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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    Over the Open Flames – Campfire Food


    When Camping, Food should be easily prepared & effortless. You are camping to get away, relax & enjoy nature. Nobody wants to put tedious time into making a home cooked meal. So let’s make cooking over the open flame simple. :]

    I have seen plentyyyyyy of Pinterest posts on Campfire Food ideas & one that repeats itself it Campfire Cheese Fries. Yes, this sounds like an excellent idea. Gooey Cheesey French Fries, but Of Course! One problem… It is way easier said than done.  Sorry folks but it has been an absolute fail on this one. The recipe calls for frozen fries wrapped in tinfoil smothered in cheese & Cook for approx 10-15mins. The outcome…. starched wet noodle like fries covered in cheese or half-cooked fries with burnt cheese. Maybe the fire wasn’t quite right, but that is the way the cookie crumbles.

    So, I have created a list of effortless, simple & delicious Campfire Foods for your next camping expedition.

    Start your day out right with a hearty breakfast. Juice boxes are easy to pack in the cooler & come in a variety of flavors, Apple, Orange or Grape. Enjoy your coffee too. (Boil some water til hot, add a few tablespoons of instant coffee & powdered creamer. With both being dry goods, no wasted cooler space) It just wouldn’t be breakfast without the bacon. Throw some slabs on! Bring a frying pan & eggs will be finished in no time. & for Toast, line the grill with tinfoil & place the bread right on the flame. Under 5 mins, & your toast is golden brown. Fruit will get your day going on the right path & always remember H2O.

    BREAKFAST– Bacon, Eggs, Bread, Juice (Apple, Orange, Grape) Fruit, & Coffee

    LUNCH– Sandwiches, Hotdogs, Grilled Cheese

    DINNER– Burgers, Ribs, Fish, Shishkabobs

    fullrackRIBS?!? What is this girl made of Money?!? 

    Actually I found an amazing deal at the local grocery & couldn’t pass it up. Two Full Racks for $15 & they threw in a BBQ Sauce. They were the easiest, most tender, best rack of Ribs I’ve ever tried. They adhered some of the smoke flavor, & because they were already pre-cooked, it was only a matter of minutes until they were done. So indulge a little, especially if it’s a great bargain.