Saturday, February 1, 2014

Camping - A How To Guide

So to take a different spin on travel, give camping a try. I have been camping my whole life, and my kidz have too. It's not as daunting as it seems! There are many places that cater to the camping newbie. But I promise, once you try it, you'll never go back. Camping is a great way to get away, on a budget and the kids LOVE it! So take a deep breath, keep an open mind, and I promise you will have a good time!

What You Need:
Depending on where you go & how 'rugged' you want to get, there are a ton of camping options. You could camp in a tent, a pop up camper, a self contained camper, a large mobile home, a van or many campgrounds offer cabin rentals. The cabin rentals are a good way to go for the camping newbie. At KOA campgrounds, they offer many different rental opportunities - from small cabins for a real camping experience, to full house cabins with kitchens and bathrooms. KOA have campgrounds all over the country. Our favorites have been Lake Placid and Bar Harbor Maine.

 You will also need things like bedding, food, utensils, a cooler, folding chairs, lanterns or flashlights, and a way to cook your food. You can keep it simple and make ahead meals that can be eaten cold or warmed up. Even though I am an experienced camper, I like to do this for the ease. Camping is a vacation for me and I don't want to spend all my time cooking and cleaning. So I make meals ahead and I bring paper goods for easy clean up. Ideas for make ahead meals:
          grilled chicken                         pasta salad                            fruit salad       
          sausage & peppers                 soup                                      chili
          beef stew                                potato salad                          fajitas           

Many of these can be eaten cold, or it's as easy as putting into a dollar store tin foil pan and re-heating over a grill or fire. Many campgrounds offer community grills. You only need to bring charcoal. But you can pick up a small camping grill at a sporting goods store for $25-30. Worth every penny if you plan to go camping more than once. Or that same grill is perfect for tailgating or family picnics at a park!  

As far as what to do - the question is - what NOT to do! The beauty of camping is that the kids are entertained just running around in the woods near your site! But most campgrounds offer playgrounds, pools, beaches, hiking trails, bike paths, fishing, boating and more!

 Here is a good starter list to follow when packing for your first trip:
Tent/camper                                                                 folding camping chairs
Bedding/pillows/air mattress or pad                               flashlights
small grill & propane                                                    plastic tablecloth
tin foil trays to cook in                                                  BABY WIPES (trust me)
serving/cooking utensils                                                paper & lighter for campfire
paper goods                                                                marshmallows
cooler                                                                          bug spray, sun screen, aloe
food & drinks                                                              first aid kit (cuts & bug bites happen)
toiletries                                                                       towels
playing cards                                                                camera

Other Tips:
~Pack warm clothes & hats - even in the summer. It can get chilly at night.
~Research the area for indoor activities - you don't want to be stuck in a tent on a rainy day.
~Make sure you arrive with plenty of daylight - setting up in the dark is hard even for seasoned campers.
~First timers go local - so if disaster strikes, you are close to home. (and you can run home for all the things   you forget)

So go ahead and give camping a try this summer. There are thousands of campgrounds everywhere. From mountains to lakes to the ocean. Check your local state parks, national parks, and private campgrounds like KOA. Some are rugged with little amenities and others have scheduled activities like arts & crafts and hayrides! Once you get over your fear and go, you'll never look back. Go out, unplug and enjoy nature with your kidz!

Other Resources:
Reserve America - great for booking campgrounds both state & private
Camp Jellystone  - great for little kids and families that want a lot of activities

No comments:

Post a Comment