Romantic camping trips with the opposite sex are like first impressions, you only get one chance with them.
A romantic weekend in the outdoors can only be achieved when everything reflects simplicity. Concentrate on basic needs and don’t try to accomplish too much. Location, weather, clean facilities, great food, and exercise are the essentials. If these remain your highest priorities, it won’t be your last camping trip with your significant other.
We decided on five locations across the country that are best suited for a romantic camping trip, complete with suggestions on how to best to enjoy each spot.
Jemez, New Mexico- This ideal location, only 2 hours from Albuquerque, is home to some of the nation’s most beautiful and remote natural mineral hot springs. Nestled into the Ponderosa Pine Forest, the secluded location of the springs works in your favor as they are rarely occupied. A surprise awaits you as the steam from the hot springs fills the campsite air in the morning.
Best Time of Year- June or September. Right before and right after summer is the perfect time to visit Jemez, as the weather comes down to reasonable temperatures and the summer campers are minimal.
Ways to Relax- McCauley Warm Hot Springs is a short hike away. The warm natural springs force you and your partner to relax, as it’s the perfect escape from the noise of the city. The birds and the winds provide the romantic soundtrack you’ll need to enjoy nature’s glory.
Food & Drink- On your way up to the campsite, stop by the Jemez Springs Village Farmers Market. Nothing says romance like picking out fresh food to cook for dinner. Jemez farms their own vegetables, so I highly recommend a vegetable-based dinner, such as a southwest chicken salad. For drinks, try some of the Jemez Valley Wine, straight from the local winery.
Exercise- It’s a 5-mile round-trip hike to the hot springs, so you’ll get your exercise on the way.
For Seclusion- If you time it right, at dawn or just after sunset, the chances of privacy at the hot springs are high. Taking the hot springs plunge sans clothing definitely sets a romantic tone.
Niagara Falls- Yup, there’s camping near the iconic location in upstate New York and the closest campsite is only 6 miles away. There are several fully maintained campsites on the route, where buses pick up campers daily.
Best Time of Year- April, when the air is still crisp but not frigid and the camping season is underway. The cold evenings are just one more reason to snuggle up at night.
Ways to Relax- Partake in a classic tradition by jumping on the Niagara Falls “Maid of the Mist” boat ride. Relax as the boat moves close to the falls and soak in the excitement.
Food & Drink- Slow cook a fish over the open fire while sipping on champagne from New York’s oldest winery, Pleasant Valley Wine Company. The light from a campfire provides the ideal ambiance.
Exercise- Opt to walk to the falls from the campsite rather than take the bus.
For Seclusion- Listening to the power of the falls may be as exciting as a viewing, so take a midnight stroll to the falls.
Napa Valley, California- Camping is not what comes to mind when you think Napa Valley, but Napa Valley State Park is an ideal campground nestled in the woods of wine country. Opt away from the tourist-filled B&B’s and enjoy a unique side of the famous wine country.
Best Time of Year- July or August. Unlike many campsites, when avoiding the busy season, this uncrowded campsite is the perfect place to lounge with minimal clothing all weekend.
Ways to Relax- After a morning of sleeping in, jump on a trolley and cruise through the wine country. Some of the best wine in the world is only a brief ride away from the campsite.
Food & Drink- After a perfect day cruising through wine country, you’ll be armed with high-class wines, local cheese, and fresh breads.
Exercise- The hills of Napa boast beautiful and relaxing trails for a mountain bike ride through the countryside and vineyards.
For Seclusion- Plenty of open space and room for privacy in across the wine country.
Yosemite- By far the most popular of these campsites as it’s one of the most visited national parks. There’s a reason why– raw, natural beauty everywhere you look. Yosemite offers a range of camping, from luxurious to backpack style, so pick what works best for your needs and budget. Though populated, it’s easy to hike a few miles to seclusion. The park is open 24 hours, so night adventures are a possibility.
Best Time of Year- Beginning of May. Winter may still be showing but the weather is quickly improving. Depending on the year, the waterfalls are at their strongest flow.
Ways to Relax- Bring along your bikes as the valley floor is an ideal location for a cruise. Bike to a spot in one of the empty meadows and take a much-deserved nap. One of the best ways to relax is to sit back and enjoy a nice cold beer while checking out Yosemite’ sites from the comforts of your campsite. The beauty of Yosemite is that it’s beautiful everywhere you look.
Food & Drink- Enjoy a cold Eastern Sierra Lager from the Indian Wells Brewing Company while barbacuing a thick steak or fresh trout over the open fire. The teamwork involved in cooking a top-notch meal while camping can be the ultimate romantic activity– or disaster. It’s a good small test of your future as a couple.
Exercise- Feeling adventurous? There’s nothing more special than the accomplishment of hiking the John Muir Trail to the top of Half-Dome. The 12-hour hike will leave you tired, satisfied, and happy knowing you completed the challenge together.
For Seclusion- There’s not much seclusion on the Yosemite Valley floor, regardless of the time of year, so plan on escaping to the tent when alone time is required.
Na Pali Coast, Kauai- The journey is almost as incredible as the destination, which in itself is hard to top. This spot is for the ultra-adventurous couple that enjoys the physical demands of a camping trip. The difficult 2-mile hike to the pristine shores of Hanakapi Beach is often described as mind-blowing. Acquire an overnight permit and spend three days in the ultimate outdoor paradise.
Best Time of Year- Summer, as heavy waves wipe away the beach during the winter months. Kauai is known as the wettest spot on earth, so be sure to check weather patterns before you camp.
Ways to Relax-There’s numerous ways to relax on a deserted beach, but a personal favorite is to pack a small hammock, tie it to two palm trees and prepare for the best day-time nap of your life.
Food & Drink- Simple is best, as you carry what you’ll eat. Pack a few pre-made sandwiches along with some island fruit and you’ll be in heaven. At the beginning of the trailhead, purchase a couple coconut drinks and you’ll soon be enjoying the greatest refreshing beverage that nature has to offer.
Exercise- You’ll get more than enough exercise as you hike to the beach, but be sure to hike 2 miles further to an unforgettable waterfall.
For Seclusion- For the most part, it will just be you, your significant other, and mother nature.