One thing I’ve always loved to do was to go camping. I grew up camping beside a set of lakes near my hometown. Most of the summers of my childhood revolve around staying at the lakes and fishing.
My parents had a small camper and we would stay in it nearly every weekend during the summer months. My grandparents had a bigger Winnebago, and they were often parked right next to us. We had a lot of fun sitting on the bank with a fishing pole in hand.
My great uncle taught me how to drive a trolling motor, so we would go out on the lake and fish. He would let me drive and we would fish all around the connecting lakes. We would catch large amounts of fish all summer and then have a huge fish fry at the end of the season.
The only thing missing was there was no swimming allowed in the lakes. If it weren’t for that, it would have been the perfect summer retreat. Nevertheless, it was still a pretty great way to spend a summer.
After I got older and got married, my husband and I liked to camp also. We didn’t have a camper, so we spent our time tent camping. We enjoyed it and it was great for us when we were younger. My daughter learned to love it also.
We had the perfect spot picked out at our favorite state park. It was just past the corner of two roads and the bathrooms/showers were just a short walk across the street. There weren’t a lot of party crowds and it was a pretty quiet spot. We could sit by the campfire all evening, roasting marshmallows and talking about the fun we had that day. Sometimes playing games or singing silly songs with our daughter. Those were good times.
Now, the years have passed and my husband passed away. My daughter is grown, although she does still live at home with me for the time being. My parents now have a larger RV, and sometimes we get to go for a weekend camping with them.
It’s a different experience, but still enjoyable in its own right. The beds are more comfortable and we can sit in the air conditioning if we get too hot. I know some people don’t consider that camping, but we still go fishing or swimming, we still sit around the campfire and roast marshmallows. In my opinion, it’s still a pretty great escape from the dredges of everyday life.
What makes camping so great?
The best thing about camping is that it is so versatile. It can literally be done by people of all walks of life. You can spend large amounts of money on it, buying a fancy RV, or small amounts and throwing a tent up real quick. Camping doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor. There are sites for everyone. Basic sites with no amenities, sites with electric or even electric and sewer hookups. You can camp in the woods, far away from anyone else, or you can camp with groups of people. The possibilities are endless!
Another thing I love about it is that it is for all age groups. No matter how young or old you are, there is a way for you to enjoy it. For example, young kids can bring their bikes and ride around the street by the camper. Almost everyone can enjoy the trails, especially when they have handicap access.
Now that many parks have paved some of the trails, even wheelchair users are able to enjoy them. This also makes it easier for the elderly to walk them without worrying about tripping and falling. If they are flat trails, people with pain and disabilities can walk them with less pressure on their joints. The placement of benches along the trails help so that people can rest along the way. Therefore, they can go further than they would have been able to without the benches. I am so pleased with the way parks are providing disability access.
I can remember as a child, going on vacation with my grandma. She would often stay back and let the rest of us go see some locations. I always felt so bad that she wouldn’t go and tried to talk her into it. I didn’t realize at the time, but she wasn’t able to walk it. If only they had more disability access at that time, she could have done more with us. And, she would have LOVED it! She, too, had a traveler’s heart.
What to do…
As I was saying, there is so much variety to camping, you can try all the different experiences and have a new trip each time. Some of the different ways to enjoy camping include the following…
Pitch a tent
Try roughing it for a weekend and see if you like it. It can be a lot of fun and a cheap way to enjoy a getaway.
Rent a cabin
This is one way to enjoy time in a state park without being completely dependent on the elements. Cabins can range from basic to luxurious. But, it’s a bed and not the ground, which allows for a more comfortable experience.
Rent an RV
This is a way to test one out before you invest a lot of money to purchase one. You can see if RV camping is your style.
This is my number one enjoyment when going camping. Although I do love it regardless if I get to swim or not, this is the first thing I look for to see if the park offers this opportunity.
I haven’t been fishing in a long time. This is something that you definitely have to like doing. Either you love it or you don’t. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between. At least not that I’ve experienced.
Again, this can be for different abilities. Hard trails for those adventurers or easy trails for people who want a leisurely walk or people with young children.
Just the kids, or everyone in the family. Bicycling can be a lot of fun and a great way to see the wildlife if the trails allow bikes.
Many state parks have nature programs to educate and entertain visitors. These can be great fun for the kids.
Whether you have your own horse or you just take an excursion for the day, this can be a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the outdoors.
Sitting around the fire roasting hotdogs or marshmallows. S’mores anyone? Who could complain about that?
Renting a jet ski, pontoon or ski boat, skiing on the open waters. For those looking for a little excitement, this can be just the ticket.
Playing games sitting at the picnic table
This is a great way to keep the kids entertained.
For a list of all the national parks in the United States, be sure to check out the website for the National Park Service.
Do you enjoy camping as much as I do? What are some of your favorite activities? Leave a comment and let me know!