What Is Group Camping?

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Tents gathered together during a group camping trip.

Group camping can be a fun way to experience the outdoors with family and friends. Some people love the bonding and communal space.

Kids can run around and play together in open fields while adults enjoy conversations by the campfire. You and your friends can also spend hours together hiking, biking, or paddling during the day and relaxing, joke-telling, and entertaining during the evening.

Today, we’ll look at group camping —what it is and how to find campsites— and give tips to make your experience enjoyable!

What Is Group Camping?

Group camping is when outdoor enthusiasts camp together in a large group. This could be a Boy Scout troop, a youth group, or several families. Group campsites vary in size. Some can accommodate ten people, while others can accommodate up to 100. 

Some campgrounds have established tent pads, fire rings, and flush toilets. Others might be more primitive, offering a large grassy field. Everyone brings their tent and gear and sets up together in the space provided for a fun camping weekend.

Can You Camp in Groups With RVs?

It’s much easier to enjoy group camping with tents than with RVs. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. State parks that offer group campsites generally restrict camping to tents only.

Campgrounds might have buddy sites where two RVs can park next to each other, but they typically don’t have a large area where RVs can congregate near each other. If you want to camp in a large group with RVs, you must do more research, call more campgrounds, and plan further in advance.

Boondocking on public lands is one of the best ways to group camp in RVs. You have plenty of space to circle and create your own campsites. Although you won’t have hookups, you don’t have to worry about making reservations or finding a campground that can accommodate several RVs in the same area.

Is Group Camping Permitted at All Campgrounds?

Group camping isn’t allowed at all campgrounds. Many state parks will have group sites, but most private campgrounds won’t. On the KOA website, you can search specifically for group camping options. Although there are about two dozen KOAs in Florida, only about half of them offer group RV sites.

You’ll also want to call to find out what “group camping” means for RVs. It could mean some sites can booked together in a row. Or it could mean there are sites set up facing each other. Know what kind of RV group camping is offered so you can make the best decision for your group.

A group of friends on a group camping trip sitting around the campfire.

How to Find Group Campsites

Since group camping isn’t allowed everywhere, you may have to spend time searching to find the perfect spot. Recreation.gov is an excellent tool to help you find group campsites. If you have a location in mind, you can narrow your search using the filter for group campsites. 

For example, suppose you want to camp around Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. In that case, you can search for campgrounds with group campsites and discover that Cove Creek and Keykendall offer group camping.

Campendium is another excellent app to find group campsites. Like Recreation.gov, you can search for campgrounds near a specific location and filter based on group camping availability. For example, if you want to camp near Wisconsin Dells, Mirror Lake State Park and Devil’s Lake State Park have group campsites.

However, group camping usually refers to tent camping. Contact individual campgrounds directly if you’re looking for RV sites near each other. Tell the reservationist how many sites you need and when you want to camp. Then, you’ll find out if group camping in RVs is possible at that location.

5 Tips to Make Your Group Camping Experience the Best

Group camping can be a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful, even miserable, if you don’t have a few things planned. Below, we give five tips to help make your group camping experience the best.

1. Decide on the Type of Camping

Because there are all camping styles, you must first choose how you’d like to camp together. Will you be RVing, tent camping on public land, or booking a campsite at a private campground? Determine what style is best for everyone. Then, you can proceed with making reservations and plans.

Tents gathered together at night during a group camping trip.

2. Prepare and Plan in Advance

If you’re staying at a campground that requires reservations, you must book these reservations early for group camping. Many places only have one or two designated areas for groups. You may want a second and third choice just in case the location you call first is already booked.

Also, prepare and plan meals and activities ahead of time. This helps with cost because you can buy food in bulk. This also saves time when camping because you can prepare snacks and meals before arriving. 

Then, during the weekend camping trip, you don’t have to think about what to cook or run to the grocery store. You don’t have to sit around asking what everyone wants to do. Have activities or excursions planned so you can do what you came to do — hang out with friends and enjoy nature.

Pro Tip: Camp comfortably in a large group with the best large camping tents!

3. Divide Responsibilities

Another way to make your group camping experience better is to divide up responsibilities. Someone can be in charge of planning and bringing games. Another person can plan the hikes or excursions. Someone else can bring a book of ghost stories and s’mores items.

Don’t forget the gear. You don’t need five grills, so have one person bring a grill for everyone. Ask one person to bring firewood. By dividing up the responsibilities, everyone feels a part of the group camping experience, and everything isn’t weighing on one family’s shoulders either.

4. Plan the Menu

As mentioned above, you not only want to plan who will be responsible for meals to divide up the duties for the weekend, but you also want to do this so the person can go shopping ahead of time. If you’re going on a camping trip, you don’t want to go to the grocery store on Friday night when you arrive. 

You want all of the meals planned ahead of time. You can buy in bulk to save money and have certain things already prepared. Then, when you’re at the campground, you can enjoy the activities instead of thinking about what you’ll eat for the next meal.

Keep in Mind: Have you tried all of these popular Camping Foods? If not, you’re seriously missing out!

Close up of a person grilling during a group camping trip.

5. Consider the Set-Up

Finally, think about how you’ll set up the tents or RVs. This way, everyone knows who goes where once they arrive. It’s not a cluster of disorganization. By having an idea of how everyone will set up camp, it won’t take long before you’re heading to the river, throwing a frisbee, or going on a hike.

Usually, group camping works best in a circle so everyone’s tents or RV entry doors face the center. The first people to arrive should go to the inside spots, and then everyone else follows to complete the circle. Have a plan so you’re not wasting time.

Camping Is Better With Friends! Enjoy Group Camping This Year

Whether tent camping, backpacking, or RVing, it’s much more fun with friends. To have a great experience, come prepared by planning ahead. Then, you can fully immerse yourself in conversations around the campfire or excursions to new places. Group camping is an excellent way to enjoy nature while hanging out with friends.

Have you gone group camping before?

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