I’m a camping snob.
I prefer backpacking my supplies and hiking into a secluded area to enjoy the silence of the world and challenge myself to get creative with whatever lightweight food items I can concoct for my meal, and then add hot sauce of course.
But I have recently expanded my outdoor lifestyle to include car camping.
You know, pack up the car with a huge cooler full of food (mostly junk food) drive to an established campground and park feet away from where the tent and fire pit are.
I took my 6-year-old son during Okaloosa County’s spring break to Hurricane Lake campground north of Baker in the Blackwater River State Forest. We parked at our reserved campsite, and he immediately left me to make new friends with other kids at the busy campground.
Campsites are placed in a circle around a narrow, paved, one-way road with a few sites on a grassy hill in the middle.
The whole area is surrounded by the 318-acre freshwater lake with small, fingerlike peninsulas jutting out from the campground for people to either fish or launch a kayak.
A boat ramp for small boats sits at the entrance to the campground as well as a bathroom with plumbing.
The grounds were very well kept, which was nice except it was hard to find firewood sitting around on the ground. So, I would advise bringing a load of firewood with you.
The other suggestion I have is to bring bicycles. If you have children, they can ride around the paved road within eyesight of parents, or you can ride your bike around some of the forest dirt roads that are usually void of traffic.
I enjoyed watching my son have fun while camping and, believe it or not, I enjoyed the company of the other campers. We all looked out for each other, and I felt like part of the car camping family at least for a couple of nights.
I'm not totally cleansed of my camping snobbery, but I realized after that trip that car camping is pretty darned fun.
Nick Tomecek is the digital editor for the Northwest Florida Daily News, and he periodically documents his experiences in the outdoors around Northwest Florida.