You've decided it's time to take an outdoor camping trip but are looking to narrow down your options. Many people don't realize that "outdoor camping" means many different things to different people. It's important to identify your own definition of outdoor camping. Are you still looking for the basic comforts of home, such as a toilet, hot shower and maybe even a bed, while still being in a beautiful outdoor location? Do you like the idea of being in a place with many other people or do you prefer quiet solitude and isolation? Do you have a good deal of camping gear at your disposal or is your equipment supply sparse? Whichever description fits you, there is a perfect outdoor camping situation available to you.
Many state and private campgrounds offer rustic cabins for rent. These provide more of the comforts of home, with beds and usually a bathroom. Some have a kitchenette or full kitchen and often a grill and picnic table outside. They may be one large room or have one or more separate bedrooms. There are usually a handful of cabins situated together in the campground.
While yurts are becoming more common, the term is still unfamiliar to many. A yurt is a circular structure with a wooden platform floor, and a durable, waterproof, non-rigid outer covering. There is typically a large circular skylight at the center of the domed roof. There are bunks or regular beds inside, but no bathroom. These are situated in campgrounds with access to public restrooms and often hot showers. They have picnic tables and grills situated right outside. Yurts are a great alternative for people who don't have their own trailers or tents, and want a simpler outdoor camping experience.
These are pulled by a car or truck, and a wide range exists. The simplest are pop-up trailers that fold down compactly to be towed behind the car, then literally "pop-up" to include a large bed on both sides, with a small walkway in the middle. More elaborate trailers or "fifth wheels" come with kitchens, bathrooms, and sometimes a separate bedroom. These can be setup in any campground that allows trailers. If your trailer requires electrical hookups, be sure to check that the campground you have in mind provides these services.
Boat/Canoe Camping: For those desiring more solitude, consider camping by boat. Many lakes and rivers have established campsites available to campers arriving by watercraft. Some require reservations and others work on a first come, first served basis. The advantage of this type of outdoor camping is that you can still bring in many items of convenience, such as coolers and air mattresses, but you avoid many of the crowds. Often you are the only ones on an entire island or shoreline.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of outdoor camping ideas, but it should get you started as you begin planning for your next outdoor camping adventure.