Satisfy Your Wanderlust with a Quick Camping Getaway

Tent, trailer, yurt, or teepee, there are so many ways to make a fun weekend out of a camping, or if you prefer, glamping adventure.

I love to travel, but I don’t always have the time and money to go on a big trip. A camping getaway can be a cheap, easy way to satisfy your weekend wanderlust. Here are five ways you can make the most of a few days away on a shoestring budget.

camping getaway

  1. Near or Far
    Travel doesn’t have to be a big adventure. Look at the world just outside your door to find a quick camping getaway. If you play your cards right, you’ll find a handful of places within a 1 or 2 hour radius around your hometown where you can hang your hat for a few days, in some areas hunting may even be allowed, this means that you will also have the chance of getting a 9mm Semi Automatic Rifle Online to take with you. There’s a sleepy little town about a 45-minute drive from my house where I escape to every few weeks in the warmer months. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, it makes me feel like I’m miles from home even though I could almost see my doorstep with a good pair of binoculars. At $20 a night and a few bucks for fuel, it’s a quick, easy getaway when I don’t have the time or money to go someplace more glamorous.

camping getaway

  1. Do Cool Stuff
    There is so much cool stuff to do in our own backyards, yet we always look to other parts of the world for interesting activities. Check out the tourism websites for nearby cities and towns for fun things to do on your camping getaway. What do they have to offer? Harness the adventure of a white-water raft tour, ride in a hot-air balloon, or take a train trip through the prairies. I bet you’ll find dozens of ideas for day trips, including many that are free or cheap, such as a self-guided hike or relaxing on a beach. I know one place in the middle of nowhere that you can see a world-class dinosaur collection at a state-of the-art museum, for example.

camping getaway

  1. Boutique Shopping
    Did you know that many quaint towns have adorable boutique shopping? There is usually a main street lined with a handful of one-of-a-kind stores. Some feature local artists, while others bring in designers that you might not find in the big city. Sometimes, they are outrageously overpriced due to their limited purchasing power, but other times, you can find deals you simply wouldn’t get in the city. I know one little place I hit up often carries one of my favorite designers at rates as much as 15 percent lower than in the city.

camping getaway

  1. Peace and Quiet
    There are times when you just need to get away from it all. A few days offline or away from the ambient buzz of the big city can work wonders for the mind. Camping is one of the few remaining ways you can escape reality and enjoy the silence, as Depeche Mode would say. Find a place that’s out of the way—you may even be able to find a little backcountry hideaway—where it’s just you, the fresh air, and nature. Kick back by a campfire and settle into your little slice of heaven.

camping getaway

  1. Fast and Easy
    A camping getaway is one of those rare things you can easily make happen at the last-minute. With very little thought and effort, you can put together a nice little weekend away. All you need to do is load up the gear, grab a few groceries, and you’re on your way. No flights to coordinate, hotels to research, or tours to book. Simply get in the car and drive.

camping getaway

Since I only have the time and money for a few big adventures each year, I rely on camping to satisfy a lot of my thirst for travel. I spend at least 15 weekends camping each year, including many in the cooler, winter months. It’s not a penichette in Paris, but at least it gets me out of town for a few days. Share your camping photos at #wanderlustwayfarer on Instagram.

Autumn Camping Essentials: Packing for the Season

Autumn is a time of transition, which can wreak havoc with your wardrobe. You need to pack certain camping essentials to get you through the season.

 

I know, I know. No one wants to think about the end of summer just yet, but whether you’re ready or not, Mother Nature has her own ideas. If you’re an early riser or a night owl, you’ve likely started to notice the weather gets quite a bit cooler when the mid-day sun is not shining above you.

For those of us who spend the better part of our summers enjoying the great outdoors in a tent or RV, the change of season can make it hard to know what to wear. And the last thing you want to be on a camping trip is that girl…you know, the one who packs her entire closet. All you need are these camping essentials to get you through.

camping essentials

Tops

When the mercury starts to dip, layering is an absolute must. But comfort is king when you’re camping. I like to start with a super-soft, lightweight tee as a base. If I know the temps are going to hit a high later in the day, I substitute a tank instead. And I can’t get enough of fun slogans, like the ones from Thug Life Shirts. Next, layer an oversized, plaid flannel or chambray shirt on top of your tee.

If it’s extra cool in the early morning, I like to throw on a sweatshirt or sweater as well. Camp Brand Goods has lots of fleece styles that are perfect for the occasion. And I simply can’t get enough of the ultra cozy ionic cape from Aritzia. You could also substitute a military-style or puffy vest. Throughout the day, peel off layers as the weather warms or even just rearrange their order as needed.

For brisk nights that even a campfire can’t heat up, you may need a little something more. A classic denim jacket is always a stylish and practical choice. An utility jacket is also a great option. Either one is durable, easy to clean, and not overly bulky, which is perfect for this time of year.

camping essentials

Bottoms

There’s nothing quite like an old pair of jeans. You know the ones. They have real holes in the knees and not perfectly placed store-bought tears. They’re rugged and soft. Those are the perfect camping pants. But if you cut off all of your jeans into shorts at the start of the season, don’t sweat it. A pair of basic black leggings will serve you just as well. For an added layer of warmth, be sure to pack a pair of sweatpants. You can’t go wrong with Roots Originals, for example.

Accessories

It’s not too early to think about packing a knit beanie and gloves. In some places, like the mountains, temperatures can drop to the 50s. Not cool…well, except that it’s actually cool. Love or hate the look, you’ll likely want to toss on a pair of wool socks with your Birkenstocks, too. And don’t forget to wrap a thin scarf around your neck. You can use it to jazz up your outfit in the afternoon and add a bit of extra warmth when the temps dip.

But perhaps the number one accessory for this time of year is a good travel mug. Make sure it’s insulated and has a vacuum seal to keep your beverages extra hot. I like to use mine to keep my hands warm on a long walk. And hey, if you want to add a little something extra to your hot chocolate, who am I to judge? Whatever it takes to keep you warm on those cool August nights.

camping essentials

With these camping essentials, you’ll have everything you need to get you through the brisk August mornings and evenings. Have more suggestions for autumn camping essentials? Join the conversation in the Wanderlust Wayfarer Facebook group.

 

One Day in Banff: Fun around Town

Right in the heart of Canada’s oldest national park, you’ll find a quaint little resort town called Banff. While the community mostly caters to outdoor enthusiasts, there’s also plenty to do downtown.

Set amidst the majestic mountains and lush forests of Banff National Park, the town of Banff is bustling year round. In winter, people flock to this cozy community to take advantage of the world-class skiing. In the summer months, skiers trade their skis for hiking boots and scale the mountain trails. But if you’re like me, you prefer to keep your feet on flat ground. Fret not. There’s plenty for you to do in beautiful Banff.

On my most recent visit to this far-from-sleepy town, I parked my RV in the nearby Tunnel Mountain Campground, which also has cabins and lodges close by. But there are plenty of places in the heart of downtown where you can lay your head for the night. The historic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel is the epitome of luxury and has the price tag to prove it. There’s also the option of staying in one of the hotels on the fringes of the downtown area, like Brewster’s Mountain Lodge or Banff Caribou Lodge. You can even stay right in the heart of the action on Banff Avenue in the Mount Royal or King Edward Hotels, for example. Of course, there’s always the option of a hostel or bed and breakfast, too. Banff caters to every level of luxury and taste.

Banff
Morning

We started our morning with a homemade breakfast of eggs, toast, and turkey bacon. If you’re looking to have someone else do the cooking for you, check out Eveline’s Coffee Bar or Wild Flour Bakery for a lovely selection of baked goods and breakfast foods. Take your time and relax. Banff is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. There’s plenty of free parking on the side streets or in specially designated locations around town. Just look for the big, green, circular signs with a large black “P.”

After breakfast, try a quick stroll along the Tunnel Mountain Trail. If you’re staying in the campground, you can reach it right from your site. For people with accommodations in town, it’s just a short drive away. Simply follow the signs. At the start of the trail, there are some red chairs where you can sit to take in the beautiful surroundings. And if you feel like you’re up for a bit more, you can take the groomed pathway for an easy walk. You can even climb the entire mountain in only an hour or two.

Taking it to the Streets

After a short hike, I like to hit the downtown area to take in the shops along Banff Avenue and the surrounding streets. The stores are small and can become quite congested later in the day when the crowds of tourists arrive. Banff is a major Canadian attraction, so you can guarantee that no matter the season, tour groups will be making a stop here.

But downtown Banff is a must-see stop. Here, you’ll find countless souvenir shops carrying traditional Canadian fare, such as smoked salmon, maple syrup and candies, moccasins, and plaid shirts. I usually pop into a few of these shops to check out the goods, but you’ll find a similar selection in most, so there’s no need to go into every one of them if you don’t have a lot of time. I always go into the one with the mechanical “fortune teller” in the doorway. He’s been in Banff since the dawn of time, and you simply must feed him a quarter to see what he has to say about your future.

Aside from souvenir shops, you’ll find some cute boutiques. Branches Marketplace is one of my personal favorites. It’s got a mix of handcrafted accessories and gifts with a rustic, cabin-style feel. Speaking of cabins, Cabin 108 is an adorable boutique that carries a variety of designer brands, both local and international. Cupcakes and Cashmere, Chaser, Toms, and Jackson Rowe are just a few of the names lining the racks in this shop. I find it nearly impossible to leave here empty handed.

Banff

History Lesson

Banff Avenue is also home to classic Canadian stores, such as Roots and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Roots is infamous for its logo sweatpants and shirts, as well as simple, classic-yet-contemporary t-shirts, handbags, and shoes. On the other hand, The Bay, as it’s known locally, is, quite literally, at the foundation of Canada’s development as a nation.

Early European settlers established trading posts where they would exchange goods for furs caught by indigenous trappers. Over time, more and more Europeans began coming to Canada in search of furs. Communities formed around the posts, and eventually, a nation grew out of the settlements.

Enough of the history lesson. Today, the Hudson’s Bay Company is a massive department store chain, anchoring many major Canadian malls. Selling everything from silverware to kitchen utensils and footwear, many Canadians head to The Bay for the basics. Banff is home to a modestly sized store that carries some fashions, beauty products, and jewelry. But perhaps the most outstanding items are branded with The Bay’s infamous ivory, yellow, green, red, and blue striped pattern. You can find mugs, blankets, dresses, and more. I bought a dog coat to go with my crewneck sweater. Don’t judge.

Alberta is known for its western heritage. It’s not uncommon to see cowboys donning wranglers and Stetsons walking down city streets. And Banff is no exception. If you’re looking to get into the spirit of the west, stop by Lammles Western Wear to pick up a pair of boots or a snap-front shirt. In addition to local boutiques and brands, you’ll find major chain stores, such as Lolë, Lululemon, The GAP, The North Face, and Fjallraven, to name a few.

Afternoon

Trying on clothes always builds my appetite. For your perfect day in Banff, be sure to break for lunch at one of the many ultra delicious eateries along Banff Avenue or in the vicinity. Some favorites include Squish Sandwich Cellar, The Bison, and Nourish. Squish offers a selection of gourmet sandwiches from savory Montreal smoked meat to tangy tuna. For vegetarians, Nourish has a garden variety of options, while The Bison caters to carnivores. We chose to stop in at JK Bakery for some made-to-order sandwiches and soup.

Sweet Tooth

For dessert, Banff has no shortage of options. At Skoki’s, you can make your own decadent dessert. Start with a Belgian waffle for the base. Then pile it high with as many toppings as you’d like, including flavored frozen yogurt, sprinkles, fruit, and candy.

Beavertails offers a special Canadian twist on the classic funnel cake. Starting with a cake the shape of a beaver tail, you can choose from several toppings to add extra flavor. I got two flavors on one cake: cheesecake Skor on one half and triple trip (Nutella and Reese’s Pieces) on the other half. I have no words to express the goodness of this experience.

Late Afternoon

After a day of shopping and eating downtown, it’s a great time to head back to your accommodations for a  rest. A quick nap or dip in the pool is a great way to unwind for an hour or two before dinner. When you’re ready to eat…again…Banff’s bountiful establishments will not disappoint. Whether you’re looking for a casual place like Boston Pizza where you can to grab a slice of pepperoni at a reasonable price or a formal option for a steak dinner, like Salt Lik, there’s something for everyone.

After dinner, head over to the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Before taking a dip in the springs, consider a ride up Sulphur Mountain in the Banff Gondola. located right next door to the springs. The eight-minute ride affords you unparalleled views of the majestic mountain landscape. After your feet are back on solid ground, relax in the healing minerals waters that come straight from the Rocky Mountains. Naturally heated to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they’re said to bring relief to achy muscles and bones. Admission is less than $10 per person. And don’t worry if you don’t have a swimsuit or towel, you can rent them there for a couple of bucks. I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want to be “that person.” But don’t worry, lots of people do it. I spent about 40 minutes wading in the water, and when I left, I felt like I was walking on clouds.

Evening

On your way back from hot springs, why not make a quick stop on Banff Avenue for a tasty treat? Mary’s Popcorn Shop is a personal favorite. You can choose from four sweet or savory flavors. Pro Tip: when they ask if you want the bag open or closed, always leave it open. You get way more popcorn.

I’m a sucker for fudge. I have a hard time passing it up anyplace I travel, but especially in Banff. The Fudgery has at least a dozen flavors to choose from, along with a variety of other chocolate treats. And the best part? Each one is made fresh on site.

Can’t find anything at either of these places to appease your taste buds? There’s always Mountain Chocolates, Cows Ice Cream, or Banff Sweet Shoppe. They’re sure to have something to sate your sweet tooth.

Banff

Late Evening

By now, you’ve already had a long day. I like to cap off an evening of camping with a nice little bonfire. I thoroughly enjoy the act of toasting marshmallows…almost as much as I enjoy eating s’mores. But if you’ve still got the energy, I recommend taking in some of the nightlife around town. There are numerous local pubs that stay open late, such as Rose & Crown.

Banff has so much to offer, from outdoor adventures to shopping, food, museums, and more. This is just one way to spend a relaxing day off the slopes. Have more ideas for fun ways to spend a day in Banff? Head over to Facebook or Twitter to share them.

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