The black-headed bunting, one of about 2,000 bird species in North America
Photo by: Akbar Nemati (Stock Exchange)
Today on AllCampgrounds, we embark on a whole new journey to find the best camp grounds for your nature-watching needs.
Just about everyone who loves camping loves to enjoy nature up close, and there’s no better way to enjoy it than a good, clear view of local wildlife you just can’t see day-to-day.
Of course, we all know that you’ve got to “leave no trace”, and nobody is better at this than experienced bird watchers. So, to get started, we’ll be picking out the best of all campsites for birding.
A misty morning on the Louisiana bayou
Photo by: Pam Roth (Stock Exchange)
Good afternoon from AllCampgrounds!
Today, I think it’s important to brief our readers on the ongoing situation with the Gulf oil spill and its impact on camping in coastal states.
Information is scarce in some respects, but we’ll provide links and follow-up to help the tent camping and RV camping community understand how problems in the Gulf are affecting the camping scene in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, the habitats most likely to be see oil come ashore. (more…)
View of the Smoky Mountains from Tennessee
Photo by: Rene Kelley (Stock Exchange)
Today’s AllCampgrounds blog will introduce our new National Park Spotlight feature as we move into the Great Smoky Mountains.
Around here, we think it’s pretty great that some of the most majestic natural features in the U.S. are on protected land for everyone to enjoy, so we’d like to highlight some of the best national parks.
And where better to begin than the state we’ve been touring lately, Tennessee? (more…)
Safety in numbers?
Photo by: Phanuphong Paothong (Stock Exchange)
Welcome, one and all, to the AllCampgrounds.com blog! Today we’ll be talking about one of the most important parts of getting by at all campsites: managing your presence.
We’ll look at a few of the keys to making sure you and your fellow campers leave nature as you found it.
Consider this a review for old hands and a great way for newcomers to camping to learn the ropes. (more…)
Grizzly Bear Photo by: drouu (Stock Exchange)
All campsites should be set up with basic animal safety in mind, but if you’re tent camping in bear country, you need to be aware of some important precautions. Though bears are surprisingly gentle creatures, the American black bear can be six feet long and close to 500 pounds – and they’re the smaller ones. Also, not all bears hibernate, so camping in the winter is no guarantee your camp grounds can’t be visited by a bear.
That said, the danger from bears is often exaggerated and sensationalized. Lucky for us, bears aren’t “looking for trouble” any more than any other forest creature; and many, if not most, dangerous bear encounters are provoked by human behavior. Likewise, bear encounters can be minimized by human behavior. That’s where we come in.
The Florida Everglades
Photo by: Robert S. Flaum (Stock Exchange)
Welcome to today’s AllCampgrounds blog. In this edition we’ll be exploring a topic near and dear to me, tent camping in Florida; specifically, camping opportunities in the fascinating Florida wetlands known as the Everglades. Home to the iconic Florida alligator, this “river of glass” encompasses miles of sawgrass prairie in the southern part of the state. A national park protects about a quarter of the total land, just over one and a half million acres, and provides fantastic camping opportunities. Other camp grounds can be found around Everglades City and Florida City, both nearby. (more…)
Most people think of camping as a summer event, early fall at the latest. Well believe it, or not there are many people who actually prefer winter camping. (Personally, the juries still out for this camper). Winter camping is available in several State and National parks, such as Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, and in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
Chipmunk, Lake Tahoe, CAPhoto by: Alpeviolen (Stock Exchange)
A few years ago, right before we went on our annual camping trip, the news was full of stories about children getting attacked by bears while they were camping. In fact there seems to be an up rise in the occurrence of bears attacking people over the last decade. The really scary part is that several of these attacks did not take place in the backcountry wilds, but in established camping areas, parks and other recreational facilities. I will admit that I was particularly diligent the first night and slept with one eye open. Fortunately nothing larger than a chipmunk hopped up on the sugar from a stolen Oreo visited our camp.
Camping is a time to experience nature. One great way to do this is hiking. That’s not to say that the two have to go hand in hand, but most campgrounds either have day trails, or are located near areas where trails are available. These trails are usually clearly marked, come in various distances and are already mapped. If you are thinking to yourself, what fun is hiking on a trail that everyone uses you obviously haven’t spent much time in the woods. There comes a time (especially for first time hikers) when all those trees look alike. It is easy to become disoriented. Unless you are already a pro at using a compass and a topographical map you should start small and work your way up to a full wilderness hike.
As much as my family loves camping, there is something about camping that we don’t like and that’s finding bugs in our tent! I’m not scared of most bugs, but I certainly don’t want them as roommates, especially spiders. My family has learned some tricks over the years that help keep the bugs where they belong—outside of our tents.
Spider Photo by Wendy Pastorius
When we arrive at a campsite we choose the best spot for our tents. We look for areas that are less likely to attract flying and crawling bugs. We never pitch our tents directly beneath the long hanging branches of trees. We don’t pitch our tents near standing water or under light poles, either. All three of those places are prone to be bug magnets.
There are a couple of tent rules that I enforce when camping:
- No one is allowed to eat or drink inside their tents.
- Don’t turn on your flashlights inside your tent unless the door is zipped closed. (Because bugs are attracted to light, we try to keep our camping lanterns a good distance from our tent doors, too.)
I’m a clean camper. I know that the less attractive my campsite is to bugs, the fewer bugs I’ll have to deal with. This means I keep garbage at our campsite to a minimum. We either dump it right away at a dump station, or we burn what we can. We also never leave leftover food on the table. I try to cook only what we’ll eat at a meal. But, if I do have leftovers, I store it away in air tight containers.
Another bug deterrent is a campfire. While it impossible to keep a campfire burning 24/7 because we often leave the site to go exploring, we generally have one when we are at our campsite—no matter the season. (If you opt for a campfire, be sure it’s attended by an adult while it’s burning and make sure it’s completely out before you leave your site.)
The truth is there’s no way to completely avoid bugs when you’re camping. While the occasional Daddy Longlegs may still find its way into our tents for a sleepover, the majority of the time our tents are bug free.