Pandemic Camping

We love camping. Our goal for several years has been to get the Missouri State Camper Award, by camping at a minimum of 5 different Missouri State Parks in a single calendar year. We find camping to be a relatively cheap way to get away from home and spend some time relaxing.

With the pandemic in full swing, people have been advised to travel less and minimize social contact with others. As a result people are giving up trips to places like the beach, or DisneyWorld in exchange for some quality time camping. It’s a great way to get aways from home without having to be in close proximity to other people most of the time. While I’m thrilled that more people are giving camping a chance, I must admit that I am fed up with many of these new campers who have no regard for those sharing the campground with them.

Camping should be a time to relax. For me I get to take a nap in my hammock, play card games with my teenager, and explore new camping recipes that my hubby can cook. It’s a chance to sit by the fire in the evening and listen to the cicadas (as well as for approaching raccoons who like to steal our food). Interruptions from the occasional screaming child or car driving by is to be expected and taken with a grain of salt when camping in a state park. However people blaring music all hours of the day and night, laser light shows and constantly running generators are becoming the bane of my camping experience. All of which are distractions that the campground hosts or park rangers are often not keen to address with the offending parties.

My husband pointed out during our most recent trip that perhaps we should try some less populated camping areas. More backwoodsy and off the beaten path. These more out of the way camping destinations often lack the amenities of bathrooms with running waters and shower houses. The hope being that a lack of amenities often equates to a lack of campers. Some of these more ‘rustic’ campgrounds have vault toilets and water, which is all we really need anyway. They would be a nice middle option between the crowded campgrounds with full amenities and the ones where you have to haul in your own water and dig your own bathroom pit.

With that in mind I think we’ve decided next year to forgo many of our state park trips in exchange for other less populated destinations. Giving up camping at places like Hawn, Onondaga, and St. Francois in exchange for Red Bluffs, Fern Clyffe, and Brazil Creek. Even if it means that I have to poop in a vault toilet.

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