I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my parents for taking me camping when I was a child. Being the parents of 5 children with only 7 years difference in age from oldest to youngest, I’m sure that’s the only thing they could afford to do. No Disney style vacations, but I certainly didn’t miss out on anything. No! We had some great adventures. Good reason to take up camping: #1 Cheap accommodations. Once you’ve purchased the tent and sleeping bags, most camp sites are around $10/night. #2 Cheap food – you prepare all your own meals which usually consists of sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. #3 Endless places to go within the US. Come on! Do you have to go to the beach every summer and stay in a hotel or condo? Live a little!
We camped A LOT when I was little. We’d drive over to Mississippi and camp at Percy Quinn State Park for a weekend. We’d go out to the Amite River and camp at Aunt Polly’s farm. We’d drive to Arkansas and camp for a week or two weeks at a time. Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs was beautiful and still is. We camped at Crystal Springs where we found a natural FREEZING cold spring where we’d spend the day. The water was so cold you could chill a watermelon in an hour. Yep! It was freezing, but we still swam in it. Nothing like a cold watermelon on a hot summer day. (Photo below: My sister, Dauna (aka Donna, left), my dad and me)
Atop the fire tower in Hot Springs!
Hiking at Petit Jean Mountain.
We drove to Colorado one summer (I was in love. Snow in the summer. No humidity. I’m moving there someday.) This was by far my favorite vacation. Three family road trip included my cousins and some dear friends from church. Six brave adults herding around eleven kids. I guess they figured they could handle 2 each. Train rides, hiking, horseback riding, making smores by the camp fire, lots of old mining town tours, old western melodrama play (we threw popcorn at the villain). I had my birthday while we were on vacation and my mother somehow managed to have birthday cake. (Picture below: Rocky Mountain National Park – 1968).
We also camped in the Great Smoky Mountains one summer. I really don’t remember a lot about this trip except for hearing the bears knocking down the trash cans every night in the camp ground. We did stop in Tennessee and visited several historic sites. Dad enjoyed teaching us about history stuff, especially Civil War stuff. Guess that’s why I like history so much! Thanks Dad! (Photo: Camping in the Smokys! Dig that fancy table tent. Dad was very inventive.)
Sometimes the boys would take “Man Trips”. Mysterious wanderings out on Aunt Polly’s farm near the Amite River. Tootsie loved to teach the boys about quick sand, snakes, bob cats and fishing. I think Daddy was a little worse for wear on this trip, but they sure had good times.
So, if Gas Prices are kicking your vacation plans this year, load up the car and go camping. It is cheap, it is fun and your kids will never forget it! 🙂
PS: Yes! I took my kids camping and we still go camping. We live in Northwest Arkansas and it would be foolish not to take advantage of all the parks, rivers, lakes and streams.