Have you ever taken your family camping? Wait, don’t stop reading … even if you think that sounds dreadful! There is much to gain by a weekend away in the great outdoors.

Memories are a beautiful thing. I have a sweet string of camping memories from my childhood that co-mingle with similar ones from the last two decades with my own family.

Walking on long winding trails, running through fields playing hide and go seek, catching falling leaves, giggling through story telling and game playing, singing songs around an open fire, late night spotlight tag, sleeping bag snuggling … I think you get the picture.

Taking the time to get out into God’s creation together is an amazing way to draw closer to Him and each other. Our kids still talk about our Sunday mornings together when their dad would read the Bible out loud and they would act out whatever he was reading. Amazing how those Bible stories are seared into their memory banks!

Camping can be an amazingly splendid way of bonding your family together. Especially if you have the longstanding rule we did. Camping means no electronic devices. Period. A cell phone can be there for emergencies – that’s it.

My husband had never been camping, so at first he thought I was nuts when I suggested it, but because I felt so strongly about it he agreed. I was not near as surprised as he was when after our first camping trip he was hooked! We recognized very quickly that this intentional focused time together bonded our family and built amazing relational equity. So much so, that we made a commitment to go once a month for several years.

And here’s the thing … even if camping is not your thing there are so many options. Tent camping and a fire pit, a well-appointed camper at a lovely camp site, an adorable cabin in the woods with a cute little kitchen or a great big lodge … with a restaurant!

The state park systems around the country have some amazing amenities just waiting for your family to enjoy. We have camped in at least seven states and we have never been disappointed by what we experienced.

I know it is a lot of work to pack up the family, plan out the meals and get yourself there, but it really, really is worth all the effort – relationship building is important and memories matter.

What is your favorite family memory made in the great outdoors?

The photo above was taken this past summer at Pine Cove a Christian Family camp Tracey and her family have gone to each summer for over a decade!  Tracey’s husband has taken their children to Father/Daughter and Father/Son since they were six years old!