“This summer we should definitely go camping!” – my friends.
It is summer again, which means tons of outdoor activities. And this summer, my friends wanted to go camping. Usually I’m the one who ends up planning activities, so camping was on!
If you think that going camping is not a big deal, then probably you’re a pretty outdoorsy person, and have friends who are pretty outdoorsy, and own a car. In our situation, we have people who live in NYC, don’t own cars, need access to running and hot water 24/7, and never camped before. 50% of people wanted to sleep in tents and be close to nature, and 50% wanted a comfort and protection of a cabin (“I hear there are bears around”), some like hiking and some like swimming, and Daph who lives in VA wanted to bring a dog. So this is what I was up against:
Challenge #1: close to NYC (and possibly VA)
Challenge #2: offers cabins and tent spots
Challenge #3: pet friendly
Challenge #4: must have activities (hiking and swimming) and things to do that everyone will enjoy
And the unspoken challenge number 0 – it must be on the weekend and fit everyone’s busy schedule.
Sounds like an episode of “Camping Impossible”? Well, we made it possible! Read on!
This task did seem pretty daunting to me, and I started with sending emails to people and making them to commit to an actual date. All my friends are coupled up at this point in their life, and lead pretty social lives, so most had summer plans at the beginning of June. Finally we all agreed on a date that worked for 80% of people and decide to stick with it.
Once I had a solid date, I started looking for camping site options around NYC. There are many parks and spots nearby, in Hudson valley and Poconos and Delaware water gap, but not all of them offer cabins (some were booked) and tent spots and were pet friendly. (you can read about my attempt at hiring a virtual assistant to help look for spots)
Finally, by end of June, I had two spots that offered everything that we needed. One of them was 3 hours away in PA (Keen Lake), and another one 1.5 hours away in Hudson valley, so the winner was the Newburgh KOA in Hudson valley.
Things Newburgh KOA offered that we loved:
– Close to NYC
– Has cabins and tent spots (and deluxe cabins for people who want a true home experience). Cabins were nice and cozy, had a porch and table and benches, and fire pits
– Pet friendly: they even have a dog walk area
– Swimming pools
– Hiking options nearby (have to drive there though)
– Hot showers and clean bathrooms – big plus
– Activities: movies on the lawn on Saturdays, wine tasting, mini golf, super fun jumping pillow, shuffleboard, stuff for kids
– FREE pancakes! Yummy too! And they sell food on site as well
– Supermarket nearby
We left on Friday evening from the city (took us an hour to get from 36th and 8th through the tunnel, ugh!), got there around 8:30, pitched tents, ate food that we brought for the first night, made smores and chatted around the fire. It was rainy while we drove there, but thankfully it stopped and it was sunny and hot the next day – so we lucked out :) Saturday was busy with activities, and on Sunday we ate breakfast, chilled by the pool a little bit, before leaving around 12pm.
It was a perfect relaxing trip, lots of grilled food and stories shared by the fire. Big success – we actually DID go camping this summer! Thanks to me for planning, and to my amazing friends for making it a great, memorable summer weekend!
– Cabin rental, 2 nights, up to 6 people: $300
– Tent site (we had water and electric though didn’t even need it, since we all hung out around our cabin), 2 nights, up to 4 people per site: $150
– Car rental from Zipcar, Toyota minivan for 7 ppl (we squeezed 8) Fri – Sun: $380
– Food and drinks: $220
Total per person: $123 (people who came in the car), $76 (people who drove themselves, did not include car rental share)