Think about it. What we refer to as outdoor recreation was once simply the necessities of life. I don’t mean that recreation was the necessity. No, it’s the activity which was the necessity. Outdoor recreation, as we know it today, is a means of playing outside but these activities weren’t always “play.” The same activities were once just what was needed to exist.

Let’s take a closer look at today’s outdoor recreation activities.

  • Sailing, boating, canoeing or rafting
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Horseback riding
  • Backpacking or hiking
  • Cycling
  • Rock climbing
  • And our all-time favorite, camping!

Now let’s talk about the necessities of life in years gone by:

  • Sailing, boating, canoeing or rafting – necessity of transportation from Point A to Point B
  • Fishing – necessity of finding dinner
  • Hunting – necessity of providing meat for dinner, bones for knives, fat for soap, skin for clothing, bedding, saddle bags, etc. (it’s know that the Indigenous Americans used every bit of the buffalo)
  • Horseback riding – necessity of transportation from Point A to Point B
  • Backpacking or hiking – necessity of transportation, again
  • Cycling – necessity of transportation, yet again
  • Rock climbing – necessity of overcoming what was in the path from one low point to a higher one
  • And our all-time favorite, camping! – necessity of lodging or shelter!

Let’s expand that by one. RVing. Well, the covered wagons of days gone by contained all of the worldly possessions of its occupants: kitchen, bedding, clothing, heirlooms, and so on. The covered wagon was their home on wheels. It was their transportation. It was their shelter.

RVs of today are all of that but they usually come with a built-in restroom, refrigerated food, a television and stereo (and more) for entertainment, a comfortable mattress, and often it even has a bed for Rover the family pet.

With that perspective, aren’t you glad you live in today’s world?

I know I prefer the fun of my outdoor activities rather than having them be my everyday normal task. My necessities are such things as a change of pace and a bit of rejuvenation while I enhance my appreciation of nature. My necessity is holding my camera rather than a computer keyboard, for at least a few days. My change of pace and rejuvenation comes by way of seeing and photographing Colorado’s glorious and majestic beauty!

When I travel, I often think of our country’s early pioneers. I appreciate the luxury of using a highway rather than unpaved trails (if even that existed for some pioneers). I appreciate being able to go Colorado off-roading in an ATV rather than for my entire journey, especially if it’s a cross-country journey!

I am grateful for those blue highway signs that say REST AREA!

I treasure that I can quickly find a great meal. Even going to a full-service family-owned Colorado restaurant, that doesn’t begin cooking my order until I order it, is faster and a whole lot easier than first needing to go hunt for what I’ll cook … after I build my fire!

How about this one? Rock climbing is no longer the only way to get from one low point to a higher one. You can go rock climbing for an afternoon and then meet your buddies at one of Colorado’s great wineries or microbreweries for an evening of celebration and fun.

This traveler feels so connected to my roots. My grandfather was an avid traveler, and he loved learning the local lore and history. Both of my parents had a lifelong case of wanderlust. History and geography captured their interest. So, I guess my Colorado camping trip are unavoidable … they simply course through my veins and are embedded in my DNA. But this traveler is very pleased to be doing the traveling with today’s creature comforts!

I’m all for outdoor recreation and adventures, but I’m glad these hobbies we have today are no longer life’s necessities!

Life’s necessities today, with regard to outdoor recreation, include the need to escape from daily routines, the freedom to have fun and explore nature and the great outdoors, a break from the office, a day without meetings, and a getaway from congestion and noise pollution.

Speaking of pollution, let’s talk about the ability to escape from light pollution! When you add outdoor recreation to your life, be sure to look UP. Colorado has some fantastic views of an endless night sky, overflowing with stars that appear to be so close you can reach up and touch them!

Come! Enjoy a vast array of outdoor recreation and adventures. Colorado is filled with opportunities for your recreation, and our Camp Colorado website is filled with outdoor hospitality options!

Our Find a Campground page makes it easier to narrow the list of campground to those which best suit your preferences.

This publication is supported by funding from the Colorado Tourism Office, a state agency. Turn to for a comprehensive list of festivals, events, historic areas, itineraries, and community insight.

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