The Insider’s Guide to Family Camping

The Harder to Reach, the More Memorable the Location

On our first camping trip, we only hiked a mile into the southern Berkshires and set up camp at one spot for the entire three days. It was perfect. We would take trails from our site to 80-foot Bash Bish Falls, the highest waterfall in Massachusetts, and to the peak of nearby Alander Mountain. Our quiet cozy camping spot was nestled under the pines, seemingly far away from the chaos of modernity, but close enough to watch white-tail deer scurry by—without facing the kid-centric meltdowns that a longer hike in might have elicited. On the New York side of Bash Bish Falls, there was another camping area at Taconic State Park. This was one of those car-camping sites to which you could just drive up and unload your supplies. People brought generators to watch TV, boom boxes to listen to the latest Eminem CD... in fact, it was often louder than a city street in Manhattan. This is faux-camping, an affordable alternative to a hotel. It's certainly not a peaceful refuge to learn the quirks, dreams, and passions of your children. Nor a spot any wildlife except hungry squirrels would be caught dead in.

Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at

Published: 20 Sep 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »