No, me neither, I am not sure if it’s the mountain of stuff that you need to take with you, the bugs, sleeping in a tent, did I mention the bugs??????? But if you can get past those things, as I have learned to do, there’s a whole world of adventure out there! Just remember to pack the insect repellent!
Over Easter, we discovered a hidden gem, just an hour’s drive from Dallas – Eisenhower State Park in Denison Texas.
Now before I start, a little about my family. There’s my husband and I and our three kids – they are 6, 9 and 12. We love a road trip, we love an adventure, we love exploring new places and having been in Texas for only 3 years after a big move from Australia, everything is exciting, new and interesting to us. I am just obsessed with those tiny Texas towns but I digress…
This is what their website has to say – “Rentals and marina services are provided by a privately operated marina located in the park. Park visitors can hike and bike on scenic trails that border the lake shore. An ATV trail offers enthusiasts a place to ride along the wooded hills of the park’s backcountry (OHV permit required), Shaded campsites accommodate RVs and tents as well as screened shelters, group facilities, and a limited service cabin.”
At Eisenhower State Park, we enjoyed two nights of swimming, boating, hiking and family time. There are a couple of things I really love about camping and I guess that’s what keeps me coming back for more – I love seeing my kids play outside all day and go to bed when the sun goes down, exhausted and a little dirty, without any electronics in sight, without electricity even. It’s back to the simple things in life. The other thing I love is the campfire at night – sitting around the campfire, cooking dinner, chatting, enjoying my favorite beverage, and admiring the stars. “The stars at night, are big and bright…..”, you know how the song goes, well that’s what it’s like when you’re camping.
The cost of campsites varies between $12 and $20 (as at April 2017) depending on peak season and whether you have electricity or not. The great place about this campsite is that it is right on the shores of Lake Texoma, a huge man-made dam. There is a “beach” which the kids loved and a marina where you can rent canoes, pontoon boats, kayaks and paddle boards. We took a pontoon boat out one morning and the kids loved jumping over the side to swim.
Now, I get it, if you’ve never been camping before, it can seem a little intimidating. But if you want to give it a try, here’s what you need – a tent (borrow one from a friend if you can to see if you like it), bedding – if you don’t have sleeping bags, no need to go out and buy, pillows, sheets, blankets from home are fine too, they just don’t roll up as small, we have a couple of air mattresses but a yoga mat would be good too!
In terms of cooking, you can make this as simple or as gourmet as you choose. We typically plan before we go and shop accordingly when camping. We usually camp with at least one other family and do our own breakfasts and lunches but take turns to prepare the evening meal. This time we ate out for breakfast one morning at this cute diner called the Gourmet Waffle Shop and it was delicious. For breakfast, we typically cook bacon and eggs wrapped up in a tortilla, the kids sometimes have cereal. Lunch we usually prepare at breakfast time so we can head out for the day on a hike or to the beach. Dinner can be as simple as hot dogs or we cooked chicken fajitas this time and our friends cooked a yummy chili on their night. You can cook in an old skillet over the fire or on a gas burner. You will need firewood but can usually buy that from the state park or from a local gas station (we got some from the local Walmart about 10 minutes from the state park). And don’t forget the smores – the best part of camping food!
On your way home, check out the Eisenhower Birthplace Historic Site and downtown Denison is really cute too!
Now, what are you waiting for?? Clear the calendar, pack the car (dogs welcome!) and set off on your adventure. The kids will love it, real memory making stuff here, and I think you will love it too. Just don’t take my favorite campsite, ok?
And if I still haven’t convinced you, this place would make a great day trip too!
This is a Guest Post written by Melissa Beaumont.