There’s nothing like the great outdoors and camping is one way to take it all in. Camping brings a change of pace, fresh air, and the chance to wake up to a chorus of birdsong to name a few things. It’s the perfect remedy for the busy day-to-day work schedule, and the adventure element allows for families to spend time together. Trying it close to home, in your own backyard, is a good way to start.

Keep it Simple

• Keep an eye on the weather. A soggy tent and muddy ground will probably have you running inside the house.
• Pick a date when you or the kids don’t have school or events the next day.
• Don’t purchase too large a tent. A small one will be much quicker and easier to put up. Better yet, if it’s a clear night, skip the tent altogether and sleep out under the stars.
• Go off the radar. Tuck your cell phone and tablet away for the day for an instant stress reliever.
• Don’t forget the bug spray. Camping is fun, bug bites aren’t.

Make it a True Getaway

• As much as possible, pretend the house is not there. Don’t use electricity.
• Play some games. A scavenger hunt, board games, playing cards, trivia, or croquet are all great activities.
• Use charcoal or colored pencils to take nature rubbings in your yard or press flowers and leaves into a scrapbook.
• Explore your neighborhood. Set out with a compass or map to trek local trails.
• Plan a sensational dinner that can be cooked entirely on the barbecue.
• Do some bird watching, sing campfire songs and swap ghost stories. Bring a tape recorder so you can record the best songs and the scariest ghost stories for posterity.
• Make a campfire. Have kids collect wood and teach them how to light and manage a fire safely.
• Do some stargazing and pay no heed to a bedtime; everyone will eventually fall asleep to the sounds of nature.
• Light the barbecue again after it gets dark and enjoy a late night marshmallow roast.

Now go outside and set up camp . . . no travel required!