Happy Gay Campers

I watched one of those old British movies the other night, ‘Carry on Camping’. Although that’s obviously a play on words too, it did remind me of years gone by when I used to go camping. It was all cold water and very basic amenities then and it got me wondering what it would be like to go camping now. Are there specific gay campsites around the world? Where do I start if I wanted to go on a gay camping holiday? As usual when I don’t know what to do I started with a search engine search.

Having entered ‘Gay Camping’ as my keywords I viewed the list and found the majority of the sites on the first page to be USA based. I tried ‘Gay Camping Worldwide’ instead. The site that caught my eye first was gayoutdoors.org. This site had lists of articles, travel opportunities, links and blogs all to do with exploring the Great Outdoors. It also had a search engine which, when I entered ‘camping’, took me to several articles on the subject. There were links to nude camps, adventure holidays, free events and much more including general camping safety and advice.

After some more searching I came across gaycampers.com which has to be one of the best sites for any gay guys or gals interesting in camping and the outdoor life. They list sites and activities not only in the USA and Canada but also Europe, the Caribbean and down under in Australia. I checked out their list of camping grounds in various countries and found them not only up to date and informative but they also came with other sensible links attached - like to the weather and other travel tips.

But what can you expect when you get to a camping ground? Obviously that’s going to depend on where it is and maybe even what country you are in. I spent some time looking at photos, not only those provided by a camp site on its own website (which are going to make everything look lovely) but also real pics from real people. It seems that the days of cold showers and holes in the ground have gone. (I am sure you can find places like that if you really want to but sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of luxury with your fresh air.) Just about all of the sites I saw had decent amenities there were good washrooms, clean toilet bocks, some had restaurants most had shops and there were other activities too – with tennis courts and bike hire. Many of the gay ones had events, like naked weekends, or nudist weeks, but there was not too much of an accent on sex. Just because a camp site is Gay doesn’t mean it’s a sex club!

I think the bottom line is that it’s universal. You don’t have to be in the USA to find lots of gay camping places, or nudist camp sites. You can find them in England (if you 

want to be cold and wet in the summer) and other parts of Europe and the ‘westernised’ world too. There are plenty of places right across the globe advertising their gay or gay friendly campsites – nude or otherwise. Simply decide where you want to go and add that into your search and you’ll be under canvas with other gay folk before you can say ‘can you pass the billy-can Billy…’

The first part of our look at Gay Camping (and we mean living under canvas and not screaming ‘oh! There’s a sale at Ikea darling’) finished with a quick look at gay nudism and camping - which is where I’m going to start now, with this look at what’s available in the USA, specifically, for the gay camper.

The site I mentioned, nakedplanet.org has a section on it specifically for the USA. This long page lists loads of different organisations in just about every US state. Those that have a website are linked in here and you also get e-mail addresses and other contact information. So if you are looking for a nudist, gay club from Alabama to Wisconsin to will find it here.

But what about camping: what about going native in the woods with a group of other guys? What about changing that heterosexual myth of hunting, drinking beer, fishing and camping with the guys and changing it into the gay version? (What would that be? Cruising, cocktails and camping with the guys, I guess!) What would that entail do you think? Becoming like the two hunks from Brokeback Mountain? Dragging your equipment miles up a valley to find a secret spot so you and your lover can relax and enjoy each others’ company without getting hassle from the straights? Or simply putting ‘Gay Camping USA’ into a search engine...

Well, that’s a good starting place, and one which will bring you to campgayusa.com. This is a simply designed site where there is no messing around. You have a list of campgrounds, camping adventures, gay camping clubs and you can even advertise your own fields, or whatever, as a suitable location for gay folk to come and stay on. The campgrounds are again listed in alphabetical order but these are general gay and gay friendly campgrounds. The difference here is that the emphasis is on camping and not on getting your kit off and looking at everyone else’s dicks. And remember that ‘gay friendly’ means that the owners like or don’t mind gay people but the other guests could be straight. Look out for ‘exclusively gay’ if that worries you - but I always wonder how they know you’re gay when you drive up to check in? Do they make you take a gay test I wonder?

Going back to my search and looking through the list I found loads of other sites that simply listed Gay Camping USA places and so you will have no trouble finding sites that advertise their grounds, activities, events and so on,. But what about meeting other folk who are into the same things as you - putting on a backpack and getting off the trail, or driving around the country in your RV and staying on campsites that are like five star hotels with grass? Well, going back to gayoutdoors.org I clicked on the Forum link. Forums are a good way of getting to know people who are interested in a specific thing and people who have experience of places. Regular posters aren’t going to be there to sell you their campsite but instead will want to share experiences with you. This Forum, for example, had threads from Colorado River Nude Camping to Fly Fishing in Philadelphia. So surely there will be someone on the board who has been to the place you may be thinking of going to.

I think the bottom line about camping USA is that you’re lucky: there are hundreds of places, there are loads of GLBT only or gay friendly campsites (and I include lesbian in ‘gay’ for convenience) and there are hundreds of sites set up to guide you in your search for that perfect getaway camping trip.

Here are a few recommendations of places/events I know are guaranteed to be fun-fullfilled:

    • Rainbowranch.net - Rainbow Ranch is about 1.5 hours south of Dallas, Texas. This is a great destination for any age with sand volleyball, cabins to rent, fishing, sites for tents, swimming, hiking, basketball, etc. There are unlimited amounts of spaces most of the time and some spaces have electric hookups, some tent spots don’t. It is great to do something different for a change and go camping and enjoy the outdoors with fellow gays and lesbians.
    • Temptationranch.com in Northern California
    • PrideFloat.org annual event in Missouri (website will not be in operation until spring) 
    • Camp Willowswish - TX/OK September 6-9th - This is an annual event held at Lake Murray. This is a DO NOT MISS event for all gays and lesbians. There is no one better who can tell about this exciting gathering than Floyd Martin’s Myspace Blog or the Willowswish site itself. You do not need much of a vacation fund for this campout which is held the weekend after Labor Day and weekend before Dallas pride.

Courtesy of Daily Dose of Queer

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