Summer is a great season. The days are long, the weather is beautiful and since the little ones are out of school, we have more time than ever to spend with them.

Minnesota summers are particularly special. During the winter months, we never really become used to hiding in our homes, shielding ourselves from the biting cold that seems to last for months. But once the weather warms up, and the ice and snow melt away, Minnesotans quickly come out of hibernation, making it the perfect time to get out and try something new our family and friends.

And there are few summertime activities that are better for the whole family than camping!

Gather Your Gear and Get Outside

If you’ve never packed up some supplies and slept under the stars, take some time this summer to give it a try. You and your family won’t regret it. All you really need is a tent, a good pair of shoes and a cooler full of nutritional food and plenty of water. That should keep you going for a few days.

There’s nothing quite like hiking during the day, then sitting down at night while cooking some brats and a marshmallow or two over an open fire. It’s a relaxing, often moving experience that allows us to reflect on our lives.

Most importantly, it’s a great way to become closer to our family. We really do learn more about each other when we pull away from the monotony of our daily schedules.

Unplug and Relax

This can be taken both literally and metaphorically. There is no better way to unplug from our busy lives than to spend a few nights away from them. Out in the wilderness, there are no household chores, workplace emergencies or day-to-day grinds. There is just you, your family and host of new places to explore.

There are also no smartphones, televisions or tablets, and that in-and-of-itself is a fortunate experience. We spend upwards of 9 hours in front of a screen every day, and our children are no better (those being born today are now known as Digital Natives).

It’s easy to forget that there are entire experiences sitting just outside our door, and camping with the family brings those experiences into our lives.

Love it? Hate it? Still Try it

Perhaps you’ll find that camping isn’t for you. Maybe you’ll realize that you hate bugs, you need air conditioning to function or that you just have a general disdain for wilderness living. Or maybe you’ll love every second of it, who knows? At least you tried something new, learned something about yourself and spent some quality time with your family.

And that’s worth more than a hundred nights of comfortable sleep in your own bed.