Breathe the Fresh Air at a Family Campground
Sunny warmth beaming through windows and the fluttering of butterflies beckon us to venture outdoors. In this time of social distancing, activities to enjoy the company of others are still somewhat limited, so camping can be a perfect option.
Camping offers an opportunity for family time away from electronic screens, with a change in scenery and space to spread about.
According to Nicole Oldfort, of Rivertown Campground in Vicksburg, camping offers a space for people to “kind of stay to themselves.”
“I think it’s a good way to get out and travel but be more secluded, and I think camping can be therapeutic,” she said. “Here, we are doing a contactless check-in and once they get to their site, the sites are distant enough so no one is right on top of other people.”
Here are some tips to consider when planning a camping adventure:
Research the site.
Some campsites offer laundry and bathing facilities, while others don’t. Some offer fishing, hiking or other activities such as swimming in a pool. Be sure to call ahead, because local weather conditions may preclude camping at the time even if the camp area is open for business in general.
Pack the right stuff.
Consider the needs of each family member. For instance, an extra tent might be appropriate for teens or tweens who are in the awkward or self-conscious phase of life. Consider bringing a pack-and-play for the baby. Pack for any type of weather, including unexpected rain. Dress in layers or remember a blanket, because even here in Mississippi, temperatures tend to drop at night and are more noticeable when lying still.
Pack the bug spray and sunscreen! Pack a first aid kit, too, and a pair of tweezers in case of splinters.
Get the kids involved.
Let them pick an activity (hiking, swimming, etc.) so they can have some ownership in the family trip. Give them age-appropriate tasks they can complete at the campsite. Kids can help unload things from the car, gather firewood or wash the dishes.
Set up the tent before it starts to get dark outside, and before really doing anything else. Setting things up can take some time, so don’t plan for too much on the first day, except maybe exploring the immediate surroundings to get your bearings and plan activities for the remainder of the trip. Consider nighttime activities such as card games, music to play or listen to, or board games. For added fun, bring glow sticks!
Plan what you will eat.
Google recipes appropriate for camping. Let kids select one item they can get excited about. Here’s a hint…anything that can be cooked on a stick — such as hot dogs, chicken or marshmallows — will probably be a hit! Also, plan for just-in-case; if it happens to rain the whole time, then cooking over a fire will not be possible. Bring peanut butter and jelly, granola or trail mix, and tuna packs as backup. Also, if the fish don’t bite, then cooking a fresh catch might not happen. Having a backup plan can take the pressure off of having to catch fish.
Kids will get messy; be patient with muddy shoes and more. There will probably be late night potty breaks, so plan ahead to minimize frustration and increase safety. Allow time for kids to explore, to encourage curiosity and allow them some control.
Find Teachable moments.
The outdoors is full of new learning experiences. You could go birdwatching, or identify bugs, flowers, birds and trees. Bring binoculars and magnifying glasses. Also, consider teaching children proper ways to make and put out a fire and respect nature.
Alicia Stevens, a resident of Pearl River County, is a freelance writer, wife and mother of two who enjoys traveling with her family and friends.
The outdoors is calling, and luckily, the Mississippi Delta region has many choices. Here are just a few possibilities to consider:
Hugh White State Park
3170 State Park Rd, Grenada | 662-226-4934
Frog Hollow Campground/RV Park
601 Hwy 7 N, Grenada | 662-226-9042
Warfield Point Park
296 Warfield Point Rd, Greenville | 662-820-8630
5900 Highway 61 S, Vicksburg | 601-630-9995
4407 I-20 North Frontage Rd, Vicksburg | 601-636-2025
Chotard Landing Resort
350 Chotard Lake Rd, Vicksburg | 601-279-4282