Taking a camping trip can be a fun and affordable vacation if you enjoy the outdoors and nature. Camping offers your family the opportunity to explore the great outdoors and spend quality time together. There are no televisions, computers or other distractions to take away from family time.

State and national parks in the U.S. make camping easier with various facilities and maintained camp grounds. They have such services and amenities as garbage disposal, hot showers, guide maps, barbecue pits and first aid stations. Some have boat rentals, camper hookups and horseback riding. There are also things to keep the kids entertained and busy such as movie screenings, campfire sing-a-longs and other planned activities. Many have a convenience store which can come in handy if you forget something or need ice to fill up your cooler. Some also have cabins and hotels rooms for rent if you don’t want to rough it.

There are many state and national parks and there’s sure to be one in your home state within driving distance. Camping enthusiasts also fly or take long road trips to choice parks such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Yellowstone. Choosing your park is made easy with the use of the internet; most state parks have websites which have maps, amenities, fees and accommodations. Many also allow you to book campsites and check the weather report.

Once you’ve determined where you want to take your outdoor holiday it’s important to book a camping space. In the summer and during pubic work holidays parks can be booked months in advance so plan early. If you show up at the campground without a reservation you may be lucky but most times you’ll be turned away. If you want to avoid the crowds, visit parks during the week and go in the fall or spring when the weather is still nice but the kids are in school.

State parks charge entrance fees which go towards the upkeep of the park and its amenities and services. The charge is either per person or per vehicle and children under 16 years old are generally free. It is a nominal fee but if you’re planning on camping a lot, it may be cost effective to purchase a state park pass which usually pays for itself in just three or four visits. There are discounts available to seniors over the age of 62. National parks also offer an annual pass that provides access to all federal recreation sites that charge an entrance fee.

When determining where to set up camp, some prefer to be in a more secluded location. Keep in mind that the more secluded you are the farther away the amenities. Families usually don’t mind being in a more populated area so they are near the showers and restrooms and can socialize with fellow campers.

Camping is a fun way to enjoy the great outdoors and spend quality time with your friends and family. Make sure you plan ahead and book early especially during peak travel times.