End of the Summer? Maybe! End of Camping? NOT!

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August 25, 2008

To many, many people this weekend seems to be the end of the camping season. When I was a kid, this weekend was the end of summer and freedom. After all summer of running around mainly barefoot, leaving the house in the morning and not having to come back until the streetlights came on (except you better be there for dinner!), riding your bikes, playing baseball, swimming, fishing, and having lots of fun, suddenly you had to put on new shoes and jeans as stiff as cardboard and shirts with buttons and GO BACK TO SCHOOL!

Well, I am here to say you don’t have to be as sad as a kid going back to school this time of year. Today’s campers are equipped with Heaters! In fact, even here in North Western Pennsylvania, temperatures are not going to be so cold for several weeks that you have to worry about getting that frigid. So, don’t let the time of year stop you from going camping!

Now for safety considerations, please check your heater and make sure it is operating properly. It should burn cleanly, and, after the first few minutes, there should be no strange odors. Any appliances that use flame (stove, heater, frig, water heater) should burn with a clear blue flame. Check the batteries, in your LP detector, smoke alarm and Carbon monoxide detector. Also, test them to make sure they go off! If you have heated tanks, you don’t have to worry about things freezing unless it gets really cold. Just make sure you remember to winterize when you come back if the temperatures are going to be below freezing.

Layers may be needed as the days start getting cooler. But, look at it this way, the bugs are going to start dying off at least up North. Last year in November we went down to the Okefenokee Swamp and almost got carried away by the Bugs!

Now, where can you go? Most of the Summer/entertainment park type of campgrounds are starting to close, and the kids have many activities like football and band. So we like to look closer to home. We also tend to do some less frantic type of activities, enjoying more nature walks, leaf peeping, elk watching, and sitting around the campfire.

So, maybe try focusing on the national park, state park or national forest, state forest campgrounds. These are often closer than you think and many can reach them within a hour or less drive. The sites maybe a little smaller, and there often isn’t electric or water, much less full hook ups. But, if you go closer to home and are only staying for a relaxing weekend with the kids, you should be able to get by. Look at it as practice for your dream trip to Yellowstone and boonedocking! Another bonus is that the prices are often very reasonable most being in the 15 to 30 dollar range, for a night’s stay.

So, don’t let the end of summer end your camping for the year. Get out while you can enjoy the warmth of the fire and make memories with your kids.

Your Obedient Servant,

Gary Smith, Jr.

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  3. TXBrad

    A fall/ winter TIP: We learned last fall; Full service / private R.V. parks will show in the directory books / web- sites / etc. that they close ( like Oct. 15 ). At a park in North N.Y. listed as closed , was open. The owner said they publish these dates in case the weather ( snow) goes bad. But, we all know there are real nice days in the fall / winter.
    He suggested to call the park. If there is no snow/ice ; all are welcome to park.
    His park had 1/2 of his site’s protected against freezing & many for dry set-ups.
    Remember most park operators are in business to make a profit.
    So, if shown closed call ahead

  4. Tom Hargreaves

    Sans kids, before Memorial Day and after Labor Day are our favorite times to camp! No crowds, and around Central-Eastern Washington, the weather is usually decent. If there is water at the site and nights are below freezing, we partially fill the internal tank then disconnect and drain the hose. If the CG has turned off the water at each site, there may be a central freeze-protected spigot available to fill the tank, or we stop somewhere and fill up. We don’t hook up the gray/black tanks at all until we need to empty (that may be more than a week for the black and up to five days for the gray). For sites with electricity, we use electric heat as much as possible to save the propane and the generator. We also find that lower off-season rates can partially compensate for the fuel costs!

  5. Ty

    My wife and I just recently bought a travel trailer. It’s nice but pretty much
    basic. We live in Colorado and I’d love to go camping in the cooler weather
    but what about the fresh water, water lines, and the black tank freezing?
    I wouldn’t go when it’s below 30 or so all day, but at night is a different
    story. Yes we have a furnace but that won’t help, will it? We had been
    camping with our old pop up tent trailer when it had snowed but then
    we had nice weather.

  6. Bill Miller

    QUESTION: Which is better, the wired rear-view camera on a class A M/H or the wireless unit from Walmart , both as far as, for the money and performance. Thank you for your assistance. Bill Miller

  7. Marie

    Fall camping in Mississippi is really more enjoyable than summer camping. I can always put on more clothes to take that walk around the campsite and enjoy the cooler evenings sitting outside. Itty Bitty (my travel companion dog) enjoys our walks more too! Blue sky and green lights to all Marie

  8. Preach it, Gary! Fewer bugs and fewer people, what’s not to like about that?