I have never been interested in tent camping. For one thing, summer is very HOT in Arkansas (I think we are topping off at 105 today) and most tents do not come with built in air conditioners. Then there is the whole sleeping on the ground thing that the thought of is not real exciting to me. But honestly if it were spring or fall and we got a few really good air mattresses I would go tent camping. Our favorite times camping have been in a motor home.
When you have a larger than average family, vacations start to become a bit more challenging. Every place you go requires more than one hotel room (double the expense) and splitting up the family. That and the rising cost of gas had us looking into and thinking about ways we could take some local, family friendly vacations. We love fishing, swimming, hiking, bike riding, and have several beautiful state parks around us that offer free educational programs all summer long. We did some research and decided to buy a small motor home and do some camping.
We loved going camping! Campsites are fairly inexpensive and we were able to take one trip a month from April-October. I loved the convenience of having the motor home. We could store everything we needed in the motor home and every time it was time to leave again we just had to prepare and load food and clothing. The motor home was air conditioned, had a microwave, fridge, and TV (very nice to have when it rained or to wind down right before bed) and a bathroom. We had a wonderful time camping at Lake Catherine, DeGray Lake, Devil's Den, Beaver Lake, Parker Creek, Branson MO and even made two trips to the beach once to Panama City Florida, and once to Galveston Texas. Art and I even took a camping trip just the two of us once. We fished, swam, hiked, rode bikes, learned a lot about nature and wildlife around us, played baseball and frisbee, and cooked smores around a campfire. It was wonderful!
Our motor home was designed to only sleep 6 and seven was pushing it. Soon, there were about to be 9 of us and we made the decision to sell it. We still did some camping by staying in cabins at one of our favorite state parks, Lake Catherine State Park. The cabins were really nice!! and only cost around $80 a night. But, they only slept 6 so our family had to rent 2 which only allowed us to make one trip instead of a trip once a month. We still got to cook out and do all the wonderful outdoor activities. Find my blog post on it here. We really miss our camping trips and motor home and are hoping to buy a pull behind camper next year.
Camping is such a wonderful, economical, family friendly activity You don't have to sleep on the ground to enjoy it, although many people do. You never know if you'll like it unless you try it! You just might surprise yourself. I know I did!