Is it safe to go camping?

Camping is generally considered to be a low-risk activity. And for many of us, it’s a key ingredient to a fun summer. While camping, you are outside and fairly isolated or, at least, distanced from other people, and that reduces the risk that you’ll catch or spread COVID-19. But you can still take several steps to keep the risk of viral spread as low as possible and ensure that your camping adventure is a healthy blast.

Wear a face covering: Wear face coverings whenever you are around others (less than 6 feet apart) and every time you use a public restroom

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently: Plan ahead and bring your own soap, surface disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and paper towels. These items will help you keep up your good hand hygiene (i.e., washing often for 20 seconds). 

Social distancing: Plan ahead and choose a campground that takes reservations. This way, you can check the campground’s capacity before you arrive and see how close campsites are to each other. Consider going midweek when campgrounds tend to be less busy. Limit your co-campers to your household or your social bubble, and set up your campsite to maximize your distance from neighboring campers. Remember to stay at least 6 feet away from all people who are not in your household or social bubble. This means you should avoid congested hiking trails, playgrounds, and all contact sports.

Final reminders: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor about your camping plans to make sure camping is a good idea for you and your family. Follow local rules and guidance—many state and local governments may have closed public parks. Check the latest CDC updates before your trip. Try to camp close to home—this will shrink the chances of COVID-19 spreading between communities. And minimizing the distance you travel will also reduce the number of riskier stops (like gas stations and public restrooms) that you’ll need to make.

As always, stay home if you are not feeling well or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 


Last update: July 8, 2020, 11:30 am ET

Science review: AGB, ERS