This is our ultimate list of romantic camping ideas!
Going camping with your significant other is a wonderful and underrated way to draw closer together – figuratively and literally!
Truly, camping can be quite a bonding experience…if it’s done right.
But if being covered in mud or digging a hole for your pitstops doesn’t sound all that dashing, we developed this guide to spark your inner hopeless romantic.
We even curated a few romantic destinations that you can modify as desired. Yeah, you’ll thank us later.
Set the mood with a gorgeous view
Nothing screams “romantic” like picture-perfect scenery. This could be a mountain pass, a crystalline lake, or a wooded pine glen. The options are pretty much endless.
Of course, “gorgeous” can be somewhat subjective. Some campers may inherently find certain locations more visually stunning than others.
For instance, one may prefer the awe and stark beauty of mountains, whereas someone else might find dark, moody forests to their taste.
Whatever you choose, try to find a secluded and private spot. It’ll be difficult to set a romantic tone if you’re camped next to a family with young, boisterous children!
Get cozy in your home-away-from home
Again, take your partner’s (and yours!) preferences into account.
Are you both fans of roughing it? Then a backpacking tent will likely be appropriate. Plus, the close quarters will add an extra touch of snuggle to the trip!
On the other hand, do you and your sweetie appreciate the finer things?
If one of you can’t do without a few creature comforts, then consider a canvas tent or even a small yurt for an elaborate glamping setup.
By the way, if you’re in the market for a canvas tent, we give you the rundown as we review the 12 best canvas tents of 2021 for every type of camper.
Snuggle up in sleeping gear made for two
These days, there truly is an item for everything...and that includes romantic camping gear!
For instance, sleeping bags can be purchased in XL (double) versions. Specifically designed to fit two, double sleeping bags are perfect for snuggling.
Alternatively, you could choose to forgo sleeping bags altogether in favor of blankets. We compare the two in our piece, wool blanket vs sleeping bag.
Lastly, if you have more luxury at your disposal, we’d suggest bringing an air mattress. This way, you’ll both have enough space for each other and whatever comfy blankets you pile on.
Pack some extra comfy items for added fluff
Nothing says “warm and cozy” like extra blankets! So remember to grab at least one super soft (read: this doesn’t have to be heavy) blanket for when the temperatures drop.
If possible, bring some pillows. Not only will you be more comfortable, but they add an extra touch of snuggle.
Honestly, if you’re car camping or glamping, you really can’t go wrong with these luxury items.
And we didn’t forget about you backpackers. Even if you can’t justify the extra pounds, at least confirm that your sleeping bag is plush, warm, and can – preferably – fit you both.
Don’t forget romantic mood lighting!
Soft, golden lighting is perfect for setting the mood.
Carefully arranging a few lanterns, faux candles, and/or string lights instantly turns a normal ol’ camping trip into an exquisitely romantic setting.
Whatever lighting system you go with, be sure to check that they’re “warm/gold” light and not “day/white” light.
The first feels like a candlelit room…the second feels like a hospital room!
For the record, if you’re set on string lights, check out all you need to know in our guide to the 10 best camping string lights to create any kind of ambiance.
Whip up a gourmet dinner…or as close as you can get
Food is the way to a lot of people’s hearts! Even extra picky folks have a hard time resisting a lovingly prepared, elegant meal.
This is especially true on a romantic camping trip. A delicious meal can be all the more special when you add the secret ingredient: hunger from all your outdoor activities!
All jokes aside, your final menu will likely be affected by various factors. These can include variables such as your cooking skills, what cooking equipment you have on-hand, and your budget.
(Psst…yeah, camping is expensive. We broke down the total cost of camping in our article.)
But even if you don’t consider yourself a master chef, stash a small cooler with cheese and fruit for an elegant first course spread.
Then finish strong with some chocolate and cream. Pouring this in a basic mess kit pot creates the most amazing chocolate fondue!
Don’t have a mess kit? No problem! We’ve got you covered with our guide on the 10 best camping mess kits for yummy meals.
Plan an intimate picnic outing
While we’re talking about food, you may as well go the extra step and make it a picnic.
See, if you’re going through all that effort to create a memorable meal, why bother eating it unceremoniously?
Instead, go all out! Spread a cute blanket, pack the meal into a basket – the whole nine yards.
One final tip: remember, one of the key ingredients to a successful picnic is the view. So try to scout out your location in advance. Make it as scenic and as private as possible.
Feed each other a sweet treat
Don’t forget to stash away a sweet treat! Chocolate, candy, wine, or a bottle of champagne are all good places to start.
Of course, we’d recommend packing your sweetie’s favorite sweet. And you’ll get bonus points if you manage to keep this a surprise.
Watch the sun rise (or set) in each other’s eyes
Remember that picnic we talked about earlier? If you manage to time it with the sunset, you’ll be in for a fantastic treat.
You could also prepare breakfast in time for a sunrise picnic…but that depends if you’re both earlybirds!
On the other hand, setting your alarm for the sunrise is a lot less labor-intensive.
The same goes for plunking your camp chairs down in front of a scenic vista. Hold hands while watching the sun sink below the horizon.
Cuddle while marveling at the stars
After the sun sets, stay a while and watch the stars emerge. There’s something ethereal and moving about stargazing. It carries romance and mystery and is a lovely way to draw closer.
If your tent has a mesh top, bring the stargazing inside and peer out from the comfort of your own bed.
You may find that stargazing sets the stage to ask each other deep and philosophical questions.
Dance in the moonlight
Play some of “your” songs over a portable camping speaker or on your phone and dance together!
This doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty. This is simply about the two of you, moving together in a shared rhythm. It’s totally okay to giggle or laugh aloud – especially if you aren’t skilled dancers!
Compile a romantic playlist
As an alternative for those who aren’t really the dancing type, consider preparing a playlist of your and your sweetheart’s favorite romantic songs.
It’s time to mine your memory! Add songs that you listened to when you first fell for your significant other. Or add tunes that make you think of them.
Whatever it is doesn’t matter as long as it means something to you two.
Once you’ve crafted your playlist, reveal it during dinner or just while sitting together in front of the fire.
Utilize artificial candles for an added boost of moody ambiance
Obviously, it’s not a good idea to bring real candles into a tent.
Thankfully, there are more than enough battery-powered candles to fit any preference or budget. A lot of models even flicker to mimic real candles.
But what if mimicking isn’t good enough and you want the real wax-burning candles? Well, feel free to set them around your campsite for some spectacular ambiance.
Cuddle together in front of a campfire
No matter the season, the mesmerizing dance of the flames brings magic to any camping experience.
So what better way to wind down after your adventures than cuddling in front of a campfire?
If you really want to get fancy, pull out the roasting sticks and s’mores supplies. Then when you’re done, feed each other the s’mores.
Frolic at the seashore
Walks along the seashore are another of those quintessential experiences that just oozes romance.
Whether it’s day or night, walking hand-in-hand through the surf is incredibly and almost inexplicably sweet.
So plan an oceanside getaway and get lost walking through miles of uninterrupted shoreline.
Rock to sleep in a double hammock
Snuggling is already pretty darn cozy. Now imagine doing so in a hammock for two, rocking gently to sleep.
Yeah, it doesn’t get much better than that.
We’ll leave you with this one caveat: be sure to invest in a quality hammock and suspension system – and know how to use it.
Otherwise, both of you could wind up on the ground! It could be romantic if you laugh it off together, but it could also leave you with really sore backsides.
Share a bottle of special wine
Popping the cork on a bottle (or two) of your favorite wine is a picture-perfect way to relax at the end of the day.
Alternatively, you can of course opt for beer or champagne if that’s more your jam.
For an extra touch, pull out the fancy wine glasses or champagne flutes. And don’t worry: there are plastic versions available so you don’t need to deal with shattered glass.
Brew some coffee, tea, or cocoa
If alcohol doesn’t do it for either of you, that’s totally cool! There are plenty of other special beverages that seem to personify “cozy.”
Fresh coffee, tea, or a rich cup of cocoa all fall under that category. So pull your honey close and pour them a cup of your hot, freshly-brewed-something.
Don’t forget to toast to each other!
Phones aren’t romantic!
One final thought: there’s a time and place for technology, but an intimate trip with your significant other is not it.
Oh, and that’s assuming you have cell service in the first place.
If you are blessed (and cursed) with cell signal, dedicate your time to each other and the moment instead of trying to curate those moments online.
Your sweetheart is what matters here, not the online audience.
Instead, cultivate purposeful mindfulness and full presence with your partner. You may be surprised by how rich and romantic your interactions become.
4 Romantic Destinations
To further sweeten the deal, our team compiled 4 ideas for some romantic destinations. So now that you’ve read our list of tips, it’s time to put them to use!
Waterfall forest adventure – moody, dark forests set a tone that’s as adventurous as it is romantic
Waterfalls are magical to behold, especially after emerging from a dense forest or trekking a long way.
Additionally, they’re relatively common no matter where you live, often requiring at most a few hours drive.
It’s easy to use Google (or even Google Maps) to locate any nearby forests with waterfalls. To get you started, here’s a list of 10 popular waterfall hikes in the US.
(If you want to unlock the power of Google for trip planning, we dive deep in our article about how to use Google My Maps to plan a road trip.)
Regarding your camping trip, we suggest finding a secluded campsite in the woods for maximum privacy.
Unfortunately, a lot of the bigger parks will likely have campgrounds available, but these can fill to bursting in the busy summer season.
Once you arrive at the waterfall, take a dip in the pool! That is, if it’s allowed and safe.
Lakeside kayaking excursion – paddle in a double kayak through pristine waters
No, we’re not talking about a tiny, scuzzy pond. We’re talking about paddling around a real lake – the bigger, the better!
This can be as crazy as the Finger Lakes in upstate New York or the Great Lakes surrounding Michigan and beyond.
Or if that’s too much of a haul, there are literally thousands of recreational lakes in the US alone.
Most of these are plenty large enough for a romantic kayak, canoe, or paddle boat excursion.
Some of the bigger lakes are situated on National Parks, which sometimes offer boats for rent. Meanwhile, they also may provide designated campgrounds which can be steps from the lakeside.
As is typical of most campgrounds, these won’t be the best for maximum privacy.
However, you’ll have plenty of opportunity and space for an elaborate car glamping excursion.
Ocean getaway – walk hand-in-hand through a warm, sandy beach
When thinking about “romantic” destinations, it’s tough to top an ocean getaway. After all, what compares to the sound of the rolling surf or the smell of sea air?
Although that fantasy is lovely, securing a campsite on the beach can be tough in reality. Luckily, this list is a good starting point for finding a beachside camping spot.
Once you’ve booked your reservation, it’s time to hit the beach! Stroll along the surf together by day and through the cool sand beneath the moon.
And when it’s time for bed, you’ll be rocked to sleep by the sound of the waves.
Mountain trek – for power couples!
If you and your sweetheart are fitness beasts – or experienced/passionate hikers – consider planning a strenuous mountain trek.
We all know the old saying that working hard alongside someone strengthens a bond. Well, that’s certainly true for a body-beating hike up a mountain.
All that effort will pay off in the end, especially if you can snag a scenic campsite near the summit…or at the summit!
Hopefully, you’ve brought a tent with a mesh top. Why? Because when the sun sets, you can be treated to the most breathtaking views of stars that you’ll likely ever see.
This is because you’re far from light pollution, which won’t interfere with the celestial lights. You may even be camped above the treeline; it’ll feel like you can reach up and touch the heavens.
That about sums up our tips for transforming any camping trip into a romantic experience.
As you can see, there’s plenty to pick from! In the end, it all comes down to customizing the tips to suit your and your partner’s preferences.
We hope you’ve come away from this with a few ideas to create sparks on your next excursion!