If you’re hoping to warm up with some summer-related thoughts, then this is the perfect time of year to make plans for camping when the weather gets warm (and book spots, since many campgrounds in PA, Ohio, New York and other Great Lakes-region states are filling up). Camping is a fun, affordable way to get the entire family outside for some bonding under the sun. And the even better news is that it doesn’t have to be intimidating, even if you’ve never taken on an outdoorsy trip before. Here are five ways you can make your first camping vacation easier:
- Look for Campgrounds That Offer Activities There are plenty of campgrounds that offer scheduled activities and amenities that give you an alternative to simply pitching your tent and playing in the woods. If you’re looking at campgrounds in PA alone, for example, you can head to Quarryville or Mill Run and lounge by the pool while the kids play in the water park, or go to Harrisville and enjoy mini golf and a game room. You can always transition to more rustic camping on subsequent trips if you so desire.
- Go Camping in Cabins, Instead of Tents If even these upgraded campgrounds sound overwhelming, you might want to start out by camping in cabins, instead. While there are many cabin rentals in Ohio, PA and surrounding states, you might want to start by checking out these cabin rentals in Ohio: Camps in Mt. Gilead, the Akron area and Big Prairie offer a smaller, more intimate environment that will let you get into the swing of camping without needing to worry about investing in a bunch of camping gear.
- Pack the Essentials — and Nothing More Resist the urge to pack for too many “in case” scenarios. If you’re starting with these beginner camping spots, you don’t need to gear up as if you were heading for the backwoods. Make sure you have what you need to keep everyone warm and fed, and leave the additional outfit options behind.
- Time Your Comings and Goings Carefully This will be less of an issue if you’re camping in cabins, rather than tents, but it’s such a common rookie mistake that it bears addressing regardless: Do not plan to arrive at your campground later than early afternoon. Especially if you’ve never done it before, setting up camp will probably take at least twice as long as you expect, and you don’t want to be figuring it out in the dark. When you’re leaving, make sure you allow time to break camp, as well.
- Educate Yourself on Camping Etiquette This tip is not just about making your trip easier on you, but also making it easier on the environment. It’s important that you educate yourself on the products you’ll be using and disposing of; for example, it’s important you use biodegradable soap, which won’t contaminate water sources. You should also observe a carry-in, carry-out policy, meaning you leave no trash or litter behind when you leave. The old saying “take only pictures, leave only footprints” applies even to more luxurious types of camping.
What sounds more your style? Exciting campgrounds in PA, relaxing cabin rentals in Ohio, or something else altogether? Share your plans in the comments.