FX Excursions

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Camping in the National Parks

by Susan Barnes

Oct 20, 2017

© Anton Sokolov | Dreamstime


Growing up, my family’s idea of camping was spending the night in a platform tent cabin in Yosemite National Park, sharing a communal bathroom with other campers. It seems we may have been in the minority, however; camping in the National Parks has long been a favorite family pastime. In 2016, more than 9.8 million people did just that, between tent camping, RV camping, backcountry camping and concessioner camping.* While we can’t say how many of those campers were families, suffice it to say camping in National Parks remains popular.

Camping tent in campground at national park with sunrise.

© Casanowe | Dreamstime

Most of our National Parks welcome campers at affordable prices in a variety of locations. Not only that, but when camping you can bring your own food and cook meals over a fire, saving on food costs as well. Not to mention all of the complimentary entertainment Mother Nature provides well into the night. Uninterrupted stargazing, anyone?

Ready to go? Terrific! The National Park Service website provides plenty of tips to ready you for your camping experience, even if you start in your own backyard to get used to the feel of sleeping outdoors. The How to Camp webpage is terrific for first-time outdoor overnighters.

When you choose the park you’ll visit, take a look online to see if camping reservations are needed, if indeed available. You certainly don’t want to travel to the park only to find out all of the campgrounds are filled, or even closed seasonally.

Family on a camping trip walking near a lake, back view

© Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime

According to the NPS website, most camping within the parks is what is called frontcountry camping, wherein you’ll drive up to a campground and set up your tent not far from your car.

Experienced hikers and campers may opt for backcountry camping to get further away from crowds and civilization. If you’re up for the challenge, backcountry camping can prove to be incredibly rewarding and memorable for every member of your family. Backcountry camping is not to be taken lightly, though — be sure to plan thoroughly, make sure you have the right gear and are physically and mentally prepared.

Still ready to go? Excellent! Go on, get out there — and camp!

*Report run


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