Camping At Home: Outdoor Fun Without Leaving Your Yard

camping tent chair backyard

Being in the great outdoors doesn’t necessarily mean leaving home. Here are ways to enjoy a camping experience literally in your own backyard.


Not everyone wants to pack up the car and drive out to a campsite. Camping is fun and a great time to bond with friends and family. But, sometimes it isn’t practical to get away every year. Maybe only one half of the family is up for a full-on camping experience. The good news is there is a middle ground.

Creating a fun family camping experience closer to home, and indeed at home, is a viable option. All you need is a little bit of creativity, and sometimes a new set of perspectives, too. Here’s what we mean.

Your property is still a part of nature

First off, this point about getting away to the great outdoors is all well and good. But, remember; even your outdoor living space is a part of nature. Sometimes, sleeping under the stars is all you need to commune with it, regardless of where on earth you are.

So, take your tents, your sleeping bags, your acoustic guitars, your sheet music to “kumbaya”, and take it all outdoors. Especially when it gets really hot outside, sleeping in the summertime can be a challenge. At very least, your backyard camping “trip” can help you with that. Also, it gives you a new perspective on how to use your space in the way that you want it, not as everyone expects you to use it.

Test run camping

Not everyone is cut out for camping away from the comforts of home. Camping in the backyard can be a way for those not immediately excited about that to adjust. Have the kids pack flashlights, pajamas, spare clothes, books, and games to take outside to your “site”. Then make it into a game: nobody can go back inside the house for any reason (other than the obvious …).

Think of it as a trial run for those new to the camping experience. This is particularly useful to test your own propensity for “glamping“, which is a soft-core version of roughing it in the bush, as it were. See how long you can tough it out before the time when you really do head off into the woods!

Make it an event

It might seem whimsical and even a little silly to camp in your backyard. But, you probably did this as a kid, right? There’s no rule to say you can’t do it now that you’re all grown up. Throw yourself into the spirit of the summer season. Make it into a real event.

You don’t need this to be exactly like camping. Make camping in the backyard it’s own fun experience rather than just camping-lite. String up party lights and lanterns. Put candles in jars for ethereal fairy lights. Drag the patio furniture over to your tent to make a sitting area. Be comfortable in the moment.

backyard camping at night

Cook outside together

One of the fun parts of camping is cooking and eating food outside. You can get a small grill for pretty cheaply at your local retail store. Buy hot dogs, corn on the cob, trail mix, baked beans–anything you and your family associate with camping.

If you’re feeling really adventurous, put those hot dogs on skewers and roast them over the fire. Of course, these days it’s particularly important to adhere to fire regulations during very dry conditions. But otherwise, eating food outdoors just tastes better, even if your kitchen is only a few yards away.

Unplug yourselves and connect instead

Here’s a toughie! Forget your phones and other electronic communications devices for a while. This relates to the glamping point earlier, and pretending to be away from home when you’re really not. What would happen if you were in a campsite with no wifi, no outlets, or bad phone reception? What would you do?

See if you can find out while camping out overnight in your own backyard. Tell stories and/ or read them. Play word games. Play instruments. Talk. Sing! Do all of the stuff you used to do before electronic devices came along. Facebook will still be there in the morning.

Enjoy nature

A change in habit and lend a change in perspective too. This applies to your outdoor living space the same as anywhere. After the sun goes down, make sure all the lights in the house are off so you can stargaze. Check to see if any celestial events are happening. Admire your garden at night. See how things look out there during a time when you’re not usually in your backyard. That change in perspective can be valuable.

Camping at home is a great way to spend quality time together as a family. It doesn’t eat into your family’s busy schedule nearly as much as taking a trip would. Plus, you can create unique memories and traditions together while camping in your outdoor living space.

Bonus: you still get to use indoor plumbing if you need it!


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