Last summer we refinanced our mortgage, and when the broker asked if we owned a second home, I answered, “Yes. We have a tent, and we can take it anywhere.”

Sure, our home has its obvious disadvantages (namely a lack of AC and leaky windows in a rainstorm), but the benefits far outweigh them. Here are several reasons our family loves camping:

  1. IT’S CHEAP! Subtract the food from the cost of our vacation (we’d have to eat at home, right?), and a week-long camping trip costs $250 max.
  2. GREAT FOOD: Camping is the best way for a kosher diner to eat in style on a vacation that is not near kosher restaurants. We use a propane stove and grill to make pancakes for breakfast, pasta and sandwiches for lunch and every grilled thing you can imagine for dinner. We bring the cheese and meat products from Chicago and buy the rest at local groceries.
  3. S’MORES BY THE CAMPFIRE: Enough said.
  4. EVERYBODY HELPS: There is no other time besides our camping trips that my kids so willingly help (and on the first time that I ask them, no less!). You’d have to try it to believe it, but my otherwise unmotivated “helpers” are suddenly putting up the tent, making dinner, gathering kindling for the fire and helping with the younger kids.
  5. FREEDOM: There’s no schedule and nowhere we have to be. The kids bike and swim all day, and then crash at night when it’s dark.

And just to answer what you’re still wondering: we only go to campgrounds with VERY clean restrooms, and we seek out areas that aren’t plagued by mosquitos. Which brings me to my next point…

Whether or not you’re brave enough to try camping, Door County is a fabulous vacation spot for everyone. Under 5 hours to the north, Door County features the charm of Cape Cod. Tiny towns dot the peninsula on Lake Michigan, so that almost every area is on the water. Each year we head there for a relaxing week of biking (they rent all kinds there), boating, swimming and hiking.

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