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How to Upgrade Your Texas Camping Experience

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Hit the road this month and take in the beauty of nature during a camping experience with family and friends. 

By Rhoda Brimberry and Anna Crelia of Loot Finer Goods and Loot Rentals, Photos by Randi Reding

In Austin, March is synonymous with South By Southwest. For those who would like a break from the onslaught of the thousands of visitors our beloved city draws during this time and just take it easy, we suggest taking your entertaining on the road for a camping experience with friends and family. We took the opportunity to get just beyond the city limits with a few family friends to enjoy some downtime together while the rest of the city entertained guests. 

LOCATION

Texas’ state and local parks are teeming with beautiful campsites to pitch a tent, grab a cabin or park an RV. The reservation process can be handled online or with a simple call, then you are set to enjoy all the biking, fishing, swimming and nature hiking you can imagine for a very affordable price. The RV industry has also entered the sharing economy, offering rental resources through websites like RV Share and Outdoorsy. It’s like Airbnb with a motor!

Next Level: Resort-style camping is becoming more prevalent, and we couldn’t be more excited! This is a great way to dip your toes into the camping lifestyle without the intimidation factor associated with roughing it. A favorite location of ours is Green Acres in Elgin, Texas. This glamping locale offers the full camping experience with the great outdoors, alpacas, donkeys and campfires, coupled with fully outfitted yurts, vintage travel trailers, a complete outdoor kitchen and high-end bathrooms. It’s a perfect mix. 

FOOD

Camping doesn’t have to mean hot dogs on sticks. The Dutch oven is our best friend when camping and provides a great way to expand the food offerings. Just dump some ingredients into the cast-iron pot, place it on the open fire and yummy morsels await in less time than you would think. Dutch-oven cooking also means you don’t have to pack tons of condiments that can take up valuable real estate in the trunk of your car. Keep it simple and delicious.

Next Level: Camping is the perfect opportunity to allow kids to try their hands at new things. Bring them into the camp kitchen to build their own “foilies.” Create a smorgasbord of veggies and meat offerings, cut some aluminum foil and allow kids to decide what they want in their personal meal made for one. We offered some sausage and meat options, a very colorful array of veggies and some spices. It was a blast watching the children navigate their favorites, try some new flavors and explore what it means to create dinner over the campfire. They have a great time with this activity and grow empowered by learning they can make dinner for themselves. 

UNPLUG

Our favorite part of camping is the lack of buzzing electronics everywhere you turn. Camping has a magical way of beckoning us to slow down and get in touch with ourselves, each other and nature. There are no TVs, no computers and no video games. We all become more engaged with those that surround us. Some simple time spent around the campfire is all you need for hours of entertainment full of laughter, stories and ultimate bonding.

Next Level: Invite your camping cohorts to pack their talent and bring it to the campfire. A talent show would be a fun way to create intimacy among friends and learn about each other in a different light. You might learn your bestie has been learning guitar behind the scenes or that your son has been writing poetry when you think he’s leveling up on his favorite video game. There’s nothing like ending the evening with a good old fashioned singalong to lull you into your tents, cabins and yurts for a refreshing night’s sleep in the wilderness. 

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