10 Things That Can Make for a Great Camping Trip, or Make it All Go South in a Hurry

We all love to go camping, but we've all also had not-so-great experiences. Make sure you remember these 10 things to make your next camping trip great.

Location, Location, Location

You've heard it in real estate and business, it's all about the location. The same applies to camping. Make sure to pick a good location that offers several amenities for your next trip. Most states have excellent state parks that offer the perfect location for family camping. You can check them out at America's Parks website.

By Keith Parker (Flickr: Alaska 2010) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


When planning your next outing, the most important thing to consider aside from location is weather. Make sure that you watch the forecasts ahead of time to avoid sleeping in a soaked tent. Also, make sure that you visit the right locations in the right season, you probably don't want to camp in the mountains in January.


Weather can be eliminated from the equation if you have the right accommodations. We have enjoyed many cold dreary weekends that would have been miserable in a tent by staying dry and warm in our camper. Don't have a camper? Rent one, there are several rental services throughout the country that will rent anything from large motor homes to camper vans.

By Alex Demyan courtesy of Louisiana State Parks (http://www.crt.state.la.us/Parks/intoledo.aspx) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Dark Skies

One of the best parts of going camping, is enjoying the night sky. I remember sitting out by the campfire with my parents looking up at the constellations. It's a tradition that can be passed on today as many parks offer telescope programs. My son loved looking at Saturn and Jupiter on a recent trip this summer. So, get out of the city away from the bright lights and do some star gazing for a great camping trip.

http://www.ForestWander.com [CC BY-SA 3.0 us (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons


What would camping be without the warm glow of a campfire to tell stories around? But even where wood fires are banned, you can enjoy sitting around the campfire with gas fire pits.


Speaking of campfires, what would sitting around a campfire be without roasting s'mores? Everyone loves the tradition of melting chocolate between graham crackers with roasted marshmallows. If you don't have a campfire you can always use a small single burner stove. Whatever you do, don't forget the chocolate on your next trip.

By Adam & Tess (Flickr:making s'mores on the campfire) [CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/


While getting away from the rat race and just relaxing can make for a good trip, you don't want to just sit at your site staring blankly at the scenery. Whether you choose a site with great fishing, hiking, or wildlife viewing, having something to do is a must. Especially if you are taking the kids. Even just taking along your cornhole boards or a deck of cards can greatly improve your next camping trip.

Adult Beverages

Okay, so this may not apply to all, but for me, there's not much better than sitting around the campsite with your buddies drinking some brews and seeing who can tell the best lie. Just make sure you know the rules where you are going, some campgrounds don't allow alcohol and others restrict glass bottles. You definitely don't want to pack that great new micro-brew and find out you can't enjoy it once you get there.


Good music makes everything better. Of course, the best thing is if someone in your group can play a musical instrument and entertain the group. However, there are a wide range of bluetooth speakers for your mobile devices if you and your friends lack musical talent. Just make sure you are respectful of your neighbors and pay attention to quiet hours.

By Rick Harris (Flickr:Fire Friends Fender) [CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]

Family and Friends

Regardless of the rest of the things I have mentioned, you can't have a great camping trip without someone to share it with. The absolute best part of any trip is making memories with those you love.

There's still plenty of time for some great fall camping. So, get your gear together, gather up your friends and family and head out to enjoy a weekend of the great outdoors!