Experience the joys of camping near nature
Extensive studies from around the world have shown that getting back to nature provides holistic benefits that can help improve the quality of our lives. Spending time in natural surroundings can increase our levels of hormones like oxytocin and serotonin, which increase happiness, helping us to feel more energy and to lead a more fulfilling life.
For quality time with the family away from the pressures of daily life, there is no better antidote than a few days surrounded by the beauty of nature. And one of the most fun-filled ways to communicate with nature is on a camping trip.
Camping in nature allows us to get out of our traditional mind-set, and to embrace and enjoy what is magical about our earth. We start noticing once again the splendour and beauty that surrounds us each day, which we largely take for granted. We live in a modern society driven by technologies that can distance us each other, even while we live in the same household.
So, set a date to rally the troops and leave the devices behind, to embrace your collective sense of adventure with an exploration of the great outdoors throughout the year ahead.
Best Ways to Get Active Outdoors in 2023
Enjoy the outdoors and nature in beautiful campsites around France.
Camping near a natural park
There are over 70 national, regional and marine parks spread across France, so there’s a long list of places for enjoying the outdoors and engaging in quality activities as a family. Pyrenees National Park is a great place to pitch a tent or park a campervan, with charming landscapes and enigmatic wildlife to be discovered during the summer.
Discover local nature reserves and parks
If you don’t want to travel as far as one of the country’s national parks, camping near a nature reserve or country park is a great alternative. This would be perfect for a weekend camping excursion, with no need for extensive planning.
Winter camping trips
Enjoying the outdoors shouldn’t be restricted to warm weather seasons. There are locations around France that offer year-round campsites, so consider an autumn or winter break for a complete change of pace. Skating, snowboarding and skiing are excellent winter activities and rates should be attractive during the colder months, excluding the holidays.
Discovering riverside communities and landscapes
Camping alongside a French river or lake is another pleasant way for the family to enjoy quality time together outdoors. There are a few campsites along the River Bresle near the Somme Estuary where you can walk together through the Eu Forest or enjoy fishing, canoeing or kayaking as a group at the nearby lake.
Enduring the challenge of “le camping sauvage”
Le camping sauvage, or wild camping, in pared-back campsites in the countryside, is a genuine way for the family to experience life without the usual trappings. This style of camping outdoors is a true bonding exercise to develop esprit de corps where kids and parents can practice teamwork skills from the set-up of base camp to the strike down.
Discovering historic monuments and landmarks
Many campsites in France allow you to enjoy the outdoors close to historic landmarks and monuments. Carentan les Marais in Normandy is a perfect base from which to explore the historic beaches of Normandy, site of the D-Day landings, for a moving, educational experience in the open air.
Biking coastal paths near the seaside
France has miles of coastline along its Western shores, with a plethora of coastal paths ideal for bike activities while summer camping in nature. In Pays de la Loire, there are campsites near family-friendly biking paths, for example near the Pointe Saint Gildas headland with its coastguard tower.
Participate in a conservation drive
Another way to enjoy some awesome family time outdoors is to participate in a local or national conservation drive, which involves activities like cleaning up beaches or planting trees in deforested areas. There are few better ways to teach children respect for nature and the environment. It is our responsibility to protect, conserve and enjoy the bounties of the natural world and teaching them this through action is the most effective way.
Benefits of spending time at campsites near nature
Improvements in the overall mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of your family.
Establishing a connection with natural surroundings
Life in urban environments can be hectic and stressful and present few opportunities for pausing the noise and haste. Spending time at a campsite in natural surroundings is a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle. Love, respect and admiration for our planet and noticing the beauty around us helps us to slow down and feel more positive and less anxious.
Uplift your mind, body and spirit
Frankly, it’s the reason why natural parks and parks in general were created in the first place: to give us all a space where we can come together and enjoy the benefits of fresh air, clean water, less noise pollution and natural splendour. It is well-documented that the energies of nature have therapeutic benefits to the human body, which can ground us and induce harmonies in mind, body and spirit.
Learning about yourself and others
It’s amazing what we can learn about ourselves and our loved ones while camping, as well as others. Away from the trappings and conveniences of home, it’s a chance for individuals to relax, exhale and discover the bonds that unite us instead of the things which divide us. From helping others, to making new friends and discovering new ideas and cultures, lives can be enriched from the experience.
Discovering the magnificence of the outdoors
No matter how old we think we are, compared to Mother Nature we are all children. Within the trappings of civilisation, we have become increasingly removed from what links us to this earth. While enjoying nature we can be carefree, and see the world with the eyes of children again, as we discover, explore and marvel at the magnificence of nature, which is all around us, just waiting for us to seize the moment to appreciate it.
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Family camping trips can be documented by video or by stills, but either way, taking snapshots in time or serialising the funnier sides of your holiday is a great way for a family to bond around the shared experiences of living outdoors together. Memories fade, but you can use the family photos or film to remember and relive precious moments over and over again.
Things you should be aware of before camping in nature in France
Before planning your camping trip, here are a few tips and reminders that may be helpful:
Is it safe for young children to camp outdoors near water?
If you have children under the age of 10, you should set up your base camp far enough away from water sources to ensure they can’t access them easily by themselves. Camping near water for teens is perfectly safe, especially if they know how to swim.
Are there medical benefits to camping near nature?
Yes. There are many studies that have shown that spending time in natural surroundings can lower stress and hypertension (blood pressure), as well as improve memory. Spending time in nature has been recommended by leading experts as a way to combat depression and other psychological disorders in children and adults. Natural sounds have also been shown to improve sleep patterns, which can provide increased overall health.
Do I need special permission to camp in or near national parks in France?
While natural parks, marine reserves and other wildlife habitats are protected by state or local authorities, there are often sections that are open to the general public and no special permission is required to camp there. You should check with the authority responsible for the park before planning your trip. There are also loads of great campsites in France very near national parks, which allow you easy access to the parks, along with convenient facilities.
Is camping in nature during winter recommended?
Enjoying the outdoors isn’t limited to any season. In winter, you might be tempted to rent a campervan, mobile home or chat with heating though, especially if you are camping with children. If you want to go tent camping during winter, you will need special equipment such as a four-season tent and specially insulated sleeping bags to protect you against low night-time temperatures.
What is a geopark?
A geopark is a territory or area of geological significance, where developmental strategies are used to create a sustainable environment within the community. There are six such geoparks in France, including the Haute-Provence Geopark.
Participate in enchanting family adventures enjoying the great outdoors this year!