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Picking The Perfect Camping Spot
What makes the perfect camping spot is probably debatable depending on who you ask in the family. So a number of factors enter into that final decision. When camping as a family, the final choice for the ideal spot provides a combination of scenic enjoyment, safety and proximity to services. When camping with young children, the parameters of what make a perfect spot for camping are driven by the fun for the kids and by their physical needs. So some of the driving decision makers are…
- Proximity to playground equipment so the little ones can run and play in full view of parents.
- How close together are the camp spots to other campers. In some ways having other camping families nearby can be a good thing. If everyone has kids and your children can make friends and find new playmates, that makes camping a wonderful social time. However, you need your privacy at times so you don’t want other camp sites too close, particularly near bed time as everyone changes for nestling down into their sleeping bags.
- The availability of bathroom facilities can be important to a camping family. Well developed parks often provide rustic but clean bathroom facilities for campers. You want to be close enough to those facilities so you can get your kids to and from the bathrooms with relative ease. But watch that you don’t pick a camp site that is on the route for many other families to use in their trek to the facilities. It can be a big disruption to your camping serenity of you have a parade of continuous visitors coming through your camp on the way to the bathrooms.
- The proximity of your camp site to other recreational facilities also may influence how you pick your camp site. If you are camping near a lake so dad and the older boys can fish and for swimming, it might be ideal to camp lake side if those spots are available. But be aware of safety concerns so you don’t find little ones out playing near the water when not being monitored.
Another issue of camping that many people don’t think about in advance is how close you wish to camp to camper farms. In most camp grounds, there are entire sites that are devoted to campers and the hook ups for water and electricity are perfect for those who will be coming in with large sophisticated camping gear. If you are a tent camper, you may wish to target parts of the park away from those campers.
Often camper vacationers virtually set up a mini home environment and bring bicycles, mopeds and other recreation equipment for their kids to enjoy while camping. Those things can be a big disruption if you and trying to enjoy the tranquility of camping. If you have made the effort to learn to camp in unimproved sites, and it isn’t that difficult to learn to get away from civilization and still camp well, finding camp sites away from the huge farms of campers may become a priority.
For any camping family, the safety and usability of the camp site is a big determining factor in where you finally pitch camp. Don’t just jump out of the car or van and pick the first pretty site. Allow your camp leadership to do some seasoned inspection to make sure there are no hidden problems with using that camp site. For safety, inspect the trees and grounds to assure that nothing overhead will come crashing down if it becomes stormy in the night. Walk the grounds and the parameter of the camp with an eye to the ground and trees for any ant or bee colonies who may not take kindly to sharing their corner of the wilderness with you.
In addition, inspect the grounds for the suitability of pitching camp there. If the camp site is quite rocky, that could make tent camping a problem for both pitching the tents and sleeping on the ground. If the site is on a hill, that will be a problem for almost every aspect of camp life. Also review the area of the camp grounds to be sure you are not going to be flooded if a sudden torrent of rain surprises you. Camping on high ground will eliminate that possibility.
Other considerations such as the availability of a picnic table for cooking, whether there already is a fire pit ready to use and the closeness of trash drop offs for clean up are obvious considerations for picking the perfect spot. But visualize your camp life while living in that spot to assure that you can lay out the camp in a convenient way. If the camp area is too small so you don’t have adequate space for having your camp fire, moving around without tripping over each other and for plenty of room for the tents you need, that camp site may not be the best choice for you.
By driving around the camp grounds and inspecting the candidate camp sites with your particular criteria in mind, you will pick a site that suits your needs better than by making a snap decision. Get the kids involved and educate the entire camping party on site selection. It will be a skill that will benefit your camping experiences every time you go out to enjoy nature in the wild together.