About Camping's team of gear experts is testing product, finding the latest and greatest gadgets for campers, and compiling a list of perfect gifts for the camper on your gift list; but until we release our favorite gift ideas, we want to hear from you!
What is on your holiday wish list? Tell us what you would love to receive this year on our latest user forum: Your Holiday Wish List.
The National Park Service will waive entrance fees to all national parks from November 9-11 in commemoration of Veterans Day. Other Federal agencies offering free admittance include the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and the U.S. Forest Service.
About Camping Readers nominated their favorite parks. Here are the readers' Top 5 National Parks. Did your favorite make the list?
Click here for information to help plan your national park camping getaway.
Photo: Fall color reflection in Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. | © Bob Pool / Getty Images
National Parks around the country offer photography and art exhibits, and ranger guided walks and talks year-round. Here is a listing of a few of our favorite events in the National Parks this November.
The latest reader submitted campground reviews are from Colorado, New York, Oregon and Vermont.
- Pine Valley RV Park and Campground - Endicott, New York
- KOA Lakeside Campground - Fort Collins, Colorado
- Nehalem Bay State Park - Nehalem Bay, Oregon
- Kenolie Village Campground - Newfane, Vermont
Check out the latest campground reviews from Georgia, Maine, Michigan and Oregon.
- Sweetwater Valley RV Park - Cochrane, Villa Rica, Georgia
- Shannon's Sanctuary Campground - Saco River in Brownfield, Maine
- Insta Launch Campground and Marina - Manistee, Michigan
- Winchester Bay RV Park d - Winchester Bay, Oregon
The National Park Service will present the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, December 6 at 5:00 p.m. (EST). Free tickets for the 91st annual tree-lighting ceremony will be awarded through an online lottery, which will open at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, October 31 and close at 10:00 a.m. (EST) on Monday, November 4. Those seeking tickets can enter the lottery by going to www.thenationaltree.org and clicking the 'TICKET LOTTERY' link. Those without computer access may call 877-444-6777 (TDD 877-833-6777) to enter the lottery. There are 3,000 seated tickets and 14,000 standing-room tickets available through the lottery.
Winners will be notified by email by November 7. In addition, lottery entrants can check the status of their requests starting on November 7 by signing in to www.recreation.gov.
The National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, with support from the event's premier sponsor, UL. Other supporters include GE Lighting, Nicolas Holiday, Inc., Hilton Garden Inn Washington D.C.-Downtown, Guest Services, Inc., and Hudler Carolina Tree Farms.
The 2008 National Christmas Tree | © National Parks Foundation
More than 38 million Americans participated in camping trips in 2012, according to the Outdoor Industry Foundation's 2013 Outdoor Participation Report -- that's a whole lot of campers! This makes camping the fourth most popular outdoors activity; running, fishing, and cycling took the top three spots.
Though camping participation is slightly down from the previous year's report, the campers that are heading out are doing so more frequently. And Americans are getting outdoors in record numbers. The number of total outdoor outings increased, reaching an all-time high. Americans took 12.4 billion outdoor excursions in 2012, up from 11.5 billion excursions in 2011, according to the report.
Stand-up paddling had the highest percentage of first time participants with 56 percent of participants trying it for the first time. What is your favorite outdoor activity while camping? Tell us your favorite outdoor past times in the comments below.
Photo: Sisters camping in Airstream travel trailer next to a lake in Montana. © Getty Images | Darrin Klimek, Riser Collection
Any day is a good day to visit the national parks, but some of America's parks are extra festive for holidays. Check out this listing of events for spooky celebrations in the national parks.
Say you have plans to go camping, but an unexpected snow storm rolls in. Your destination is now snowy and cold. Do you stay warm at home, or head out brave the storm? Take our latest camping poll.
While the United States Federal Shutdown remains in effect and has, unfortunately, ruined many National Park camping plans, don't forget that your state parks and local or community parks are still open.
An unintended consequence of the Federal Shutdown is that fewer people are visiting state and local parks, even though those parks are still open and are not affected by the closure of national parks and other federal public lands.
"Most people don't know the difference between a national park and a state park. They think they're all the same," said California Parks Company CEO, John Koeberer, which operates concessions in both national and state parks. "It's the national parks that have been affected by the federal shutdown, but at Angel Island, a state park, we've seen a big drop in visits." Koeberer said calls to parks and campgrounds that his company operates have increased, with most people concerned whether they can still visit, regardless of whether the park is affected by the federal shutdown or not.
"Angel Island is in San Francisco Bay, near Alcatraz. So, there's a lot of confusion. Everything is operating as usual on Angel Island, except there aren't as many people there to hike, rent bikes, ride Segways or tour the island, while on Alcatraz Island all its tours have been stopped because of the shutdown." said Koeberer. "The shutdown is hurting people, parks and businesses not just on the federal lands, but off them, as well."
Where are you camping despite the government shutdown and National Park closures? Tell us your favorite places to get outdoors in the comments below.
About Camping readers voted for their favorite State Parks last year and these five came out on top: Best State Parks in the U.S.
Photo: Montana de oro State Park in California | © Monica Prelle