“When are we going camping?” My youngest starts asking this about March every year. I’m sure I bugged my own parents the same way, waiting for those magical trips out into the woods where it’s fine and dandy to play in the dirt all day long. Growing up, I had several annual camping trips with extended family. My mom’s side gathered on the Oregon coast in a lush, green campground. We had to drive right through a small creek to get to our destination. My father’s side gathered on my grandfather’s birthday on July 25 by South Umpqua Falls in central Oregon. A dozen campgrounds line the river as it winds up to the falls, providing many deep swimming holes along the way.
These days my family still gathers by South Umpqua Falls, but we tend to go right before the 4th of July. It’s 3 or 4 glorious days of playing with the campfire, barbequing, swimming, roasting marshmallows and making smores, and of course seeing who can get the most chocolate and marshmallow on their face. It’s all about telling stories and looking for wildflowers, watching the river go by, and forgetting about work, to-do lists or anything else that’s not fun.
Camping is wonderful because you can customize it however you like. Go in an RV and explore the coast. Pack into a secluded mountain lake and fish for trout. Pack your car full and take the kids out to explore the woods, rivers and mountains. You can keep things simple or take all the luxuries you want. Every state has many campgrounds, from very basic to full hook ups with hot showers. However you camp, or wherever you go, it’s something every family should try.