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.
Did you find yourself stuck for meal ideas on your last camping vacation?
Eating delicious, hot, nourishing food while in America’s backyard can be tricky. After all, you only have limited space in your car, backpack, and tents – can you really pack a hefty selection of gourmet dishes along with the other essentials?
Well, yes. Just because you’re away from the luxuries of everyday life, doesn’t mean you have to survive on junk food or forage for nuts out in the woods. Take a couple of saucepans (one small, one large), a frying pan, as many plates and bowls as you’ll need, as well as a stove and fuel (unless you plan to start your own fires).
With your gear set, here’s a range of ideas to help you eat well when away from home …
Potato cakes are pretty quick and simple to make, and they taste amazing. You can prepare these for any meal, though they probably work best on the side of fried veg for dinner.
All you need to do is boil your potatoes over your stove or campfire, and then mash them. Add a single egg, as well as any seasoning you have with you, and then introduce a little flour to the mix.
Combine it all together, and then shape the potatoes into plump, round shapes. You just need to fry them for a while, until they turn a satisfying golden-brown color, and then serve.
Burning food on a stove or campfire is pretty easy to do, so don’t be too disturbed if you end up with a couple of cakes resembling coal.
Cheesy Nachos and Veg
This may sound like something of a cop-out, but it’s actually a fairly complete meal (thanks mainly to the presence of your preferred vegetables).
Start by cutting your veggies – this may be mushrooms, peppers, chili, jalapeno, onion, courgette, carrots, or anything else you like. Fry these in a pan, and add some salsa. Mix it all up.
If you’ve a casserole dish to hand, put your nachos inside and mix the saucy veggies in with it. Mix it up. Sprinkle some cheese on top, place the lid, and then put hot coals on the top so it heats from the top down, melting the cheese nicely.
No casserole dish? Use a cast iron skillet, or wrap the nachos with sauce up in foil to heat over your fire.
Healthy, Hearty Pasta
Pasta works beautifully on camping vacations. You can cook it in batches, keep it in airtight containers, and dip into it over a few days.
For a delicious lunch or dinner, boil your pasta over your stove or campfire, and then add plenty of chopped vegetables. Tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, asparagus, corn, and anything else you like will bring plenty of flavor and create a healthy dish.
Mix in a can of chopped tomatoes or condensed soup (with a little water or milk). Let it heat for a while, so the veg cooks thoroughly, and then top with some cheese or herbs.
Safety is paramount when cooking on a campsite. Certain spots will have their own facilities, but if you’re looking to go back to basics, cooking at your own space is pretty authentic.
Don’t make fires near the woods or your tent. Don’t leave children unsupervised around the fire. Ensure all knives and sharp utensils are kept out of sight from young kids.
As long as you stay safe, there’s no reason cooking can’t be fun, creative, and help to make your camping trip even better. Make sure you have all the equipment and essentials you need before heading out.
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!