This weekend we will be camping. For those of you living in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas I know you all are gearing up for your camping trips too. The bugs are finally dying off and the nights are actually cool enough to build a fire. I however, live in Maryland, and for some insane reason agreed to a camping trip in Delaware. It will be cold, very cold. I might not return, but at least we will have had some cheap family fun!
My childhood memories of camping involve throwing up, bug bites, high fevers, and food I didn’t like. Needless to say, as an adult I was in no hurry to share such wonderful memories with my children. We have friends who love to camp and after hearing stories of campfires, fishing, hiking, and delicious food I was willing to try one more time.
On our first camping trip, our friends were kind enough to pick a full service campground with plenty of playgrounds, bathrooms, and a Walmart just 10 minutes away. We had an absolutely wonderful time and began to make plans for our next trip. Our next trip was to a state park with fewer amenities and fewer people. We enjoyed boating, fishing, hiking, and my husband’s new love, Frisbee golf.
Over the past few years I have realized that camping is a wonderful thrifty vacation, especially for a large family. Most state campgrounds allow up to eight people at a campsite and the site are very inexpensive, especially when compared to a hotel room. Many campgrounds are located near activities that are also free or inexpensive. Camping is also great if you have little boys who like to run wild all day. Camping, hiking, collecting sticks, and tending the fire help to wear them out by the end of the day.
As for all the camping supplies, many can be found at yard sales or thrift stores. In fact while I was at the thrift store today I saw a man walk by with a Coleman stove in his arms. I often see sleeping bags, tents, lanterns, and other supplies while yard saling. Many stores clearance their camping items at the end of the summer and you can get some really great deals. If you want try camping, borrow supplies from a friend. The first time we camped we only had one tent but needed two so we borrowed one from our neighbor. Every military base I have ever been on rents camping items for a pretty low price as well. Many also have campgrounds.
If I survive our upcoming weekend with freezing temperatures, I hope to blog a little next week about some camping tips I have picked up from my friends. Until then you can download the camping check list, and pray for a heat wave.