When we bought our first camper nearly two years ago, it was the reaction to a Florida vacation. We paid a lot for a rental house that we really didn't use. We swore off all travel except camping and have been on a lot more and more interesting trips as a result. Now we just returned from a family reunion in Florida that we arrived by plane and rented a VRBO house. As a family that prides ourselves on camping 50 nights a year, how did this trip compare?
Hands down, flying is faster than pulling a camper over 1000 miles. But the process of flying is so much more stressful than driving. We had to debate if we should check bags, pay for carry-ons, or just use backpacks. We had to measure our bags, and our liquids. We had to arrive early, but not too early, and wait. The time and process of flying may be faster, but we would prefer to drive. We had to pay for a rental car when we landed. This turned out to be a plus as we splurged at the last minute on a new Mustang convertible -- bright red -- certainly not a usual part of our travel. We know that a quick trip over a lot of miles, flying and rental cars will continue to be the only option.
Next was the rental house. The house was nice: a five minute drive from family we were visiting with comfortable beds, a well-equipped kitchen, located on a canal with kayaks provided. The process of renting a house is also easy. We were texted a door code and had no problem making our selves comfortable. The challenge was meals - we had to buy just the right amount of eggs, coffee via K-cup, snacks, as we couldn't bring any of it home. We couldn't buy anything during our stay for the same reason.
We will hands down continue to choose camping when we travel as long as camping is a reasonable option.
We enjoyed ourselves in Florida. We stayed between Ft Myers Beach and Ft Myers, about five miles from Sanibel Island. We visited JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge where the kids earned a Junior Ranger Badge. We visited Gulfside City Beach and Lighthouse Beach, where we found great shells, all the great finds were alive and thrown back after Mitchell studied them digging in the sand. We went on a guided fossil digging excursion; this was in a river where we sifted through the rocks to discover fossilized shark teeth and several types of bones. We ate at our favorite stops, including Doc Ford’s Rum Bar, Gramma Dot’s, and Island Cow. Our highlight of the trip was spending time with our family over a glass of wine, a hand of cards, and a good evening of shared stories.
Our travel allowed us to share some of our favorite camping adventures and plan for potiential future trips. We also had time to reflect on why we love camping and why the Cricket continues to serve our family perfectly. The Cricket is very comfortable for us at night. Our own pillows and IKEA mattress pad combine for a cozy nights sleep. The kids are still happy with their suspended cots, softened with a sleeping bag pad. In the morning, we can make coffee and tea the way we like -- without using K Cups. We love that we can bring our own groceries to the campground and back home. The storage is enough, in fact we have a lot of gear packed that we usually don't need. We use one large storage bin for the campground toys. We store it on the bed when we travel and under the camper at the campground. This keeps all of their toys together and reduces trips into the camper to get them. We love the ease of towing, the maneuverability of the size, and the speed of set up and tear down. With the use of our portable air conditioner, a space heater, and the windows, we are able to make the temperature comfortable year round.
We love the campground experience. We are happy when our kids find playmates for bike riding. We enjoy the amenities in the private parks and the exposure to nature in public parks. We love Ranger-led programs, bounce pillows, creeks, play sets, and a great campfire at night.
A rental house can be comfortable, a flight can be efficient, and a rental car can be thrilling - but a camping trip will be an adventure. Cricket Camping - adventure awaits!
Shane and Jessica
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