Step by Step Guide to Planning the BEST Camping Trip

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I am definitely getting cabin fever over here… February in Central New York is “oh so cold & wet” and let me tell you, I am ready for Camping Season. 🏕🌲🏔🌞 So Ready, that I planned & booked our first camping trip- Yay! 🙌

I love to plan up-coming trips with fun activities to see & do. I feel as though experiences are the best gifts of all. Follow along, & I can help you with a step-by-step Guide to creating a full filling itinerary of awesome adventures to make a lifetime of memories. 📷

I have grown to love my home state of New York. When people hear New York- they instantly think of NYC, Wall Street, busy traffic, chaos & high priced everything. Yikes! However, I live in the beautiful Valleys of Central NY , at the foothills of the Adirondacks with rolling hills, woods, farms & beautiful natural landscapes. Being in the smack dab middle of the state, within a few hours, I can been to any great adventure that NY has to offer-such as Niagara Falls, The St. Lawrence River, the Finger Lakes Region, the Adirondacks or yes, even NYC.🌊🏔🗽

I mainly focus on traveling my own home state- basically to keep costs low. Traveling fees are cheaper to drive throughout the state, rather than flying to a different state. Most campgrounds charge you for being out of state or have benefits if you are a local. & I am always close to home (only a few hours away) in case there is an emergency.

1. Location

First things first- Where do you want to go?!? 🗺watkinsglen

Usually I hear about somewhere interesting & go from there. For Example- Watkins Glen, NY is absolutely breathtaking. It is a gigantic natural gorge off of Seneca Lake, where you walk through caves, under waterfalls & climb the enormous stone steps. The pictures do not do justice, but it is magnificent & I highly recommend the trip.

2. Time

When do you want to go?

When you are Camping, of course beautiful sun-shining weather is ideal- however… weather is not always predictable. So, you would want to generalize your planning accordingly.

Pick the Season/Month- Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter. Which season would you like to camp in? For Example (In NY): Spring- March/April/May, Wet/Rainy/, Warm/50 Degrees     Summer-  June/July/Aug, Sunny/Humid, Hot/70-80 Degrees     Fall- Sept/Oct/Nov, Cloudy/Windy, Cooler/mid 50-60 Degrees   Winter- Dec/Jan, Feb, Cold, 10-30 Degrees

3. How Long

Are you just staying for an overnight, a weekend or a week-long stay?

If I know of an upcoming local event or holiday, I like to plan around that. My fiancé & I recently got a motorcycle & we follow pages via Facebook & Instagram for fun events. When it comes to holidays… I normally try to avoid camping at this time, because the camping fees seem to spike. The normal $14/night turns into $21/night & the spaces are limited.  This helps determine how long we would like to stay. For overnights, try to find early check-ins & late check-outs, so you are able to maximize your camping time.

4. Interests/Activities

Do you like to bird watch, fish or hike?

I love to go to State Parks. Here in NY State, the State Parks are regulated & offer a TON of Great Amenities. I love the access to public bathrooms & showers. I guess you could consider this glamping, but I love some running water in my camping life. Any who- other amenities include: fishing, hiking, bird watching, swimming, bicycling, canoeing, kayaking, etc. Create a list of interest/activities available at the campground, so you are able to get the FULL Camping Experience.

5. Stay

From your previous selections, you now have the base of your Camping Trip & can plan on where to Stay/Camp. Combine all four & locate campgrounds in that area.

Location + Time + How Long + Interests = Campground

I am planning an upcoming trip & I followed these steps to create our trip.

#1. LOCATION: We would love to visit Lake Placid, NY (again)- this ADK village hosted the 1932 & 1980 Winter Olympics. Known for the vast Mountains for hiking- such as WhiteFace Mountain & the beautiful trout fishing river- The Ausable River, this is one of our favorite places to visit. ⛸🥌⛷🏔

#2. TIME: April 1st, is opening season for trout fishing. With the snow melting & the waters raging, we pushed out the trip into May, to have some warmer weather & less rainfall.🌞🎣

#3. HOW LONG: We wanted a mini vacation, so we agreed on 6 Days (5 Nights). And we are going the 3rd week in May, to avoid the following week- Memorial Day (the prices will jack up… smh) 🏕

#4. INTERESTS: We are going with my sister & her boyfriend. We love to go fishing, trail walking & my sister & I like to chill on the beach. Just hand me a fruity drink, a sun hat & leave me at the beach. Based off of these interests, I am able to narrow down which campground offers these activities. 🎣🏔🍹👙

Lake Placid, NY + 3rd Week in May + 1 Week + Fishing, Hiking, Beach, NY State Parks w/ Bathrooms/Showers=  All Campgrounds Available: Ausable Point, Buck Pond, Caroga, Cranberry Lake, Golden Beach, Eighth Lake, Fish Creek Pond, Meacham Lake, Moffitt Beach, Nicks Lake, Northhampton Beach, or Putnam Pond.

After some pamphlet reading, I chose Buck Pond Campground, because there is an old abandoned railroad bed that stretches for miles along an “easy to walk” trail. This sounded like a neat little adventure in itself.

Below is a Printable Template- Campground Planning Template:

You know have your destination- Yes! 👊

I have created some additional lists for your experience to be complete:

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    25 Must Haves for your Camping Adventure under $25

    This post contains affiliate links. Read full disclosure for more info.

    Here are some summer-time gadgets to make for an Awesome Camping Trip. I am ALL about creating experiences which will make lasting memories.

    Camping, Where You Spend A Small Fortune To Live Like The Homeless – Wood Sign

    This is a Must Have list aka things I want to beautify my cozy cabin! This list is an afforadble list- generally under $25… so you will not find a tent here. However, who needs a tent when the back of a truck bed will do. < Yeah, that’s going on my Bucketlist 😍

    MUST HAVES- TENT EQUIPMENT: I love new camping gizmos that can help make the experience more delightful. As simple as light, a cute rug or a warm chic blanket these create an overall gleeful trip.


    2 Pack E-TRENDS Portable LED Lantern Tent Light Bulb
    Happy Camper Camping Door Mat
    Cotton Checked Throw

    MUST HAVES- HIKING GEAR:  Survival is the name of the game when venturing out on a hike. Whether it is a mild stretch or scaling a mountainside, you should always be well prepared.  

    Camelbak Products Chute Water Bottle, Sage, 1-Liter

    Venture Pal Ultralight Lightweight Backpack Daypack

    Women Wide Head Wrap Seamless Bandana MultiFunction 6PCS

    Camping Water Filter

    Tactical Survival Bracelet [2 pack]

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    Fishing Tackle Lures

    Booms Fishing Multi Function Fishing Plier

    Flex Fillet 5pc Fishing Cutlery Set

    Daiwa D-Shock 2-Piece Rod and Reel Combo

    MUST HAVES -KITCHEN GADGETS: I love to cook over the open campfire flame. The sweet smokey flavor that absorbs into the freshly cooked food is one of my favorite camping experiences.  I love to create delicious, easy to cook, camping recipes. But let me save you from one of my horrible camping whoopsies….. I forgot the spatula. Ughhhh…. However with a piece of cardboard, tinfoil & a knife, I created my own handy-dandy spatula for our kitchen needs. It did work…. but I am sure if I had a kit with all of my utensils it would have not been forgotten.

    Camp Kitchen Utensil Organizer Travel Set


    I am obsessed with this Enamel Tableware Set. Not only with the blue color, but the style is perfect. It just screams “Take Me Camping” & this 4 Person set is UNDER $20!

     Stansport Enamel Camping Tableware Set, 24-Piece, Bluestansport-tableware.jpg

    My morning is not complete without my hot coffee off the morning fire. These mugs can withstand the heat & keeps my coffee warm.

    YaeKoo 4-Pack Mugs -Outdoor Travel Cups


    Some of the metal grills that are over the firepits are sub-par…. & tinfoil doesn’t always do the trick to help cook your food. For a clean, effortless meal, the Camp Griddle is my go too. Trust me, Bacon + tinfoil = mini grease fire & burnt bacon 😦

    Coghlan’s Two Burner Non-Stick Camp Griddle


    This is our first year with this Egg Holder & I am beyond stoked in so many ways. In the past, the eggs never seem to stay cool, because we try to place them at the top of the cooler. And then later in our camping adventures, eventually the egg carton becomes soaked from the cooler which turns into a mess.  Egg Holder- Please do not fail us this summer.

    Coghlan’s Egg Holder, 12 Eggs


    MUST HAVES- FUN & ACTIVITIES: Remember that you want to create everlasting memories. Camping is a freedom from electronics & the social world. It should be a connection with your family/friends & making fun in the present moment. We always bring games with us- such as Uno, Yahztzee, a pack of Playing Cards &  I always bring a game that has a twist- like Bean-Boozled or Doritos Roulette. These always seem to be a hit & great for any age. Reaching into a mystery bag trying to determine the flavor, creates a lot of suspense & laughter for everyone.

     Jelly Belly 4th Edition Beanboozled Jelly Beans Spinner Gift Box, 3.5 oz

    Doritos Roulette Tangy Cheese & Hot Chilli 180g

    Mattell Original UNO Card Game

    Yahtzee Game

    Bicycle Playing Card Deck, 2-Pack

    MUST HAVES- FOR THE FUR BABIES: Sometimes our Furry little friends get to go on trips with us as well. Be sure to bring plenty of food & water for them.

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    Fast and Easy Portable Dog Water Bottle

    Collapsible Travel Pet Bowl 2 Pack by Dog-Gone Dish

    Pawaboo Dog Backpack