Planning ahead for summer camping 

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Two people stand beside their tent set up in the snow, looking at the star-filled night sky and the northern lights dancing across the horizon. 
If you’re looking to feel awe-struck this summer, you’d better get to making camping plans now! Noel_Buaza via Pixabay

Though camping trips are a ways away, it’s never too early to sort out where you’ll go and what you’ll do

Imagine this: you are sitting back in a camping chair and enjoying a nice drink. Beside that drink is another chair where your friend or family member sits with you, and you are just chatting away. As the conversations get longer, the sky gets darker, but it doesn’t bother you because you have a fire going. You can see just fine, as the fire is generating light from its yellow and orange base. As the fire crinkles, crackles, and cracks, you can feel the heat generated off it and onto your body.  

As you sit back and talk all night, you make plans for the next day, and your options are nearly endless. You can enjoy a nice day on the beach, play some lawn games, go for a hike, enjoy some golf or beach volleyball, and the list continues! Doesn’t all that sound like just the ideal weekend? Well, don’t you worry, times like that are coming. That’s right, camping season approaches and will be here before you know it.  

Now that you have pictured the perfect camping night, let’s look at different provincial parks you can enjoy, things you can do, and some tips on how to book a campsite. As of last week, the bookings for provincial parks have opened! Some campsites that have recently opened are Good Spirit Lake, Candle Lake, Echo Valley, Rowan’s Ravine, Danielson, Greenwater Lake, Great Blue Heron, and the Battlefords. You can find a full list of provincial parks on the Saskatchewan Parks website.  

I’m a camper myslef, and I honestly have some recommendations if you have never camped before, or if you have and are looking for a new spot to check out this season. Off the top of my head is the list in the paragraph above.  

I would highly recommend visiting Good Spirit Lake. It is quite distant, honestly. From Regina, just to give a perspective, it is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive, although it is worth it! Good Spirit has some amazing perks. Their beach sand is honestly some of the best that I have seen in Saskatchewan. It is very soft, and they also have sand dunes that if you walk far enough on are almost like having your own personal beach. On that beach is a lake that takes a while to get deep, so it can be beneficial for swimming with little ones or anyone in general. Just walking in the water for a while, you can play catch, chat, float, or sunbathe. 

Another two provincial parks that are my favourites are Pasqua and Echo Lake. These two lakes are the perfect distance to get away from Regina a little faster and easier. Both are about an hour away, and you have access to a beach, playgrounds, and stores. They also have Fort Qu’Appelle close by, which is great in case you forget some things because you can always run into town and get what you need. Provincial parks and lakes that are close to the city seem perfect just to get away for the weekend or long weekend. I personally like going a long distance like Good Spirit when you are gone for a good chunk of time (five days or more) to make it worth the drive. 

Getting a campsite booked is one of the first steps in planning a camping trip. Nightly campsite bookings can mostly be done through an online reservation system or over the phone. Although, this begs the question, which type of campsite is the best for your style and for your group?  

There are four kinds of campsites that are open for reservation. You can choose to do a full-service campsite where you have access to electricity, water, and sewer hook-up. If you would like an electric campsite, which has access to electricity and water point access, those are also available. You can also have non-electric site with non-dedicated direct water points. All the campsites listed above have access to a service centre, firewood, fire pits, and picnic tables. There are also economy campsites, although those have no electricity available and do not have access to water, firewood, or a service centre. If needed, those would all be around 10 minutes away. Find out more details and how to book on the Saskatchewan Parks website.  

From a personal perspective, I have experienced a full-service campsite and, honestly, these appear to work best for campers who own a trailer. That way, you can hook it up and have a perfect ‘home on wheels,’ as they say! If you are a tenter, you can either do electric campsites or non-electric. Personally, I would recommend an electric campsite. That way, you can have access to electricity to pump up your air mattress, plug in some Christmas lights to light up your campsite, or charge your electronics and a couple of extra things. If you choose a non-electric site, just take that into consideration. You do not want to have to pump up your air mattress at another campsite and walk it back because getting back or getting a blown-up mattress into your tent can be a real challenge!  

Now that you know some locations where you can book and what sites to use for booking, what can you do at provincial parks while camping? Well, a good majority of provincial parks have lakes and beaches which make for perfect beach days. Some have hikes nearby where you can go on an adventure and find some goodies. Some parks are even lucky enough to have an ‘Aquatic Adventure’ where you get the chance to play around on inflatable parks in the water. You can run, jump, slip, and slide! Make sure to check out where they will be located on the Sask Aquatic Adventure website when you are booking. 

So, you know some lakes that we have in the province, you have personal recommendations, know what kind of campsite you can book, have an idea of what you may need, and you know some activities that will be available. What is stopping you from booking? Happy camping season!  

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