Get the best of both worlds by camping near a major city

March 24, 2015

Camping near a major city is a great way to avoid conflict when planning your summer vacation.

Choosing the best way to spend valuable vacation time can be an exercise in frustration and futility. Not only do you have to decide what you want to spend your hard earned free time doing, but you also have to make sure everyone going on the trip will be happy.

If someone you’re planning a trip with is not a seasoned camper, it can be difficult to convince them to spend vacation time camping. Novice campers might think they won’t enjoy leaving their home, even though veterans know that’s not even close. But when push comes to shove, sometimes a compromise is the best solution.

Camping near major cities is one of the best possible compromises for your city slicker friends. Camping in your area’s backyard allows for the experience of camping while still being near exciting attractions that appeal to everyone. And if we’re being honest with each other here, dinner in a nice restaurant is a great change of pace from cooking in camp.

Simply choosing an area that’s within driving distance of a major city while still feeling like the wilderness is one way to go about it. Take Cuyahoga Valley National Park for example. It offers incredible camping experiences and nature activities while also being a short drive away from downtown Cleveland and major attractions like the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Do a quick search online and you’ll find plenty of campsites located near any major city that you want to camp by. They’ll range from rustic campsites all the way up to cabin and lodge rentals with amenities like swimming pools and working bathrooms. In other words, you won’t have any trouble finding a place to convince even the most resistant camper to tag along.

If you’re still getting some resistance after pitching that idea (no tent pun intended), don’t worry — there are other options to still consider. A lot of major cities offer unique “camping” experiences within city limits. I put camping in quotes there because some of the experiences I’m about to mention may not fit your definition of intense, mosquito-y, wilderness survival bear-got-into-the-bear-bag camping:

For a West Coast trip, Campland On The Bay in San Diego, California, is definitely worth checking out. It offers all kinds of activities like concerts and volleyball. It’s also within spitting distance of SeaWorld San Diego, Legoland California and The San Diego Zoo.

Chicago is another great destination for camping within the urban forest. One of the coolest camping experiences in the Windy City takes place at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The zoo offers a program called Sleep Under the Skyscrapers which allows visitors to spend the night camping inside the zoo and experiencing special animal encounters and beautiful views of the city skyline.

If camping on an island near a major city sounds like a fun time to you, there are a lot of different destinations you might want to visit. The Great Lakes region of the country has plenty of small islands that make for a great trip. Northerly Island Park in Chicago and Put-in-Bay off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie are both great options.

For a trip on the East Coast, you can’t go wrong with Boston Harbor Islands State Park. There are four islands to choose from and they all offer campsites, ferry service, and incredible views of the Boston skyline.

Those are only a few options that are available to anyone wanting to go camping near a major city. Because camping doesn’t always have to be far away from the comforts of city life. You can plan a trip to appeal to a wide range of tastes and still have an amazing time with those you enjoy spending time with.

Camping near a major city may not be an idea that readily comes to mind, but it can offer a truly memorable trip that you’ll be talking about for years to come.

Need a place to stay when camping near a major city? No matter your destination, there’s a KOA nearby:

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