Each year, millions of individuals venture out to set up camp in the backwoods of America. There is a comforting satisfaction when you create your own encampment by clearing your own campsite, setting up a tent, collecting and chopping firewood, and building the campfire. Sleeping under the stars and cooking over an open flame seems to give us that uplifting feeling of reconnecting with nature in the primitive wilderness. But, have you ever wondered how the unique American tradition of camping became a popular holiday vacation experience?
The First Organized Outdoor Camp Trip
While the various aspects of the practice of camping out have changed throughout the years, the love of the outdoors has always been the main attraction for sleeping outside. The first organized camp originated in 1861 and was known as the Gunnery Camp. It was founded by a couple who ran a school for boys and wanted a place to take the kids for outdoor activities.
The couple, whom were husband and wife, decided to take the boys on a hike to find a wilderness area to set up a “camp” to stay outside for two weeks. From then on, it became a yearly tradition for the boys at the school to spend a vacation sleeping, hiking and fishing outdoors. Soon after, in 1874, the first YWCA camp was created as a vacation project in Philadelphia at Asbury Park. It was named the Sea Rest and was intended to provide accommodations for women who wanted to camp out.
Maintained Campsites are Established
In the 1930s, the National Park Service developed recreation spots that were offered for lease to various groups. In today’s world, these areas are recognized as campsites and campgrounds. They are state maintained to be used by individuals, families and groups. Camping first became a recreational activity for Americans more than 100 years ago and still remains a favorite way to spend a holiday vacation in America.
During this time, the evolution of a family camping tent has made great strides toward comfort. While setting up camp in rugged, untamed wooded areas is certainly a test of your survival skills, campsites with basic conveniences can make your outdoor vacation a bit more like a home away from home and still offer all the excitement of living and sleeping outdoors.