Friday Funday

I posted last week that we were going camping for the weekend and were looking forward to the Maple Syrup Festival. Festivals are a great family activity and can be very thrifty. We love to find the unique little local festivals. We have been to the "Gizzard Festival", Radish Festival", "Sauerkraut Festival", "Tulip Festival", "The Red Flannel Festival" and a gazillion more. Many times these trips were just a one day adventure.

Something to remember when going to the festivals is they are loaded with "Fun street food" which can generally take a big chunk out of your wallet pretty quick. Decide ahead of time on the maximum amount you want to spend. Pack a cooler with fun picnic foods (Make fun and silly finger foods. It will feel more like a special treat), drinks and snacks. Take a break during the festival to go back to your car and decide where to have a family picnic.

When walking around, each kid can carry their own little backpack to keep a drink handy and maybe a snack or two. Make the drink special by finding a special travel cup at the dollar store, garage sale or thrift store. Only allow them to use during these types of adventures.

If you are camping, go back to the campground during some part of the festival and eat, relax and then go back to the festival for some more fun things.

Talk to your campground hosts. They generally have a wealth of information about fun family things to do that aren't going to break the bank. Also ask them of other campgrounds in the area that offer specials. Talk to locals. They are the ones who are going to be able to tell you things like, "Oh, didn't you know you could have camped for free at the county fairgrounds during the festival?" Yup, this has happened to us several times!

Back to our camping trip this past weekend.

Well, not only did we go and have a fun time but, we ended up staying for a week! LOL. After talking with the campground staff we found out that we could camp for a month for only $75.00 (or $15.00 a night). They also offer free "Honey wagon services" (emptying your gray and black water tanks). They have washers and dryers for campers to use free of charge if you pay for the month. And let's not forget free WiFi! LOL. They have a ton of family activities available plus a beach, boating and fishing. We really found a gem.

Although we headed home today, we are going to go back up next weekend. It was nice that we could just leave the trailer there and not have to haul it back and forth. That is where the big money expense is, gas! So, now we have our travel trailer all set up and just waiting for us. We plan on going back several more time from now until Memorial Day weekend.

I'm going to be doing some online research to find out what other festivals will be in the area of this campground and what other thrifty attractions are to be found.

The point of all that was, you just never know what kind of really good bargains you are going to get until you search around.

So check out church campgrounds and find out what kind of bargains they have. Another way to save on camping is to look at private campgrounds and check when their free camping "clean-up" weekend is. Most private campgrounds (including the church campground we are at) have a set weekend that they offer free camping if you volunteer to help get the campground in shape. We have done these weekends before and they are actually a lot of fun. You become a little community. Usually, during the weekend, they will have some kind of potluck dinner with all the campers. Everyone brings a dish to pass. It's not like you are doing strenuous work. There are things that even the kids can help out with. It's can be a really nice way to feel "part of" a campground.

If you have a lot of time to camp, many campgrounds look for "camp hosts". Your camping is either free or very reduced depending on how much you want to involve yourself. They generally are looking for someone to commit to 6 weeks if you are going to be a camp host and camp for free. However, many campgrounds are looking for people just to do some odds and ends things that you can volunteer to do while you're camping to reduce your camping rates.

Here is a site regarding "Workamping". Workamp News

Once, when we were in Cody Wyoming camping, we met a retired couple that love to travel, so to supplement the cost of traveling, they would decide where they wanted to go and then look for part-time temporary jobs for a few weeks or even a couple of months in that area. This couple was so much fun. We spent several nights sitting around the campfire with them listening to their adventures. That's who I want to be when I grow up! LOL

Another resource is to check out free camping places. Here is one of many sites that tell you about places you can stay for free. Free Camping Directory

Most of those places are places you just want to stay in for one night. They are perfect if you are doing some traveling and want to camp along the way.

A couple of years ago my husband and I (that would have been pre-Little Miss Princess days)decided to go to Yellowstone National Park. We live in Michigan so, it was quite a cross country trip for us. We had a very (and I mean VERY) tight budget. But, that isn't something new to us. We found out that we are quite resourceful! We planned our entire trip across country with a maximum budget of $10.00 camping per night on the way to Yellowstone and on the way back. We were gone for 3 weeks and only hit the max of $10.00 3 times during our travels. Now this was the really fun challenge part. At this time, I was working full time for an online company. I had to make certain that I was at a free Wifi hotspot throughtout our little adventure. But, we did just fine and found places we would never have known about had we not really spent some time and researched prior to our trip.

One place that we didn't realize that has cheap camping is at some hotels and motels. I had never heard of this. We found these places in the middle of the country. They have a campground next to their hotel. Another place was at casinos. They are really big with RV'ers. Places like Cabela's have cheap camping as well.

For RV's, travel trailers and fifth wheels, there are always the truck stops along your trip. What's nice about these are the newer and bigger chains are no longer referred to as truck stops but, instead as travel centers. They really encourage people to stop for the night. They have clean shower rooms, laundry facilities and often dump stations and clean water. There are all kinds of interesting places.

Here is another couple of resources to look at ezine articles
And Gypsy Journal

Did you know that like airlines and hotels, campgrounds generally charge more during Holiday weekends. Make sure you check when that holiday weekend rate starts. Quite often it will start on the Thursday prior to a holiday.

So, look around and talk to other campers and find out where some of their favorite thrifty camping areas are. The internet is a great tool to use to find inexpensive camping tips. There are lots of camping forums online and they can lead to some great ideas.

Want some fun camp cooking ideas that the kids will love? Read my post yesterday (Thrifty Thursday) to get some ideas!

Next Friday Funday I plan to post about fun thrifty activities to do at camp.

If you want to hear more about our time at the Maple Syrup Festival, I hope to get a post out sometime this weekend.


  1. Great tips for camping! Your blog is really cute! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks Liz! I am glad you dropped by!
    Diann :)


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