Is Camping Getting Too Expensive ?

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Old 07-12-2011, 07:00 PM
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Is camping getting too expensive ?

My husband has some great memories of camping with his family during his childhood. Now that we have two daughters ( 2 and 4) , we are considering camping for family vacations. We bought a pop-up tent , it's very old but large enough. I started planning our 2012 vacation in Pigeon Forge , Tn. to get an idea on pricing. The Koa campground has rates around 78$ a night , and I saw another camping at 49$ . This is not what I was expecting ! I'm pretty sure I can get a hotel room with a kitchenette (on a discount name-your-price site) for about 55$. Am I missing something ? My husband says camping is not only about saving money, it's about the outdoors, and the community, but I've never been camping, and I feel a private bathroom (especially with the kids) and cable (which I refuse to pay for at home) are amazing perks ! And to that we have to add the price of the extra gas to pull out trailer...
I'd like to know what motivates some people to choose camping, and wether the prices have affected your habits.
I hope I put this thread in the right section !
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Old 07-12-2011, 07:29 PM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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We are in SC and were planning a camping trip to Myrtle Beach in the next few weeks but since the rates are so high (not to mention the price of diesel for our truck) we are not going. My husband stays in hotels for his job so we are using his points and getting a hotel room at the beach for a few nights for free...it's just too much money to go camping anymore.

I will say that we went to Cherokee, NC recently and stayed at a campground where the rates were great. I can't remember the price but it was the Happy Holidays campground. We had a BLAST there. The campsites that back up to the creek were amazing...the kids never left that creek. You could also have campfires there so we had smores every night too. It was probably the cheapest 4 day weekend trip we have done in a long time. There is also so much to do in Cherokee. I don't think its that far from Pigeon Forge. You may want to check that out. I think tent sites were $29 or something like that. Just for the record though, IMO, KOA has some of the highest camping rates out there.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:05 PM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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thanks ! Koa has a lot of amenities, but I don't expect a gym and a Jacuzzi or a souvenir shop from a campground...I will look up Cherokee , thanks for the tip.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:19 PM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Try state or county parks. They can be less expensive.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:29 PM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Most definately check out state parks, national parks, and county parks. All of which I have camped in and most times only paid $12 a night.

Some other ways to save money on site locals is don't pay for full hook-ups, just dump water when you leave. Arrive with a full tank and you should be able to last a weekend without needing water hook ups. If the grounds allows a generator you can get away without paying for electric.

KOA has (or at least had) a discount card that you could get. If you plan on camping more than one weekend it may be something to look into. Also camping clubs can get you more discounts depending on how many times you will want to go out. One I recommend is FCRV...
Home Page - Family Campers and RVers They offer many discounts for a low cost membership fee. They are a non- profit organization and have local, state, regional, and international campouts.

HTH!

Also because of location, it will be more expensive. Look for camp grounds like 20-30 miles outside of the location you want to see and it may be a bit less!
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:29 PM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Cherokee is about 1 hour from Pigeon forge, do you want primitive camp site or the other kind? yes, most of the camp sites are about $40 a night and depending when you go you can get a hotel room for that price. Cherokee, NC is great! They have Jelly stone camp ground with Yogi bear. Fun activites for the kids there.
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:55 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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sweetiepiepie, I think you identified the problem :I've been looking at deluxe camp sites when , if I want a low price, I should be looking at more basic amenities. Thanks for your great suggestions !
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:00 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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you may not need or want the electric and water sites. It just depends on what you really need. We go to PF 3x a year, so I can help with a lot of your questions. Just ask, happy to help.
Your family will have a great time in the PF!
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Old 07-13-2011, 10:10 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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We camped in Lake Ouachita, Mt Pine AR. It was DS first camping experience and he is still raving about all activities we did on camp. he and DH did some bank fishing and he caught his first fish which we cooked on the portable Coleman stove. There were lots of activities for the kids and the whole family. We brought our old reliable Mr Tow Mater camping trailer We had so much fun doing the night float which they provided free ride on a barge while we went calling for owls and other night creatures. After that, we laid mats on the parking lot and did stargazing. We continued to call for owls, I got a kick out of that one

It is good to go back to "free" entertainment. I realize now that with all the advance technology, we are robbing our children of their ties to nature. Most kids now have a "nature deficit disorder" and we, as parents, are to blame for not making them aware of all that nature has to offer and they're free.

For once, DH wasn't making calls or browsing his laptop (no cell/internet service up there...he he he) and he didn't even miss it!

We're definitely going to do more nature trips like this which doesn't cost so much but the fun and bonding it brings us is priceless!

From Lake Ouachita, we moved to Table Rock state park in Branson, MO. We were greatly disappointed. Higher park fees, NO activities. The moonshine swim beach is currently closed to the public I don't recommend this state park @ all.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:01 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Camping has just gotten to expensive, after you pay all the fees I could have just gotten a comfy hotel room with kitchenette. Plus I still remember the time I found this creepy guy a few sites away and later found him digging though my tent. I have no doubt I would have been raped had I been "home" when he arrived that night. (I had been at a site with another family having smores) (he was arrested a few days later for assault of another woman )Anyway, as a result I wont camp in a tent anymore, I need something more secure with locking doors and hard walls that can't just be opened with a knife or pair of scissors.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:38 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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State Parks Are The Way To Go!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by noellebrow View Post
Try state or county parks. They can be less expensive.
I agree...State Parks are quieter, cheaper, and are usually very clean. They also have quiet hours so you can get some sleep. Some campgrounds can get pretty loud at night. KOA's are one of them, they are resort camping not nature camping.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:16 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Here is a link to the FAQ page for TN state parks.

Tennessee State Parks: Frequently Asked Questions

They state that the average for a night at a state park is between 8 and 25$ depending on the amenities of the park (bathrooms, showers, camper hookups, etc.). But this is still better than $49 and up. That's just ridiculous. My parents camp every summer in NH for $16 a night at a great place with a lake, showers, bathrooms, trash pick up and everything.
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Old 07-15-2011, 07:49 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Satori, I'm so sorry this happened to you ! I'd heard of RV owners being attacked on parking lot, where they are out in the open and exposed, but never thought about assault happening on a private camping ground.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:57 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Yes and no.

As camping has gotten more popular, it's gotten more expensive. Anything having to do with RVs has gotten ridiculous. And the travel trailer/park model of camping is more a less a summer cottage community, so $$$.

We paid an extra $10 when we got our car registration, so we are entitled to a discount at state parks. Camping (here, in the U.P. of MI) is free on CFA land and parts of the National Forests. Granted, you are making your own campsite, and God help you if your campfire gets out of hand!

The only real downside with "primitive" campsites is water- you have to lug yours in. We have 5 gallon pails with Gamma Seal lids for drinking and cooking water. We try to camp in places on a river or lake (not hard in MI) so we need to bring minimal water for washing.

But since we have a tent and sleeping bags, we can take a camping vacation for under $100. Gas, food, bug spray, camp site. We never go to luxury, for profit campgrounds, though.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:29 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Just want to add my two cents about Cherokee area.

It's lovely! They have gorgeous streams, some of which are excellent for "swimming" or tubing. There is one pretty close to the Cherokee museum which is fabulous. Picnic tables and all.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:32 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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We're camping at a state park next week for $15/night.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:16 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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A lot of the private rv parks provide many more amenties than state parks. We've stayed in an rv park in pigeon forge (can't remember the name) but the park had a pool on the premises free to guests, a creek w/ tubes they loaned out to guests, very clean shower house and bathrooms which is especially important with kids, cable hookup (just bring your tv), water at every site, volleyball net, horseshoe pit, playground, shuttle into town (free during certain hours), assistance with things to do and some attraction coupons and a free pancake breakfast every morning. I think there was some mention about smore making in the evening -we had no kids at the time, so I didn't pay much attention. To me, this is worth the extra $20 to camp at a park like this --- not having to rent tubes, not having to pay for extra activities (kids love tubing in a shallow creek, free shuttle into town so that you aren't using your gas nor paying to park (although the car seat issue may not make this feasible for you), free breakfast (you don't have to make it nor clean up the mess), electricity at your site is WORTH the extra money (take an electric skillet and it will make things soo much easier -not primitive, but speeds things up), water at your site is a must -hauling water to wash dishes really wears on you and, a clean shower house - well, it's clean - state park shower houses really have trouble keeping up even though most try to clean them twice a day. I really think that in order for you to really enjoy this first camping trip/vacation, you should splurge on some amenities. Everyone will have better memories if mom is a little more relaxed - you don't want to work twice as hard on your "vacation". You can always go more primitive for future camping outings once you get this mastered.

KOA campgrounds tend to be a little higher and don't always offer as many amenities as others.
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Old 07-17-2011, 08:02 PM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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If u r in fl you can go to lion county safari. The fee for the camping includes the entrance to the park ( $27 per person) I think the cabins are under 80 a night and can accommodate up to 4 people. So technically is a very good price. Check out their website. I went there today and it was awesome. I did not stayed in the koa, but I can't wait to go again
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:55 PM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Although I do think camping is still a really affordable way to take a family vacation, being a seasoned camper I have seen the rates climb higher and higher each year. Here, the state parks are actually some of the more expensive places to camp (I'm talking tent sites, no electricity type of camping). Whereas just a few yrs ago we could easily find a place for $15 a night, rates have climbed to $20-27 a night. The price increase has definitely affected how often we go now. I like to go camping for at least 2 nights and that's hitting $50 or so, maybe more if you have to make a reservation and they charge fees for it or an extra car. So possibly $65 for 2 nights. Still cheap I guess, but I think it's too expensive for a pad of ground. Expecially when you have to drive a ways to get there.

National forest campgrounds are usually free or like $3 or something. They are primitive, but has everything you need for camping- pit toilet, tent pad, fire ring. The downside for us is that there aren't any national forests close by, so it'd be a drive. I think state forests might be the same, but not sure.

Backpacking is the ultimate frugal way to camp. And if you can find a spot just a mile from a trailhead, you can bring in more supplies since you won't be walking very far. We used to backpack all the time before we had our daughter, and now that she is older we are considering getting back into it to save money. Plus, you can't beat the privacy and quite that comes with that type of experience. Real nature camping.
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:00 PM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Backpacking is the ultimate frugal way to camp. And if you can find a spot just a mile from a trailhead, you can bring in more supplies since you won't be walking very far. We used to backpack all the time before we had our daughter, and now that she is older we are considering getting back into it to save money. Plus, you can't beat the privacy and quite that comes with that type of experience. Real nature camping.
Thats now banned in many state parks
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:10 AM

RE: Is camping getting too expensive ?

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Thats now banned in many state parks
Yeah you will probably have to find a place that has designated backpacking/backcountry camping. I know there are several places around us that have backpacking trails and campsites set up along the way. KY also has a lot of opportunities for this type of camping. Depending on where you go, you may have to pay a small registration fee, but it's usually not very much and most places are still free although they do require you to register for safety purposes.
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