It’s no secret that going camping is a popular vacation option for people of all ages. In fact, camping vacations with the family are one of the most popular choices for American families: families together spent about 534.9 million days out camping in 2011. In 2010, about 40 million people altogether went on a total of 515 million camping trips. In the 2014 American Camper Report, studies show that in 2013, 40.1 million Americans (that’s 14% of entire United States population, over the age of six.
And camping is still growing in popularity. Back in the spring of 2008, about 29 million people in the United States reported that they had gone hiking or backpacking within the last 12 months. Six years later, in the spring of 2014, that number was up to about 38 million.
Camping is popular for a ton of great reasons. If your family is in desperate need of a family vacation, check out these five reasons to grab the kids and head out for a family camping trip you’ll all enjoy.
- Camping is crazy affordable. Family campgrounds are much more affordable than hotel rooms or suites for the whole family. And once you get there, you won’t be emptying your wallet at restaurants and shops; instead, you’ll be enjoying nature and cooking your own simple meals! Some people travel fairly far for their camping trips — camping participants reported traveling an average of 187.6 miles for their trips. But even if your family campgrounds are a ways away, a car trip is likely to be cheaper than purchasing airplane tickets for each family member.
- Teach your kids self reliance. Many people think the youngest generations have been over-coddled and too taken care of for their own good. Use the diversity of natural resources around family campgrounds to teach your children to fish for themselves, build a tent to shelter them from the elements, or put together simple, easy meals (and if they’re old enough, build a fire to cook those meals over). The more self-reliance they learn, the more confident they’ll feel overall.
- Get your kids out in the real world. Depending on where you live, your kids may have limited exposure to real nature. Have they ever seen super tall trees, flowing streams, waterfalls, mountains? Give your kids the gift of the real world, away from landscaped yards and modern convenience.
- Disconnect and reconnect. It seems like everyone is glued to a screen these days. But great family campgrounds can be way more fun than a TV or a phone. Switch off the devices and disconnect from the modern world for a while. You can use all the time you’ll save to reconnect with your family; indulge in long conversations, elaborate games, and meandering hikes and swims together. Teach your kids healthy habits and get them to move around instead of sitting at a screen.
- Instill a love of camping in your children now, before they get too old! 85% of current camping participants reported that they took their first camping trip before they turned 15. After the age of 15, the chances of children being introduced to camping were pretty slip. Camping is a great, healthy hobby, and it encourages other healthy outdoor activities. 57% of current camping participants reported engaging in regular outdoor activities when they were children, compared to just 25% of non-campers. 12% of adult campers report that they first went camping with their immediate family members, and 87% of all campers say they participate in more than one outdoor activity.
Once your kids fall in love with camping, they’ll carry that love with them forever. 99% of current camping participants said that they were “likely” or “very likely” to go camping in the next year, according to the American Camping Report in 2014. And in a given year, an overwhelming majority of those surveyed reported that they’re planning not just one or two, but an average of nearly five camping trips. Two thirds of those repeat campers are planning three (or more!) trips.
Are you convinced? Go camping today!