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The Great American Backyard Campout

It’s time to break out the tents, for tomorrow is the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout.

It’s the annual National Wildlife Federation celebration that encourages parents across the country to get out and camp with their families. Whether it’s in backyards, local parks or beaches… they just want you to get together and have some fun! If you register your campout you get your own dedicated page to share stories, photos and more with friends and family. You can learn how to raise money for charities and even be eligible to get your own Great American Backyard Campout T-shirts!

I love this day because one of my family’s favorite activities is camping. We setup on the beach, at the lake or park, and we’ve even been known to set our tent up in the front yard for a few hours. The kids play and have imaginary camping trips while my husband and I do yard-work, clean the garage or just hang out and soak up the sun and kids’ laughter.

If you’re planning to participate in the Great American Backyard Campout, there’s one treat you must try because it’s simply synonymous with camping. You know what that is, don’t you??? Crispy, chocolatey, and filled with roasted pillowy goodness…

That’s right, I’m talking about s’mores. You don’t even need an open campfire to make them (I don’t know about y’all, but my neighbors might get a little twitchy if I started a campfire in our yard) – you can easily make s’mores over a grill or even in your microwave or oven.

All you need are some graham crackers, marshmallows and some chocolate candy – if you want to get fancy with them, use peanut butter cups instead of or in addition to the regular chocolate! My kids even like a little nutella smeared on their graham crackers… to complement the marshmallows and chocolate.

Another fun outside treat we discovered one beach camping trip is that you CAN make popcorn over a grill! Those wonderful popcorn packages that are foil and swell up into a dome as the kernels pop – those work brilliantly while camping!

There’s a special kind of magic that goes along with camping: staying up after the sun sets and watching the stars, trying to see which constellations we can name and the giddiness and magic that come with the first shooting star. We love waking up with the sun and watching as a new day dawns over the horizon. You never know what kind of magic you’ll discover when you turn everything off and go outside with your family and friends – when you give your undivided attention to those around you and just savor the sounds of laughter and nature.

Not only do you relax bit by bit, but the memories your family makes and the things they learn about themselves, the world around them are priceless.

Are y’all planning on joining the Great American Backyard Campout or do you have another special family camping trip planned this summer? What about any tried and true campout suggestions, tips or recipes? I’d love for you to share them!

Rachel Matthews is a southern belle and author of the blog A Southern Fairytale. Rachel was featured as one of Babble’s Top 100 mom blogs in 2011 and she was recently named one of the Top 50 parents on Pinterest. Rachel is a mom to two children, who she aspires to raise with good morals, good manners, open hearts and bright futures. She currently resides in Corpus Christi with her family.

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