Camping on the Suncoast
Now that it’s January in Florida, the weather is ideal to get out and enjoy nature. The temperatures are exactly right during the day, staying pleasant with low humidity and evenings are jacket-worthy with a slight breeze. Some might say we are right in the sweet spot of Florida’s amazing weather. If ever there was a time to pack a cooler, load up a tent, jump in the car and go, it is now. With over 175 state parks in the state of Florida and a number of beautiful local destinations, combined with prime weather, what are you waiting for? We’ve come up with ten reasons we should all do a little camping this winter.
- Camping is cheap. On average, campsites designed for four or less people with room for one large tent, a grill or fire-source and many times a picnic table cost under $100 for two nights of camping. Home | Florida State Parks
- Nature is cool. You cannot beat the opportunities for birdwatching, fishing, exploring the habitats of small animals and so much more when you camp. Leaving nature after sleeping overnight is very bittersweet. Yes, you are ready to go home but the solace of your campsite as you leave is a reminder to come back. The lessons learned from watching animals cohabitate in nature and the dividends we reap by unplugging and recharging can truly help our focus and tolerance during the week . Ten Bird Watching Hotspots in Florida » Bird Watcher’s Digest (birdwatchersdigest.com)
- No Wi-Fi if you are lucky. Yep, I said it, you are lucky without Wi-Fi. If you cannot access social media or text messages while camping it is just an added bonus of the event. When will you be forced to put down your phone again? I promise you will be okay, and your family will marvel at your beautiful face which is normally pointed at a phone.
- Family interactions. (See #3 if you’re confused on why #4 happens) No Wi-Fi= talking about shared memories, cracking jokes, playing games, actually being a family again. Much family angst can get worked out over a good flag football game.
- The food. Burgers, hotdogs, beans….all cooking on an open-air grill. Then, later the smores come out with all that ooey gooey marshmallow and chocolatey goodness. You might think it would be hard to top that, except breakfast just smells better when sizzling outside the morning after camping. “Eggs and bacon Cooked Outside” could be a year-round candle scent burning in my home. Stoke the Campfire for 47 Easy Camping Recipes (tasteofhome.com)
- No fuss, no muss. Yes, there is glamping, but our camping excursions are not about that. If you are not high maintenance, you really don’t need much more than a tent, sleeping bag, extra hoodie, and sweats. Things you can leave at home: makeup, uncomfortable clothing, your worries, and stress.
- Every town has a camping venue. If you are not fussy on amenities, then you can be at a campsite within minutes. Whether you are into primitive camping or need all the bells and whistles, the choices are plentiful. No need to fill the gas tank or make arrangements for your mail to be picked up. And when the fun is over, you are back home in no time.
- The fires. This part can get tricky as many parks and campgrounds only allowed “cooking fires” with some sort of grate over top. But you can still find sites which permit safe campfires. A local example is Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. Near the campsites is a huge fire-pit guests are allowed to responsibly use. Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park | Visit Sarasota
- The Fun. With camping comes so much more like raucous football games, hide-and-seek, scavenger hunts, crafting, and even gourmet open-fire cooking. You never know who the best storyteller is until you are all sitting around a campfire and natural speaking talents surface. There is also something shared and special about “roughing it.” Even though civilization is a mere mile or so away, it’s fun to pretend you are out in the wild in survival mode.
- Home never looked so good. With all the fun had, once everything is put away and everyone is showered and dirty clothes laundered, all your memories of the weekend will make for a good night sleep in your own bed. You won’t regret the fun times had with family and friends, the fresh air and warm sunshine, and the takeaway of fond memories is truly priceless. Let’s go Camping, Suncoast!
Photos courtesy of We Love Camping Facebook page & Deposit Photos