Why You Should Take the Family Camping This Summer!

With the kids out of school and the weather warming up, summer is the perfect time to get away with the family. The challenging part is deciding what kind of vacation will satisfy everyone – while staying within budget. A road trip? Amusement park? Go international? Before you pull out the passports, there’s another vacation you just might want to consider: Summer camp.

Now, you may be thinking: “Summer camp? But that’s for kids!” But it’s time to rethink what you know about summer camp.

Today’s campgrounds cater to every type of camper, with a range of accommodations to make even the most resolute non-camper comfortable. Combine that with an immersion in nature and a surprising array of amenities, and we think you’ll agree it’s time the whole family went to summer camp. Here’s why:

1.) Being in nature is good for your health

Many have long felt a sense of well-being when out in nature, and research has shown that there is a positive physical response to doing so. Several recent studies have shown that having access to nature reduces stress and enhances a feeling of well-being.

Another study found that people who experience a feeling of awe for the natural beauty of their surroundings have lower levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an inflammatory biomarker which can result in a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders and depression.

2.) Skipping the hotel makes it unique

Today’s camping experience doesn’t have to mean pitching a tent in the middle of nowhere or in a state park where the nearest bathroom is a half-mile hike away. There are campground accommodations to suit every type of camper – from those who enjoy “roughing it” in a tent, to those who bring their RV-home-on-wheels, to those who prefer cabins with electricity, full bathrooms and all the comforts of home.

For those seeking a true “glamping” experience, try a stay in a tiny house vacation rental that is sure to please the whole family – all the comforts of home in a miniature package that is sure to delight every child (and the little kid in every adult). A few to try:

Leavenworth Tiny House Village is located about two hours south of Seattle in the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth, WA. While you’ll feel a world away, you don’t need a passport to be transported to small town Bavaria in your tiny house while you enjoy access to 300 acres of beautiful forests and meadows. The five tiny houses, each with their own unique Bavarian theme and decor, are “glamping” style vacation rentals, with all kinds of amenities to enjoy at the campground. Get to know Hanna, Belle, Otto, Adeline and Rudolf starting at $129/night.

Tuxbury Tiny House Village is located about an hour north of Boston just outside the picturesque town of Amesbury, MA. The village offers vacationers a unique respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life while experiencing a one-of-a-kind vacation. The tiny houses at the village are full of character and personality and range from 180 to 275 square feet. Relax along the tranquil shores of Tuxbury Pond, lounge by the pool, or enjoy a variety of popular local attractions, including apple orchards, farms, and eclectic restaurants. Choose from Emerson, Henry, Clara, Riley and Murphy, each starting at $129/night.

3.) It’s a great excuse to leave the devices behind

While more campgrounds are modernizing with the installation of amenities such as Wi-Fi, you can still find plenty of destinations where cell service is less reliable. Before you consider that a shortcoming, think about the number of times a cell phone has interrupted a conversation between members of your family, and how nice it would be to hit the pause button on such intrusions.

In fact, studies have shown that just having a cell phone out during a conversation has a negative impact on your sense of connection to the other person, feelings of closeness between you, and the quality of the conversation you experience.

Try vacationing out of reach of a cell tower, and you just might find a real connection and improved reception, with no phone at all.

4.) Be a kid again

In today’s world, adults are burdened and distracted with the responsibilities of being an adult. But even worse, kids seem to be busy trying to be adults. A camp vacation encourages the whole family to set “the real world” aside for a time and focus on having fun with each other. With an assortment of planned events and activities for the whole family, you can let go of the scheduling and planning that are the hallmark of a typical vacation and enjoy what’s happening right on site.

Activities like water balloon tosses, candy bar bingo and craft projects will make sure you never hear the dreaded words, “I’m bored.” And with so many other kids at the same campground, the forging of lasting friendships is an everyday occurrence for kids and parents alike.

One fantastic destination is O’Connell’s Yogi Bear Jellystone Park in Amboy, Illinois. A dizzying array of activity opportunities include three heated swimming pools, spas, kiddie pools, a beach for swimming, double-flume waterslide, paddle boat rentals, mini golf, four playgrounds, hiking trails, fishing, hayrides and a fully stocked indoor activity center with daily planned activities.

5.) Enjoy an immersive destination (without costumed characters)

The best part about summer camp as a kid was all the fantastic fun things to do. Everywhere you turned there was an activity being led or a game being played. Campgrounds offer the same appeal. Many offer your standard fare such as lake access, swimming pool, basketball courts and sand volleyball and activities like the ever-favorite tie-dye. Some of our favorites take it a step farther and transport you to another realm:

Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA offers guests the opportunity to camp on a historic working ranch, complete with horseback riding, lasso lessons and over 300 acres of scenic mountainside hiking trails to explore. Get as authentic as you wish, with a stay in a cabin, covered wagon or even a teepee. At Gettysburg Farm in Dover, PA, guests can camp on a working farm, enjoying hayrides, farm animal feedings, vegetable picking, and frequent visits from the adorable pygmy goats that freely roam the property.

6.) It’s easy to plan

For an easy, convenient way to plan your trip, visit CampUSA.com or download the CampUSA app. There you can quickly search more than 1,200 of the top campgrounds nationwide, including Kampgrounds of America, Encore RV Resorts, Thousand Trails locations and so many more.

The site and app offer the ability to search by map, by state or search for campsites nearby. Then filter your search to find the perfect spot for you when you sort by camping type (cabins and other rentals, RV or tent) and the amenities you’re looking for, like pet friendly, waterfront sites, swimming pool, Wi-Fi and more (even mini golf!) Once you have your prospects narrowed, the site provides detailed information about each campground and a super easy booking interface, including the option to enter your credit card information by scanning with your camera phone (on the app). It doesn’t get easier than that!

7.) Nature can grease the wheels of bonding

Some vacations can leave us more stressed and less rested than before we left. To truly rejuvenate the whole family, try immersing yourselves in nature. Several studies have reported the positive effects that viewing beautiful imagery of nature has on people’s emotions and behavior.

In one example, after watching a segment of the BBC documentary Planet Earth, participants in this study reported feeling 46% more awe and 31% more gratitude than those who watched neutral or comedic content. In another study, after spending just a minute looking up into a scenic expanse of eucalyptus trees, participants reported feeling less entitled and self-important than those who spent the time looking up at a tall building.

Imagine how much easier it would be to bond and connect with your family when each of you is experiencing a boost in gratitude and a dip in self-importance. If simply watching nature can have such a positive impact on our feelings, think of the impact that experiencing nature can have on the whole family.

Need yet another reason? How’s this: Camping just might be one of the least expensive – and most rewarding – vacations you’ll ever take.

See you by the campfire!