When Camping Isn’t Camping

One good thing about camping is that each camper gets to define what camping is, because there is no commonly accepted definition. Backpacking is different. Most people will agree, to some extent, what backpacking is. Not so with camping.

View from our Christmas campsite

This Christmas vacation, as we have done every year since 2002, we hitched up our camper and left home. It was a new destination for us and 800 miles one-way from home. Our campground was nestled among the costal Redwoods a few miles north of the itty bitty seaside city of Trinidad, CA.

But it really wasn’t a camping trip; we would be visiting my daughter and her family.

We just happened to be staying in a campground, in our camper, in a forest.

Or were we camping?

6 Things that might mean you aren’t camping

  1. Private Campground: For the first time since 2005 (on our way back from a camping trip in Rocky Mountain National Park), we stayed at a privately owned campground.
  2. Reservations: We had to make reservations. This is somewhat rare for us, we usually just drive to a campground or campsite – most places we camp don’t do reservations. I figure that if you need reservations then the place is too crowded and crowds mean a lousy time.
  3. Wi-Fi: The place had free Wi-Fi. That was a first for us. Why on earth would one need Wi-Fi or cell phone service if they are camping?
  4. Laundry Room: Never heard of a laundry room in a campground – but this place had one.
  5. Hook-ups: Electricity, water, sewer connection and even cable TV. I think this was the fourth time in 3 years we plugged our camper into the electric grid.
  6. A Wood Deck: We are used to camping on dirt or sand.


I guess it was a good thing I made reservations ahead of time…

No Vacancy


This is a first for us, but we didn’t need it…

Laundry Room


There aren’t many public campgrounds in this part of the state, but given the weather forecast of lots of rain and clouds, plus lows in the lower 30’s we opted the private campground route because our solar system and battery bank probably could not supply the needed power to keep us warm and comfy for an extended period of time.

9:30 in the morning on Dec 24th -- brrrr!!
9:30 in the morning on Dec 24th — brrrr!!


We only needed the electrical hook-up, but since there was water and sewer we took advantage of those too. We skipped the cable TV although our camper is wired for cable TV. If we wanted to watch TV we would have simply stayed home.



The wood deck really turned out to be a great amenity. The ground was soaked from all the rain and we were even able to BBQ on the deck. Below is the deck and included amenities (the plastic tote is ours and contains our Baby Q grill)…

xmas-2016_5 xmas-2016_5a xmas-2016_6


The sites are much closer together than we are used to…




But close neighbors are almost invisible with these trellis and vines between each site…



Yes, we were in the middle of a Redwood forest…



Another view from our wood deck…



And it was only a ½ mile walk down the road to Patricks Point State Park…



Did I mention we were on the coast?


Not Camping…

Wandering around downtown Arcata…



I couldn’t pass up buying this 5 foot tall Santa for the kids…



Grandkids (Jimmy & Lila)


Friends, family, and dogs enjoying Christmas dinner…




“Why do I have to wear this silly Christmas sweater?”


The day after Christmas Nicole, Will, and the grandkids hung out at our camper and we grilled Salmon…


So when is camping not camping?

Only when the camper decides it isn’t. For us this was more of a motel trip than a camping trip. Others who do similar trips would say it is camping – and for them it is because they get to decide what camping is for them.

I will admit that this is one awesome campground. The management is friendly and they ensure all guests are quiet and well behaved. We will be back and maybe we’ll be camping next time.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas and may the New Year be a good one for you

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