My husband and I tried to incorporate camping into our family lifestyle in the early days of our marriage. Money was tight then, so we bought a tent and camp stove and hit the road. I discovered that while I still loved being outdoors, I didn't so much love sleeping on the ground and cooking and cleaning outdoors, so our camping became limited to once a year trips into the mountains where we slept in our tent, but filed down to a bunkhouse for meals. Quasi-camping if you will.
Fast forward to 2005, when our last daughter left for college, and one morning I find myself perusing the internet for folding camping trailers, which offered indoor plumbing, comfortable beds, heater, a small dining area and an even smaller stove, sink and fridge. Within 24 hours, we have a lightly used folding camper trailer resting in our garage, and a whole new world opens up to us. Over the years since we've taken our camping trailer out again and again, to places like Big Sur, Big Bear and Mammoth, the central California wine country region, Bryce Canyon, Utah, and countless beaches along the Southern California coastline. We've enjoyed hiking, biking and kayaking almost everywhere we've been, and seen wildlife in absolute abundance, including one very memorable skunk!
RV'ing will be a very significant part of our retirement travel plans, partly because of how affordable it is - between $20 - $50 per night at most campgrounds - and how much we enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. We have plans to spend upwards of 12 weeks a year on the road, estimating our weekly costs to do so at around $500 for gas, campsite, groceries and entertainment.
We recently spent the long Martin Luther King weekend in Malibu, California, where the surrounding coastline and mountains are so beautiful they literally defy description. The cost of the entire 3 day/3 night trip was less than $225, which includes the cost of the campsite, gas, groceries and one lunch out. The entertainment - hiking, walking along the beach, enjoying beautiful sunsets and stargazing by the fire at night, was all free!
The amazing ocean views we enjoyed from our campsite.
Looking to the east from our site at sunset.
Looking to the west as the sun drops.
Enjoying fish and chips at a local eatery.
A flock of birds taking off as we approached on the sand.