Inside Columbia


Sands And Surf

By Inside Columbia

Do you like to go beach hopping? The Hawaiian island of Molokai is home to the world’s tallest sea cliffs, rising between 3,600 and 3,900 feet above the ocean. And history buffs will be fascinated by fish ponds that date back to ancient times.

But if you’re a lover of uncrowded beaches — each one different from the other — then a day or two of beach hopping on Molokai deserves a spot on your active travel in Hawaii itinerary. I much prefer exploring beaches to baking all day on a lounge by the water’s edge. Blame it on my run-ins with skin cancer or maybe it’s an overactive curiosity.

The first time we visited Molokai, my husband Alan and I explored beaches on both the west and east sides of the island, but we didn’t have time to see all of them. On my latest trip, I discovered more secluded beaches to add to my list of Molokai favorites.

I recommend dividing your Molokai beach hopping into two days of sand and surf. Spend one day exploring the rugged beaches on the west side. The ocean’s rough here, so this adventure is more about exploring the scenery and taking gorgeous photos. On a second day later in your trip, experience the east side’s sandy coves

Camping is the ultimate in fun and relaxation and is loaded with benefits. It provides adventure and unlimited opportunities to experience the great outdoors. Historical landmarks and different regions make for fascinating experiences to learn about history. Not to mention, it’s an affordable way to vacation.

What’s The Best Way To Camp?

Choose from a variety of camping options. If you love the experience of roughin’ it, pitch a tent, and haul the bare necessities. Tents come in many sizes and styles, some with dividers for separate quarters. When purchasing a tent, remember capacity doesn’t include luggage space. If you plan to keep belongings in your tent, opt for a larger capacity. Most importantly, don’t forget padding or a blow-up mattress to insulate against the cold, hard ground.

If you like the idea of roughing it, yet want some of the comforts of home, a pop-up camper is the best of both worlds. The canvas sides and pullout sections of pop-ups are surrounded by screens and give the feeling of sleeping in the fresh outdoors. Pop-ups come in several sizes and often include an icebox or mini-refrigerator, heater, air conditioning, portable toilet, shower, kitchen sink, stove, cabinets and storage space, dining table, and other necessities.

Some people prefer going in style. Travel trailers and motor homes offer a luxurious nighttime retreat after a day of enjoying the outdoors. The ease in loading and unloading these shelters is great for moving from campsite to campsite, making cross-country camping less work. Motorhomes and travel trailers often have a full-size kitchen, living room complete with sofa and chairs, and separate bedrooms for comfort and privacy.

Also, don’t overlook the option of a cozy cabin in the woods. Cabin rentals are sometimes found at campgrounds or in national forests at cabin resorts. Cabins range from basic single-room shelters containing only beds to completely furnished three or four-room units including kitchenettes. When reserving a cabin, ask what is furnished before you go so you’ll arrive prepared, while avoiding unnecessary packing. And don’t forget to ask about electricity, lights and water.

Experienced campers might try a hike-in shelter for a true wilderness experience. Check with state and national parks for shelters that are sometimes set up along extended trails. After a day of hiking, roll out your sleeping bags under one of these small shelters for a dry night’s sleep under the stars.

Camping Costs

The cost of travel can make vacations a rare treat. But the affordability of camping may allow for frequent getaways. Overnight fees range from a free night’s stay at some state park rustic sites (no showers, toilets, electricity or water) to $50 or more per night at many of the top KOA and Jellystone Camp Park-Resorts. These top-of-the-line campgrounds are loaded with amenities from built-in swimming pools to live entertainment.

State park campgrounds vary from state to state. Still, these are often the best deal if you’re interested in experiencing all nature has to offer. Fees for overnight accommodations in state parks typically range from $15 to $35. Many state parks have modern facilities including flush toilets, showers, grassy or gravel sites, park stores for firewood and ice, and more. Furthermore, state parks frequently offer miles of wooded hiking or biking trails, natural wonders, historical sites and much more that may not be found at private camp resorts.

Camping also helps keep other vacation expenses to a minimum. Many campers prefer cooking over the campfire to eating out. Additionally, most outdoor camping activities are free or available at a minimal cost.

Fun Camping Activities

Whatever your interests, there’s plenty to see and do. Trails offer ample activities such as collecting rocks, leaves or insects, scouting for wildlife, discovering interesting plants and trees, and practicing survival skills, to hiking excursions, bicycling and horseback riding.

Lakes, ponds, rivers and streams offer fishing, swimming, row boating or canoeing, sunbathing and more.

Wildlife viewing is often a highlight. Look for animals early in the morning or at dusk on dirt roads and trails, in open fields surrounded by woods, and near water. Be patient, walk slowly and quietly and don’t forget binoculars.

Other activities include nature programs, nature centers and historical sites, flying kites, bicycling on paved trails and more.

When you’re ready to relax, light a campfire and enjoy reading or storytelling, play cards or board games, watch the sunset, stargaze and roast marshmallows.

Easy Camp Foods

There are many ways to cook. You can purchase a gas or liquid-fuel camping stove, or if electricity is available, a crock-pot or electric griddle works well. You can also carry a charcoal or small gas grill or cook over an open fire.

Keep meals simple to minimize packing, preparation and clean up. Easy choices include hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, steak, sandwiches, eggs, bacon, sausage, crockpot meals, sweet corn, baked potatoes, canned foods such as baked beans, tuna, chicken and soup, as well as fresh fruit, vegetables and dip, bagels, English muffins, cereal, fruit juice and hot cocoa.

On the other hand, if you enjoy cooking and good meals are one of the highlights for you, then make the most of mealtime. With all the options for cooking, you can easily enjoy a gourmet feast.

Camping Tips 

Camping is often a learn-as-you-go experience. But the following can alleviate hassles and keep you safe.

Protect your food from animals by blocking access. Animals can find their way into nearly anything. Raccoons are known to lift lids right off coolers to snatch hot dogs and other treats. A cooler that latches is usually a safe bet. Any food that isn’t tightly contained should be stored in your vehicle overnight.

Poor weather can strike at any time and insect infestations can also make for a miserable experience. Make additional shelter such as a screen tent or tarps and rope part of your camping gear.

Arrive at your camp destination ahead of the crowd, preferably while it is still light out. Every campsite is unique, and early arrival can assure a site that satisfies your needs.

When selecting a site, look for proximity to restrooms, electricity and water. The amount of shade you’ll want will depend on the weather forecast. To avoid mud, a grassy or rock site may be preferred. Also, avoid a site backed up to outhouses, which can smell in the heat and wind.

Know what animals are found in the area. Wild animals usually want to avoid humans as much as we want to avoid them. Still, they can pose risks. In the west, mountain lions have been known to snag children and even small women. In bear country, those accustomed to people sometimes get too close and result in injury. Even small animals that feel threatened may attack

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