By: Mary Gordon
Jim Gaffigan has a great joke about camping, “My wife says ‘camping’s a tradition in my family.’ Well it was a tradition in everyone’s family till we invited the house.” Camping is definitely not an easy-going vacation for most people. Packing all the right supplies takes a lot of planning ahead. The sleeping arrangements do not always allow for maximum shut-eye. And the bathrooms are never an easy commute. So why do it?
Camping is one of the best ways to connect with nature and to have an experience children will never forget. Think about your own experiences camping as a kid. Good or bad, it was still very memorable. You never know what wildlife you may see. You get to spend lots of time telling stories with family and friends over a campfire. And don’t forget those yummy, gooey s’mores!
The National Wildlife Federation hosts the Great American Campout on June 17 this year. You can make a pledge to camp this summer on its website and win some prizes too. It’s all part of an effort to get more families outside and stay active in nature. So to help you get the inspiration to pitch your tent this summer, Evergreen staff members are making their campground picks.
Diane Kinney’s pick: Cowen Lake State Park in Wilmington. The best time to go camping here is the weekend near Halloween. Campers will decorate their campsites and hand out candy to kids as a trick or treat takes place on the campgrounds. There are also a lot of great hiking trails and a nice lake, said Diane.
MaryAnn Hart’s pick: Houston Woods State Park near Oxford. “We always liked camping at Houston Woods,” said Mary Ann. She said she hasn’t been there in a while, but the memories remain. The trails are very easy to follow with a family. There is a nature center and naturalist available for rainy days too.
Jill Gordon’s pick: Brookville Lake in Brookville, Indiana. This is a great place to spend the day on the lake boating or fishing and then make a campfire for dinner in the evening. Jill said what stands out about this campground is the availability for large groups to camp, up to 30 people can share sites!
Robin Curry’s pick: Indian Lake State Park in Logan County. You can camp right beside the lake to really connect with nature and listen to the sounds of water all night at this campground. Go near the end of September, if you are able, for the fall festival. It has everything apple and pumpkin to eat, plus lots of crafts and entertainment too.
Jan Domer-Shank’s pick: McCormick’s Creek State Park in Spencer, Indiana. This is the oldest state park in Indiana and offers some diverse natural features as well. The park is home to caves, sink holes, and a big waterfall. Even if you can’t ‘rough it’ in a tent, a lodge with a huge swimming pool is available as well.
Mary Gordon’s pick: Alum Creek State Park near Columbus. Driving to this Delaware County park, you may not believe there is actually a campground surrounded by all the shopping centers. The campsites are quiet and there is lots of shade. You can also go swimming at the beach area and enjoy a playground during the day too.
Lisa Hoelle’s pick: My backyard. Not a big fan of traveling? Your backyard lets you give camping a try without investing much time and money. It is close to a shower and bathrooms, but still gets you outdoors.
Sharla Dunham’s pick: Caeser Creek in Wilmington. Sharla said she enjoys setting up a tent by the lake and enjoying the view of the water. There is plenty of hiking opportunities. Caeser Creek State Park also has a nature center and old pioneer cabins to check out.
For more information: http://www.nwf.org/Great-American-Campout.aspx