Types of Camping
Hey y'all! This post will take you on a little tour of different types of camping trips you can enjoy. We have done tons of camping through the years. For many years, we couldn't afford any other kind of vacation, so we became camping pros, even with kids in tow. I wanted vacations, but I also love camp food and outdoor activities. What did we do through the years to truly enjoy our camping but not get totally worn out!?!?
A lot of y'all have enjoyed the beach camping posts so far. You can read those here and here. Beach camping is so enjoyable if you know where to go and how to do it. There are some tips that can make it or break it in those posts, so don't miss out on reading them! One of the biggest things when it comes to comfort and making it doable with kids is knowing how to de-sand.
There are some RV parks you can camp at if you prefer to boujee it up a little bit. Then you'll have full hookups. Florida and Texas have some great state parks we've stayed at. We like to primitive camp because you get to have the ocean to yourself. We love waking up to a gorgeous sunrise, and there is nothing like watching a sunset over the dunes.
When we campo at the beach, we like to fish and cast net, sun bathe, surf, boogie board, paddle board if the surf calms down a little, the list goes on. Don't knock it until you try it.
Camping in the Mountains
We love camping in the mountains in the summer. Just like when we lived in Florida, a lot of the time there are afternoon showers. Just keep a rain jacket with you, don't let it deter your hiking, biking, or off roading plans. If it calls for a high chance of rain in the summer months, we've learned it's an afternoon shower that passes relatively quickly. We like to go out to Colorado. There are so many BLM dispersed camping spots. Go to campendium.com and search the area you want to stay. It will tell you if it is a free spot or if there is a campground fee. One thing we have learned is that we have ran into burn bans int he summer with so many wildfires out west, so just bring a gas burning fire pit with you and you can still have your campfire in most counties.
One of our favorite places to desert camp is in Arizona. You can find dispersed camping West of Sedona. Just look up some youtube videos and get in touch with Dusty Betty from Youtube. She has great insight on the area, and if you're into mountain biking she has great videos of the area. She can also hook you up with mountain bike tours if that is your jam. One thing we learned is that it is hard to find somwhere to throw away trash while camping in the desert, so do your homework ahead of time so you have a plan. The worst thing is wasting a whole day tring to find out where to dump your trash and get water, by the way, the best place to get water is the Natural Grocers in Sedona. It's cheap and filtered and on the way back to camp. We would just load our empty jugs and on our way back to camp stop and fill them up. (I'd always grab an almond butter and dark chocolate Justin's too.)
National Park Camping
We really enjoy visiting the national parks. From Padre Island National Seashore to Hot Springs National Park and beyond we really enjoy hiking, biking, fishing and everything else the parks offer during our visits. Read the post here to see which ones we have visited and why these have made the list of our favorites. The great thing about these parks is that they will have paid campgrounds with hookups and free camping as well. This is where campendium comes in again. We have found some really great spots with incredible views using campendium. Not having a reservation or a plan, just driving out, having a few spots saved and picking one when we get there. No nightly fee and an exciting adventure. Be ready to go with the flow. You can't have a tight or strict schedule to enjoy this. Learn to let go. My kids are almost grown (2 of 4 are grown) and I can tell you specific naptimes and a rigid time for supper takes away excitement and joy. I'm a control freak, I'll admit that I like to have a routine, but I have found so much joy in letting go and just having some fun. Why wait to be 'fun Grandma' when you can be 'fun Mama' now!
Yep, I said it! So one of our favorite lakes we have been to in the nation is Ouachita Lake in the Ouachita mountains in Hot Springs, AR. It's also part of Ouachita National Forest. There are many places to camp at along the shoreline of course, Lake Ouachita State Park has fulll hookups and our favorite shoreline campground is Brady Mountain off Hwy 270 between Royal and Crystal Springs. They have partial hookups, water and electric with a dump station. Island camping, though, is the best! Of course you have to have a boat. We had an old party barge we used to go out on. We would take it out and pick an island and camp. I'm not gonna tell you what island my favorite is, but go explore. It is so enjoyable!
Some states allow you to purchase a state park pass. For example, Texas state parks sells a pass that waives the daily parking fee and entrance fees into the state parks. Since I used Texas as an example, I will tell you about just a couple of our favorite state parks to camp at and what you can do there.
- Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX. You can hike and see actual dinosaur fossils, swim in the river, float, eat some good smoked food (there is always a group of nice people with amazing food wooking *wink*) The area is beautidul, the mexican restaurant in town is so good (their margaritas are legit), and there is a really cool place to go eat at on the river in town.
- Meridian State Park in Meridian, TX. It is a beautiful drive and as you get closer to Meridian it starts looking like the Hill Country. Camping is good, hiking and biking are even better. It is a beautiful area with rolling hills and gorgeous trees. You can also rent 'shelters'. It's not a cabin, but it is shelters on the lake that you can reserve tpo camp in. The showers/bathrooms were cleaned a couple times a day and it had hot water in the bathhouses.
- Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, TX just South of Amarillo. Honestly, as far as desert camping is concerned, this is way closer for us than Arizona and I enjoyed it just as much! It is beautiful, the mountain biking trails are amazing, and the camp spots are wonderful! We stayed at the Hackberry campground and we had turkeys and deer walking in our camp. None of them messed with us, but it was so enjoyable. It was a taste paradise! The Hackberry campsites are along a creek and you can hot mountain bike trails right from your campsite. If you need full hookups, they have a paved campground with full hookups just South of Hackberry.
These are just a few of the many State Parks we love in Texas, and I didn't even get to other states. Give State Parks a try. A lot of state parks contain a lot of history, if you homeschool you can incorporate the history into lessons before your trip. Then it's a win win!
Some people complain about camping, saying they wouldn't pay to vacation without all their comforts. These people are just inexperienced y'all. I understand there is a handful that still wouldn't enjoy it, nature isn't their thing, etc. But if you love enjoying God's creation, this is a great way to immerse yourself in it.....you just have to know how to do it!! If you know the tips and tricks, it is some of the most enjoyable vacations you will ever have! For some of the tips and gear we use, read this post.
Off grid, you have access to the Milky Way at night, great campfire stories, super good camp food, and making memories with your peeps. I could talk all day about how much enjoyment you can get from being off grid, but I think y'all should experience it for yourself and not read all about it here. Get out there and go camping!
The Pics of Our Adventures