How To Plan The Perfect Backyard Camping Adventure

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Travel no further than your backyard to spend time with the family this summer.

Whether you are looking for romantic camping ideas or you are looking for backyard camping ideas for the whole family I’ve got you covered.

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A family camp-out in your backyard will create a memorable experience for everyone especially your kids during these times of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

In Tennessee, we enjoy about five months of sunshine per year.

Once the weather warms up we practically live outside from having dinner by the pool, chasing waterfalls, exploring the dozen or so waterparks in Tennessee, playing with oversized games in the backyard, listening to music, and even watching tv.

Given the amount of time we spend outdoors, I decided it was time for our backyard to look and feel like an outdoor living space where we can travel and camp without leaving the comfort of our home. 

Unfortunately, you can easily spend a ton of money renovating your backyard and purchasing items to turn your backyard into the ultimate campground.

Overspending is not necessary to come up with backyard camping ideas and creating the ultimate backyard camping date night.

My backyard is my home away from home and it serves as a place of peace and calms for my family.

It’s a way for us to reconnect with nature and a way to spend a little time outside during this quarantine.

For this reason, you might consider improving your outdoor space –  what better time for a makeover than this spring because we are not allowed to leave our homes and still in the middle of a quarantine.

Backyard Camping Ideas for the kids

Clean Up Your Backyard 

First things first, before you get started with your backyard makeover you need to clean up any unnecessary junk from the kid’s toys to old umbrellas and dead branches. 

If you want your kids to truly have a backyard camping experience it will need to feel like they are really camping.  

Trim your trees, get rid of dead bushes, pull up weeds, and get rid of old old lawn furniture that needs to be replaced. 

Also, check for damage to your walkways or any other maintenance issues that need to be repaired.   

Open Outdoor Living Area

My favorite idea for a backyard makeover is creating an outdoor living area that is perfect for backyard camping or having a date night right at home.

Imagine, instead of spending hundreds of dollars going out for dinner, you can create a luxury dining experience right in your own backyard.

You will need a patio or small deck, modern outdoor furniture, a table and a rug. I also suggest purchasing a fireplace as well.  A fireplace just exudes romance for any date night. 

Make sure the outdoor furniture is durable and can withstand the weather which will make your backyard escape the perfect home away from home.

Mosquito Proof Your Backyard

Next, on my to-do list is to mosquito-proof my backyard.

Before you have that backyard date night or send the kiddos into your newly remolded backyard to go camping you need to make sure you will not be eaten alive by mosquitoes.

I hate mosquitoes and we all know how easily backyard fun can be disrupted by mosquitoes biting at your legs, arms and just swarming around you. 

Nothing can ruin your backyard camping ideas more than these pesky bloodsuckers. 

  • Eliminate standing water around your home
  • Strategically place scented herbs and oils around your backyard
  • Scatter coffee grounds
  • Grow mosquito-repellent plants
  • Install insect-repelling lights around your yard
  • Hire a professional to spray your yard with a mosquito treatment
  • Hang Spartan Mosquito Eradicator

Backyard Camping Ideas

Now that you have cleaned up your outdoor living space sleeping under the stars in your very own backyard oasis just got a little bit easier. 

Use my backyard camping guide to get the kiddos excited about camping in your backyard!

It doesn’t matter if this is your first time exploring backyard camping ideas with your family or you are well versed in camping activities camping can be extremely fun for your family.

Plan your backyard-getaway —complete with my favorite s’mores recipe—with these helpful hints.

1. Pitch a Tent

You can go two ways here: Grab your best-camping tent from the garage and pop it open, or get crafty and create a teepee for the kids.

  • If you already have a tent:  Set your tent up outside on a smooth, flat surface that your kiddos will call home for the next few nights.
  • After you set up your tent, have the kids make the insides all cozy by lining the tent floor with blankets and comforters, and if that isn’t enough just whip the old air mattress for an extra cushion.   
  • Make your own tent: You can easily make your own tent by tying a clothesline between two trees and simply hanging a large tarp or blanket over top.
  • I also suggest laying down a waterproof tarp underneath y’all from getting wet from the morning dew and then add your blankets, comforters, and pillows.
  • The fun part: Make the night magical by setting up lights around the outside of the tent or hanging string lights around the tent so they will illuminate. 
  • I also love the glow-in-the-dark sphere balls to give it a little bit of a luxury feel. 
  • The lights will help kids feel more comfortable camping in the backyard in the dark. 
  • Communication: Also make sure you have walkie-talkies so they have a way to contact you or communicate just in case they get a little scared during the night. 

2. Build a Backyard Firepit

My daughter is a foodie at heart and one of the best things about camping is eating around the fire!

Do you have a firepit? If not grab one from Home Depot or Lowes around $100.00 or less. 

If you have a fire pit you can cook hot dogs, make smores or even throw some fish and veggies in foil packets and make one of my favorite Jamaican meals – “Fish in a Foil.”

3. Make S’mores with the Family

Next-level the regular s’mores trio of ingredients—graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate square—with these exciting combinations.

We’ll have one of each! Try these campfire dessert treats for a change of pace.

Check out some of my favorite camp-friendly recipes here.

4. Scavenger Hunt With the Kids

For a fun camping activity, take the kids on a backyard scavenger hunt. Each child should also have a backpack or a plastic bag to collect items in.

And parents, this isn’t a solo mission. Accompany your children, talk to them about what they find, and celebrate their wins with them. We can’t think of a better way to bond.

5. Drink Hot Chocolate

When you’re camping, nothing is more satisfying on a cold evening than a campfire and a mug of hot cocoa.

Hot chocolate recipe for kids

  • 1 cup unsweetened Hershey’s Cocoa 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups powdered milk 
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Small marshmallows

Hot chocolate recipe for adults

  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips 
  • 2/3 cup dry red wine (merlot, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6. Play a Backyard Game

The kiddos can have so much outside and give you that needed break after being locked in the house for weeks because of the coronavirus. 

Here are some of our favorite activities to keep the kids entertained all night.

  • Old school Games: Classic old school games like Simon Says, Tag and Name That Tune, and even Jinga are fun for all ages.
  • Hide and Seek: One of the kids hides a small trinket in the backyard, then, when the sunsets, everybody goes on a hunt to find the hidden item. It’s like having a scavenger hunt in your own backyard. 
  • Jumbo Games like connect 4 

7. Backyard picnic

A picnic right in your own backyard is a great way to have to spend a little quality time with your boo and not break the bank.

It’s really not about the food but more about the experience.  Most picnics aren’t complete, even in the backyard, without a blanket and picnic basket.

If your backyard is uneven find a few medium-sized, flat rocks to use as coasters to prevent wine glasses and food from tipping over.

You can also spruce up your romantic backyard picnic by putting flowers from right out of your garden and place them around the picnic area. 

You don’t need to go spending a ton of money because this is about showing your husband you are thinking about them. 

The thoughtfulness of you taking the time to put this together will go a long way in showing your partner you are putting their needs first.  

8. Movie night

Dinner and an outdoor movie is the perfect way to put your electronics away and reconnect with your spouse. 

Turn your ordinary backyard into an extraordinary oasis by setting up a movie projector, grabbing a bottle of wine, and a bag of popcorn.

If you don’t have a projector no worries all you will need is a sheet, rope, a projector, and a few throw pillows. 

Hang the sheet by tying a rope between two trees. Throw your white sheet over the line and voila you have your own makeshift backyard theater.

Your outdoor movie screen is ready and now all you need is a good movie! All that is left to do is grab your pillows, blankets, and snacks.

9. Create Craft Cocktails

Craft cocktails are a must for any date night whether you are camping in your backyard or at a 5-star restaurant. Create an adult beverage that can help beat the heat while relaxing in the backyard.

Try one of my signature sangria recipes or frozen boozy popsicles under the stars.  

10. Hang String Lights 

Simple string lights add a magical touch to backyard camping. Hang strands of lights from four poles—mapping out your campsite—or hang them inside your backyard tent.

11. Make Campfire Popcorn

Your backyard camping is not complete without making popcorn the old-fashioned way.

12. Catch Fireflies

My daughter loves fireflies so grab a Mason jar and some DIY catchers. But remember: Once the light show is over, it’s time for the fireflies to return to the wild.

13. Campfire Stories

If you are thinking about backyard camping ideas gathering around a fire for a good scary story is the best thing going?

Grab a few flashlights and have everyone put the flashlight up to their faces and each kid will take turns telling scary stories.

14. Search for Stars

Buy a telescope, spread out a blanket, pillows, and take turns stargazing.  Print out pictures of constellations or simply allow the kids to use their imaginations.

15. Pool Bed

Purchase an inflatable pool and set it up so y’all can stargaze. It’s great to have a cool dip in before dinner or create a fun experience for bath time.

No Running In and Out of The House

I am an old school parent so I believe once they are outside for the night – they need to stay outside and there will not be any running back and forth out of the house every few minutes. 

The kids should know they are only allowed back in the house in case of an emergency or bathroom breaks. 

Camping can be fun whether it’s your first time camping and this is a way to reconnect with your kids.

Datenight Backyard Ideas For Adults

Updating your backyard is not just about the kids having space to hang out but also a place where you and your partner can spend quality time together without social media or electronics and just talk. 

The best way to do that is to send the kids to bed and create a romantic space for just you and the hubby. 

I am a big proponent of women understanding they still need to date their husbands after the kiddos come along and a romantic dinner in your backyard is just what the doctor ordered.

Conclusion of Backyard Camping Ideas & Romantic Datenight

If you are looking for something fun and creative to do for your family or even a backyard date night for you and the hubby these tips should have you all set on making your backyard more beautiful and make it camp-ready.

A solid budget and some imagination are all you will need to create the perfect backyard campground. 

If you want to get really fancy or you have extra cash on hand how about adding a simple outdoor kitchen, or a built-in barbecue grill.

Lastly, don’t forget to add those mosquito-repelling flowers to your garden to protect everyone from being eaten alive.  

Ready to plan your trip, grab my FREE  Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!

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Hopefully, my backyard camping ideas and romantic camping ideas provided you with a list of ways to connect this summer with your family. 

Have you ever had a backyard camping date night or allowed your kids to camp in the backyard? 

I would love to hear your thoughts on backyard camping so leave me a comment on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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