Camping with family has many life changing mental and physical benefits for family members of all ages. And, more families than ever are experiencing these benefits. According to The North American Camping Report, the total number of camping households in the U.S. is now estimated at more than 77 million households, having grown by more than 6 million since 2014. And those households are camping more than ever before.
It appears that more families are discovering that camping provides the perfect opportunity to break away from normal routines. And by doing so they are experiencing many healthy life changing benefits. Below are some insightful findings from the NACR that show many benefits of camping among different groups of campers.
So, how is camping with family good for you? It can promote good health, lower stress and anxiety, build strong relationships and increase self-esteem.
It seems like camping can do a lot for a family and we agree. So we have organized our 12 Life-Changing Benefits of Camping with Family into 4 main categories.
- Lower Stress and Anxiety
- Relationship Building
- Developing Self Esteem
So, read on to learn about the life-changing benefits of camping with family. Some benefits may even surprise you!
1. Increased Physical Activity
In today’s world, many of us lead a sedentary lifestyle. We sit at work or school, we sit down to do homework, we sit down to eat dinner and then we sit down to watch TV or play video games. Physical activity has actually become a planned activity to force us to get out of the sitting position!
But recreational activities associated with camping provide the perfect opportunity for increased physical activity. The four most popular activities while on a camping trip are hiking, biking, fishing, and canoeing or kayaking. Plus camping requires us to move around more in general. For example, we have to set up the tent, set up a canopy, gather firewood, or organize the campsite. The point is that almost every activity while camping requires us to move.
2. Deeper Sleep
Increased physical activity leads to a night of deeper and more refreshing sleep. And deeper more refreshing sleep pattern makes our mind sharper. And, this health benefit is true for people of all ages, not just the kids.
3. Fresh Air
There is nothing really healthy about breathing fresh air. The real benefit is that we are not breathing stale air full of pollution from car and school bus fumes. So, when we go camping we remove ourselves from the environment where we breathe unhealthy air and we go to areas that have fresh air. And you can really feel the increased energy and mood lift from breathing fresh air!
We all know that the natural light from sunshine provides vitamin D. But how is Vitamin D a health benefit? According to Web MD
“Your body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions. Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other maladies.”
So going camping and getting some sun, rather than constant exposure to artificial light, can be a huge health benefit to family members of all ages too!
Lower Stress and Anxiety
5. Time Away From Technology
Unplugging from technology leads to less stress and anxiety. If parents avoid checking work email in the evening and kids stay off of social media it will remove much of the stress and anxiety many people feel every day.
In a study by the University of Maryland, researchers discovered that when students unplugged from technology, they reported an improved quality of life. And researchers from Kansas State University found when adults unplug after work they can experience a big difference in their quality of life, health, and happiness.
In fact, according to the NACR, 96 percent of teens say they notice and appreciate that the adults in their lives are more relaxed while camping. So unplug and relax! It can make a huge difference to your kids.
6. Increased Focus
In our modern society, we have so many distractions it seems impossible to stay focused on any one thing. We no longer go about our normal daily routine without multitasking. For example, we don’t just get up and get ready for school or work. We check emails, check social media, watch TV or listen to the radio for traffic and weather, listen to music and many other unrelated activities all at the same time. Just typing the sentence made me feel overwhelmed!
So, if all of this multitasking creates stress and anxiety, and stress and anxiety reduce our ability to concentrate, then no wonder we suffer from a lack of focus.
But camping is a great way to escape from all of life’s distractions. And so we find ourselves able to experience an increased level of focus. And this increased level of focus leads us to truly being present and living in the moment which can lead to forming better relationships with one another.
7. Family Bonding
People need to feel like they belong and spending time with family strengthens that feeling of belonging. Families who enjoy bonding through group activities will develop strong relationships and handle stressful situations with ease. But more than that, a strong family bond helps kids to develop healthy behaviors and better self-esteem. And it helps parents to feel more grounded and committed to their family relationships too.
8. Creating Memories
Another reason for having family time is to make memories. Memories are the things we share with friends, relatives and each other. When we share our memories with others we also learn to connect with others.
All too often creating a memory is all about posting a picture on Instagram or Facebook. But family memories while camping aren’t merely snapshots in time, they are memories that can be cherished for a lifetime.
9. Finding Common Interests
Family camping provides a great way for family members of all ages to find common interests. It’s a chance to find activities that the whole family can enjoy together or that certain members of the family can share together. And these common interests can build life-changing relationships that last a lifetime. For example, my uncle and I both love to camp and fish. From the time I was 5 years old until now, almost 50 years later, we still go fishing together every spring and fall. This common interest we share helped us form a strong lifelong relationship.
10. Learning New Skills
Camping requires a skill set that is not needed in normal everyday life. So, it naturally affords the opportunity to learn new skills like how to build a fire, how to cook over a campfire, how to tell stories or jokes around the campfire, how to pitch a tent, how to fish, how to catch butterflies, and tons of other skills.
Learning a new skill builds self-esteem in two ways. First, the person learning the new skill experiences a feeling of accomplishment. They feel a sense of pride for a job well done or the satisfaction of not just learning something but doing something new!
And second, the person who teaches the skill also benefits from increased self-esteem. They feel the pride of seeing their son or daughter acquire a new skill and the joy of sharing their knowledge and experience.
11. Connecting With Nature
Camping is a great way for families to connect with nature. When we go camping we have the opportunity to hike up to a scenic overlook, or quietly sneak through the brush and bird watch, or look up and see the stars at night. But somehow this connection with nature actually increases our self-esteem. According to research published by Science World Report, seeing more green space by connecting with nature helps us to realize that it doesn’t matter what our bodies look like. What matters is what our bodies can do, and this change in attitude about our bodies helps us feel good about ourselves.
12. Environmental Conservation
We have all heard the phrase “leave it better than you found it” and never more than when camping. That was what my dad taught my brothers and me when we went camping and I have passed it along to my daughters, as well. To this day I take great pride in making sure to leave the campsite better than I found it. It makes me feel good about myself. And when I find trash others have left behind my attitude is more about fulfilling my obligation to make the world a better place than blaming others for their shortcomings. It reduces stress and makes me feel good all at the same time.
1. Is it better to camp in a tent or an RV?
Either way is a great way to camp with your family. If you don’t camp very often then tent camping is certainly more economical. However, if you camp very often, a camper or RV is very convenient. I wrote a very detailed article about The Pros and Cons of Owning an RV where I deep dive onto RV ownership. The biggest benefit to owning an RV is you will go camping more often since RVng is so easy and convenient. And after reading the article above, I’m’ sure you will agree that camping more often is a good thing.
2. Would it be worth our time to join a campground membership?
It could be worth your time to join a campground membership if you go camping often enough. Susan of RVBlogger camped all during her childhood years and then took her daughters camping every summer while they were growing up. She took them to one of the Jellystone Parks on just about every weekend for years. In this case, a campground membership would have made a ton of sense. Check out our article on The 5 Best RV Campground Memberships where I review the top 5 that we use plus a couple of other options as well.
Do you have any comments or benefits of camping with family you would like to share? Please leave a comment below.
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