Girl Camping in places you see on travel posters is part of the wonder of this experience, but what if there were secret places that were less than a tank of gas away? Recently we took our travel trailer to a state park that is so close to our home that we’ve considered riding our bicycles there. And Lance Armstrong we’re not!

A lot of times people ignore the near-cation for the far-cation. There is no doubt that Yellowstone, Yosemite, South Dakota and the Florida Keys, among other destinations, hold a lot of appeal. The planning of that multi-week road trip is part of the fun of the entire experience.

What we discovered in our ‘round the bend state park is that others had been keeping this state park on their wish list and had traveled hundreds, and even thousands, of miles to see it. The state park itself really isn’t the point, although it is pretty sitting on the second-oldest lake in the world with plenty of hiking, bicycling, kayaking and other forms of outdoor recreation. 

The fact is there are a lot of new Girl Campers as more and more people turn to the joy of the RV lifestyle (with a nod to you those of you who are car and tent camping, of course) and many people buy their first RV or get that new tent or even outfit their cars for some getaway fun that doesn’t involve going to a hotel. Keeping plenty of space between yourself and everyone else is something that’s already appealed to a lot of Girl Campers and now, more-so than ever. 

One of the more impressive examples of the local wildlife, an Osprey which is quite adept at catching fish for its young.

But lots of people decide that they have this beautiful camping resource, be it a car conversion, vintage trailer, new RV or whatever, and immediately start planning that epic road trip. With the odd closures and other realities of today’s life, sometimes just planning around what’s going on in the world can leave you with gray hair. 

By looking at what’s in your own neighborhood, or even just a short jaunt from your house, you might find a wonderful getaway that others are driving miles and miles to see. This state park near our house was a surprisingly beautiful place to camp with absolutely enormous camping spaces at a price of just $30/night for RVs. There were no hook-ups but there were plenty of clean shower houses and lots of other tent campers surrounded us. 

Best of all we did forget something at home and the six mile drive meant that forgetting something was no big deal. 

Stay-Camping is great way to get your camping set-up ready for a longer adventure. By testing out all the systems and ideas you’ve got you’ll know what works and what doesn’t and, in the worst case, if it doesn’t work well your own bed is not far away. Do-overs aren’t a bad thing, especially when striking out for an inaugural run. 

If you’re going to try out a semi-local camping spot, perhaps continue the tourist game and try some restaurants or shopping that you haven’t tried before. It’s surprising what you might find close to home that is worth returning to and also worth telling friends and others on Girl Camper Facebook Page about. That wonderful antique or thrift store or cute boutique in the area might hold magical treasures and be worth multiple return visits. And trying out new things, even if you can normally go there, also makes your stay-camping much more enjoyable and feel even more like a getaway. 

Making breakfast over the campfire using a cast iron skillet and a tripod to hang the skillet over the campfire.
Making pizza over the campfire

If you do happen to have a new RV, camping locally is a very good idea. Absorbing all those ideas and pieces of information they told you at the dealership can be like drinking out of a fire hose so by staying close to home you can test all the systems out and also see how well you remember everything. 

If the problem is with the rig itself it can go right back to the dealership so they can make it right. If the problem is your memory of the instructions, well, you can also find great help from the Girl Campers or those RV nerds in your life. It’s never bad to have a friend who’s been RVing forever. Perhaps even invite them along to take a spot next to you in case you have a question. 

Whatever your circumstance finding a great local gem can mean you’ve got a go-to spot when you need a camping fix or can be a place to test the waters. Whatever your situation, staycations are definitely one of the many ways to camp like a girl!

Written by Tony Barthel

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