By: Jody Halsted, FamilyRambling.com
Gone are the days of visits to Grandma & Grandpa’s house – the new family get together involves active getaways! And there is no better large group activity than camping!
Camping offers the best variety of everything – lodging, activities, even dining! And the best part about camping is that it is affordable! Whether you borrow your neighbor’s tent, own or rent an RV, or really splurge on a camping cabin, there is an option to fit every budget.
McIntosh Woods State Park near Clear Lake is a perfect destination for a family looking for a variety of lodging and activities. The park has two 16 foot yurts- circular tent structures fitted with a full size futon bed and a set of bunk beds. Nearby is the main campground with electric and non-electric campsites, perfect for parking the RV or pitching a tent.
It’s nearly impossible to be bored on a camping trip – especially in a place so filled with history and activity as Clear Lake! You’ll have your choice of lake-side fun at the campground like swimming, fishing, and hiking. Gather everyone together and spend the afternoon on boat: you can rent one at Clear Lake Boats, or board the Lady of the Lake, a gorgeous paddlewheel offering daily cruises!
One of the best parts of a vacation is dining – and camping is no exception! Camping food can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. From sandwiches to plank grilled salmon, bagged chips to foil roasted potatoes, there is no limit on what you can create. If you want to cook at all… With the incredible variety of restaurants in Clear Lake you may find that the only thing you want to cook over fire are S’mores!
Unlike a hotel or resort, camping offers a vacation where families don’t have to work hard to ‘get their money’s worth’. Kids can run from cabin to camper to playground freely while adults gather ‘round the fire sharing stories, plans, and dreams while achieving true vacation bliss- relaxation!
A multi-generational camping trip also offers something you may not often have so near by – babysitters! Yep, a large family vacation is the perfect time to plan date nights. With so many people gathered a couple par of parents can take each night ‘off’ to enjoy – adults only! Maybe a romantic lake cruise, followed by dinner downtown, then a little dancing at the Surf Ballroom?
A well-planned multigenerational camping vacation is affordable, active, and interesting for everyone involved – no matter their ages!
Ready to plan your family’s camping adventure? A few handy tips:
- Check your bedding. An inexpensive ‘egg crate’ mattress cover can make a thin mattress or air mattress much more comfortable.
- Bring outdoor lighting. Solar powered ground stakes are easy and inexpensive or make your items multi-task and attach a head lamp to a full one gallon jug of water.
- But, be sure to let everyone know how meals will work. Will everyone gather together, but bring food for their own families? Or will you assign a main dish to a different family group each night, with everyone else bringing side dishes? Advance planning saves time and money – it also stops assumptions!
- Bring cards and easy-to-transport games… just in case it rains.
- Don’t forget bikes and scooters for the kids!
- Most importantly, pack a comfy camping chair – preferably one that reclines- to truly enjoy your relaxing vacation.
Jody Halsted is an Iowa native and avid camper. Jody and her husband Doug have experienced all aspects of camping: from hiking in minimalism before they had kids and car camping with tents & sleeping bags to small camper and finally luxury RV camping. An authority on family travel, Jody publishes FamilyRambling.com, a website dedicated to living life...Upgraded. She is also a regular contributor to MiniTime Trip Tips and The Scenic Route at GoRVing.com.