Doug and I grew up in different families. His family of four boys and two parents went camping every summer from the time he was a baby. I never went camping as a kid. My dad traveled for work, we had a pool in our backyard from the time I was 9 (as did Doug, but not until he was a bit older) and camping just wasn’t our idiom. My idea of camping is being at a house on a lake, with electricity and running water.
Fast forward several years (ok, many, many years) to the beginning of July, when we decided to try our hand at camping. We did our research online, making lists of what we needed, then we hit up friends and family who are campers and borrowed the basics~tents, portable grills, sleeping bags~so that we weren’t putting hundreds of dollars into a venture that might possibly tank. We chose a campground at a Maine State Park 25 minutes from our home, just in case we had awful weather and had to pack up quickly and leave. Because our kids had never slept in a tent, we did a practice run in our own yard (which gave us the chance to figure out how to set the darn thing up as well) a few weeks beforehand. Most campgrounds have “quiet hours” which require, well, quiet, from about 10pm-7am. My kids are not quiet and failed the quiet test at home (they were up at 6 yelling in our yard; we do have one neighbor and they probably didn’t appreciate the loudness one bit).
The day we were set to leave for the campground was hot and muggy, but on our way there I could see the clouds rolling in. Sure enough, as soon as we got the tents set up and the cars unpacked, the skies opened from a big thunderstorm. Izzie and I hid out in the car as she is terrified of thunderstorms (and was having a reaction to her chickenpox vaccine she received a couple of days earlier and was quite miserable). It rained on and off the rest of that Sunday, which limited our ability to do much more than this:
We picked a campsite that was halfway between the bathrooms and the beach, and just down the road from the playground. This was a good choice because I have kids with itty bitty bladders who don’t sleep through the night, and we didn’t have too travel far to get to the beach. We did manage to enjoy some lovely beach time.
As with any camping trip, bring along the necessary ingredients to make s’mores; you won’t regret it.
Camping was fun, despite the thunderstorms and the fact that the kids bickered constantly at the campsite. I even had a little run-in with a skunk who wandered into our campsite while we were sitting at the campfire our first night there (I avoided getting sprayed but I was scared to death it was going to happen). We’ve just booked a campsite further north with a group of friends for August, which should be a ton of fun.
Do you camp? Do you go to campgrounds or state parks?