As parents about May we start thinking about summer vacation ideas. It is almost a panic with the thought of, “I want to create lasting memories for my children, what will we do this summer?”
“Are we there yet?” “Mom, he’s touching me!” “Well, she’s looking at me!” “Are we there YET?” “I’ve gotta go!” “Aren’t we THERE YET?”
It’s phrases like these that drive fear into parents heart, and make you wonder why you ever thought taking a family vacation was going to be “fun”!
Camping vacations offer an exciting yet affordable means for the entire family to be together and enjoy each other. Everybody gets a chance to participate in games and recreational activities plus relaxing their mind and bodies.
– Where do you want to go?
Every part of the United States and other countries around the world have exciting and fun places to camp. Most of the great camping areas are on public lands administered by land management agencies.
There are local, state and federal land management agencies that can assist you in your area or country. In the U.S., they include the Bureau of Land Management, the USDA Forest Service, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Also camping equipment stores in your area will have local guidebooks. And don’t forget to search the Internet for campgrounds in your area.
Similar agencies and government departments exist in all countries, worldwide for campers. Here are a few that I have found are useful in the U.S., along with links and descriptions.
National Park Service.
….There are hundreds of parks, recreation areas, and other facilities within the National Park Service. Within these facilities are over one hundred campgrounds open to the public. Campsites are usually available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A few of the campgrounds offer on-line reservations. These campgrounds aren’t expensive and usually cost $35-45 a night, with a maximum stay of 14 days. The campgrounds have toilets, showers, picnic tables and fire pits, all the essentials for a great campout!
But remember, the national parks are very popular and tend to get very busy on holidays and during the summer months.
USDA Forest Service…This is the “mother lode” for campers with tens of thousands of campsites at over 1,700 locations managed by the USDA Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. Information on individual campgrounds is available on-line from ReserveUSA, a service provided by the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS).
Finding a campground at Recreation.gov is easy. Click on the link and it will take you to their web site, click on the map of the U.S. or choose from the list of states. This will take you to the state map with all the campsites displayed and a linked list of all the campsites.
Click on a campsite from the list or click the map for a smaller map and campsite list. Each campground page will tell you about the area and show a detailed map of that campground’s layout.
You get directions, local sites of interest and you can reserve your site on-line. Definitely worth checking out!
For breakfast when you are out camping try something fun with the kids and create some great orange rolls that you cook inside of oranges over the fire. You will need:
- Pillsbury Grands! Orange Flavor Rolls
- A Camp fire
Cut the oranges in half and scoop out the insides. Grab the Pillsbury Grands! Orange Flavor Rolls and put one in each orange half. Put the oranges onto a baking sheet or something you can throw on top a fire cover the oranges with tinfoil throw the tray on the fire……The rolls will rise as they bake…these smell amazing as they are cooking over the fire. Once the rolls have risen pull them off of the fire and add the icing to the rolls. They are sticky and yummy!!!
Here is our 10 step plan to planning a successful camping trip whether you are traveling of going for a weekend.
- Find a campsite. Call ahead a must on weekends especially Holiday weekends
- Start Small and within your adventure limits.
- Make a rain plan, even if it is a card game in the tent or a book. Use your local library many have trip bags and travel packs that are great.
- Leave behind only footprints
- Don’t forget part of camping is enjoying being together. Get everyone involved at their level. Even if it is just drying one dish.
- Roast at least one marshmallow
- Don’t forget your pillow
- Check the weather before you leave.
Well you decided to take the plunge and buy a tent, well before you become lost in a the options consider a few things:
- How often will you use the tent?
- How many people does it need to hold?
- Under what conditions will you be using the tent, backpacking, biking, colder weather or family camping in August?
8 Rhodes™ Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold 1 package hot dogs, 8 count
Roll each roll into a 14 to 15-inch rope. Twist rope around each hot dog 4 or 5 times, securing ends in dough. Place on a large sprayed baking sheet. Bake immediately at 350°F 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with desired condiments.These curly dogs may also be cooked over hot coals at a summer cookout.
Once you have few ideas on how you will use the tent here are a few more tips to help:
Tent capacity ratings. Tent manufactures rate a tent on how many people it can hold A two person tent will hold two people. That means the tent will ONLY hold two people, and some tents won’t even do that.
What are you going to do with all the stuff?
If you want your clothes, cot, food, backpack etc. inside the tent, then you need to add at least a person more than the capacity. e.g. a three person tent will hold two adults, and most of their stuff fairly well.
Don’t think that a small kid is less than an adult!
They may not be that big, but all the gear that you need to keep them happy takes up all the rest of the room!
Tent Rooms: This is a great way for a family to have a section for the kids and a section for the parents. This way the parents can stay up later than the kids and not wake them up, even if forced into the tent due to rain or other inclement weather.
Tent Design. The enemy of a tent is moisture. When you get inside a tent, your breathing puts off a lot of hot moist air. This moisture needs to be ventilated from the tent.
This is why most modern tents have an air permeable roof covered by a rain fly.. Look at all the seams on the tent for quality. Are they straight and always on the fabric? How well are the ends of the seams finished off?
Are all the stress points reinforced?
Always use a ground cloth (some companies call it a tent footprint).
It’s another layer of insulation and moisture
control, and it will protect your tent floor from excessive wear and tear.
(You Will Love This TENT……Easy To Put Together, Great For a Family or Very Close Friends. Love The Height!
The configuration is one big tent with solid flooring and a screen room that has no floor.
The big tent can be separated into 2 rooms with a plastic flap (with zipper) that you hang up on hooks.
You can enter/exit through the ‘room’ closest to the screen.
Great quality, perfect for car camping. I would say it’s comfortable for either 4 adults or 2 adults and up to 3 kids 10yrs & under)
Walking Tacos….Turn a bag of chips into a delicious meal. This is a great way to store your taco salad in a disposable container. We did this at a family reunion and everyone loved it!
1 1/2 lb Ground Beef
2 tbsp Taco Seasoning
7 Lunch size bags Nacho Doritos, Cool Ranch Doritos and/or Fritos (or how many you need, adjust your hamburger as well)
Sour Cream, etc.
Basically all the taco toppings you can think of!
Brown ground beef and drain.
Add seasoning and 1/4 cup water.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Gently crush chips in each bag.
Open top and roll down edges of bag.
Add a meat and cheese and your favorite toppings and gently toss with a plastic fork.
(The Volcano Collapsible Grill works well with three different fuels and multiple methods of cooking. The Volcano is a tri-fuel stove that can use charcoal, wood, or propane*. Extremely versatile and portable in an emergency or camping.Grill directly on the Volcano Collapsible Stove, or use a pot, pan, or 10-12 inch Dutch oven!)
Tips to Help With Camping…..
- 1 frozen hash brown patty
- 2 eggs, scrambled, uncooked
- 2 frozen sausage patties
- spices and seasonings
- Cheese (optional)
Crimp the sides of your sheet of foil so that the eggs won’t go anywhere when you add them. First place your hash brown patty on the foil. Then place the eggs on top of the hash brown patty. Then place the sausage patties on top. Season with spices and condiments and wrap up in a tent pack. Place on hot coals and cook for 15 minutes. Add the cheese when it’s ready (it turns out better than cooking it in the pack).
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- ½ cup oats, quick cooking
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ cups chocolate chips
- Preheat grill or oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
- Cream butter then add sugars and mix until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs and vanilla.
- Mix until well-combined.
- Add flour, oats, sea salt, and baking soda to butter mixture.
- Mix well and then stir in chocolate chips.
- Pour chocolate chip cookie dough into a 10-inch, well-seasoned, oven and grill safe cast iron skillet.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked in the center.
Freezer Bag Omelets…
Looking for an easy breakfast? Break an egg or two into a freezer bag, then add your favorite toppings (cheese, peppers, onion, ham, etc.) — kids love the chance to create their own omelet mixture. Boil over a campfire for 20-30 minutes.
Be sure to use freezer bags, not just storage bags, or they’ll melt right through. When the egg is cooked completely, simply slide out of the bag and enjoy!
Campfire Bread sticks…
Wrap refrigerated bread sticks around a stick. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the bread sticks, then roast over a fire. It just doesn’t get easier than that! You can also use Italian spices or other seasonings instead of cinnamon, for a savory bread stick.
Sixteen Steps to Build a Campfire
1. Split dead limb into fragments and shave one fragment into slivers.
2. Bandage left thumb.
3. Chop other fragments into small fragments.
4. Bandage left foot.
5.Make structure of slivers (include those embedded in hand.)
6. Light Match
7. Light Match.
8. Apply match to slivers, add wood fragments, and blow gently into base of fire.
11. When fire is burning, collect more wood.
12. Upon discovering that fire has gone out while searching for more wood soak wood from your can labeled “Kerosene”.
13. Treat face and arms for second-degree burns.
14. Re-label can to read “gasoline.”
15. When fire is burning well, add all remaining firewood.
16. When thunder storm has passed, repeat steps 1-15
(The Coleman Camp Cooker is a great way to grill meat or vegetables over a campfire, BBQ or fireplace—and it’s a delicious way to make toasted sandwiches!)
Ideas for Things to do While Camping…..
Living in cities, one often misses gazing at the stars. Sleeping under the open sky on camping night, gives you the chance to learn about the different constellations and stars. It’s a great game for kids trying to count the numbers of stars in the sky and identifying the various constellations.
Try Truth or Dare, Simon Says, Duck Duck Goose, Red Rover, Hide and Seek,Treasure or or any game that will bring out the kid in you and be fun-filled for your fellow campers. Bring a deck of cards or Uno Cards. Play Horseshoes or throw a Frisbee around.
Knots and Ropes…..You can try to learn making different types of knots and show off to the kids what you can do with a rope. You can teach the children how to tie different kinds of knots. They will never forget the valuable lesson.
Hiking…The most pleasurable activity of camping is hiking. Take a walk or ride on your bikes and explore regions never ventured before. It’s a great exercise and a team building activity. If you have kids along, they will love the adventure of hiking. Make up a chant or song while hiking to pep- up the children.
Bike Together….Most camping sites have great bike trails. Riding bicycles is very fun. Bring a map and plan your trip so that you would not easily get lost. For older children, you want to advise not to ride too fast, or you might leave each other behind, anyway, you would not be able to enjoy the scenery if you speed to much.
MostGet Wet: Play a game of lake volleyball. This can be done even without a net. With three to six people everyone will regularly get a turn. Wade out into waist-deep water and pass the ball back and forth with the goal being not to lose the ball. Diving for the bad passes is half the fun.Soccer players can do the same, but instead try heading the ball. Frisbees and footballs can be interchanged to great effect.
One last bit of advice for campers. No matter where you go, there you are. Take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but foot prints….
Make Lots Of Family Memories,
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