There’s something about fire that has always been just a little bit mesmerizing. From our earliest days we’ve been drawn to it, not just for the heat or the cooking opportunities but also, to simply sit by a fire, perhaps with a beverage in hand, and be mesmerized by the dancing flicker of the flames. After a long day of enjoying the great outdoors, fire is a welcome respite, and in the morning, it takes the chill off the pre-dawn light as you sip your campsite coffee. Wherever you travel, whether in a luxurious RV, a tent-trailer or backpacking through the back woods, the draw of “the fire” is an integral part of your experience. Are you living the RV or camping lifestyle? If you aren’t, here’s what you’re missing!

Whether you are officially retired or simply looking for some alternatives this year, we’re here to remind you there’s no age limit on camping. In fact, it’s safe to say camping is an activity we can enjoy for pretty much our entire lives. It’s an activity that encompasses many other activities within it, making it a true lifestyle experience for some or a great vacation option for others. Looking to “play with fire” in a positive way? Consider the following:

Camping is for everyone because you can travel with as little, or as much as you want. For minimalists: a backpack, tent, a few small cooking utensils, and essentials along with a great pair of hiking boots are really all you need. Trails that run from easy to extreme are dotted throughout North America. You can take on the challenge of the Pacific Crest Trail running north/south from Washington through to California; British Columbia and Quebec both boast trails between 17 and 26 miles long that offer stunning scenery, lakes, and mountain peaks along with a plethora of wildlife along the way according to National Geographic. They are the Le Fjord Trail and Howe Sound Crest Trail. For those who want to add a plane ticket to the backpack’s front pouch, Kalalau Trail in Hawaii adds beautiful, lush tropical plants, waterfalls, and views over the Pacific Ocean to the list of things to experience. According to our same NG source, this is a “hike of a lifetime,” and we think maybe you should add it (and all of Hawaii) to your bucket list!

If you are thinking about incorporating camping into your vacation plans, you may want to have a little more with you than just your shoes and a tent! Once again North America comes to the table fully loaded with options for travellers of any age with national parks and campgrounds located in every state and province, most of them able to accommodate everything from tents and tent trailers to full sized RV’s. Camping offers the best in outdoor living options with access to shorter and more moderate hiking trails than those discussed above, swimming, beaches and so much more. Many campsites also have a range of activities from horseshoes and bocce ball to beach volleyball and biking trails. Kilbear Park, famous in Ontario for its sunsets, pink granite boulders and beaches also has an amphitheatre and entertainment. National parks often also offer educational tours for kids and adults of all ages where you can learn more about local wildlife, flora, and fauna. In short, there’s no reason not to be an ENGaged and ACTIVE SENIOR with so many options out there to explore this summer. As an added bonus, for those of us who “identify as a little older,” many camping options are fully operational throughout September and early October which is a beautiful time to travel and explore – with the added bonus of the campgrounds being a little quieter with the kiddos back at school. *Of special interest to our Ontario resident members might be the new “Staycation” tax benefit for 2022. Check it out and/or look to see if something similar in your area.

Finally, if your idea of “camping” is more about “glamping” instead or you are ready to explore farther afield as you head into retirement, an RV might be more your style. RV’s literally come in ALL shapes and sizes, from a small kitchen to bed conversion unit with a portable toilet to fully outfitted with granite (yes granite) countertops, full sized appliances and beds, satellite TV and wine racks! There are even RV’s that have a fold out deck option built in. It’s all the luxury of a cottage but one you can take with you anywhere! We used to call ours “The C.O.W.” – our “cottage on wheels.” For some, the RV lifestyle is actually about living life on the road – with no home address to return to. Life with “no fixed address” is fun, freeing, and full. This isn’t retirement, this is living life large! In addition to the lifestyle – not giving up any of the creature comforts of home – an RV still allows you the freedom to travel, explore and yes – sit by the mesmerizing fire after a day filled with touring. Plan to visit cities and towns that have always been places you’d like to travel to “one day.” Attaching a small vehicle to the trailer hitch of your RV ensures you truly have unlimited mobility in the countryside and big cities and most RV’s will easily accommodate bikes and even kayaks and canoes giving you no reason not to explore by road, trail, city and sea, lake, or river.

Camping is an activity you can do with friends, with your family, with your spouse or alone. It truly is the ultimate in lifestyle experiences that offers something for everyone. Whether you are super active and love a morning jog around the campgrounds or a lazy walk with your dog at sunset and a game of cards with a loved one, when you are camping you can do it. For those of you “tsk tsking” right now that camping isn’t for you, we can’t tell you enough about the many benefits of it. Finally, until you’ve spent a day outdoors, BBQ’d or cooked dinner over an open flame and then gathered around a beautiful, flickering fire with a glass of your favourite vintage wine and simply watched the stars, you’ll never know the true beauty of the camping, RV lifestyle.