Summer is the perfect time to get out into the great outdoors and to explore nature! Camping can be a fun and inexpensive vacation for the family.
The first step for camping is to find a spot to go. Here in United States, we are lucky to have an amazing National Park Service that focuses on conservation and preservation, education, and community engagement. The National Park Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service, enriches America’s national parks and programs through private support, safeguarding our heritage and inspiring generations of national park enthusiasts. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation is founded on a legacy that began more than a century ago when private citizens from all walks of life took action to establish and protect our national parks.
There are over 400 national parks across America – and they all belong to you. This is your land (thank you, Woody Guthrie). When you visit any of our National Parks you will be amazed by the beauty that has been preserved so that we are able to enjoy and explore. There is something for everyone in the National Parks; they have set up a specific program for families called Parks For Play, which focuses on educating and entertaining young explorers. My kids have really enjoyed the Junior Ranger Program at the many parks we have visited over the years. Kids can become a Junior Ranger by interviewing Park Rangers, completing games, and answering questions about the park and the National Park Service. At the end of their experience in the park they are sworn in as Junior Rangers and receive a special certificate and official Junior Ranger badge.
For more information or to find out how you can support the National Park Foundation, check out the National Parks website. There you will find tons of information to help you find the perfect location and when you log on you will immediately see a pop up with the parks that are near you! If you still need more reasons to visit, check out this link to 15 Reasons To Tent Camp in Our National Parks.
Once you have found the perfect spot to camp, you might enjoy a few tips for what to pack and cook while you are becoming one with nature. This article from BuzzFeed has 41 Awesome Tips to make your camping experience more comfortable and entertaining, these are some of my favorites:
#9 Roasting Crescent Rolls Over the Fire. We are always trying to figure out new things to roast over the fire since marshmallows alone get boring after awhile, wrapping the crescent roll around a stick and stuffing little treats (chocolate, marshmallows, hot dogs, whatever you can think of) into each roll will make for more interesting dinner snacks. Similar to this idea is #20 Making Campfire Cones – instead of the crescent roll, take a waffle ice cream cone and fill that with your favorite treats, candy, fruit, more marshmallows, etc. Then wrap in tinfoil and put it on the fire for a gooey, yummy dessert.
If you are hiking with your kids, I love #35 Create A Scavenger Hunt for the Kids (I am totally doing this for our Father’s Day Camping/Hiking trip this weekend!). Often when you head out for a hike, the adults are happy to get out into nature and explore, but a lot of times kids need something to focus on, after the first 20-30 minutes or so they need a distraction. This is a perfect game to keep their eyes peeled at the nature surrounding them. This is also a great idea if you are camped and they need an activity while you are getting dinner or the campsite ready.
Check out the full article for more tips on making a portable toilet, fire starting ideas, ways to make your bed cozier and more practical ideas for packing.
The summer is only a few months long, but it is a great time to get out and enjoy time with your family. If possible, find the time to explore our amazing National Parks. And remember: This land is your land, this land is my land…this land was made for you and me!