Backyard camping is an inexpensive and practical way to enjoy a night under the stars when you just can’t get to your favorite campground.
Look, I know all too well that everyday life sometimes gets in the way of spending quality time with the ones we love. And sometimes it just seems impossible to spend time away from home, even for one night.
Have you ever thought about using that little piece of land right behind your house as a makeshift campground? Maybe you have and just don’t know where to start.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. In this Ultimate Guide To Backyard Camping I am going to share a few ideas that you can easily put in place to have an amazing backyard camping experience that the whole family will enjoy.
Let’s jump in…
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What Is Backyard Camping?
Backyard camping is, just as the name implies, camping in the backyard. It is one of the best ways to get outside with your family for a night without the hassles of loading all your camping gear, packing food for the weekend, making reservations at the campground, and corralling the family into the car.
If this is starting to sound like your idea of a stress-free weekend, then you are going to love backyard camping.
The Benefits Of Backyard Camping
Other than the stress-free benefits, setting up camp in the backyard also gives you the opportunity to test any new camping gear you might have recently purchased. It’s much easier to test this new gear in a controlled environment rather than struggling when you’re miles away from anything.
In addition, backyard camping is a great way to save money. There are no campground fees, no gas money, and no running to the nearest store when you realize you forgot to pack marshmallows.
Choosing The Best Backyard Campsite
Turning your backyard into a makeshift campsite for the night can be easily done with a little bit of imagination and creativity.
There are, however, a few key things to consider when setting up for camping in the backyard. You will need to designate a place for cooking over a campfire, pitching the tents, and have enough room for having fun.
Nothing has to be fancy. The ultimate goal is to give your family a genuine camping experience.
Building A Campfire
No backyard camping trip is complete without building the perfect campfire. However, building a campfire directly on the ground may cause damage to your lawn.
If you have access to a firepit, you’re one step ahead. If not, you might consider using a propane firepit or building your own. If you’re looking for a simple DIY firepit, The Spruce has a great article on how to build one.
If DIY isn’t in your wheelhouse, a simple charcoal grill will do the trick.
Setting Up Tents
The place you choose to set up the tents for the night should be flat, smooth, and free from rocks and sticks. When setting up the tents, get the kids involved. Have them work together on getting their sleeping arrangements set up for the night.
If you don’t have a tent, get creative. Do you remember building blanket forts in your bedroom when you were a kid? You can do the same thing when backyard camping, only outside.
You can build a simple frame from sticks or PVC pipe and drape blankets over it for cover.
Our nieces and nephews would use anything at their disposal for building a makeshift shelter. They would use anything they could find laying around the yard or in the garage.
Another great idea is from Rachel Seis of tasteofhome.com. She suggests tying a rope between two tress and hanging a blanket or tarp over it to create a homemade shelter for the night.
Get creative, try new things. The most important thing is to have fun and make memories with your family.
Once you have your backyard camping shelter in place, it’s time to break out the sleeping bags. To make the floor of the tent more comfortable, try spreading out a few blankets of comforters first. Toss a few throw pillows in the tent for some extra padding.
If you or your family prefer not to sleep on the ground, you might opt for a cot or air mattress.
If you’re planning a romantic night with just you and your sweetheart, be sure to check out the 6 Best Double Sleeping Bags For Couples“>6 Best Sleeping Bags For Couples.
Backyard Camping Games
Who doesn’t like to have fun when they’re camping? Playing backyard camping games is a great way to spend quality time with the family.
When it comes to games for the family, the choices are limitless. Here are a few suggestions to keep the whole family entertained for the weekend.
- Washer Toss
- Ladder Golf
- Painting Rocks
- Have A Scavenger Hunt
Washer Toss is one of our favorite backyard games and it’s fun for everyone. The game is simple, but not as easy as it looks.
Start by placing the washer boxes 20 feet apart. OF course, the distance can be changed based on the players. The kiddos might need the boxes a little closer together.
Each player, or team, takes turns tossing their washers toward the target box in hopes of scoring points.
When a washer lands in the hole, the player or team gets 3 points, a washer inside the box is 1 point, and if the washer lands nowhere near the box, no points are awarded.
The goal of the game is to be the first person or team to reach 21 points.
Ladder golf is another classic family backyard game. Much like washer toss, players take turns throwing two balls tied together with a rope, or string, onto an opposing “ladder”.
These ladders are placed 15 feet apart but can be moved closer together or farther apart.
Points are scored by landing your “bola” (golf balls tied together), onto an opposing ladder rung.
At the end of each round the points are tallied. The top rung of the ladder scores 3points, middle rung scores 2 points, and the bottom rung scores 1 point.
The player or team to score 21 points wins the match.
Painting rocks is another great way to spend quality time with the family. While it might not be a classic backyard camping game, it’s a great way to let the kids, and parents, express their inner artist.
The concept is quite simple. Gather rocks of various shapes and sizes and sit down as a family to paint a favorite design or inspirational quote on each one.
When the rocks are finished, hide them throughout your community where other can find them. When others find the rocks, they will typically post them on social media for all to see. If you don’t want to share your creations, showcase them in your house.
I recently came across an article by Stacey of thesoccermomblog.com where she outlines everything needed for an insect scavenger hunt.
In the article she describes coming up with her very own “bug hunt” to “keep track of all the different insects we found around our property.” In her free printable bug scavenger hunt, she added insects that are common to most areas in the U.S.
Her reason for bugs? It helps children “become less afraid of them, learn which insects to avoid, and to grow an appreciation for beneficial insects”. For more info, you can check out the article here.
Setting The Scene
Have you ever watched the show Survivor? We have watched every single season of the show since it first aired years ago.
You can set the scene of your backyard camping trip to be much like the Tribal Council at the end of each episode.
Set up Tiki torches or lights for after dark.
Strings of lights draped across areas of the backyard will give your lawn a comfortable ambience when the sun goes down. Plus, they might help to keep the kids outside the whole night if it’s not pitch black.
Easy Campfire Snacks
One of our favorite things to do while we’re at the campground is sitting around the campfire. What’s even better is whipping up a few easy campfire snacks while you’re doing it.
Of course, you don’t need anything extravagant for your backyard camping trip. Think simple snacks like toasted marshmallows, hot dogs, and yes, S’mores.
Having an adventurous weekend camping trip doesn’t mean you have to travel far. Backyard camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors without some of the stress of packing up for a weekend trip at the campground. Plus, you always have a nice clean bathroom to use and a clean, hot shower in the morning.
What are your thoughts on backyard camping? Do you have anything to add to the list? If so, drop us a comment below and let us know.