Every camper will tell you that there’s never a dull moment when you’re camping. Whether you’re visiting a campsite for the first time or reclaiming your beloved spot at the campground you visit every fall, camping is full of adventure.
We wanted to hear your stories, so we asked and you answered! Spark up the campfire, have a seat in your favorite camp chair, grab a beverage, and check out the coolest and craziest things real campers have seen while camping.
Close Encounters with Wildlife
Lions, tigers, and bears — oh, wait. There aren’t any lion or tiger encounters to share, but there are plenty about bears. It seems one of the most common wildlife animals to run into while camping is none other than a bear.
From thieving bears who steal food, backpacks, and clothing to a mama bear watching over her cubs, these close encounters are just a reminder that we aren’t always camping alone. Of course, practice smart bear safety when camping to keep you and the wildlife safe and unharmed.
“While backpacking in Sequoia [National Park], I came across a mama bear and four cubs. I was about 30-feet away from them but separated by a large log. I watched the cubs play like kittens chasing each other up and down the tree. I sat and watched them for about 30 minutes while mama bear made sure I did not come any closer. It was a real National Geographic moment.” -Bill W.
A bear isn’t the only animal campers have encountered while camping. From a large spider that erupted with baby spiders once squished to a potbellied pig on the run, a rabbit killing a snake to a mountain lion chasing a skunk, the stories of getting up and close to wildlife never seem to end.
“[We saw] a huge bull moose with everyone’s clothes and clothesline draped all over his massive antlers in the Tetons. (He was able to untangle himself.)” -Brenda M.
Witnessing Mother Nature at Her Best (and Worst)
While we all try to control as much of our camping trips as possible by planning and preparing, there are certain things that are simply out of our control entirely. The weather, for example. Mother Nature is notorious for being unpredictable. As a result, we’re never quite sure what side of her we’re going to experience at the campsite. Be a savvy camper and learn what you need for Protecting Your RV and Yourself During a Bad Storm or Hurricane.
“Back in 1982, there was a massive thunderstorm and a huge explosion, and the ground shook like a bomb went off. About 30-feet from our tent, lightning struck a very huge tree… it looked like a huge lit wooden matchstick on fire. It burned for two days and sizzled out.” -Sandra T.
Often, it’s about staying cool when the weather is hot but it’s in those moments — when we get a glimpse of Mother Nature’s power — that we remember not to take those sunny days for granted. It’s always wise to stalk the weather forecast before and during every camping trip in an effort to catch any of those surprise mood swings in temperature and temperament.
“Huge hail totaled our trailer, but we will never forget it! It looked like a winter night, lasted way too long, lightning too close. It is one of those memories we actually love ha ha ha!” -Tammara C.
Don’t let the crazy, horror stories keep you from the campsite though! Those are the exceptions and not the norm. There are plenty of lakeside camping destinations and mountain campgrounds that experience enough gorgeous weather to outweigh the occasional storm.
“It’s a simple thing, but we have enjoyed some beautiful sunsets on our travels. Somehow it never gets boring.” -Cheryl W.
Conversations and Interactions with Fellow Campers
There is something about being surrounded by fellow RV enthusiasts and campers at a campsite that encourages conversation. Whether you’re sharing ways to make your RV feel like home or ways to customize your RV’s interior or simply how to have a healthy trip wherever you go, conversations always seem easier and less forced at the campground.
“People willingly make conversations with fellow campers with none of the pretense we find in the mall, on the street, and in the workplaces. Overall welcoming and friendly interactions. Our children loved that and noticed a difference when we returned to everyday life.” -Sally R.
It’s that laidback, welcoming approach that makes the RV and camping lifestyle so enjoyable. You’ll find very few places that are more friendly than a campsite. Swapping random tips and recommendations such as Georgia’s top parks or dog-friendly destinations in the Midwest, there is always a topic to talk about and plenty of time to do it.
“[When] everyone around your campsite [is] having fun and [is] so happy.” -Shirley F.
Maybe more than the casual conversations, it’s the interactions that tend to stick with you the most. From good Samaritans to mischievous children, people-watching isn’t a sport but it’s an activity everyone enjoys participating in.
“[There was] a guy with a beeper on his truck when he was backing up, that took him 20-plus minutes to back in with his wife yelling at him the entire time. The whole campground was cracking up.” -Kraig S.
Don’t be that guy. Check out these tips for backing into your campsite and RV driving safety. If you consider yourself an experienced camper, don’t hesitate to offer your help to first-time RVers. Lending a helping hand is what makes the RV community a warm and welcoming place for everyone.
Camping with Children
Witnessing a family on a trip, with their kids in tow, at the campsite is one of the most wholesome sights to see. It’s reassuring to know that the love of camping is a generational thing that will continue to be passed down over and over again.
“The huge smiles on my children’s faces all bundled up in blankets, eating breakfast around a campfire on a crisp, cold morning… sweet memories.” -James D.
Children at a campsite ensure that the lifestyle never becomes stale, that the adventure never really stops, and that the beauty of nature never goes unappreciated. When it comes to kids and camping, the more really is the merrier.
“[Watching] my niece and nephew building their own campsite in our campsite, teepee made of sticks and branches, little firepit made with rocks, and [they] even hung a camping flag.” -Wanda R.
When kids are around, the laughs are endless and the memory-making abundant. Having them at the campground is no exception! These are the types of moments that leave impressions on everyone around and that keep campers coming back year after year.
“Many years ago, there were a couple of kids going site to site. They were dressed all in black [and] had glow sticks taped to their clothes in a stick-man pattern. They danced to the Macarena.” -Robin P.
Real Campers, Real Stories
Camping isn’t a hobby or an activity to pursue once or on a rare occasion– it’s a lifestyle. It’s cool. It’s crazy. And it’s worth every single minute. Real stories from real campers always prove it.
What are some of the coolest and craziest things you’ve seen while camping? Tell us in the comments below!