|Camping is an awesome time.|
Indoor plumbing is one instance. Another instance would be appliances like ovens, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers. However, camping is not at all a negative experience. I think camping can be very fun, relaxing and inspirational.
I have done most types of camping, from rustic tents to pop up campers to camping on a boat. I've stayed in many local campgrounds throughout the Poconos. I've also camped in New Jersey and on a boat in Watkins Glen. Some of the campgrounds are more modern such as the Beachcomber in Cape May, NJ or Splash Magic in Northumberland, PA. Some of them are definitely more rustic such as Locust Lake, Hickory Run and definitely Promised Land State Park. The last three mentioned are all Pennsylvania state parks.
There are many types of campgrounds. Some are restricted only to tents. Some are geared towards RVs and pop ups. Some offer cabins. Some welcome everything. The biggest thing when figuring out where to stay, is to keep in mind what you are willing to go without. If you are looking for a campground with a pool, playgrounds, a grocery store, family activities and flushing toilets, campgrounds like the Beach Comber and Splash Magic are perfect choices. If you are looking for peace and quiet, nature walks, and escaping the modern world, campgrounds like Locust Lake and Promised Land are great choices.
You have to gather wood to start the fire. You have to prepare meals that can be cooked over an open fire. You have to walk pretty far to the nearest bathroom. You have to accept dirt in your life. You have to make sure to store your food in coolers or else attract critters, sometimes smelly or rabid ones, to your site.
Same goes for the garbage. Make sure the garbage bags are kept in a secure spot. We would put them in the trunk of our car. We once had a family of raccoons visit our site one evening while we were asleep. They were so loud from fighting with each other that their screeching woke us. I am not gonna lie, I was a little scared that night because at the time, I did not know they were raccoons.
The next morning half our food was gone. They took the whole bag of marshmallows, plastic and all. Same with the cheese danish. They took the entire package including the metal tin. The hot dogs, buns and butter were all gone. The even took a plastic bottle of ketchup. We actually had to run out to buy more food because they obliterated us. Lesson learned. We stashed the food in coolers and in the cars.
The next night the raccoons came back for more. The food was stashed so there was no way they were getting any snacks. Didn't stop them from trying though. All you could hear was this non stop scratching for almost an hour. When we woke the next day, the cooler had these deep scratches on the lid from the raccoon family trying to get into it.
My mother looked over to a storm drain and saw these glowing eyes staring at her. Needless to say, that day, there were a few sick raccoons making noises from the woods. Eating plastic doesn't feel so great to the digestive system huh? Little buggers. Campgrounds are a gangsta's paradise for Trash Pandas.
|The Trash Panda family of food thieves.|
I've stayed at campsites where there was no electricity or water spigot. If you wanted water, you either brought your own jugs or walked to the community spigot to fill your water vessels. If you wanted light, you used lanterns and flashlights. If you wanted warmth, you put on extra layers and cozied up to the campfire. If you wanted entertainment, you listened to a battery operated radio, read books and played card and board games.
Yes, you have your cell phone, we had our phones, but even the top carriers with the broadest ranges often times have sporadic to no coverage in the more rustic campsites. We mostly used our cell phones to take pictures and send the occasional text but that was it. Besides, sometimes we all just need to put down our phones and forget about it for a few days. It's tough but also rewarding.
|Ricky chilling on the tire swing in Locust Lake|
If you are camping near a lake, make an effort to wake at sunrise. I highly recommend it. The mist coming off the lake at daybreak is nothing short of amazing. It's like sitting in a cloud. It's also the ideal time to gather firewood and get the blaze going for some percolated coffee.
Nightime is the perfect time to enjoy fire shows. To experience this, all you have to do is look around the lake or down the horizon. Depending on the set up of the campground, sometimes you can see the beautiful glow of all the many campfires from other sites. It's a simple and pretty view against the pitch black sky. And let's not forget nature's glitter. Depending on the time of summer you are camping, be sure to check out the trees and fields after dark. Thousands upon thousands of fireflies can often be seen fluttering about the trees, showcasing an enchanting display of sparkles in the dark of night. Who said there is no such thing as fairies?
|A cool tree growing out of rocks on one of our hikes.|
My kids and I would hike around trails trying to identify trees, birds, plants, and flowers. Nature books are great to take along when camping. You learn so much about your surroundings that it actually takes on this whole new appearance. It's like a world within a world.
My kids and I would stroll around the lake searching for turtles, minnows and pollywogs. There were so many of them. We would stop to admire the clusters of lily pads, our eyes scanning the water for frogs we could hear but could not see.
"Yes! There's a frog. Look mom, there is another one!"
"Look at the turtle bobbing his head out of the water mom. He is so cute!"
|My girl scout making trail mix.|
We would fill sandwich bags with our own custom trail mixes made from items I bought from the grocery store. Here is another camping tip for everyone: Do not forget to secure your sandwich bag of trail mix. If you leave it alone for even a minute, a chippy or squirrel will have that bag ripped open in no time and eat all your candy corn. Those furry, fluffy jerks.....from the jerk store!
Custom Made Trail Mix
Add these goodies to your camping grocery list then have some fun with your family and friends making your own custom trail mixes. A lot of these items you can pick up at the dollar store.
- Sandwich Bags
- Animal Crackers
- Chex or Life Cereal
- Yogurt Covered Raisins
- Dried Cranberries
- Mini Pretzel Twists
- Roasted Peanuts
- Dried Apricots
- Frosted Mini Wheats
- Candy Corn
- Sunflower Seeds
- Dried Apple or Banana Chips
As for the more modern campgrounds, they are great too. You can take a warm shower. You can use flushing toilets. Some have pools and little beaches. Maintenance will pick up your garbage everyday and they have plenty firewood for sale. Modern campgrounds also have more activities such as family movie nights, craft workshops and bingo nights. One of the downfalls to modern campgrounds is they tend to pack people in tight. They are always crowded. But, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to a hotel in a more expensive vacation area, these campgrounds are perfect for families with children.
|The Redheaded days. Doing puzzles & chillin in the screen tent.|
Enjoy some relaxation in nature. Allow her to embrace you. Set up some chairs around the fire. Take a nap in a hammock. Use the cast iron for some delicious campfire cooking. Stroll through the forest and discover her mysterious world.
Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald's, Facebook, Instagram, television, your bills, your responsibilities, your stresses, they will all be there waiting for you when you come back to the modern world. Trust me. They aren't going anywhere. However, your mind will thank you for the small break from reality.
Some of My Other Outdoor Adventures
#27 Ride On A Boat
#129 Watch The Sun Set and Sun Rise In One Day
#138 Visit Boulder Field, Hickory Run State Park
#208 Try Kayaking
#296 Climb To The Top Of A Lighthouse
#304 Go Apple Picking
#311 Watch The Sun Set On A Beach
Some Of My Favorite Camping Recipes
Campfire Banana Splits
|Campfire banana splits.|
Grilled Naan Pizza
|Grilled Naan Pizza. As long as you have a grate, you can cook over fire.|
Grilled Bang Bang Shrimp Skewers
Campfire Potato Packets
Campfire Potato Packets
Useful Camping Links
Fun Activities To Try When Camping
|Ricky and Bill searching for treasure.|