Had it with the "rat race"? Got time off but not much cash to spend? Losing touch with your family? Sounds like an old-fashioned campout is just what you need. Camping is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend time getting reacquainted with your family. Great family camping getaways are easy to plan and inexpensive vacation options. Nature is everywhere, so you don't need to travel far for your camping trip. You can journey to a national park, drive to a local campground, or pitch a tent in your own backyard. Camping 101 begins with the planning.
This part of the trip is half the fun. Call a family meeting to decide where you'd like to go. Depending on your budget, you can plan to load up the trunk with tents and sleeping bags, pull a camper or drive an RV. The point is to treat your family to an unforgettable outdoor adventure, so it doesn't matter how you plan to camp or where you intend to go. If you are new to the camping experience, it's probably a good idea to start out slow.
Book a weekend campsite to get the feel for the camping lifestyle. Get used to cooking over a wood fire and sharing your space with wildlife, before you venture too far away from the comforts of home. Many campgrounds provide fun activities like pools, playgrounds, fishing or recreational boating, so check your local listings to see what adventures lie ahead. Once your kids (and you) recover from the shock of having no television or Internet access, you'll all have an eye-opening experience. You'll realize the nature is fun. Camping opens the doors to a world of new activities, like swimming, rock diving, boating, fishing, hiking, catching butterflies, searching for fossils, and going wherever your energy level and imagination can take you. Campgrounds and remote parks are all filled with wonderful ways to enjoy the best nature has to offer. If you want to boat or water ski, many campsites offer these and other items for rent. Don't expect to bring along your everyday dinnerware and automatic coffeepot for your campout. Remember, you will be roughing it, so pack accordingly.
Bring plastic dishes and cutlery that can be washed and reused, but won't break in transit. Make sure you have enough sleeping bags, pillows and extra clothes. Pack the food you'll need, plus a little extra, and keep a supply of ice on hand for perishables like meat and dairy. If you're bringing tins of beans, remember a manual can opener or pack your Swiss army knife. If you're not sure what to bring, ask an associate at your local sporting store to help you choose your camping needs. Call on friends who like to camp, and ask them for advice. Just like your old scoutmaster used to say, "Always be prepared". Make a list and check it three times before you leave on your camping trip. Make sure that there is enough food and fresh water for everyone. Bring food that can be easily prepared on your campsite.
Pack clothing for all kinds of weather. Don't forget sunscreen, bug spray and hygiene items. Toilet paper and paper towels are absolute necessities. Bring along some soap and toothpaste, but leave the hair gel and makeup at home. Mother Nature doesn't care what you look like. She just wants you to enjoy your stay.