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The Cost of a Night Well Spent

The only advice I've got: sleep outside.

By: Patrick James + Save to a List

Every spring, outdoor enthusiasts from all across the country start thawing out after what (hopefully) was a long, cold winter. One common side effect of the thawing process is the uncontrollable urge to sleep outside…and that’s why this time of year has been labeled ’camping season’.

That may or may not be how it really happens, but there’s no question about the fact that camping season is here. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how much it actually costs to have a good time. It seems like everything costs money - that’s how the world works, and that’s ok. Luckily for us, camping usually doesn’t cost much…and if you know where to look, it might even be free. I’ve got some statistics to back it up:

In 2016, the average daily rate of a hotel room in the U.S. was $123.97. The daily rate of a campsite in a campground is anywhere from $5 to $30. And if you’re ok with some solitude, National Forest and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) dispersed camping is completely FREE.

It seems like every year a new way of camping comes along…so sleep on the ground, in a tent, in a hammock, in a van or sleep on the roof of your vehicle. We’ve got a lot of options, none of which have anything to do with paying $123.97 for a hotel room. 

It’s hard to argue with the numbers, so I’m going to assume you’re opting for a campsite the next time you’ve got a free night or weekend.

The only advice I’ve got: Sleep outside.

See you out there!


We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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