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My Kids Got Wet and Dirty, My Husband Dresses Like a Swedish Mountaineer and We Came Face to Face With a Moose: Why You SHOULD Try a Camping Trip!

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When my family takes vacations, airlines stop flying, luggage goes missing and hotel reservations get lost. So why bother spending loads of cash when almost everything can go wrong -- do it on the cheap! Plus, some of the best times and family bonding happens when you have a time-out together that requires you all pulling together to see the beauty that only Mother Nature can provide.

We've learned there is incredible joy -- better joy in fact in facing nature head-on rather than in luxing it up on a Caribbean beach. And no, not in an Adam Sandler Grownups frat pack way. The joy is in spending 3, 4, 5 days, even a week in real wilderness.

For my family, that has meant a yearly canoe trip in Northern Ontario, in either Killarney or Algonquin Provincial Park.

Last year, we cajoled -- bribed -- all four of our kids -- our two daughters are not natural nature-lovers --into a week-long wilderness excursion, but this summer, we just managed to squeeze in a four-day long weekend, mid-September, with our two sons, who are as hardcore campers as my husband and I.

It was a risky proposition. Post Labor Day in Northern Ontario, plus the weatherman predicted unseasonably cold weather. We were not deterred.

Why? I admit it. I've got loon addiction. No, I'm not a Loon-y. But if you've ever heard the haunting call of the black and white Northern lake loons, you'll know what I mean. It's magical. And you can't hear loons anywhere else.

Nor can you and your kids leave cell phones, TVs, email, all forms of digital distraction behind, in very many places left in the world. But enter a wilderness park with thousands of square miles of forests, lakes and rivers, and it's Sayonara outside distractions and Hello, Mother Nature.

For all the details and pics of our adventure in the wild, click!

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