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July 29, 2008


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We took our 3-year-old twin girls camping for the first time this summer. It was a NIGHTMARE! They hated the whole experience. They hated the bugs. They hated the spiders. They were scared of the dark. To make matters worse, it started raining in the middle of the night.

First thing in the morning, we packed up and went home. Our whole camping experience lasted 12 hours. Maybe we'll try again next year.

mr. big dubya

Mrs. Big Dubya and I love the campground on Martha's Vineyard - it's a great way to spend several days at such a high-profile destination relatively on the cheap. Biggest expense? The ferry.

Had I known you were up in Dutchess Co., I would have invited you over to spend some time - we had Cape Buffalo and Cheeky over for the weekend and four 3 and under. And lots of beer.


I went camping once. It was in Unicoi State Park in the North Georgia "mountains." We slept in some contraptions called squirrels' nests. They were elevated and had one solid wall in the back, a half wall in the front and no walls on either side.

I was with my church youth group and a kid slept walked out of his nest at about 2 am, falling 6 feet and then sliding down the "mountain." I can still hear the sound he was making while waiting on somebody to come get him. That eliminated any desire to ever camp again.

But, that's a pretty spot if you ever find yourself in North Georgia.


Growing up, all of our family vacations were camping trips. The most amazing place we ever camped was Joshua Tree National Park in California. The scenery is gorgeous and the evening skies are spectacular. I want to take my husband camping there but he's a city dweller who hates camping. Maybe I'll show him this post and he'll change his mind. He loves reading your site!

Derek B.

My favorite camping story was when my idiot brother forgot to bring any toilet paper on a 5-day trip in the woods. While my buddies and I drove 10 miles into town whenever we felt the urge, my brother insisted on using leaves to wipe himself. Too bad Mr. Nature Boy didn't know how to recognize poison oak!

We've been laughing our asses off about that story for the past 10 years. I don't think it will ever stop being funny!


There is an island off Cape Cod called Washburn Island. Its only accessible via canoe and is totally unspoiled. Also I think it is about $8 a night!


I grew up in Oklahoma. EVERY day is like hanging out at a campsite.

Gray Matter

Huh huh, dude you said pitching tents (Beavis)
But seriously folks, my son joined Cub Scouts a few years ago and they just did a camp out down the street at the local nature center. Not exactly roughing it considering the grown ups went down the road for Dunkin Donuts coffee the next morning. Now, had they hiked there that might be been more appropriate. For low impact camping, although Peanut seems wild and wooly, they go up to Croton Point Park and Ward Pound Reservation--North of you, South of Dutchess. Oh, and did you really eat hot dogs after that intense juice fast you survived?


my best, worst, and most memorable camping experiences came in May 2003 in a little patch of dirt north of Baghdad. we had a tent, whiskey-filled bottles of mouthwash, meals ready to eat, and a guitar. in the evenings, there were fireworks of sorts, as tracers spanned the sky a few feet above our heads. the camaraderie couldn't be beat. like peanut, i brought a dress camping, which made for a great nickname: "clinger."


The best secret campground is Cobscook Bay State Park in Edmunds, Maine. It's amazing. You can camp right on the ocean. There are clean facilities and children's playgrounds. But the best part? You're allowed to dig for soft-shell crabs and cook them on the site. We go every year. It's our little bit of heaven here on earth.


I have two favorite camping spots. And yes, I love camping too, despite the hoots of laughter from everyone I know when I mention camping.

The first is 19 mile brook in New Hampster. It's right below Mt Washington, it's a fair hike into any decent camp sites, but the trail follows a nice big brook the whole way up the mountain with many good swimming holes.

The second is in Maine, and it's so secret I'm not going to tell you exactly where it is, but it's on a nice long lake (hint) between Augusta and Belfast and it is gorgeous. Good for car camping as well as hiking in, you can't find a better spot if you're in the mood for a hot shower after a hike.


Dresses...a girls gotta have standards!

I am like BossLady, not so into camping. By not so into it, I mean, I despise it. But I do go sometimes anyway, mostly because my kids and husband love it. My favorite in Colorado is Estes Park Campground. Best of both worlds. It's beautiful and the nature crap is everywhere, but they have showers and town is only five minutes away, for when I decide I'm not really sleeping outside last minute...which I normally decide at midnight. My all time favorite spot to camp is at Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona. We haven't been in a year or two, but it's beautiful. It's right outside Sedona, which is in the middle of a National Forrest. Beautiful red rocks, the creek (Slide Rock, the best natural water park that there is), hidden swimming holes and some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. I love Yosemite and Yellowstone, but so many people go to these that it's hard to get a great spot. We've always gotten a great spot in Estes and Oak Creek.

Mama Nabi

Last time I camped was as part of school activity. In India. Bare essentials.

I hear US camping sites can come with restrooms. I may actually camp voluntarily in that case. I do love the outdoors - just not using the outdoors as my personal bathroom. Did enough of it growing up... I even despise port-a-potties... and outhousese.

I adore that you two got your first camping under your belt - although it'd be much better if it were under different circumstances that BossLady didn't come. Camping does not mean the young lady has to give up her fashion sense. Atta girl, Peanut.


One of my favorite campsites in the south is at the base of the Great Smokey Mountains in East Tennessee at Horse Creek. Just the drive there alone is worth the gorgeous views. All the campsites are situated around the creek which entertains my kids endlessly. You can hike up to the Appalachian trail, fish in the incredibly clean creek (my dad does the stream test for that area) and the best is waking up to the cool mountain air even in the dead of summer.

One place I've been dying to try is Cumberland Island off the coast of Georgia. The only way to get there is by ferry, no cars allowed. There are wild horses, boar, tons of birds and visible from shore dolphins and manatees. They have both developed and backcountry "wild" camping. It's supposedly really beautiful.

I just can't convince my husband that camping at the beach would be fun. Something about sand and sleeping bags. I may take the kids anyway in the fall when it cools off a bit.


Northern Ontario is great for this. But camping is getting old as I am, too, and I'm liking things like proper bathrooms. So Misterpie and I? Just bought the site for our future cottage, where we will be getting away with our little ones some day not too far from now.

Adam J.

Funny. We live in a very rural area of Virginia. When we want to "get away from it all," we come to New York City.


Oh MetroDad, I loved this post and it hits particularly close to home for me.

When my siblings and I were young, my dad used to take all of us camping on a regular basis. By the time we were teenagers, my three older siblings had given up on camping. They were too busy with their social lives. But I still loved it so my dad and I would go by ourselves every few weekends. These were my favorite memories growing up as a child. Being the youngest, I had my daddy all to myself and it became part of our special bond. It was during those long campfire conversations that we would share what was going on in our lives with each other.

Several years ago, I lost my dad to cancer. During his last days, he would turn to me and ask me if I remembered all the talks we had during our camping trips. With tears in my eyes, I'd tell him that I remembered each and every one. I think that's when my siblings realized just how much they missed out on.

I'll never forget those camping trips for as long as I live.


I took my 2.5 year old camping at the beginning of the month. The story that sums it up best for me is something that happened while my husband and I were packing up the tent.

My son was playing with a 4 yr old boy from the next site over. I hear the 4 year old yelling No! No! I ran over to find my son with his shorts and pull up around his ankle, penis in hand, chasing after a toad as fast as one can run with shorts around your ankles. The 4 year old explained that the toad peed on my son. I laughed so hard I could barely get out the words "just because a toad pees on you, doesn't mean you can pee on a toad".

Happy the peanut enjoyed your camping trip. Camping with kids is quite an adventure!!

Arthur Manheim

Our favorite spot is Kirk Creek Campground in Los Padres National Forest (30 miles south of Big Sur.) It's the most amazing coastal camping I've ever seen. Simply gorgeous.

zygote daddy

One of our favorite places to camp around us, in Iowa, is Ledges State Park. It has really nice walk in spots that are not to far a trek, but also not used too much so pretty quiet. It is just 40 minutes or so from intersate 80. Very pretty natural rock outcroppings. We are taking Red on his first camping trip this summer and looking forward to it. We starting with just a weekend and seeing how that goes.


Catoctin Mountains in western Maryland. Park, bike, camp, fish, bonfire, sleep. Great area, quiet camping areas (plus hidden ones), and the feeling that you're far away in the mountains. However, if you believe the hype, supposedly the military has dumped highly toxic anthrax and other test drugs in the waters up there. Who knows.


My husband and I have been camping together since college. We both graduated with degrees in Geology so naturally our kids get stuck with our outdoorsy geekness. The monkeys started camping with us when they were infants, the only difference is instead of skinny dipping and staying up all night we now camp with a DVD player and watch Max and Ruby by campfire light. Best times ever! It's great that Peanut can share that with her daddy!

Anjelica Chan

OMG! Can we please talk about the Peanut's cuteness? I'm not even married yet but every time I see a photo of her, my utuerus starts aching for a little girl. She's gorgeous, MD!


Totally weird, my comment ended up with the wrong names attached! One time I got to be a chick from Australia and this time I am not even married. I can say that I have a little girl and my uterus is NOT aching for another though! lol


Campsite 24. In the Backcountry of the Smoky Mountains. Plentiful wild Rainbow and Brown Trout. And the kids can "hunt" for salamanders 'till their hearts content. After all, it is the Salamander Capitol of the World. My personal Paradise.

Jonathan M.

My favorite campground in Canada is Clayoquot Sound in British Columbia. You get there by kayak or canoe. You camp out on the beach and spend days looking at glaciers, whales and bald eagles. The best part? It's free!


We don't camp. Or, at least, I don't camp without a motorhome with a bathroom and shower. We do go to the desert and ride dune buggies, but only if I have a motorhome, and not to "get away from it all."

To get away from it all we go to a nice resort with room service, a pool, a bar and a spa. I spend the time sleeping, swimming and drinking (not necessarily in that order). My 3 year old loves it because she can swim, eat at restaurants or room service, and it doesn't involve sand.

Helen B.

Kudos to you, MD. I left my husband alone with the kids for 10 days last month to see my ailing mother. You know what they did both weekends? Played video games indoors and ordered pizzas. Why do I sometimes feel like I have three children instead of two?


My husband and I have enjoyed camping since we were college sweethearts twelve years ago. We always go to the same place - Shining Rock Wilderness, Pisgah National Forest in NC - Appalachian Mountains. The views are spectacular, and the hiking trails are plentiful. You can pick blueberries in the late summer, and there are some nice streams to filter your own water. Cold Mountain was filmed there.


We usually go every year, but we have a 15 month old daughter now. This year, we rented a cabin and went on short day hikes. I don't think we'll attempt real hiking/camping with her for a couple of more years.

When she's a bit older it will be a great way to teach her survival skills and even simple skills like using a compass and map.

Rojak Rendezvous

I'm with Adam J. Since I live in the French countryside, my escape is to go to Paris/Lyon or any of the cities down south to get connected.

Having said that, when I was living in NY, I loved going to Central & South America to get a dose of reality.


We go to my in-laws' place on Lake Tippecanoe in Northern Indiana. Not exactly roughing it, but not the city either!


Oh Metro - of course, you would have to solicit stories from people about their camping trips. Who cares about them? It's YOUR blog and don't let them forget it.

But, here I am so...I just want to add that I used to camp with my parents constantly when I was a kid - or maybe we were homeless...no I'm pretty sure we camped. With a camper/trailer, tents the whole nine. Anyway, never liked it much. Have you ever heard that Evan Dando song, "I lied about being the outdoor type"? That's me. I'd miss my TiVo too much. And I don't like to get my feet dirty. But I do like to go to Big Sur and stay in a lodge and drink wine and sit in front of a fire. So there's that.


I'm with Stefanie. I don't do the whole camping thing. I let my husband go on trips with his friends or with the kids. After a long week of work and dealing with the kids, there's no way that I'm going to sleep on the ground surrounded by spiders and bears.

I'll be at home watching "Dancing with the Stars."


We've taken our daughter camping and had a lot of fun.
If you ever come back out to WA check out the N. Cascades.


I have to say, I don't do sleeping on the ground, after a series of escalating camping-related disasters from my childhood (there just might be a blog post in that...).

However, I once worked for an organization that had its annual staff retreat in a campground in Big Sur. That was a beautiful spot. And it wasn't just the pot talking.


Every summer my family would go camping for a week or two in the Florida Keys, right on the beach. It was awesome. We spent the days swimming, canoeing, diving and fishing for our food. There's nothing like waking up to the sunrise and the smell of the ocean!


For what it's worth this is the second time my comment posted with someone else's name. So weird. It's like musical comments!


Oh wow. What a fun post. I love reading about daddy/daughter adventures. I'm impressed you survived that long in the wildnerness with a pre-schooler. She must be one kick-ass kid. (Also, omg she's adorable.)

My family doesn't camp. We boat. Or we road-trip. I haven't really had an adventure along those lines in a long time though. Hopefully when baby #2 gets big enough we'll do a serious adventure.


In Minnesota (ugh, I know, who goes there?) up north, there is a little town called Grand Marais.
It is on Lake Superior, and the municipal camping ground is fabulous. It has hot showers, a sauna, and an indoor pool.
The town itself has a restaurant called The Angry Trout, which serves fresh fish caught on Superior that day.
It is so relaxing to hang out by the shore.

Yarn Hungry Hog

I love camping, period!
I've dragged my husband to some camping trips that in later dates, when I say let's go camping, he wouldn't go unless there was full toilet/shower service. Also, I had to drive ahead of him, set up camp, fire up the campfire, start cooking the camp food before he arrives.
I have dragged my only child, and sometimes some of his friends to go camping in never heard of campgrounds.
Two of the best campgrounds we had gone to were: Loon Lake campground at Coos Bay, Oregon. The other site was Jessie Honeyman State Park in Florence, Oregon. But recently, Honeyman had seen black bears roaming around, which has become a nuisance around the coastal area of Oregon.
To this day, my son (almost 21) will still go camping if I ask him. I hope that when he has his own family (and I'm gone) he would remember those times and continue on his own family camping experience.
Thanks MetroDad for bringing up the camping blog entry.


A great-looking Asian guy who loves fashion AND camping? Why can't I find a guy like you in Chicago? Is MetroBro still single?


There's a great camping place a little farther north from where you camped. It's in the Saugerties/Woodstock area at the base of the Catskills. Probably another half hour away from Duchess County. It's a great family campground with a lot of amenities but still a lot of privacy. I think it's a KOA campsite. You should check it out. We went at the beginning of the summer and had a great time.


We live in a condo in downtown DC, and we go a bit crazy if we don't go camping every once in a while. When I was pregnant, I cancelled all camping after the sixth month. But as soon as March came, when the baby was barely 5 months old, we took her on her first camping trip. She loved it. At 9 months, she has slept in tents (we had to buy a super-sized one to fit the pack and play, but whatever . . . ) for 7 nights already. It will be 12 by the time she turns 10 months!


From when I was under 1 year old until I was 20, every summer my family camped (sometimes a tent, more often a tent-trailer or trailer) at June lake in the Sierras. It is still my heaven.


You're not going to believe this but Prada DOES make a sleeping bag! It's lined with fox fur and costs $12,415.



I'm not making this up - there are a some volcanic mountains, well....hills really, called the Bunya Mountains about 4 hours drive west of Brisbane in Queensland (I'm not making that up either), Australia. Beautiful rainforest, and a bit weird, as it rises out of a dead flat farming area called the Darling Downs. One of many wonders Down Under - but definitely worth a visit if camping's you're thing.



If the link doesn't work, just google deep creek hot springs...it's 8th on the list.

These hot springs include a hike and 4 separate pools plus a river you can swim in.



I'm not big on camping, but I have to say that there is only one place that I will actually do it. Anywhere on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia... but preferably along the Cabot Trail. The Cape Breton Highlands National Park is amazing and the views of the North Atlantic pounding against the cliffs. If you go in the spring, it might be cool at night, but it's lobster season. Summer is lovely, but fall is my favourite time because of the leaves changing colours (but pack like you're winter camping... it can get really chilly at night!)


Get your baby an Aerobed metro dad! I love Big Sur south of Pebble Beach. Every time I'm there I have to thank God I'm a Californian.


Here in Florida there are LOTS of beautiful places to camp: beachside, in the deep woods, along a lazy river or next to natural springs.

Also here in Florida there are BUGS ! Spiders, mosquitoes, no see ums, ants that can carry a small child.

So, um no, I dont camp.

Growing up we did overnite boat trips. Head down the river, tie up to shore at night, sleep on the boat. Keeps the bugs down somewhat, but no, I wont be doing that anymore.

I'm all about hiking, canoeing, innertubing, beaching. Just as long as the end of the day includes a hot shower, nice bed and room service!

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