Connect with Nature. America’s 62 (as of 2019) national parks are majestic canvases where rugged meets serene. Rich in scenery, wildlife, science and history, camping within the parks brings us closer to the wonders of our planet. Even if you are not a nature enthusiast and the idea of roughing it sends your pulse soaring, there is something for everyone with camping in a natural habitat.
Be it by cabin, tent, RV or wilderness site, getting cozy with nature will connect you to the world at your own comfort level. Invigorate the senses up close and personal with forests, mountains, canyons, lakes, deserts, valleys and meadows. Step outside and enrich a new friendship…with Earth.
“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own.” – Charles Dickens
Unplug. Camping is a great opportunity to leave the technology at home. Get away from over-stimulatory environments. Dip into regions where cell coverage is absent or minimal and there are fewer outlets to plug in your electronics. Overdoing technology can lead to anxiety and added stress, so why not ditch the screens and opt for nature’s landscape instead? At least for a few days to recharge your internal battery.
Grab a 360-degree panorama that not even the best television can capture when you wake at dawn to a tranquil sunrise. Refresh the senses: pine-scented forests, whispering winds, crunch of pebble under boot and laugher around a smoky campfire. Obviously, bringing a phone for photography or emergency contact is always an option and encouraged especially in remote areas. Be advised, Wi-Fi is highly limited in national parks.
Foster Life skills. Camping nurtures self-esteem and independence for all ages. Preparation before the trip, along with cooking, cleaning, engineering, problem-solving, creativity, cooperation and teamwork come with the territory of camping. Foster life skills in your children. Teach yourself how to get by on less resources by getting creative with what you have on hand. Delegate chores and responsibilities to even the youngest in your group. In most cases, you will be sleeping in closer quarters which lends itself to support and collaboration.
Create Memories. Capture snapshots on your camera while also creating cherished moments with your family. Not every camping experience is an A+, but even if a thunderstorm soaks your campsite, you get lost on a trail, or your gear is ransacked by a bear, you will have memories to laugh over for years to come. And the more you get out there camping, the more second-nature your experiences will become as you move from novice to pro.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir
Invigorate Your Health. Rejuvenate your mind. The physiological and psychological benefits are numerous: get downtime, reduce stress, improve blood pressure, boost oxygen consumption, and elevate your vitamin D, endorphins and serotonin levels. Hiking and getting outdoors works your body, encourages creativity, and contributes to overall health. Studies on the mental health benefits are astounding. Get outdoors. Nurture happiness and creativity.
Keep Active. Certainly, camping comes with lazing around a fire, stretching in a portable hammock or folding chair, and sleeping earlier (or later) than normal. It also brings on wandering, exploring, climbing, rowing/paddling, biking, sightseeing and every level of adventure in nature. From short nature walks to miles of backcountry, the sky’s the limit with keeping active while camping.
Partake in Delicious Camp Food. With a bit of strategic meal-planning beforehand, you can eat tasty, healthy meals while camping. Go beyond s’mores and recreate homemade meals over a fire or camp stove. Be mindful of what you bring container-wise, and limit waste as much as possible. Do not forget the dish soap and extra water.
After a day of trailblazing or adventuring, a meal around the fire will excite the taste buds. Coffee-lovers do not despair…there are many easy options for your morning cup of joe. All in all, there is something extra special about a meal made while in the woods. Bringing your own food is suggested, especially if camping, but some parks have grocery or convenience stores as well as restaurants.
Save Money. Camping in a park is a really budget-friendly option. Campers pay the usual entrance fee and there is usually a camping/reservation fee. Even combined, and with bringing in your own food (though some parks have grocery stores and restaurants), the savings are significant over other lodging options.