Even if your idea of camping includes an RV and TV hookups, you can have an authentic experience if you stick with campfire traditions.
Whether you are pitching a tent, parking an RV, or rolling out a sleeping bag under the stars, few things on earth are as wonderful as taking yourself off to the woods or the beach for a few nights surrounded by natural beauty. Some people will tell you that if there is an RV involved, it isn't camping so much as cheating. Although it is definitely a different version of theoretically roughing it, the inclusion of a few activities will help to legitimize even those who need electricity and television access from their campground facilities. Coincidentally enough, all of them center around one classic staple.
One of the very best things about camping is the campfire. On chilly nights, it keeps you warm. On warm nights, it helps to keep the mosquitoes and other unwelcome wildlife, winged and otherwise, away. On any night, it smells fantastic. That scent somehow always brings a smile and fond memories, even if they require retrospective humor for the grin to spread.
Perhaps most important of all, a fire you build yourself is the only true method for creating the best s'mores on the planet. Marshmallows toasted over actual flames are a specific requirement for a reason. If you have never before personally tasted the difference, do so very soon.
Campfires also serve well as a gathering point for the group you are traveling with. Storytelling and/or live music of some kind are central to this particular overnight experience. Scary stories are, of course, traditional. Any narrative from nostalgic remembrances to tall tales will do the trick, though. You might be surprised how quickly people join in once some brave soul goes first.
"Kumbaya" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" are trite for a reason. They are an easy place to start, mostly because almost everyone knows at least one of them. Replace the latter with "Soft Kitty" from The Big Bang Theory, sung as a round, and you've added a bit of pop culture credibility to your outing. If you are on a family vacation, this update may even temporarily reduce any teenaged eye rolling. (No guarantees.)
Even the least experienced camper can manage a solidly tasty breakfast by campfire. Oatmeal with coffee, tea or hot cocoa is the easiest meal to start with. Why? The words "just add hot water" are music to novice ears. However, you do not have to settle for instant coffee. There are no-tech drip coffee makers that fit over the top of your mug and require nothing more complex -- or heavy to carry -- than a regular filter to start your day with a good cup of joe. There's no need to be uncivilized as you enjoy the wild.
When people ask how your vacation was, skip the part about access to hot showers and talk about nights around a fire. Camping will sound as good to them as it was for you. Just remember what Smokey the Bear said, "Only you can prevent forest fires."
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For anyone who loves camping Florida provides an especially unique setting. For untamed beaches and ancient forests, check out http://www.floridabeachestorivers.com.
By - Aaliyah Arthur
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