Before I start off, I should probably disclose that I’ve never been “REAL” camping, the middle of nowhere, “this is where we’re sleeping, let’s go hunt for dinner,” kind of camping. Honestly, I’ve never even slept in a tent; my family of five usually stays in a camper with a bathroom, AC, and even a microwave. But don’t let that mislead you, sharing a motorhome that's about 30 feet long with 4 other people isn’t easy, but I have learned that it’s beyond worth it. This Thanksgiving, my parents and a group of about 50 of their friends decided to get together and go camping over the holiday weekend. We arrived on Wednesday night and spent our Thanksgiving eating our meals at picnic tables and biking down nature trails. At night, we set up all the picnic tables we could find, set up some string lights, and everyone in the group agreed to bring a Thanksgiving dish. All 50 of us, got together to pray and had an amazing meal in the company of people who weren’t family by blood, but they were the kind of family that you can choose. We spent the rest of the weekend canoeing, bike riding, hiking and sitting by the campfire.

Being surrounded with good people makes you forget about the negative things about camping, like showering in the state park’s public bathrooms or the constant feeling of being covered in a thin layer of dirt ALL THE TIME. In all seriousness, I love to go camping and think everyone should try it with their families or close friends. Even if you’re “not the outdoors-y type” or you “can’t live without wifi” I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable breakfast outside or conversations around a campfire can be.

I’m going to end this article by leaving you with a few pictures I took on this trip.

A poorly lit picture of our very cute Thanksgiving dinner set up:

The unforgettable sunset that we watched while bike riding around a lake:

The canoe that almost tipped over into the alligator infested river:

The many, many bikes that belonged to everyone in our group: