Sicilian Camping

June 2, 2010

Our first family camping trip in Sicily was a huge success. It basically consisted of playing on the beach, reading, eating pizza on the beach, reading, and playing some more on the beach. How could that be anything but a wonderful escape? And in addition to the joys of lazy beach living, we also felt like we were having a truly European experience because we were sharing the campground with families from Germany, The Netherlands, France and other parts of Europe.

We also learned a few things, too:

1) Don't forget to pack toliet paper. Luckily I have a real van and we were able to find a box of tissues and half a box of baby wipes jammed under the seats.

2) Ask about all of the fees. We didn't realize until check-out that we were being charged one fee for the camp site, one fee for having our car, and one fee for each person. Still much cheaper than a hotel or agriturismo, but wish we had known there were all of those additional fees. We are also planning to get a discount camping card for the year.

3) Arrive early in the day to get a good spot. We got a much later start than we would have liked (I remember wondering as a kid why it always took my parents so long to load the car, now I know!). Our spot was fine, but it was hard not to notice the prime spots with large trees and better beach views.

4) Bring change. The showers were coin operated. Not sure if this is the norm for most European campgrounds, but it is good to be prepared.

5) Don't promise your kids s'mores. Our campsite didn't have fire pits and we didn't have a camp stove so the kids ate their marshmallows "raw". They were a bit disappointed about not having a campfire, but once we pulled out the flashlights things got fun again. Again, not sure if this is standard or not, but if you are set on having a camp fire contact the camp site prior to arrival to inquire about this possibility.

We had such a good time that on our way we home stopped by Decathlon to check out their tents (love the pop-up ones). We didn't buy one but we are actively researching tents so if you have any family tent recommendations, please share them. The same goes for any family camping tips. I found this article and checklist to be helpful, but I always love hearing your advice. We are working on putting together a box of camping stuff that will be handy to grab for future weekend get-aways. What are your must-have camping supplies?

Michaela said...

Oh, what a wonderful summer in Sicily! We don't even have real spring here in cold and rainy Germany.

katy said...

I've had camping on the brain lately too. A friend takes her family camping in France for 2 weeks every August. Turns out "camping" is a bit different there. You rent a camp site with tents and made up beds there waiting for you!!! You can also rent a primitive cabin instead of a tent. Sounds like my kind of camping with not soo much gear to pack, think about and deal with. I think there is much to learn about leisure from the French.

This is a very popular vacation with the English. She's going to send me some booking sites, I'll pass them onto you when I get them. Glad you had a nice trip.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Michaela, wish I could box up some of this sunny heat and mail it to you! I can understand why there were so many German families camping with us this weekend :)

Katy, sounds like you are describing "glamping" which also sounds very appealing to me, too. I stumbled upon that term when I was starting to research our upcoming trip to England. Stay tuned to hear what we have planned. And YES! please share your French recommendations.

LindyLouMac said...

Yes, the English love camping, we used often to go camping mainly in France when our daughters were much younger. Your post today made me recall those fun times.

Duchess said...

Sounds like a good time!

Cami said...

Corinne will say Ropes, because, for some reason, we always bought ropes for the campouts with her. The kids were "roping" the deer and all sorts of things. But wipies are my must-have. And lots and lots of water.

Our showers at the Grand Canyon were coin operated. Most camping areas I've been to don't have any showers. So, I guess if there are showers, that's awesome.

likeschocolate said...

I can't wait to check out the author you suggest to me. I have never read anything of hers. Without fire, how did you cook your meals? My children would be in heaven. Was it hard keeping all the sand out of the tent?

Madeline said...

I was also wondering about sand in the tent! We are planning a camping trip with the kids this summer too, so are in camping mode now as well :)
I was just perusing some info on REI - gear, advice, etc:

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Here's how we kept the sand out of the tent. I brought a small square tub to fill with clean water on the outside of the tent and made sure that everyone washed and dried their feet before entering.

I would also recommend a small dust broom set and hide it in the camping gear so your husband doesn't accidentally remove it during the packing process like mine did :) He didn't realize how useful it would be until we got there and now it will be a permanent addition to our camping box!

lisa said...

I LOVE camping. I had posted that same article on my blog about a year ago when we went because I think it just so perfectly sums up every reason that I love it. The part about "You don't camp in spite of the fact that the most ordinary activities become challenging; you camp because of it" resonates with me-- I love the heating up water for doing dishes in a bucket, cooking over a fire-- all of it.

Im also a total junkie for camping stuff-- the 100Y store is perfect because everything is perfectly miniaturized for camping!

We have the LL Bean King Pine Dome tent for 4 which is great because its got a little screen room where you could play games or something without being 'bugged' but now I wish we had gotten the 6 person size (we like to sleep on an air mattress and we can't all fit in a row that way) so we too are on the hunt for a new tent.

Im also always looking for fun camp ideas for the kids--(going back to my girl scout days) we always make a 'camp sink' out of an empty gallon jug, poke a golf tee in the bottom as a 'stopper' and stick a bar of soap in an old pair of pantyhose and tie it to the handle. I wish I had more of those kinds of ideas!

Theodora said...

Cornwall is a very classic English camping destination, with fire pits. Or Epping Forest, right outside London, so close you can get there on the tube: there's one farm with fire pits there that's a big London destination... Sicily looks gorgeous.

Caitlin @ Roaming Tales said...

It looks like great fun and your tips are new to me too. I've stumbled the post.

Corinne said...

OH I am SUCH a fan of camping! Cami is true, my children are amazingly amused with rope. I also always bring glow sticks (can you find those there?), so entertaining in the dark. My friends always bring hammocks and we adore using them. I think that will be our next camping purchase because all kinds of people were getting along in those swingy things!

Lori said...

too fantastic!! :^D)

Latest Instagrams

© Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish. Design by FCD.