The wisdom of Smokey Bear and other tips to enjoy your next camping trip

In some ways, Michigan was made for camping.  For the novice camper, there are plenty of campgrounds just outside of our bigger cities so you can still enjoy the outdoors while being near a good coffee shop.  Places like Hoffmaster State Park, Proud Lake Rec Area or Timber Ridge RV and Recreation Resort are close to city amenities and in some cases, have everything you could ever want on a vacation on-site too.

For others, getting off the beaten path is a must and no hiking experience is quite like tackling Isle Royale National Park.

Regardless of your level of expertise, being safe while camping is a must.  Here are a few things you can do to camp safely to make sure you enjoy this great camping state.

1.  Pack smartly

If you are going out with just a few friends or you are taking a family camping trip, packing the right things can make a big difference in your camping experience.  First-aid kits, bottled water, insect repellent, sunscreen and proper footwear should be tops on your list.

2.  Listen to Smokey Bear

One of my favorite things about camping is a good, Michigan bonfire where my back is freezing cold and my front is roasting hot from the flames.  But campfires can be dangerous from the way you light the fire through the time you extinguish the flames.  Put the gas cans and lighter fluid away, finding some good tinder is a much safer way to go.  And keep a bucket of water handy because water is the best way to make sure no one gets burned when you turn in for the night.

One other thing to note.  The Emerald Ash Borer has wrecked havoc on many of our state’s beautiful, tree lined streets and is working its way into our forests.  There is a ban on transporting firewood out of certain counties, so do our trees a favor by purchasing your firewood in the community where you will be camping.

3. Keep your food safe

S’mores and hotdogs are staple food items for most camping trips.  Meat still needs to be kept in a cold place, like a sturdy cooler full of ice.  It needs to be cooked to the proper temperature too, so be sure to pack that meat thermometer.  Make sure all leftovers are immediately put away in the cooler too so harmful bacteria doesn’t ruin your camping fun.

4. Stay safe in the sun

We’ve said it before in this blog, but it is worth repeating.  Wear sunscreen if you are going to be outdoors.  Keep covered with properly fitting clothing and hats.  Make sure you wear your sunglasses too!

With over 60 state parks and campgrounds and approximately 90 privately owned campgrounds in Michigan, this is a great place to be for the camping enthusiast to enjoy all year long.

Which one of these campgrounds will soon become your favorite?

Photo credit NvrDunWandering

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