Meeting new people, finding new places, making new memories. That is what this is all about.
Gay Camping Friends believes that as gay bars and gay areas have slowly declined, the gay camping industry remains strong and as important as ever to the health and identity of the LGBTQ+ community. We believe that fostering the growth of connections between people, the environment, and businesses is critical and it is our mission to provide an engaging, active avenue by which these connections can grow.
Founded in December of 2020 by John Anderson, Gay Camping Friends experienced a whirlwind of growth near the end of the Coronavirus pandemic, growing by several thousand members per week and organizing quickly into what is has become today.
A Letter to Our Members
Four months ago, I started a Facebook group called Gay Camping Friends. After spending more than half of last year living full time in an RV I realized just how amazing camping and the camping culture really can be. Sharing the experience of camping with the community, promoting and building the “gay camping” industry, elevating “gay friendly” businesses, and building connections between people are all very important to me and things that I hope this group can accomplish as time goes on.
I feel like gay campgrounds are one of the safe spaces we have that will endure and thrive even as our historical safe spaces in “gayborhoods” and “gay bars” are feeling the strain of people moving to suburbs, drinking less, or feeling comfortable in “straight” establishments due to the evolution and change that comes with time. It’s important to recognize that there are people out there that do need these safe spaces and while many may not feel like they need to go to a gay bar every weekend anymore, we can all benefit from having a place we can cut loose, be our unabashed selves, and enjoy the company of our gay or gay friendly peers.
As COVID-19 begins to subside, I believe that camping in general will experience a boom due to the increased number of people who can work remotely and the desire to “get out” both from our homes and from highly populated areas. With this, I hope and believe that we will experience huge growth in “gay camping” as well.
This group is the largest gay camping group on Facebook, but it is only 4 months old. We are still working out the kinks with Facebook moderation, working on ways to keep the group engaged, working on our own organization, working on web presence, trying to figure out what our options are with events since campgrounds are mostly already busy and cant support large groups with their infrastructure, struggling with keeping content focused on “camping” without giving the impression this is a “hookup” group, and trying to keep up while gaining 300-500 members every day.
Note: Facebook’s new Admin Assist feature is rolling out to us soon which will clear up a LOT of the fake profiles and other undesirable content.
It is my goal to figure all of this out, bring in some good people to help, and mold this group into an organization that is truely helpful, informative, fosters new friendships, focuses on camping as much as possible, and as hard as it may be to do – recognizes that each person may have a different version of “gay camping” that they enjoy and empowers each of those versions in a way that does not impose any one version on everyone else.
Again – Thank you for being here, thank you for reading this, and thank you for bearing with us as we grow!
Gay Camping Friends Founder