Want to put some adventure in your next family camping trip? Try swinging from the trees, going on a scavenger hunt in the woods or and an enjoying an upside-down pineapple campfire cake to top off that guaranteed plate of fresh trout before you fall asleep on a bed as soft as the one at home. If this sounds like your ideal family adventure, keep reading.
What kid (or grownup for that matter) doesn't like the feel of wind in their hair while soaring above the ground? All you need is a 16 foot rope from a hardware store and an old car tire, which you can usually get for free from a local tire shop. You just tie a noose on one end of the rope and throw the other end over a sturdy branch of a tree near your campsite.
Thread the free end of the rope through the slip knot and pull the rope so that it is secure. Be sure you have plenty of space between the tire and the ground to swing your feet, then tie on your tire and call the kids to come play. This is an excellent activity to keep the little ones occupied while you're setting up camp.
The Scavenger Hunt
Another age-old favorite: the thrill and competition of a scavenger hunt. Hide goodies like candy bars, Rice Crispy treats and bags of chips in strategic locations around the extended camping area. Use explorer hints to set them on the hunt (e.g. 50 paces past the tree with no leaves, turn right and there will be a surprise waiting). Just be sure to relocate all the sweets before nightfall lest you invite unwanted guests.
Guaranteed Fresh Trout
Tired of swatting mosquitoes while waiting endlessly for a nibble? Here’s a hint many savvy campers have known for years: The United States Trout Farmers Association, established in 1954, includes Trout Farms in almost every state. And conveniently, these aquatic grocery stores are often located very near camping areas.
Most trout farms will clean your fish for you and, for an extra dollar, provide you just enough foil, salt and a lemon to prepare your fish for baking over the coals of your fire when you return to the campsite. There are few things more rewarding than catching and cooking your own fish.
Campfire Upside-Down Pineapple Cake
Along with the s'mores supplies, bring along a Dutch oven and foil. There are a ton of delicious recipes available online for making a pineapple upside-down cake over the fire and really all you need are pineapples, brown sugar and pecans. Visit Honestly Yum for the full recipe.
The Camper’s Dream Bed
One of the most overlooked and unused camping luxuries is the preparation of the camper’s bed. Now that you've set up the swing, finished the scavenger hunt, and caught and cooked your dinner, the last thing you want to do is sleep on the hard ground. The first step is to get the sleeping bed off of the tent floor by using a cot followed by a quilt or extra blanket under the sleeping bag. And be sure to bring your favorite pillow from home. Sinking into a soft bed while camping is a rewarding end to an awesome day.
Hunting Water Fowl
Feeling a little more adventurous? How about hunting? Before the trip, visit a website that offers hunting safety courses, instructional guides and hunting license applications online. After sharpening your skills with a free digital shooting range, be sure to contact your State Department of Fish and Wildlife for info on seasonal game.
The great outdoors is calling. Have fun!