least two times before you take it out into the world. You don’t want to arrive at your camping site with no idea how it works or that it’s way too small.
Be sure to keep your valuables in a waterproof backpack during the night, just in case a leak should occur. With a good-quality tent, it’s unlikely, but not impossible.
Ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations. Someone may be able to help you find the ideal tent to ensure your camping trip stays as warm, dry, and safe as possible.
Camping is one of the most traditional types of family holiday, offering you the chance to spend time together in the great outdoors without many of today’s distractions.
Here in the USA, we’re blessed with a beautiful country filled with countless fantastic camping spots, perfect to satisfy experienced trippers and first-timers alike. However, choosing a site that suits your own preferences may well be totally different to finding one that works for your whole family.
If you want to create a holiday that you all remember for the right reasons, take a look at our ideas for planning a family camping trip …
Schedule a Short Trip
For your first family camping trip, it’s best not to trek halfway across the country for three weeks at a time.
Why? Well, if your kids discover they just can’t stand sleeping outdoors or living without the modern conveniences they love, you’ll all be stranded in a tough situation for a long time.
Start with a short trip, perhaps just a few days, without going too far from your home. As you and your family get more familiar with camping, you can then look farther afield.
Pay Attention to the Facilities
You don’t want to take teenagers at their most self-conscious on a camping trip without any showers or mirrors. Likewise, you don’t want to take young kids to a luxurious site with a wealth of facilities they’ll never use.
Look at the range of toilets, bathrooms, and local amenities. Does it offer a choice of food, drink, and supplies if needed?
You may like the thought of getting away from it all, but being within range of a convenience store or small town isn’t a bad idea for your first family camping trip.
Take Plenty of Entertainment
Make sure you take board games, books, magazines, and other entertainment options to pass those rainy afternoons or cozy nights. While sitting together and talking is a key part of the bonding experience on camping breaks, you’ll all need a little distracting now and then.
Travel versions of board games are ideal for playing inside a tent, while full-sized boards are a must if you have a bigger tent or an RV. Take games you all love and know how to play.
It’s also a great time to experiment with new games, such as challenging card classics (poker, for example).
You might also want to take some sports equipment, like baseballs and bats, or soccer balls. It’s better to take too much gear with you rather than not enough.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Hate planning your trips? Simply loading up the car and heading off into the great outdoors is a nice experience for seasoned campers, but for first-time families?
Planning is key.
Look into the local attractions, hiking trails, facilities, and more. Write loose itineraries for each day, so you create some direction without chaining yourself to a strict schedule.
You can always change your plans according to shifts in weather conditions or your family’s mood. Planning just avoids having days where you don’t know what to do with yourself and end up wasting precious hours.
Taking the right camping gear is vital, wherever you go. Make sure you all have waterproof coats, waterproof backpacks, first-aid kits, and more. You might also want to take bikes, to explore your camping site and its surroundings on wheels.
Most importantly, remember to have fun!
America is one of the most stunningly diverse countries on Earth, filled with immense natural beauty and countless awe-inspiring landmarks.
Our national parks are some of the world’s greatest, providing endless sights to enjoy, landscapes to wander, and activities to enjoy. Every year, millions of people – Americans and tourists from farther afield – visit our parks, to see the best we have to offer. In fact, 2016 is the National Park Service’s Centennial, and we have a lot to thank them for!
Still, while we all know Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, why not look to the less-obvious options across our country? There are plenty more underrated national parks to explore.
Next time you’re looking for the perfect spot for a little hiking, cycling, or family-time in the great outdoors, consider one of these five underrated sites …
North Cascades National Park (Washington)
North Cascades National Park is a truly incredible spot to visit, with the various areas inside it retaining the names they were given so many years ago.
You will discover Nooksack, Shuksan, Sahale, Skagit, and more, as as well as timeless pictographs left on Lake Chelan’s surrounding cliffs by the Chelan tribe.
This was established as a national park in 1968, and is a popular spot for mountaineers and hikers. Mount Triumph and Eldorado Peak are two of the most common destinations for dedicated climbers, and Mount Shuksan has the park’s second-tallest peak – at a staggering 9,127 feet!
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Colorado)
Based in the San Luis Valley, this was established as a park and preserve in 2004, though it had been known as Great Sand Dunes National Monument since 1932.
This is an unforgettable site to explore, featuring some of the highest sand dunes to be found in all of North America, measuring as tall as 750 feet. There’s plenty to see, with pine forests, six mountains topping 13,000 feet, and numerous wetlands (home to many different flora and fauna).
Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)
Isle Royale National Park was established in 1940, but was classed as a national wilderness area in 1976 before being registered as an international biosphere reserve just four years later. This hugely-expansive site actually reaches to Canada’s Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, at the border between nations.
For anyone looking to camp at a new site, there are 36 campgrounds available, with some fairly remote (accessible by private boats). Meanwhile, the Greenstone Ridge Trail is a popular hiking option, with 40 miles of path leading right across the island.
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (Alaska)
Looking to truly get away from it all? This national park is one of the country’s most remote, with hot springs, lava flows, and other stunning features to enjoy.
This was established in 1978, and lacks the easy access offered by many other national parks. How do you get in? Bush planes, boats, snowmobiles, and even dog sleds are generally used depending on the time of year you visit.
Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
Established in 1929, Grand Teton National Park racks up millions of visits every year (in 2015 alone, it welcomed almost 3.5m guests).
One of the park’s most remarkable features? It retains an ecosystem best-described as close to pristine, home to much of the same flora and fauna which has been there since prehistory. It’s favored by hikers (unsurprising, given its 200 miles’ worth of trails) and mountaineers.
There are over a thousand campsites for people looking to immerse themselves in one of America’s most picturesque environments overnight.
No matter which of these underrated national parks you visit first, you should put plenty of time into researching the opportunities and facilities available. As always, taking the proper supplies and equipment will help you get the most out of your experience, and ensure you remain safe.
Every year, millions of Americans go camping.
For individuals, couples, and families looking to relax in our country’s most beautiful spots, camping just can’t be beaten. First and foremost, it’s a cheap break, without the expense of hotels or flights to foreign lands.
Of course, camping also puts you on nature’s doorstep – the perfect reason to explore your surroundings and embrace the American spirit of adventure.
Still, despite camping’s ongoing popularity, many people find themselves reluctant to try it for various reasons. Perhaps it’s the fear of being disconnected from today’s 24/7 online society. Perhaps it’s the sense of isolation they expect, or a feeling of vulnerability away from the city.
Well, in this post, we’re looking at four camping myths – and debunking them.
Myth #1: Camping Is All About Tents
Think camping has to involve tents, sleeping bags, and dozing under the stars?
Well, this is absolutely irresistible to plenty of campers, but others prefer to stay in an RV instead. The beauty of this is that you get all the perks of the camping experience without the more ‘hardcore’ aspects.
You can enjoy a comfortable bed, running water, lighting, and plenty of space to relax. You can lock your RV up and go explore, taking in the sights and enjoying all the usual activities, without missing out on the home-comforts you’re accustomed to in the evenings.
If you ARE staying in a tent, keep your essentials (phone, wallet etc.) in a waterproof backpack. Even if rain seeps through your canvas or you spill water over it, your delicates will remain safe.
Myth #2: Bears WILL Attack You
Even those of us living in regions without a history of bear sightings may well avoid the woods for fear of being mauled. They also give camping novices plenty to sweat over – but is this trepidation justified?
Statistically, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a bear while camping. If you’re visiting a dedicated camping site or national park, their staff will be able to provide information on safety and preparation.
If you’re still worried, just be sure to avoid leaving food in your tent, take care when cooking foods with strong scents, and never leave waste close to your campsite.
Myth #3: Poison Ivy is a Contagious Risk to Others
Poison ivy’s frightening enough to have even the most seasoned campers watching their step while out walking, but do you need to worry if a friend or relative gets a rash?
No! Poison ivy isn’t actually contagious.
The rash is created by the oil contained on the ivy’s leaves and stems, and if this stays on the person’s skin, that may rub off onto someone else. This is unlikely, though, and easy to avoid with the proper care.
Just be sure to change your skin and stay clean.
Myth #4: You’ll Get Dirty
Without doubt, the fear of feeling filthy and smelly is enough to put novices off of camping for life. However, many of the best campsites offer showers with hot water and even baths (for a more luxurious experience).
Of course, if you’re staying in an RV, you may have your own shower. Alternatively, you can wash yourself down in the sink!
We all know hygiene’s important to avoid infections etc., but showering after a long hike or spot of kayaking helps to soothe your aching muscles. You’ll also be able to feel more relaxed if you’re not self-conscious about your body odor or stinky clothes.
Feeling tempted to try camping? We hope so. It’s a great American tradition, and the perfect way to get close to nature in an affordable, fun way. For your first camping trip, perhaps try to take an experienced camper along with you, for your own peace of mind.