Want to save fuel this summer? Go camping for vacation

Image by flickr user goldbergImage by 20080625tent.jpg If you decide to go camping this summer, the first thing you'll need to have is a good tent that can comfortably accommodate everyone coming along for the trip.

If you're looking for a way to cut down on fuel costs this summer without giving up the family vacation, there's an alternative to driving to Disney World: Going camping. The Lowcountry has some of the best camping available, with Francis Marion National Forest right at Charleston's doorstep, Hunting Island down near Beaufort, and many other great parks.

But, as The Post and Courier reports, there's also a different kind of summer camping trip for families: the Great American Backyard Campout, which takes place this Saturday. Camping in the backyard is a tradition for both parents and kids. Or it should be, if it's not. Who doesn't remember telling ghost stories with their brothers or sisters in the tent with a flashlight? And then waking up in the morning, just a few steps from Mom's pancakes?

From The Post and Courier:

"Camping in the backyard is one of the best 'vacations' a family can take," says Charleston dad Tim Freeman, father of two. "It's good, old-fashioned fun, it's safe and it's simple because all you have to do is walk through your back door. You feel like you are somewhere else, but if you need anything or if the weather doesn't cooperate, all you have to do is go inside. There's very little hassle."


Designated by the National Wildlife Federation, the campout is to encourage parents and children to turn off all things high-tech and experience a night with Mother Nature. The initiative is part of a federation campaign to rescue kids from what "Last Child in the Woods" author Richard Louv calls "nature-deficit disorder."

And that time in the backyard can even help you, if you're planning an excursion farther from the wilderness of the shrubbery, as The Post and Courier continues:

"If you think you might want to go camping with your family, the backyard is a great place to start," says Freeman. "Sleeping in the tent is a novel idea for the kids, but yet you are in familiar surroundings in case anything happens. The first couple of times we tried it, the kids didn't make it through the night. It was nice to be able to crawl into our own beds when we needed to."

The article goes on to give various tips for having a great time in the backyard.

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