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:icon_smile_bbq: OK so we head out on Sat for our first ever camping trip, we bought a tent and everything else on the checklist that I printed off google :)

The kids are 17,16 & 12 so we will be visiting colleges and goign to a FSU football game!!

any advice on good books with campgrounds and info that I could purchase.

Also, we will be staying at Anastasia state park and sivler spring in Ocala
Still looking for a place near Tallahassee.

Any other first timer with teenagers advice let me know PLEASE!!

thanks
 

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First off, you can hardly ever go wrong with a state park. They are inexpensive, and usually are located near water.
Make them leave their electronics at home - they can play their gameboys or whatever on the trip there, but then they should be off limits. Get them hiking, fishing, swimming - anything outdoors. They'll learn to appreciate it.
We stayed at Rainbow Springs last spring break - the kids loved the water. My oldest asked if we were going back there next spring break - even though it takes 7-8 hours to get there.
 

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A great activity for the whole family is geocaching! This is a glorified treasure hunt using a gps handheld. The only expense is the purchase of a gps handheld (check your phone now it may be cabable of doing this). Geocaching has been around for about 10 years now. Just go to geocaching.com for more info. It is free to signup for the website to get information. Warning this activity is addicting! The state parks you stay in probably have a lot of caches to find. Great family fun!
 

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A little modifier on the electronics. The only electronics should be those used for the camping experience. Televisions, radios, etc. are entertainment and if you leave those at home, you might have to spend time with each other so bring some non-electronic board games.

Another rule to follow is that EVERYONE helps cooking, and cleanup. No one gets to sit while others work. This helps things go faster, helps everyone learn the ropes and just seems more fair since some meals and their cleanup are more difficult that other days and you don't want a whiner saying they worked harder. Except maybe Mom. Sit her down with her favorite drink and pamper the heck out of her.

Best of all, have fun!!!

Regarding the books, send me a PM and I'll provide a link - I don't feel comfortable advertising other sites through this one.
 

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I just want to second a couple of the other suggestions -- 1. Geocaching is not only great fun, but very educations (coordinates, etc.), and 2. They must leave their electronic toys (games, MP3 players, etc.) at HOME!! We too don't mind them in the travel vehicle -- but, it's difficult to keep them there once you arrive. My kids do pretty well, but once in a while one finds it's way out. Also, biking!! I agree regarding state parks. There's also some good federal parks in our area. Usually excellent biking!!
 

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I'd Have all kinds of ideas if there were kids to entertain..Lawn darts, horseshoes (Etc.) Yahtzee, Playing cards, Uno (etc.) a scavanger hunt, Gloves & a ball, Puzzles, Making crafts from natural substances found around camp..The world is your Oyster. Eat up! Song Bird
 

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My advice is keep things packed in categories. All dishes together , all spices together etc. It made it so much easier on me in the beginning to not have to hunt around looking for things.

Stay flexible and have a great time!
Sharon
 

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For musical instruments, know how to use them BEFORE you get to the campground or you'll irritate other guests AND wildlife. Pick games that match the area and the quiet hours, typically 10pm-11pm to 7am-8am... Know the hours. I believe that "this is a free country" only applies to those of us who respect the freedoms of others so please be considerate.

Regarding checklists, over time you'll streamline these as well. Things that you won't use you'll leave at home to save weight, space and pack/unpack time. The only things you should always bring along and not use are safety and first aid items and you'll hope you never use them but at least you're prepared.

Extensive planning will also help you keep what you bring to a minimum. Keep stuff for camping separate from the house so you minimize prep and packing - for example camping utensils versus utensils at home. We have learned over the years that several bins with all our camping stuff means loading these in the car and we're done. Just packing and buying food when we arrive saves SO MUCH time especially when you return home and want to lessen how long it takes to undo everything.

It will seem like a lot, but with experience things will make sense and you'll enjoy it more and more.

While in camp everyone works and everyone plays. No one plays until all the work is done and no one works while others play. You'll be surprised how much more time to play is available when "everyone" helps out - waking up in the morning, meal prep, meal cook, and cleanup. Bam! Done, now let's all go play.
 

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Great advise artmart. We certainly must pick games to match the area and be mindful of quiet hours. Following the rules and being respectful of others certainly makes for a much more enjoyable time for everyone.

Love this... “While in camp everyone works and everyone plays. No one plays until all the work is done and no one works while others play.”
 

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I have a hiking boot/camp shoe option as well. When hiking around especially on rougher trails you want a very sturdy strong boot because sneakers are too flexible and the terrain will beat them up. But when in camp you can wear sneakers, sandals (I like the kind that protect the toes) or other lightweight shoe, unless you are packing up or doing something heavy duty and should be protecting your feet.

When I backpack the hiker boot and camp shoe are even more critical. Your feet need the relief of a lighter camp shoe when you are done with the trudging. I have several shoes for in camp. I use down booties in Winter or cold weather, and Teva-like sandals for in camp. Recently, I purchased "Five Finger Vibrams" for in camp because I got tired of my toes getting stabbed, poked or what-not. All of these are light and take up little room in the pack. For a tail gater bring what you want because there's more room.
 

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Holy cow... I don't know if they make any that big!

They ask you to measure your foot length and the biggest they have is for a little over 12 1/4" and then they only have a limited set of models in that size.

Their website is Vibram FiveFingers : Barefoot Sports Shoes : Toe Shoes & Minimalist Shoes if you want to pursue it further. I have the Sprint model and wish I had gotten the "Flow" or other completely enclosed model because walking around in camp I still get crap in my shoe (at least, I don't get injured any more).

I need to add, they are difficult to size and you really need to try on several sizes to find the right fit. It is not an easy transition from your shoe size to the five finger size because you tend to pick a size based on the longest toes and with these it doesn't always work that way. They can also be difficult to put on because our toes are not as dextrous as our fingers. I am now comfortable with putting them on and would consider getting a new set, completely enclosed since I know how to spread my toes correctly and get them slipped on.

Warning! These are not for everybody. Besides getting used to their look (very odd), you might prefer the feeling of more support. I am fortunately to have great feet and these shoes work for me. I can't comment about others and their styles of feet - I've seen some pretty horrific feet and don't know it these help or hinder.
 

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Keep the tent stakes that came with the tent as the emergency supply, go buy some real stakes. And get a good tarp/ground cloth for under the tent.

Should be a hair smaller than the footprint of the tent floor. Bigger is ok, but make sure to fold it under, and fold it "under" when you fold it under the tent, so the fold doesn't trap water. Perfect size is an inch or so under/away from sidewalls, so whole floor is protected, but none of the ground cloth is showing. If it shows, it can collect rain/dew and funnel it under the tent.
 

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I have a different take on the electronics.Teens are connected and it's important to them. Not so important to us, but we weren't raised in their digital generation. We leave the computers and Xbox,etc, at home but i allow cell phones, iPods and our little TV/DVD player. We don't use electronics during meals or when gathering around the campfire, but i have no problem with the kids texting their friends while their fooling around at the campground. We don't use the TV during the day at all. but after dark we gather the camp chairs, pop some popcorn and break out the sodas and peanuts for a little family time. Put in a favorite musical or a scary movie--the modern day version of ghost stories. Now that the kids don't camp with us, we no longer bring the TV. But it was really a great thing during those teen years.

Other things we did with the teens was go horseback riding, ride ATVs, go on hayrides, bring the bicycles, take them on shopping trips, go apple picking, tubing, and go out for pizza. Let's face it.Teens are not as easily entertained with making a nature collection or doing leaf rubbings like the were in their younger days. There was a day when I could give them a stick & a bucket and set them down by the creek and they'd play all day. Camping with teens, especially girls, requires a better carrot. I kept our kids camping with us as long as i could, by bringing friends and allowing them to bring the electronics, stay up late and sleep in, cook over their own campfire,etc. There's no reason to insist on doing only back-to-nature stuff if your kids are bored to tears.
 

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Those "finger" shoes may be great. I don't know, never tried them, or spoke to any one who had - but the first time I saw them wasn't on the shelf - it was on a lady grocery shopping. I followed her for two aisles to make sure I wasn't hallucinating - then had to hide while I laughed.



Gus
"Of course I trust my political representatives ... just not with my liberties or my wallet" :Camping with Gus
 
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