Family Camping Memories Should Be Recorded And Shared

Westland Camping Family Vacation to the Platte River
Westland Camping Family Vacation to the Platte River

Westland Camping Family Vacation to the Platte River

Westland Camping Center is not just any RV dealership.  We are a family that has camped together forever, and continue to do so today.  We don’t just sell Travel trailers, 5th Wheels and Pop-up Campers, we take them out and use them.  We got into this industry because it gets us closer to the things we enjoy doing, and, OK, get paid to think about camping every day.

With that in mind, I want to share an insight into one of my favorite camping keepsakes: The Family Camping Journal.

I love looking at pictures from camping trips past, and seeing the camper equipment and games changing as my Brother and I got older, as well as the great views and vistas from our sites and the places we went to.  However, pictures only show you so much.  Sometimes you remember the people, but can’t remember what was happening, or why this trip was special.  Yes, sometimes a picture isn’t worth a thousand words.

My mother, as the dedicated family historian, would take an hour or so every night or every other night, and describe where we were, what we did, and any funny anecdotes or stories pertaining to the day’s activities.  She noted the name of the campground, and site numbers.  She noted the general weather conditions, who was with us, and of course, how much trouble the dog got into…

The Journal itself wasn’t fancy, just a wire-bound notebook with a plastic cover to help make it last.  Over the years we had several of them.  But the collection of memories that were in it made it so much more than a mere notebook.  It was “The Journal”.  Sitting around the campfire at night is a natural “story-telling” atmosphere, and often we relived past camping trips.

It was also a great resource for planning trips later on, because we had a record of places we went, and what we thought of the place.  Some entries were more clinical about site conditions and campground descriptions, some were more story oriented, but it was overall a clear record of our camping history as a family.  I want to share some of those camping tales with you, starting with this one from 1980″

Mom Writes:

We have always kept a log book of our camping trips, and although they are often nearly illegible – I usually wrote the entries while we were driving – they provide a very good snapshot of our trips. This entry is from a trip we took to the Upper Peninsula in July of 1980; Kevin was four and a half, and Steve was fifteen months.


            “We found the Tee Pee Private Campground about one mile east of the Mackinac Bridge, with an excellent view of the bridge and Mackinac Island. The lake has a rocky bottom, but a nice beach with a play structure of the Mackinac Bridge.

            We took the 10:00 boat to the Island and rented bikes. Steve fell asleep in the bike seat, so we switched him to the backpack and rode all the way around the Island. It was a beautiful day, sunny and clear, and we got great views of the Bridge. We hiked up to the Governor’s Mansion, then returned to town and went to sit on the porch of the Grand Hotel. Got fudge and took the 5:00 boat back.

            The boys were very tired and went to sleep fast, but we had such a good view of the Bridge from our campsite, all lit up, that we woke Kevin up so he could see it.”


            This campground still exists; it is now partner with Good Sam’s.


In those days, I also kept track of what we spent; here are some examples:

                        Campsite (two nights)                                     $11.00

                        Ferry to Mackinac (for two adults)                     9.00

                        Bike rental (two w/child seats)                          12.00

                        Lunch on the Island (two adults, two kids)          8.00

Things have changed a lot.


I have referred to the log books many times, to find a favorite campsite or restaurant. Sometimes, we would refer back to an earlier trip, and read about it at the campfire. It always brings back great memories!