Celebrate Great Outdoors Month By Camping

June is Great Outdoors Month. This event started as a weeklong celebration in 1998, and it has expanded to a monthlong celebration of all the nation’s outdoor parks, preserves and waterways. There are so many ways to enjoy the great outdoors, and one of the most fun activities is camping with your family.

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Planning a camping trip doesn’t have to be difficult. You can even camp in your backyard. It is still super fun, and everything you can possibly need, including flush toilets, is right indoors.


If you do plan to camp away from home, you can keep it simple. Here are a few steps to follow when planning a camping trip.


Step 1: Choose a location


There are many fabulous destinations to camp. You can choose national or state parks, search online for campsites near you or near another place you would like to visit or search county preserves. The Forest Preserve District of Will County has several locations where you can reserve a campground.


Step 2: Select a date


Pick the day or days that work best for you. If you are planning a trip with others, it is a good idea to have several options that may work for everyone. Some destinations that are very popular can fill up quickly. If you find your dream spot is already booked, set a reminder for January, when many campgrounds start taking reservations for the year. In the meantime, there are many places that will have available sites this summer.


Step 3: Make a packing list and check it twice


Write a list of everything you need. You can also search online for lists to help get you started. Don’t forget a first-aid kit, bug spray and any medications you may need. A great tip is to lay out everything and check it off the list before packing.


Not ready to purchase camping gear? The Forest Preserve District offers a No Gear, No Problem program through which you can rent tents, sleeping bags and lanterns.


Step 4: Meal planning


This is another aspect of camping that can be as simple as you want it to be. Some campgrounds are in the range of places where you can get a hot meal delivered. Don’t feel that is cheating; it is more important to enjoy the great outdoors than be a campfire cooking whiz.


For inspiration, watch the “Camping Cuisine” webinar from the Forest Preserve District to get some fun and delicious ideas. You can also pack plenty of foods that don’t require cooking at all. That way, if things don’t turn out, no one goes hungry. No matter what you eat, just remember to pick up after yourselves and leave no trace.


Step 5: Enjoy!


You could pack family games, a deck of cards, even iPads or gaming devices, although it can be fun to be electronics free while camping. Hiking, stargazing, storytelling around a fire and roasting marshmallows are just a few of the fun activities you can do on your camping trip. And never underestimate the joy of just relaxing, enjoying the view, feeling the cool night air, getting lost in the dancing fire and listening to the sounds of the night.


You can participate in the Great American Campout and join hundreds of other families across the United States who will spend Saturday, June 26, camping at campgrounds, in backyards or even in living rooms. Visit the website to sign up your family today.

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