Backyard Camping

Looking for a way to escape to the great outdoors while staying close to home? Create your own backyard campsite, complete with all the essential gear, food and activities for a creative twist on a popular getaway. 

Need a little more convincing before you pitch a tent and build a fire? Backyard camping is a great idea for many reasons. Other than just allowing you to get some fresh air, camping in the backyard is also an ideal way to introduce your children to the outdoors while preparing them for camping in the woods. Plus, you have a bathroom closeby! 

Here are some great tips on creating the best backyard camping experience for your family.

Set the Scene

One of the most important things while camping is figuring out where you are going to sleep and making sure the ground is level. The easiest arrangement is to set up a tent with sleeping bags inside. A camping hack is to place a yoga mat under your sleeping bag for the best night’s rest (or at least the best you’ll get while sleeping outside in a tent!) If you don’t own a tent, no problem! Make your own by using PVC pipes, a rope and a tarp or sheet. 

Once you have a spot to sleep, decorate your area with fairy string lights or tiki torches to brighten the yard with a soft glow and supply plenty of light through the night. The last step to setting the scene is to build a fire. If you don’t already have a fire pit in your backyard, you can make a simple version of one in less than five minutes! Place aluminum foil in a terracotta pot and fill with charcoal briquettes to create a firepit that you can use for roasting marshmallows or warmth.

Fix some Food

Arguably the best part about camping is the campfire cooking. Bring out the grill or roast some hot dogs over the fire, load up on all the fixings, and you have an iconic camping dinner. Looking for something a little more nutritious? Pile veggies and your choice of protein into a foil packet and roast over the grill or fire for a delicious and healthy meal. And it wouldn’t be camping without s’mores! The classic graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate combination never gets boring. You can also switch things up by adding a peanut butter cup.

Plan to Play

Unplugging from indoor electronic devices allows some time for family bonding. Adventure is waiting for you outdoors, even if you are just in your backyard. Before the sun sets, go on a family scavenger hunt around your yard or neighborhood. Use our custom scavenger hunt list to get started! Lawn games are a great idea, too. Pull out a family favorite activity of cornhole, badminton, frisbee or even giant Jenga to keep everyone entertained. 

Once the sun begins to go down, grab a couple of jars and catch fireflies. Or snuggle up by the campfire and tell some stories — scary or funny! Lastly, if the night is clear, spread out a blanket on the grass and look for constellations while stargazing. Download apps like Star Walk or Sky View to track your favorite constellations as they move across the sky and find the exact position of celestial objects using the GPS coordinates of your backyard! 

Once everyone can barely keep their eyes open, head to the tent and get the full camping experience. No sneaking inside! Then, after you’ve become a professional at backyard camping, plan a trip to a campground in the New River Gorge. We’ll see you soon!