You and your family and friends have decided to take a camping trip. Now what? So many questions to think about:
When will you go?
Where should you go?
Where will you stay?
Who is going with you?
What supplies will you need?
What can you do while you’re there?
When you go on your camping trip will probably be the most important question you ask yourself.
We typically go in March, because it lines up with Spring Break. The weather is nice during the day but can still get cold at night. You have to be ready for that. Our first trip was to Tyler State Park. The weather was great during the day, allowing for exploring, hiking and even going on the lake. But at night, even in our screened-in shelter, we nearly froze! My husband had to go and purchase more camping blankets to keep us warm. If you plan a camping trip in the summer, you obviously won’t have that concern at night (but you might melt). October or November would also be great times to camp in Texas, with mild temperatures during the day and at night.
Next up, where do you want to go?
We’ve stuck to areas within driving distance from DFW, but we recently got the Texas Parks and Wildlife Guide to Parks so we can venture out further. We visited Tyler State Park and Fort Richardson, which are both about 100 miles from Dallas, and Possum Kingdom State Park which was about 130 miles away. Next up for Spring Break this year is Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which is 370 miles from Dallas!
No tent required.
Now, I am not a typical tent camper. In fact, I haven’t slept in a tent since the ’90s. We’ve stayed in a screened-in shelter and two varieties of “cabins.” The screened-in shelter was just that – four walls with screens all the way around. And it had electricity, which was nice. The space was big enough for a tent, which the boys slept in, and then two cots for us.
The first “cabin” was at Fort Richardson and it had four walls and electricity, as well. It also included two sets of bunk beds. One was two twins and the other had a full on the bottom with a twin on top. My mom went with us on this trip, so that worked out perfectly. Both of the above styles had bathrooms and showers down the street.
The last cabin was at Possum Kingdom and it had a bedroom, bathroom, and mini-kitchen. And all of the structures we stayed in had fire pits outside where we did all of our cooking.
What to bring:
Packing is always hilarious because I feel like we bring way too much! But we are definitely covered that way. I keep a list in my phone of all our essentials and we add or take away depending on additional factors. Along with your basic cooking supplies and toiletries, you need to think about linens, sunscreen, bug spray, a first aid kit, and supplies for any activities like fishing or hiking.
On our second trip, we soon realized that me walking down to the restrooms in the middle of the night wasn’t going to work (thanks, two c-sections and big babies on my bladder). My husband fashioned us a toilet out of a bucket, a trash bag with kitty litter, and a pool noodle! My mom and I were very thankful!
Cooking is always fun on our trips. We usually do a couple big breakfasts (eggs, bacon, biscuits) but also bring muffins, donuts, and granola bars for those mornings we don’t cook. The other meals are the same; we plan on a couple big grill nights, foil pack meals, and fun desserts, but we also bring sandwich stuff for easy lunches.
What to do depends on where you go.
All of our trips had hiking and a lake, with tons of nature to explore. Fort Richardson is actually a historical site and if you catch it on the right week, they have all kinds of demonstrations such as cooking and military displays. We always try to fish (even though we never catch anything) and bring a baseball or football and board games! If you’re worried about getting dirty, camping might not be for you. We only bring clothes and shoes that we don’t mind getting a little extra love.
No matter where you go or what you bring, you’ll definitely get some extra family and friend time, and that’s the important part. On our last trip, our neighbors were from the same town! Hopefully you and your family will enjoy camping as much as ours. Good luck!