Gardner State Park

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Last September my boyfriend did the impossible, he took me camping.

Although I’ve always lived in small (country-ish) towns, my heart has always ached for big cities. So, when my boyfriend said he was planning a camping trip for the end of summer, I was a no-go! Don’t get me wrong, I love nature and the outdoors, but the thought of spending the night outside with bugs and heat, yeah no.

But somehow he convinced me and I lived to tell the tale. And surprisingly it wasn’t as bad as I had envisioned, and I have Gardner State Park to thank for that. You see, they are so used to seeing visitors each year that they know how to cater to all levels of campers.

Here are 5 tips for first-timers:

  • Get a campsite with light and water connections. Don’t try to go all cave-man your first time around. Trust me, you won’t survive. Camping, I think, is something you have to ease into (if you’re someone like me). And make sure you bring some light source, like outdoor string lights or christmas lights. I’m taking these next time I go! I was so jealous of all the other pretty  lit up campsites. Plus it’s a safety hazard at night, right?
  • Bring coal, lighter fluid, matches, wood, or all of the above. GSP is very good at having these things available at their shop, but it’s better to come prepared. They’re your heat source and you need it to prepare your food and keep warm.
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Best meal we made that weekend!
  • Bring ice and an ice cooler. Ice is important! It is what will keep your food from spoiling. Unfortunately there are no refrigerators out there. And you don’t want your food to go bad or you will die out there, and no one wants that.
  • Bring an air mattress or blankets. Remember, you will be sleeping on the GROUND! There’s rocks, dirt, plants, etc. None of that is comfortable. Even though you will be in a tent, it is not comfortable. This tent is similar to the one we used. And I used this airbed. I brought blankets because late at night it does get cold, and they worked as extra cushion. But it all depends on the time of year you go.

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We fit a twin airbed and a kennel! Not bad for a less than $30 tent!
  • Bring utensils, all different kinds! You are going to be outdoors, not anywhere near a kitchen. There are no forks, spoons, knives, plates, cups, napkins, spatulas, etc. Bring anything you might need, and I recommend paper and plastic. Or else you’re gonna be using rocks and sticks. Yuck!

Now the trip was not all bad. It is absolutely beautiful out there. The staff at GSP have done such a great job at preserving the park.

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Come ready to have fun! They have a transit that takes you to the perfect spot to begin your trip down the Frio River (about a 2 1/2 hour float). Bring your comfortable shoes because they have many hike/bike trails. And bring your dancing boots and dance underneath the Texas sky at the Pavilion, it’s a tradition!

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Would I go camping again? Probably. But not without a truckload full of amenities. Glamping, that’s what I’d do! I mean you can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl.

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And they’re dog friendly! Arlo loved it!
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Also, sorry I look like a hot mess, but I had just spent my first night camping outdoors. Yeah….

XO, Mayra

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