By Liz Chaffin
It’s spring break. The kids are off from school, but you’ve still got a job that needs attention. How do you get away when you can’t leave town? Easy. You go camping. In your backyard. Yes, that open space between your pool and your grill counts as the outdoors, and you won’t be bathrooming in the bushes and burning hot dogs over a fire you struggled to build, which always sounds less like a good time and more like something you might need a vacation to recover from. With backyard camping, you’ll have a bathroom near and a place to whip up some gourmet burgers. Best of all, it’s the perfect way to feel like you got away when you can’t get out of town. Here are some tips to make your spring break backyard camping experience the best it can be.
Set up your tent and campground.
If you have camping gear like tents and sleeping bags, you’re in luck. If you don’t, there’s no need to hit up REI. You probably have some friends with a tent collecting dust in their garage. See what you can borrow or whip one up on your own using sheets and ropes.
Here’s a video to help you out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X5kB00nx6U
Old blankets are great for bedding. After all, you want to be comfy. Also be sure to lay out a tarp underneath your tent site to keep moisture and critters away. Once your sleeping quarters are complete, grab those old holiday lights and hang some from a nearby tree for atmosphere. Suddenly your backyard is a little slice of Neverland.
Burgers are a must.
Or hot dogs. Or whatever veggie or vegan equivalent suits your fancy. Basically, you want something you can grill. Be sure to gather all your ingredients and necessary utensils beforehand so you don’t need to keep running back and forth into the house. The idea is to pretend you’re not home. Except, of course, for bathroom breaks. Although, to each his own. We won’t tell. As for burgers, if you want to change it up, add a little teriyaki, a little avocado, a little jalapeño. Here are some recipes from burger guru Bobby Flay to elevate your standard patty on a bun. No reason you can’t treat your taste buds to a little flavor getaway, too.
S’mores are a double must.
No campaign trip is complete without s’mores. They are fun to make and even more enjoyable to eat. Grab an assortment of milk and dark chocolate, your favorite graham crackers and a bag of marshmallows. Melt them together over your grill. If you have a fire pit, even better. Now that everyone is gathered, let the ghost stories begin. Don’t worry if you’re not Stephen King. If you need a family-friendly tale, try reading a few of these.
The last rule of backyard camping, actually any family bonding activity, is no phones. No texting. No checking social media. No Candy Crush. Find a different way to play music so you won’t be tempted to snag a peek at ESPN. If your phone is your only camera (of course it probably is) then take a few pics and put it away. Instead, look at the stars in the sky. Lick melted chocolate off your fingers. Listen to a neighborhood dog howl and pretend it’s a coyote. (It might be a coyote.) Soon you won’t even miss your phone because you’ll remember what it’s like to engage in good old fashion family fun. And that, rather than the location, is what camping is truly all about.
For more ideas on backyard camping just click on this Google search!