There seems to be a connotation that camping is not good enough to be considered vacation. How rarely do we ask someone what their next planned vacation is and ever get the response “camping!” I’d like to say that this mentality is in desperate need of change! If you haven’t yet booked some sort of destination vacation for your next trip, I suggest you think more of changing your mindset from camping as just plain ol’ ordinary camping and an option only suitable for a weekend getaway to a fantastic opportunity for the vacation of lifetime! In my opinion, camping is one of the best options available for vacationing! Here’s why:
If you want to start with the basics and compare the cost of parking an RV somewhere versus purchasing a hotel room (or two if you’ve got a big family), you’re already looking at massive savings. A general campground with included fire pits, grills, picnic tables, water, bathrooms, etc., generally runs just between $12 and $25 a night. And, if you’re camping somewhere like Montana where the wide open spaces on public land are free and numerous, your entire camp spot will be free! You’ll be able to purchase and pack your own food, versus eating out and won’t have to deal with the cost of prepared food or the necessity having to pay tips too. For approximately just $200, you should be able to cover all your food, gas and ice for an entire week for a family of 4. I dare you to try and make that happen in one day and night at Disneyland! (Although, if luxury is your thing, then you should definitley look into glamping: luxury camping complete with personal butlers!)
If you’re a responsible camper, then camping is one of the most environmentally friendly vacation options there is, especially if you stick close to home. Flying is the worst option in terms of carbon footprints when it comes to traveling. Driving a short distance to a camp spot is a fantastic alternative. Plus, you won’t be driving, taking buses, hopping on subways, or any other manner of travel for the entire vacation (which means you’ll probably actually have a much smaller footprint on vacation than even in normal life!). You’ll be able to eat organic and local whenever you want to without the necessity of falling back on the nearest McDonald’s after an exhausting day playing tourist. Plus, you can now find numerous options for green grilling that don’t cause any danger to the ozone.
Rather than sitting all day and driving around to take in sights or laying on the beach drinking cocktails and eating cheesecake, you’re going to be out running around! Hiking, biking, playing games of Frisbee and maybe even grabbing a run along the lake edge or the ocean beach, camping is one of the most active options for vacationing that there is. It’s especially wonderful for families with young kids who have energy in abundance to burn off! Plus, your food can be as healthy as you want. With all the grills and gadgets that exist for camping; cast irons, Dutch ovens (even ovens if you’re renting a camper!), you can eat extremely healthy. Pack lots of fresh fruit and veggies. Meats and cheeses and whole grain breads for cold cuts. Skip the traditional burgers and hotdogs and serve up grilled chicken and vegetable kabobs fresh from the barbecue.
Of course, bottom line, I think camping can easily be more fun than a touristy style vacation. It provides opportunity to run around and burn off steam, just as much as the opportunity to lay around and play card games and relax at the side of a rippling brook. Whether you’re reading a book in the hammock or pulling apart a gooey smore, there’s something about camping you can’t find anywhere else. It can allow you to build relationships and teamwork with your family that you’d likely miss in a go-go-go style vacay elsewhere. And, while tourist attractions are great, it’s really pretty tough to top the splendor of a mountain peak sunset at dusk.
Author Jocelyn Anne writes about eco-friendly lifestyles and is passionate about camping and preserving the environment. She is currently writing about using room heatersthat are green and safe for the atmosphere. Image by Laurel Fan