Photo by Josh New

Sipping early morning coffee as birds chirp and call to one another. Cooking over an open pit. Popping a cold one in the shade. Kicking back by a fire. Falling asleep amid psithurism (rustling of trees and fallen leaves) and the sounds of nocturnal creatures.

Photo by Josh New

These are essential joys of tent camping … and they can be found in every corner of Oklahoma. State parks (from Black Mesa to Beavers Bend, from Grand Lake to Great Plains), the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in the middle of Oklahoma and many sites in national forests give everyone a chance to commune with nature in minimalist surroundings.

Whether your tent is family-sized or a single, lightweight nylon or old-school canvas, you live simply and efficiently. Even if it rains, a good book or robust game of Scrabble on a travel-edition board is enhanced by the atmosphere.

And when you get out to stretch your legs, the fresh scents from the gentle showers provide all the reasons for why you do this.

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