If you are going somewhere you haven't visited before, find out about facilities, how the site owner feels about fire pits, whether or not firewood will be available, if dogs are allowed, supermarkets in the local area, and so on.
planning a big vacation and want to camp, how can you find
that perfect place? You're looking for some variety in
your "local" weekend getaways, but which campgrounds
is your style? You could try them out one by one for sure but you
know some will feel wrong from the moment you check in, why risk a
weekend if you can avoid it.
possible visit the campground first.
we walk the grounds here are some of the things we check for:
This is really a very valuable way of screening places.
it only takes about half an hour to check a place out and it's a
great way to break up the ride home on a Sunday afternoon.
One source you do not want to overlook is roadside rest areas. Most states operate rest / information stations where you can browse from a plethora of brochures. They generally have material on specific destinations as well as regional publications detailing things to do while visiting. These facilities are usually found in strategic locations such as near state borders.
course sometimes this won't be practical and you have to do your
fact finding long distance. There will be times when you may be
traveling to places that simply are not camping Mecca's. This calls
for research. If you belong to AAA call or drop by and get the guide
books for the states you are visiting. They also used to have
separate camping books for each region. They may have been merging
those into the regular travel guides. Either way, make sure you get
campground info from them. If you want, spring for one of the big
camping books like "Woodall's".
you get all this material together lay it out on the kitchen table
and start sorting.
you should have an itinerary and a number of options as to where to
camp. Get on the phone and request brochures, rate cards and any
other material that will help you make your decision. Don't be
bashful about this, you are offering to put bread on their table and
they are glad to hear about your interest. They like to know how you
learned about them so have that fact handy. Also ask about any
attractions that you may be considering. You may find that a place
you were going to visit burned to the ground 3 weeks ago . . .
in mind that you are probably not going to be spending all your days
in campgrounds; you'll have places to go and things to do. I try to
home in on places where I can be comfortable for the evening and get
a good night's sleep.
a good idea to pack the night before as it always seems to take
longer if you leave it until the day you depart for the camp. You get
stressed because you're late leaving, the children get stressed
because they're bored having to wait, and then you all have to sit
together with that negative energy bouncing around the car.
your vehicle before leaving home to be sure it is ready for the
trip. Then check it again and often while enroute and at the campsite
upon arrival for any possible damage. Some things are easily and
inexpensively fixed if caught early.
Packing & organizing camping gear
basic principle is to organize or categorize your gear items by
stuff: when you arrive at a campsite, the first thing you may
want is your raingear, the tarp
and its guylines,
Raingear: keep everyone's raingear together in one breathable (mesh) bag that's accessible from inside the car.
stuff: you don't need"night stuff" until the night,
clothes: changes of clothing are not needed every day or during
the day -
daytime needs: items you might need any time of any day (extra
sweaters, a windbreaker, swimwear, towel, a sunhat, sunglasses,
personal medication, water bottle, bug repellent, and odds and ends).
stuff: cutlery, plates, mugs and pots should all be together in
a plastic storage box or something weather and water proof, along
with the standard items you need at every meal -
stuff: stove, white gas, lighter, etc.,
to leave enough time to wind down
Need to fill up the tank?
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