10 of the Best Things About Camping

Camping provides some of the best opportunities to take photos and show off all the cool things you’re doing. A gorgeous landscape, mouth-watering food, great friends and crazy adventures. This summer, capture and share your cookout or Great American Campout memories using the hashtag #campie (a selfie taken while camping out) on Instagram or Twitter.

Here’s a countdown of the 10 best things about camping that you can include in your #campie. What’s your favorite thing about camping?

Kicking up my feet. #campie
Kicking up my feet. #campie

10. Silliness

The weirdo in us all can be exposed during a campout. Whether you release your inner nature nerd or everyone learns you are scared of marshmallows, it is a great time to let go and be yourself. My friends, for example, told me that I have crazy eyes in all my #campies. Those have been (mostly) excluded from the post. Be silly, it’s fun.

Not creepy at all. #campie
I think I understand why my friends think I have #campie crazy eyes.

9. Food

I won’t lie, the grill intimidates me. That’s why I cook my chicken sausage over the fire. There are a few cookout favorites with easy instructions including chicken, portobello burgers, hamburgers and hot dogs. If you’ve mastered the basics, try some new grilling recipes and show your delicious food in your #campie.

Chicken sausage.
Chicken sausage. #campie

8. Smiles

It’s no secret that being outside makes you happier. My bet is that you’ll have a good time, resulting in smiles.

Trail smiles. #campie

7. Adventures

I’ve learned to embrace the adventures of camping. Hiking, biking, fishing, playing cards, building a sand castle or a fort. Activities like these provide rare opportunities to connect with not only nature, but the wonderful friends and family in your life. Let your #campie capture the experience.

The boat goes faster with more than one person rowing.
Canoeing is hard. Except for the person without a paddle. #campie

6. Lounging

Suggested places to lounge: blanket, bench, sand, chair, grass, log, hammock, towel, or any other comfortable surface.

What to do while lounging: talk, play games, tell stories, eat, watch the campfire, sleep, read, listen for birds, or enjoy doing nothing.

Sometimes you have to sacrifice your face for the group #campie.
Sometimes you have to sacrifice your face for the group #campie.

5. Campfire

Aside from the pressure of building a campfire successfully, this may be my favorite part about camping. It’s mesmerizing to watch the flames dance. There’s also a sense of accomplishment that comes with cooking food over a fire. Be aware that when you take firewood from home to a campsite, you risk carrying a tree killing insect or disease. You should be fine if it’s within a few miles.

Note: Neither of us actually built the fire.
Note: Neither of us actually built the fire. #campie

4. Gazing at the Sky

Camping is an excuse to get away from light pollution and marvel at the brilliance of the night sky. I hope to catch a rare glimpse of a shooting star, try to identify constellations. Perhaps my favorite game, however, is star surfing. Everyone participating stands still and has 15 seconds to look up and choose a star. Keep your eyes on that one star. When the timer says “begin,” all must spin as fast as possible while keeping your head up and eyes on your star. Spin for 30 seconds. When the timer says “surf,” everyone jumps into a surfing position, bringing their gaze back to normal. You should be very dizzy, and it will be hard to keep standing straight up.

Laying on the ground, under a tree, and gazing up at the sky during the day is also relaxing. You can watch clouds float by and birds fly overhead.

Let's ignore that I'm looking at the ground, my camera is looking at the sky. #campie
Let’s ignore that I’m looking at the ground & my camera is looking at the sky. #campie

3. S’mores

I have to say, I’m a s’more traditionalist. One regular marshmallow, two bricks of chocolate, and two graham crackers is all I need. S’mores with Peeps, peanut butter cups, peppermint patties or cookies sound tasty, but nothing beats the nostalgia of good old fashioned s’mores. Browse through some of these creative s’more recipes, and show off your own creations in a #campie.

These were made using gigantic, double size marshmallows. Incredible goo factor.
Double marshmallow with mixed reviews. Strong goo factor. #campie

2. Good Company

Campouts are defined by the friends and family you’re around. It’s an opportunity to bond with new and old friends, and spend quality time with family. You’ll leave with stronger connections and fond memories. Even if you go camping by yourself, you’ll get to know a certain individual much better. Show us who you’re camping out with in a #campie.

Good company.
Good times, great people. #campie

1. Nature

You don’t have to go far to discover the wonders of the natural world (the moth, not the car).

You don't have to go far to discover the wonders of the natural world.
Luna moth at a campsite in Shenandoah National Park. #campie

Pledge to Camp Out

The Great American Campout takes place in June, and it costs nothing to participate! As motivation to take the pledge, the National Wildlife Federation’s Board of Directors and other friends will donate $2 to NWF for every person that participates in this year’s Campout – up to $400,000.