Our favorite and least expensive vacation is camping. Depending on your state and area you should be able to find a decent county park, state park or national forest near you for less than $12 per night.
This past year we discovered a gorgeous County park that runs along side a beautiful winding river that allows for free camping for up to 14 days at a time.
In almost all cases, campsites at State and National parks offer picnic tables, fire pits, charcoal grills and plenty of recreational trails for bike riding, hiking and more.
Initially, you'll need to come up with a few basics to get started. We recommend checking yard sales, garage sales, and rummage sales for items such as tents, sleeping bags, etc. Also, if you're willing to make an investment, you can often purchase large 8-12 person tent sets complete with folding chairs, sleeping bags, flashlights, and a propane grill for less than $100. at Walmart. We found several such family deals last season.
You might find that it's worth a couple dollars to purchase an inflatable raft (such as those in the pool section of a department store for about $4 each) to use as a sleeping pad under your sleeping bag.
If you don't already have a cooler, you will need to invest in one to prevent food from spoiling.
Other items that are handy to have are cups, silverware, plates, a pan that you can set directly into a fire, and tin foil. Most of these items you probably already have available in your kitchen cupboards. A medium size rubbermaid bucket works wonders for holding all your "camp Kitchen" items while keeping out nosey critters looking for snacks.
One thing that our family loves about camping is all the great, easy, inexpensive recipes that go along with it. The kids look forward to shoving chunks of veggies and hot dogs, etc on sticks to roast in the fire, hobo dinners, campfire potatoes and more.
Be sure to bring a camera, you might be surprised at the amazing photo opportunities that come your way.
Once the initial purchase for basics has been made, your family can camp over and over again for just a few dollars.
- Find Free Campgrounds in your Area- or campsites that cost less than $10
- Join your Local Freecycle - you may be able to get various camping gear for free, all you need do is ask.
Article By Liss Burnell – Creator & Designer of Budget101.com, “Digging yourself out of debt when all you have is a spoon” © 2007