June 04 2020
Looking to shake it up with your partner and get outside? Nature is a great way to bond and build your relationship with your partner, even taking it to the next level with camping activities for couples.
However, proper planning is essential in how to make camping romantic but also enjoyable all around. Choosing where, what to do, how intense of a trip, and what to bring can be make or break for your relationship.
Read the Best Ideas for Camping with Your Partner Below
1. Know (Your Partner) Before You Go
What's your partner's outdoor experience like? Are they rugged? Are they first-timer? Taking this into consideration is essential to a successful camping trip.
Also, take into account how comfortable or clean your partner needs to be; an air mattress or a portable solar shower may give them that much-needed sensation of home to carry them through the trip.
If they're already little friendlier with nature, try to plan the proper activities that they like to do or something that they have not done so they can add a new experience to their books, with you by their side.
2. Location is Everything: Here are Our Top 3 Locations for Couples Camping
Camping near a water source is always a great idea. You can plan activities on the water, hike around a lake (or visit a few), relax beside lakeside, and clean yourself off with an afternoon swim (or skinny-dipping). Whether it's a long hike or a drive to a lake (or river), this is a sure bet to a good and intimate time.
Fire Tower Lookout
One of the more coveted and difficult things to reserve, the fire tower lookouts are very high in romantic options. Essentially cabins with panoramic views, you can reserve these for a night or two to get out of the city but still be comfortable with some amenities.
Reserving these requires a bit of tenacity, so get up early in the morning and book it the second it becomes available.
Don't know a great, nearby location? Glamping allows you to build your own romantic adventure for you and your partner.
3. Best Camping Activities for Active Couples
This is probably the most obvious activity to do in the great outdoors for any camping couple, but it always remains a classic. There are great trails all over the country and with so much to see, you never have to do anything twice. Try setting a destination with your trail, whether it is a waterfall, a view, or a picnic for extra points from your significant other. Sprinkling in this element of surprise can go a long way on a trip like this.
Remember to pick the right trail for your and your partner's outdoor abilities; nothing kills the vibe more than a too dangerous, too difficult, or too long of a hike.
This one may take a little more planning with all the gear (renting if you need to), hauling the canoe and equipment out, and then paddling out for a couple hours, but the payoff of floating on a lake or river can give you some well-earned solace. Canoes trump kayaks here because, besides bringing two boats out, you can spend some time up close with your partner—like an aquatic tandem bike. Bring your lunch or wine out to the center of the lake to make up the romance.
On the more rugged side of outdoor activities, snowshoeing is one of my favorites, but based out of a Type II kind of fun. While you'll trudge through snow for several hours, it's important to build some kind of arc into the day, whether you're summiting a peak or heading out to a lodge to snuggle up after. Reward is essential after an activity like this, so make sure it's planned into the finale of the extremely active adventure you do together.
4. Best Camping Ideas for Couples at Leisure
On the opposite end of snowshoeing, setting up a hammock to just have time to lie down together is great, especially after a long day. Pick a shady spot, bring a book, and listen to the breeze in the trees to get some quality snuggling time.
Deck of Cards
Does your significant other have a competitive streak? One of my favorite things to do with someone is to play some rummy by the fire, both in the morning and late afternoon. Cards are a great way to wind down and compete playfully, filling time before you do the next thing together. It also takes place for conversation, when you're too tired for deeper-level words and want to keep things light.
Like drinking? Try one of our recommended campfire drinking games.
This easy-going activity is highly seasonal and based on geography, but berry picking is an easy walk through nature coupled with eating. Berries are both good for you and sweet like dessert, and your outdoor date is sure to love it. Bonus points if you can take the berries and incorporate them into your next meal.
5. Best Camping Ideas for Foodie Campers
Make a Good Dinner
This is more essential than it sounds. While you can get away with an easy breakfast (but don't forget the coffee, please) and cold cut sandwiches on the trail or during an activity, dinner has a build-up to it. It needs to be both nutritious for the day's outdoor agenda, but also needs to be tasty. Here you can flex your cooking skills to wow your partner.
We recommend planning a meal at home and hauling it in, to heat over the fire one night for romantic fireside cooking. For another, we recommend some teamwork, having both of you cook the meal—taking turns chopping, sautéing, etc.—to create the experience of doing it together.
Cook with a Pie Iron
With a pie iron, you can craft easy desserts over the fire. You can use the berries you picked to create lush pastries in the outdoors by just holding over the fire. Pie irons are also great for breakfast, and you can go savory to add more recipes to your repertoire.
Make Some Delicious Cocktails
Trying to get loose after a long day? Making some mixed drinks are a fun way to unwind, with fun flavors that trump beer or wine. In need of recipes? Check the video below (we recommend the spiced hot chocolate for an adult twist on a campfire classic).
Roast S'mores Over the Camp Fire
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. S'mores may be the most stereotypical part of camping, but they have earned their place there. Nothing is better than S'mores for two, so bring your graham crackers, your marshmallows, and your chocolate. Or, if you want to change things up to impress your camping date, try for a nice dark chocolate, some peanut butter, Nutella, or some candied nuts for some ooh-la-la fancy points.
6. Best Nocturnal Activities for Couples Camping
A more geographical date night, fireflies/lightning bugs are nature's floating Christmas lights. If you're in a more humid climate and have a little more energy at night, bringing a mason jar to catch these little critters is the perfect endcap for your day in the woods.
While you've probably done one in the day already, a night hike has a completely different feel. With the dark and just your flashlights, night hikes are certainly more intimate. Make sure this hike is short—very short—and leads to a destination, like the shore of a lake or an open clearing for…
You may not know all the constellations, their origins, the summer ones versus the winter ones, but you don't have to be Galileo to appreciate the stars. Sitting under the night sky and counting shooting stars or making up constellations is an easy, non-intensive way spend your last waking hours together before a well-deserved sleep at night.
Couples Camping Guide
The "Do's" of Couples' Camping
Ditch the phones, leave your headphones and earbuds, and turn off your electronics. There is something inherently romantic of the lack of technology and the solace of the outdoors with your partner.
A Little Alone Time
When it's just the two of you, it's easy to oversaturate your time together. You'll be eating together, doing all sorts of activities together, sleeping together, and breathing all the same air together. Let your partner have a little space (and be sure to get some for yourself), whether it's a little hike to yourself in the woods, some relaxing time to read a book or draw, or whatever you and your partner need.
It's easy to be awed or tired out by nature. Remember to show your partner a little physical affection—holding hands or sharing kisses work too—and snuggle up to keep warm in the night.
The "Do Not's" of Couples' Camping
Unsolicited Nature Guide
Don't be the know-it-all. While it's fun to learn about nature, no one likes to be lectured to. Don't over-explain/mansplain the proper gear nor should you seem condescending to your partner. They probably know already: you like being outside. Share, don't force.
Do Something Out of Their League
Remember your partner's capacities and don't be too overeager to do something crazy. If they're newer to the outdoors, don't go mountaineering nor snow camping, shoot for easy hikes in the summer or hang out by a lake/river to unwind for some rest and relaxation.
Everyone will tell you spontaneity is romantic, but in the outdoors, the contrary succeeds. You have to plan down to the gear, meals, and some activities to fend off boredom and build your relationship in a new way. Try for an early morning activity and then having a lazy one the following day. Remember to mix in activity with relaxing to get that feeling of a vacation and an adventure combined. Also remember to mix in good outdoor activities with romantic camping ideas for couples, to create a good balance of intimacy.
That's not to say you should over-plan, either. Nobody likes a strict itinerary, which can suck the fun out of a trip. Try for what we like to call, "loose plans."
Recommended Gear for Couples Camping
- Two-Person Sleeping Bag
- Disposable Camera/Polaroids
- A solid blanket
- String Lights
- Tunes (a small speaker or woo them with a guitar)
- Bug Spray
- A inflatable camping pillow or foam camping pillow
- A sleeping pad or mattress
The Final Word
Camping for couples does not have to be as stressful as it sounds. While it requires a little more planning than regular camping, the payoff makes it all clearly worth it. Take into account your significant other's interests and previous outdoor experiences to tailor the trip to them and don't forget to blend in those romantic elements for an unforgettable camping adventure.