You might be on the fence about whether you want to join the millions of people worldwide in their favorite activity: camping. One of the most common questions that might be holding you back from a decision is, “Is camping fun?”
Well, not only is camping fun, but it provides endless health benefits for your mind, body, and soul!
Let’s look at some of the main reasons why camping is fun and how to experience it for yourself!
What Makes Camping So Fun?
You’ve probably asked someone the question, “Is camping fun?” at some point (or have been asked by someone else). It’s a bit of a tough question, isn’t it? Of course, the short answer is yes.
Still, you probably want to explain why you find it fun.
Here are a few of those reasons:
- On the one hand, there is the physical challenge: What a tremendous feeling it is to finally reach your campsite as the sun sets, after having trekked through challenging terrain, over rock outcroppings, or across rivers, for example.
- How about the thrill? Anyone who’s ever spent the day hiking along ridges or narrow mountainside trails knows how much they love the adrenaline rush from gawking down a steep rock face.
- Then, there’s the sentimental* side of it all. Many of the 40+ million American campers grew up going camping with family members that have since passed and use camping to recall memories of fishing and playing with a parent or grandparent.
Of course, sentimental value extends to the earth itself, too. Most people struggle from a figurative condition known as “nature-deficit disorder,” constantly surrounded by artificiality and manmade things.
Camping gives us a chance to get back in touch with the natural world, making us feel more connected to our environment and the wildlife neighbors.
In short, camping is enjoyable, not just because of the fun adventures you can have in the great outdoors, but because it is a natural part of who we are. As humans, we have gone to great lengths to separate ourselves from the rest of life on Earth.
Camping reminds us that we belong here, too, and helps to reinvigorate connections with ourselves, each other, and all living things.
Fun Things to Do While Camping
While you’re in camp, you don’t have the same level of access to technology that you might have back at home. (Of course, this depends on the campsite you’ve chosen.)
So, you might want to come up with some creative ways to entertain yourself and others after you’ve pitched your tent and built your fire.
Here are a few ideas of activities you can try out to keep the fun alive when you’re not hiking or snoozing!
Play Card Games
Card games are another favorite activity that outdoors enthusiasts engage in when spending time in camp. These are surprisingly durable items that don’t take up too much room or weight in your pack, so a deck of cards is perfect for entertainment on the trail.
Almost one-third (28%) of all campers report that they prefer to spend their nights playing either card or board games. The main reason is the versatility!
According to the International Playing-Card Society, there might be anywhere from 1,000-10,000 individual card games currently in existence. Plus, you can use them to perform tricks, too!
Below are a few reasons why you would (or wouldn’t) like using cards as your go-to entertainment in camp:
- Cards are easy to pack and carry
- There are thousands of card games to choose from, so you’ll never run out of fun
- You can use your cards for magic tricks, too
- Some folks simply don’t find cards entertaining (can’t win ’em all)
Start a Scavenger Hunt
One of the most incredible things about living outdoors for a few days is that you get to discover things you wouldn’t normally see in your daily life (or ever). This is why camping provides the perfect opportunity to explore the world.
Whether you’re camping with kids or adults, consider challenging everyone to a scavenger hunt. You can take an educational approach and write science-based riddles to spur participants to find specific plants and critters.
Or you could keep it simple and entertaining, challenging everyone to find a certain number of acorns or pine cones in a limited time.
Here are a few things to consider about making scavenger hunts your main camp activity:
- Kids and adults can learn about the natural world through fun facts and riddles
- It inspires everyone to explore the surrounding environment
- People of all ages can join in the fun
- Scavenger hunts might be hard to pull off in campsites with sensitive or challenging habitats and wildlife
Read Out Loud to Each Other
Camping is the perfect opportunity to get back to those books you’ve meant to read all year. In fact, 18% of people say this is one of their favorite nighttime camping activities, along with general storytelling (37%).
Most adults prefer to read to themselves when they pick up a book, but reading aloud creates a shared experience that gets everyone involved and engaged.
No matter how old you are or how slowly, quickly, or stammered you might be in your reading, reading is one of those quintessential activities that makes everyone feel welcome and important, regardless of background or age.
The pros and cons of reading out loud when camping are as follows:
- Helps improve memory
- Enhances ability to understand challenging concepts
- Strengthens emotional bonds between people
- You all have to agree on a story or a genre 😉
Benefits of Camping
Camping enthusiasts are not just a bunch of hippies trying to become “one with nature” (although many are, and I don’t blame them!). People find real joy when they can escape their busy lives and return to the natural world.
Plus, they – and you – can experience demonstrable change when you give yourself the freedom to spend a few nights in the wild.
Here are some examples of the mental, emotional, and physical benefits available to you through camping.
Mental and Emotional Benefits
Studies have shown that children who go camping develop self-confidence with much greater ease. This is because spending time in the wilderness with a community of peers, camp counselors, parents, or other supportive figures encourages them to connect more genuinely with the world.
Kids are not shielded by technological devices or encouraged to invest their attention in screens and consoles when they’re out camping. Instead, they’re inspired to explore, ask questions, and experience the world around them head-on and in new ways.
Through this inquisitive spirit brought on by the outdoors, they also have the opportunity to learn about themselves and truly discover who they are. Think about it; imagine that you had gone fishing for the day and needed to get a fire going for dinner.
You might not have been confident in your fire-making skills initially. Yet, I guarantee you’ll get a confidence boost once you’re sitting in front of those warm, crackling flames, munching on some fresh bass.
Aside from this, people of all ages can benefit from the genuine connections they can make when embarking on a camping trip. Recent studies have yielded a grim view of the average person’s life nowadays, with all the modern tech.
People spend up to 50 hours every week watching TV. When we’re not doing that, we’re obsessively scrolling through our phones, desperately searching for social connection through texts and social media.
The likes and comments can only do so much. On the other hand, sitting around a fire or in a tent surrounded by breathtaking wildlife with your loved ones can restore our ability to form relationships and communicate healthily.
Research has shown time and again just how advantageous camping is for our physical bodies. Sure, it may make you feel good and provide lovely memories to last a lifetime.
There are tangible benefits, too. Spending time in the outdoors for extended periods has been shown to reduce the likelihood of becoming obese or helping people lose weight to combat this medical condition.
This advantage applies to both kids and adults, in addition to the one that fewer people know about: resetting your circadian rhythm.
With all the distractions that we live with now, it’s hard for people to get real, quality sleep. Current estimates show that approximately 70 million people in the United States alone suffer from clinical sleeping disorders. Needless to say, the world is in real need of some shuteye!
In a recent study, scientists compared people’s sleep quality in their home versus out on a camping weekend. They discovered that when in nature, people went to bed about 1.8 hours earlier and produced melatonin (the body’s natural sleep hormone) 2.6 hours earlier than they did at home.
The shift resulted from their temporary escape from excessive screen time, which causes our bodies to release melatonin too late into the night, keeping us up until ungodly hours.
The study was relatively small, so the results aren’t too definitive yet. Still, this gives us incredible insight into camping’s benefits for our overall health.
Is camping fun? Millions of people agree that camping is one of the best, most entertaining, and fulfilling activities you could ever experience.
Plus, you can reap numerous physical, emotional, and mental benefits, too, all while creating beautiful memories with your loved ones in the great outdoors.
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