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  • Writer's pictureLara Draxler

Planning a camping trip for first-timers

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

So in about a week, we are going on a family camping trip for the first time! I camped some as a kid with friends. Since I grew up next door to the Great Smoky Mountains, I would say I feel fairly at home in the woods. My husband has camped and canoed more, and I feel like he has more expertise with how to survive in the back woods. However, I would stay we are still quite novice and are ready to learn and see if this is a type of frugal family travel that we want to do more often.

We decided this year that we wanted to do more family trips. We wanted to have more bonding experiences...but wait, there's a global pandemic so our destination options are kinda limited. And oh yeah, travel is pricey and there are five of us. And then we considered camping...we already had one tent. We knew friends and family who could loan us other basic supplies. We decided we would purchase one more tent on Amazon and then we would start planning. Camping seemed like a great COVID friendly (i.e. socially distant) and affordable option for family travel.

We had already purchased a state parks pass for around $40 earlier this year so we could go hiking. Then we realized that we could also use it for camping. There are so many awesome state parks in our area. We decided we wanted to camp for a 2 1/2 day weekend trip and that we would go about 1-2 hours away. I personally love the terrain of Northern Wisconsin and I thought it would be fun to go north. So, we decided on our location to be the Flambeau River Connors Lake Campground. My husband and I researched different campgrounds on the DNR website and decided for this first venture, we needed a place with some sort of bathroom, drinkable water, walking trails, and some kind of swimming area.

We were able to book online and I was thrilled to find out it was a MERE $36 to stay two nights here!!! What a steal?!?! You can research and book by clicking here.

Last night, we were discussing what other things we would need to pack and this is what we came up with so far...

  • tents (our three kiddos will sleep in one and my hubby and I in the other)

  • air mattress/pump

  • sleeping bags and pillows

  • sunscreen

  • bug spray

  • swimsuits and towels

  • skillet and spatula for cooking

  • large coolers

  • gallon jugs of water that we can freeze and use for ice

  • simple foods for meals (sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, brats, cereal etc)

  • cards or board games

  • beverages and snacks

  • wireless chargers

  • car chargers

  • flashlight and batteries

  • big plastic tub to pack everything in

  • garbage bags (for trash and dirty laundry)

As I type this packing list, I am getting more excited to GO! Adventure is out there! After we come back from the trip, I will definitely post about our trip report and the adventures we found!

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