Top 5 Reasons Why We Camp in State Parks

I know you all want to hear about our winter camping adventure. Here it is, February, so I can finally tell you about it. I have been saving it up. Actually, I have been doing laundry and washing road salt off Rubbermaid totes and spending three days in the company of a whiny stomach bug. Also I have been teaching cursive E and hosting company and reading aloud every day. I have been learning to stop abusing the ellipses. I badly wanted to insert one there, but Grammarly rapped my knuckles.

When I told my friend Amy that we are going camping in January, she said, “That’s not vacation!” I think she may have been referring to the facilities, or lack of them. Here is why we camp in state parks despite that objection, in 5 handy-dandy reasons:

  1. We get rejuvenated in nature. I ask no better form of relaxation than a stroll on a well-maintained, well-marked trail through unspoiled woods. This is something Gabe and I want to pass on to our children: “Alone with God” and all that. Stuff doesn’t scream so loudly, troubles tend to assume more manageable proportions, there is no wi-fi and little cell service, and if you go during off-peak seasons there are no other people.
  2. We appreciate camping cabins. Tents are fine for some seasons, but actual bunks with mattresses, hooks to hang up jackets, shelves for each child’s treasures are fine for other seasons. I don’t sneeze about electric heaters either, and light switches to hit when things go bump. At one time I would have sneered at the poshness of it, but I have opened my mind a bit. The lack of plumbing tends to off set the poshness anyway.
  3. We like affordable things. We just have to face it, the beach is too far away from central Pennsylvania for us to trot there every time we feel like it. (Also, people don’t walk around naked in state parks, a small consideration, surely.) On this recent trip, we spent less than $400 on fuel and lodging for 7 people (3 nights) and it was built to accommodate 12. That is not including the tote full of special foods to cook on sticks (just kidding, we had a stove and fridge) and the tote full of fun activities for middle of January camping, of course.
  4. We value learning about things, any things, all things. State parks have calendars crammed full of educational and low-budget fun. Many of their programs are free, paid by our hard-earned tax dollars, of course. The activities were a little sparse in mid-winter, but there was a snowshoeing class and a large ice rink cleared on the ice for skating. There was geo-caching all around the park, even though the caches were hard to find under snow. But the great thing? Those vacation days totally count as school days because we learned stuff while we were just hanging out with each other.
  5. We like being around nice people. By that I mean family-friendly people who understand that a little boy hatcheting firewood is as natural as breathing. I cannot remember ever meeting a creepy person or even an especially grouchy person at a state park and I watch for them ever since I read The Shack. I did see in the news that a criminal was hiding out in a local campground, but people ratted on him. Apparently all the fresh air and exercise keep campers alert and they look out for each other. 🙂

There you have it, my nice, attention grabbing title and a list. Is there anything you would like to add?

There is also this image, poached off the internet, of the dam at Parker Dam State Park, although when we were there the water was quite frozen and the entire 20 acre lake would have been fine for skating.



See you tomorrow!

5 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons Why We Camp in State Parks

  1. Your family is so refreshing! I think that sounds like a marvelous time. Living so far from everyone, our trips always involve so.much.driving, but one of these days we’re going to have a short drive to somewhere and we’re going to just STAY awhile. 😊
    I enjoyed this post.

  2. My burning question is how did the luggable loo seat work out??
    You inspire me/us to consider exactly this kind of vacation with our little family sometime.
    Three cheers for a month of daily posts from you. 🙂

  3. Two years in a row now we’ve camped at a state park in November . . . in tents. One of the years it snowed.

    We choose off-peak camping for rate-reduction (free sometimes), privacy (almost no one is there), quietness, no lines in the bathrooms.

    Most of the kids ( there are nine total) prefer tent camping, because it’s REAL camping . . . none of this cabin business for them, thank you. My husband and I appreciate things like comfortable beds, heat, having a place to get in out of the weather (because camping always brings weather – usually the wet and windy kind), and, did I mention heat? But tents are what we can afford, so we make do – and bring electric heaters.

    Related to meals: we always cook them ahead of time and freeze them. Then, we pop the frozen blob into a LINED crockpot early in the day and go about our business. We also bring non-frozen parts: bread, rice cakes, lunch meat, cheese, pickles, fruit, oats, eggs, chips, confections, etc. The goal has been to make meals as painless as possible, so one person is not left fiddling over food while everyone else hikes and plays at the playground.

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