It used to be that camping was what people did when they wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, commune with nature, and connect with their loved ones. Not any more. These days people go camping and want to connect -- to the internet. That is the conclusion that owners of private campgrounds across the country have reached in recent years. In response to the demand from their customers, more than 6,000 of the 8,000 private campgrounds in the nation have added wi-fi internet access, primarily in the last couple of years.
Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, email, and all of the other ways people connect through the internet, the options for truly getting away from it all are dwindling. It is becoming much easier for people to continue to conduct business while they are on their camping vacations, and many do. Not only can they work, email, Tweet, and post on their Facebook pages, but they can also watch television shows on the internet.
Even the national parks have been jumping on the internet access bandwagon. Rocky Mountain National Park recently added wi-fi service at two visitor centers. Yosemite National Park offers free wireless internet access to all Yosemite Lodge guests upon check-in, and all park visitors can get internet access for a fee. The Ahwahnee also offers free internet access to guests, and a few other locations in the park offer wireless for a fee. Many of the other national parks also offer wireless internet access in selected locations. But camping purists, don’t despair. The national park service advises that there are no plans to add wireless internet access in the approximately 3,000 campgrounds contained within the parks.
Of course, many RVs are equipped with satellite internet access, either through roof-mounted or portable satellite receivers. It is also possible to get wireless internet access through cell phone plans and USB modems, if a signal is available. Certainly there are times when it is necessary to have an internet connection. But we might be less stressed, healthier, and happier if, when on vacation, we leave the gadgets turned off, and just go outside and play.