RV camping offers families a special opportunity to grow and bond closer together, plus there are health benefits to getting away from it all and spending some time outdoors.

1. Sharing experiences leads to stronger bonds. It’s a well-known fact and a frequently recommended prescription for relationship building: doing things together, spending quality time, helps strengthen bonds. According to an article in theHuffington Post in October 2014, “Experiencing something new—like riding that roller coaster or taking a pottery class—heightens awareness and activates adrenaline. These senses work together to make meaningful memories that last, which help fortify and strengthen your relationship.” So choose a new activity to try together, or take the RV someplace you’ve never been before. Sharing new or different experiences connects you with those alongside of you, so you feel a deeper sense of “togetherness.”

2. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature. The outdoors is full of marvels and wonders, and there is so much to explore. Trails to scenic overlooks, rivers to hidden lakes, bald eagles resting in the canopies of century-old trees. There is so much to do – biking, kayaking, wildflower picking, bird watching, the list goes on. In addition, being outdoors and doing physical activities promotes a healthy, active lifestyle. According to an article in Prevention: “Interaction with nature reduces depression, promotes healing, sparks creativity, and even increases life expectancy – upping survival odds by about 15% over 5 years in one Japanese study.” And for families, “Getting kids excited about camping early on may encourage them, as teens, to pursue wilderness programs; these programs enhance self-confidence, motivation, and independence, according to Yale University research.”

3. Everyone gets a chance to “unplug.” Get away from the television, the computer, the cell phone. Though many RV campgrounds offer Wifi access and RVs support entertainment systems, it doesn’t mean you need to use them. Getting away from home should really mean getting away from all the clutter and noise in our lives. Consider making it a rule for everyone to unplug from their electronic devices and do a media “blackout.” In an article in Elite Daily, author Tony Michaels writes: “Every time you unplug, you create an opportunity to strike up a conversation with a stranger. It’s not difficult — try to sit down at the dinner table with family without tweeting about it.” Unplugging gives everyone the chance to step back from passive entertainment to do more active things, and to interact with those around them. Camping provides plenty of opportunity for both.

4. It’s a chance to interact with new people. At an RV campground, you get to know your neighbors. You get to know their stories, share in their campfires, and enjoy area activities. Many campers develop lifelong friendships with the campers the next site over, even to the point of the kids calling them by familiar names such as aunt or uncle, or even grandma and grandpa. Your family and friendships expand.

5. This is dedicated time to be together to have fun. Whether you’re a young family with three kids, a newlywed couple, or empty nesters, camping gets you outside of your home and regular routine so that you can see new places and try new things – or even revisit favorite spots and activities. There are other benefits to going on vacation as well, specifically, for your health. According to aNational Geographic article by Joe Robinson, author of Work to Live, “Studies show that vacations are as important as watching your cholesterol or getting exercise. An annual holiday can cut the risk of heart attack in men by 30 percent and in women by 50 percent. Vacations have been shown to cure burnout, the last stage of chronic stress, epidemic in today’s 24-7.” However, he also notes that it takes about two weeks for this to actually occur. Sounds like a perfect timeframe to travel around Michigan or visit somewhere else in our beautiful country in an RV – or with one in tow.

If you need to find a place to stay, check out MARVAC’s interactive online map to find a member campground, RV park, or RV resort nearest your destination.