In 2010, Oprah and Gayle camped in Yosemite Park to highlight the dismal number of African Americans who camp. At the time, the Park estimated that blacks made up just one percent of its 280 million tourists. Sadly, I doubt Oprah’s highly-publicized escapade dramatically increased the number of black campers.

I have been camping at least once a year for the last few years after being exposed to it as a Girl Scout. I’ve camped at Carolina beaches, the Grand Canyon, the N.C. mountains and musical festivals. I love throwing up a tent and building a fire. I’ve done bougie camping (propane grills and electric outlets to power my gadgets). I’ve also done primitive camping like no showers or toilets. I love them all except for the lack of blacks that I meet on my adventures.

Camping is a great and inexpensive way to see beautiful places, especially Carolina beaches. Typically, nightly stays begin at $15 a night. Try it for yourself. Start slowly with the McDowell Nature Preserve in South Charlotte and Lake Norman State Park. Site amenities range from primitive tent sites to cabins. Get a group a friends, a portable grill and go for it. You may surprise yourself.