“And suddenly I know how to handle this cultural tide against which I cannot stand. I do not have to stand against it. I have to make sure we are rooted in real things. I can’t fight Facebook but I can plant a tomato. Every single time I do something that anchors our family to the past and our heritage, I am helping preserve the hearts of my children. I am giving them a lifeline to the good life. ”
— Cindy Rollins, Mere Motherhood
WHY CAMP AS A FAMILY
When I first read this quote by Cindy Rollins in her book Mere Motherhood I knew that this is what camping means to us. It is a chance to connect with each other as a family and with the real things in life especially in a culture where connectivity is equated to a device. We are not camping experts by any means but we have learned a few camping hacks with toddlers. Honestly, though, they are probably the easiest part. Kids naturally love being outdoors – especially camping in 30A. Their vibrant imaginations can run wild. And Cory and I have become addicted to the feeling of waking up outdoors, days spent riding bikes, swimming, clothes hanging on the clothes line and meals together.
I don’t remember how the camping conversations came up but our first trip was a couples trip with some of our long time friends at Adventures Unlimited in Milton, Florida. They are expert campers and travel the country in their jeep doing primitive camping and other styles. I remember after that trip being SO refreshed at the end of it and thinking we HAVE to bring R, who was the only one at home at that time. I also began dreaming about the day that S finally came home and taking her. We also didn’t know if S would have any sensory issues related to being in an orphanage setting – but knew if she did nature would be a tool for healing as God saw fit.
The first time we were able to take R tent camping, who had just turned four, we were sold. She did fantastic and loved it as much as we did! She found it exhilarating that we were playing and sleeping outdoors all day long. Some of my favorite memories are even of taking her to the bathhouse to brush her teeth and get her ready for sleeping under the stars in the tent. She also thought this was the coolest thing! She was chatting up every lady who walked in and asked where they were sleeping. Ha!
We were able to take S on her first camping trip in 30A last month and it is an understatement to say it didn’t disappoint. I was prepared for her to get scared due to the unknowns (she has had so many of those in the past few months!) She didn’t miss a beat!! It was even incredible being able to put the girls to sleep in the tent together so that Cory and I could have time to ourselves sitting in our chairs talking as the sun was setting.
This past camping trip we took Cory’s mom’s RV to Topsail Preserve State Park with some friends of ours and had a BLAST. Thank goodness for the RV because it poured the whole weekend. If we were tent camping we would have had to cancel the trip with very disappointed little girls. We were able to sneak in a little beach and pool time between storms. At one point a terrible thunderstorm full of crazy lightning came while we were at the beach and I ended up sitting on the bathroom floor with the girls. Once it cleared, though, we were back at it until the next round came. Ha! Cory smoked a Boston butt all day at the camper so we sat in the rain with our friends, playing cards and eating the best dinner ever while the kids all piled in the bed watching a movie.
But, that’s what camping is to us. It truly is a way that we have found works really well to connect us as a family, give lots of sensory input (for all of us!), be outdoors and adventures and also – spend time with really cool people! (Camp people are some of the coolest people you will ever meet! They almost always have really neat stories!)
CAMPING 30A ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Scooters are a must when camping with toddlers – as well as bikes, bubbles, books, personal nature bags to collect all the things, color crayons, personal flashlights, tea candles (my girls love putting this all around our campsite!) and Christmas lights that you can hang also all over your site.
Favorite 30A Camping Spots
(Pool, General Store, fantastic coffee at Kith and Kin)
You can see more of our family camping adventures here!