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Thread: Camping 101?

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Camping 101?

    As many of you know, I'm trying to cut corners financially for a while.

    In the past we have taken a family vacation in Vermont, for which we rent a house with 5 bedrooms to accommodate me/DH, and our four kids (plus any SO that happens to be around at the time).

    We typically stay for about two weeks at the least, one month at the most (although we've stopped doing the month-long thing).

    So, we were all talking about switching up our traditional vacation anyway. It's gotten a bit stale on a couple of different levels.

    It went through my head to try camping this year. Now, DH has always ADAMANTLY refused camping, because he was in the Marines and said that he's done enough camping for a lifetime. He has no interest in roughing it in any way, shape or form. But I think I could convince him basically by telling him it's that or nothing this year until we get our act together.

    The question: What advice would you give someone who has NEVER been on a family camping trip? Honestly, I don't think I can go pup-tents and campfires. I think we'd have to at least find a spot where you can rent cabins cheaply.

    What are some other considerations? I think that knowing my family, and knowing what a huge departure this would be from our normal, I'd need:
    • A campsite that's somewhat accessible to tourist attractions/restaurants in town
    • Multiple activities: DEFINITELY swimming, and also hiking and near golf courses
    • Specific suggestions for campsites in New England (Not necessarily VT, but maybe MA, NH, ME
    • I also need to know how much one week would cost for about 8 people (let's say three couples, and a pair of same-sex siblings. We usually get good rates for house rentals off-season, so it would also depend on how much we're actually saving by renting a bunch of little cabins for a week.


    I would love to give it a try, but I need a pretty sweet carrot for the rest.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    I have a love/hate relationship with camping. Now more of a hate relationship - the bugs, the hassle, the dirt and mud in my tent, the too hot or too cold or too much rain, the sometimes boredom of having to sit in a tent or cook outdoors when it rains, the far away bathrooms, etc... (can you tell I've been camping recently :-) ). However I do love being out of doors and the accessibility to hiking, biking and climbing which are the main reasons I go on a trip. I like the ki d of people I meet and tthe fresh air, etc.. and the much lower costs. So it is a trade off. My suggestion is too try camping locally before you make any kind of long term decision about a family vacation. Heck even camping in the back yard in a tent gives you a basic idea what it's like.

    For myself, I think I might try to still go with the month long vacation house rental if possible - just do it off season and it can be more affordable. Probably about the same price as a rustic camping cabin that has far fewer amenities. If you want Vermont, look at ski resorts areas which generally have lower prices in late spring, summer and fall than in winter. For example I just saw a place on www.homeaway.com in Killington - 3 bedroom house that sleeps 10 - that goes for over $300/night in winter that is $40 - $50 /night in spring and fall. And you can get it cheaper the longer you rent. More expensive the basic tent camping but not by too much.

  3. #3
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Yeah, I think you're probably right, Spartana. That's why we go to VT in the summer--we get great deals. We usually wait until last minute so people are more amenable to reducing their prices, and we do just what you suggested: we seek out homes in ski communities, where the housing is just lying dormant, basically.

    Thanks for the advice. Good to hear that there's another U.S. service person who is not totally into camping! I know your "camping" was on a boat, but I think you guys paid your "roughing it" dues.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    As many of you know, I'm trying to cut corners financially for a while.

    In the past we have taken a family vacation in Vermont, for which we rent a house with 5 bedrooms to accommodate me/DH, and our four kids (plus any SO that happens to be around at the time).

    We typically stay for about two weeks at the least, one month at the most (although we've stopped doing the month-long thing).

    So, we were all talking about switching up our traditional vacation anyway. It's gotten a bit stale on a couple of different levels.

    It went through my head to try camping this year. Now, DH has always ADAMANTLY refused camping, because he was in the Marines and said that he's done enough camping for a lifetime. He has no interest in roughing it in any way, shape or form. But I think I could convince him basically by telling him it's that or nothing this year until we get our act together.

    The question: What advice would you give someone who has NEVER been on a family camping trip? Honestly, I don't think I can go pup-tents and campfires. I think we'd have to at least find a spot where you can rent cabins cheaply.

    What are some other considerations? I think that knowing my family, and knowing what a huge departure this would be from our normal, I'd need:
    • A campsite that's somewhat accessible to tourist attractions/restaurants in town
    • Multiple activities: DEFINITELY swimming, and also hiking and near golf courses
    • Specific suggestions for campsites in New England (Not necessarily VT, but maybe MA, NH, ME
    • I also need to know how much one week would cost for about 8 people (let's say three couples, and a pair of same-sex siblings. We usually get good rates for house rentals off-season, so it would also depend on how much we're actually saving by renting a bunch of little cabins for a week.


    I would love to give it a try, but I need a pretty sweet carrot for the rest.


    Hi Catherine,

    Knobels in Elysburg which is a three hour drive maybe more for you since you have to get on 287. It is so nice an old-fashioned family owned an operated amusement park in a grove of pine trees. There is a swimming pool owned by the park that is very big, a golf course close by. They have cottages, and a campground, but they are usually all booked by now. They have a wooden dollar coaster that people from Great Britian Roller Coaster Group just came over to ride on it. Their park food, they have a big selection, they also have a bandstand with live music. Some of the music is old-fashioned but still makes a nice atmosphere. No concrete sidewalks--everything is gravel.

    They have a website and you can call to see if anyone has cancelled their cabin or cottage.

    I think you would really enjoy it there!

    Chris
    Last edited by Tussiemussies; 6-20-13 at 7:01pm.

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    PS the park is so much cheaper than great adventure the only thing is there is no nearby restaurants. But the setting is very pretty in the pine trees....a little brook runs through it and the park is easy to get to from their main campground , almost across the street...,

  6. #6
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Thanks, Chris, that looks like so much fun! My DH always talks about how much he loved Playland at Rye Beach when he was a kid... this looks like a throwback to that. This looks like so much fun, with the nostalgia and the music, etc.

    Now if my kids would only get on the stick and get us grandchildren....
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Yeah, I think you're probably right, Spartana. That's why we go to VT in the summer--we get great deals. We usually wait until last minute so people are more amenable to reducing their prices, and we do just what you suggested: we seek out homes in ski communities, where the housing is just lying dormant, basically.

    Thanks for the advice. Good to hear that there's another U.S. service person who is not totally into camping! I know your "camping" was on a boat, but I think you guys paid your "roughing it" dues.
    It's like camping with the ground heaving under you 24/7 for months on end and an endless vista of ocean and more ocean and yet more ocean :-) :-) And with a bunch of other people crammed into a tiny space for company. What fun :-)

    I have to admit that I have a pretty sweet camping set up. Giant tent, regular bed and bedding, comfy chair and table, even get electricity so I can make margaritas in the blender by the lamp light. Yep, it's tough to rough it :-) . That's car camping of course with a truck and shell to haul my luxury African Safari camping set up. I'm the total opposite when I backpack and am uber-minimalist then (if I've got to carry it, it ain't coming!).
    I think that you should look into some of the camping cabins others have mentioned. Around here they are very expensive and very rustic but I think back east there are many more places that have small cabins at campgrounds that are cheaper then a house rental but more comfortable than a tent camp. If I see anything interesting I'll post it here. But still, can't beat the prices of a vacation house rental in Vermont in then off season. Another summer season rental house deal can be found at college towns. I was looking at some places in tony Newport Rhode Island and places they rent during the school year to students are very inexpensive if rented for a month.
    Last edited by Spartana; 6-27-13 at 8:06pm.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Well, we decided to go another route entirely--instead of a month in an off-season ski town, we're putting our money into one week on the coast of Maine. I was just browsing through HomeAway, and I fell in love with a house that looks just like my beloved childhood cottage in Madison, CT.

    Coincidentally, DH and I both grew up on the beach with our aunts in the summer, so all of a sudden we're yearning to recreate some of those experiences, so we're going to go boating, wading (the Maine water is REALLY cold I hear), beach-sitting, and we're going to eat lobster rolls (New England style lobster rolls) all week long.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  9. #9
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Can you adopt me Catherine?

  10. #10
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Instead of tent camping, it would be cool to whip one of these out of your car (assuming Ikea would ever sell these retail):

    http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intel...amps/?mod=e2tw

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