Try camping the modern way

Lisa Lightner
Lisa Lightner

I think many parents that are my age and older have memories of camping when you were a child. I’ll leave it up to you whether or not you put the word “fond” in front of memories.

Yeah, it was fun. But it was hard work and not all that comfortable at times. Lakes and rivers were awfully cold for swimming. Bugs everywhere. If it rained that was really bad and uncomfortable if you were in a tent. If you can afford hotel vacations, that may be the way to go to avoid the hassles and just be able to relax, right?

A quick internet search on family campgrounds, and you will see that camping is not what it used to be. For one, many of the campgrounds for families have added many more outdoor activities. You can find row boats and kayaks, paddle boats, rock climbing walls, swimming pools with lots of fun features, hay rides and all sorts of organized activities. Sure, you will probably still be able to play a game or horseshoes and shuffleboad, but you’ll likely be surprised to learn that your kids will enjoy it. If you give them a chance and time away from the screens, they love learning new things.

You can certainly bring and pitch a tent, but many campgrounds offer nice cabins too. This makes it just a bit better if the rain comes. You can also do both and have kids sleep in the tent and have the adults stay in cabins. This idea also works well for family vacations, family reunions and when you want to vacation with several other families.


We spent last week at a family ranch in the Adirondacks. Since it was a ranch, it also had horseback trail rides and lessons. Ours also provided the food in a big dining hall for every meal, but that is the part I did not care for. It just wasn’t food like I’d prepare at home-it was very campy and that got tiresome after a few days. But they had plenty of things for both kids and adults and our family had a great time.

It was a bit too chilly to swim in the lake so we opted for the indoor pool. We also went fishing every day, went for a hay ride, went for several boat rides on pontoon and paddle boats and many other activities. We were lucky that the weather was perfect almost every day, even if it was a bit chillier than it was down here.

After we got home and started to get back into our routine, my husband and I had time to chat. He said he feels that he would be more of a lake house person than a beach house person, if we were going to lean either way for retirement. I think I’d have to agree. I enjoy the outdoors activities associated with lakes and mountains more so than the beach. Even though we still love a beach vacation too.

Really, if you haven’t been camping in a while or haven’t been to a campground in many years, I urge you to check them out. You don’t have to drive 400 miles to northern New York, but it was pretty. We have many good ones within a few hours of our area. As always, you can reach me at LisaLightner at

Outdoor enthusiast Lisa Lightner lives in Avondale.