8 ideas for having fun in nature when you hate to camp

There are two types of people in this world. Those who love to camp and those who hate to camp. Growing up, we went camping a lot. Some of my fondest memories are visiting to Yosemite as a kid and enjoying all the National Park had to offer.

I love the smells, the campfire, being away from the every day and getting out and exploring wherever we are camping. I love waking up in the early morning, making some coffee, and having breakfast in nature.

However, I have some friends that simply cringe at the thought. Sleeping in a tent is the last thing they want to do, and they would rather be anywhere else in the world that to spend a night out in the woods.

So this post is for them. What can you do to enjoy nature without having to camp? Here are eight ideas for those that hate camping but still want to get out and enjoy nature.

1. Take a day trip

Plan a day trip and do all the things you would do if you were camping. . .  except you go home at night instead of that dreaded tent. See what is going on at your local state and national parks. There is so much to do, and you don’t have to stay the night to enjoy what the park has to offer.

2. Go on a nature walk

There could be trails right by your own home and it doesn’t have to be intense or too strenuous. Have the kids collect leaves and other items they find when you are out and about. Even a 30-minute stroll can remind you of the beauty of nature.

3. Stay in a local hotel

There are many places in the United States where you could book a hotel by a campsite. This means you can enjoy everything the park has to offer and then go back to your hotel room when you are ready for bed. Eat your meals at the local restaurants– don’t even think about a camp stove. It’s even better if the hotel has a pool or hot tub you can soak in after your day in nature.

4. Stay in a furnished cabin

Not all cabins are alike. Some are pretty rustic and don’t even have bathrooms. That isn’t what you want. Look into renting a furnished cabin with amenities. This is a good option if your family loves the great outdoors and your idea of fun is sitting in a comfy chair reading a good book.

5. Rent a boat

Find a local lake and rent a boat for the day. Make sure everyone has a life jacket and fish, swim, or just enjoy lake life. If you have a friend with a boat that is willing to take you out, so much the better!

6. Take a hike

Hiking isn’t for everyone but getting out there and going on one can make for the perfect day. You will get your workout in, see some amazing sights, and feel like you have enjoyed yourself in nature. Then come home and sleep in your own bed.

7. Have a backyard camp-out

If your family loves to camp and you simply don’t, have a backyard camp-out. You can be there for dinner and smores, but then when bedtime comes, go back inside and let your family climb into that tent for the night.

8. Make your backyard a nature preserve

Start a garden, put in a pond, or pull some weeds to make your yard a relaxing space. You can spend most of your summer there without having to pitch any tent. And when the bugs get too annoying, come back inside and do something else.

By Julie Provost

Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at