kayaking

Camp Differently with Hipcamp

Camp Differently with Hipcamp

Camping in an established campground is fun and convenient. There is usually electricity and running water. Shower houses are nearby. Most have a metal ring ready for a fire. Growing up, this was the only way to camp. I discovered backpacking late in my teens and I loved the feeling of adventure. As a dad with kids, I’m after something in the middle. I had a shower thought one morning, a brilliant light bulb shattering epiphany, why isn’t there an AirBnB for camping?!

Well, actually, there is. So much for my brilliant idea.

Hipcamp

Hipcamp is exactly what I envisioned: camping on private property. Each campsite is unique and special. Hipcamp is more than just a campground booking service. It connects campers with unique land and experiences.

Disclosure: The Hipcamp link contains a referral code.

Just like reserving a site at a traditional campground, Hipcamp offers a wide variety of options and the means to filter them. I punched in this weekend, searched nearby, and found options starting at $30 per night.

Hipcamp host options

Of course, each host site will vary on what’s offered and what’s allowed. There may or may not be potable water, showers, electricity, or even Wifi. Options will vary based on the type of camping as well. An RV site will have restrictions about the maximum length but are more likely to have electricity and water available. Tent camping sites might be as primitive as possible with virtually no amenities.

Hipcamp host activities

Like conventional campgrounds, many hosts offer additional activities. Properties often have small lakes for fishing, swimming, or paddling. Options will vary regionally. When looking at the Western US, I found climbing available. Coastal areas offer boating and surfing. Not all activities are located at the host site but they’re promised to be close.

Hipcamp paid activities and conveniences

Hosts can also offer paid services. The host above offers a Slip N Slide rental along with a propane tank purchase. Many campers will probably bring their own propane or kickball but its convenient to have additional options handy. Then again, we all forget things too. That’s a lot easier than hunting down propane for dinner.

Hipcamp terrain like beach, cave, forest, river

I was pleasantly surprised to see a cave available near a site in Illinois. Local terrain is listed with each site. Some I would expect like forest but caves, waterfalls, or hot springs are a welcome addition. Hipcamp is primarily available in the United States. Searching the map, I found some sites in Canada and Puerto Rico. Then there was a random site in Spain and France.

Hipcamp also offers mobile apps for on the go searching and booking. All of the above features and information are also available in the app. Searches are easily filtered with options like price, group size, or accommodations.

If you’re debating about where to take your next trip, try checking Hipcamp first. With the numerous campsites, activities, and accommodations, Hipcamp makes an attractive alternative to campgrounds or even hotels.

Hipcamp is always looking for more sites as well. If you own land and are interested in hosting campers, sign up. Hipcamp promises $100 in cash for signing up. Plus I’d like more places to camp.

Hawthorn Park, Terre Haute, Indiana

Hawthorn Park

Hawthorn Park has long been my favorite park in Terre Haute. I’ve ran laps around the lake preparing for the Indy Mini Marathon. I’ve backpacked the trails practicing for longer trips. The wife and I have enjoyed kayaking the smaller lake. There are a couple different playgrounds for kids (and they love them). The labyrinth is a relaxing meditative change from hiking the hills.

Residing on Terre Haute’s east side north of Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Hawthorn Park sits on nearly 257 acres. That includes 68 acres of water to fish, kayak, or watch geese. There’s so many geese, in fact, that Hawthorn Park is home to the annual Goose Poop 5k race.

Hawthorn Park was purchased in 1980 with additional property added in 1985. A levee was constructed in 1984 to form a lake in the JI Case Wetland Wildlife Refuge portion of the park. While the lake was formed for migratory birds, its also an excellent fishing spot that’s stocked annually.

If bird watching is more your thing, an observation shelter overlooks the lake just a short walk from a parking lot. We spotted a couple dozen turtles sunbathing on logs.

What I really come to Hawthorn Park for is hiking. The trails are mostly graveled (a few even paved) but there’s sufficient slopes and distance to make it interesting. The trail system winds through the park, circling both lakes, and has convenient access to the Heritage Trail. The lengthy trail around the 50 acre lake in JI Case is pleasant change from running on roads. The trail can narrowly substantially depending on the season. I walked gingerly between the flowers, circumspect not to disturb the bees.

I never know what I’m going to find at Hawthorn. It may be rocks wedged into a split tree or beautiful flowers.

I’m ashamed to admit that our kayaks have never graced the large lake in JI Case. We’ve opted to enjoy Burns Lake, an 18 acre lake that sits next to the campgrounds. Despite the smaller size, the lake can still be a beautiful site and a relaxing evening in our kayaks.

Photos were shot over time on a collection of Nexus 6P, Google Pixel, OnePlus 6t, and OnePlus 7t.

Kayak Launch

As of August 2020, a kayak launch is available near the boat ramp.

Love the Outdoors? Want to Share That Love?

Share Your Story

Hacking the Hike can only hike so much and we want to hear about your outdoor excursion. If you love the outdoors and regularly hike/canoe/backpack/kayak/camp or otherwise live your life outside, we want to hear from you.

Readers, that means look forward to a future Weekend Warrior series. A lot of us work all week and catch trails every chance we can get. It might be a Saturday hike locally or a two night backpacking trip. The Weekend Warrior is for you. We dig longer camping trips too and look forward to sharing them as we get them.

Comment below and we’ll work with you to share your memories. You keep all the credit and the glory, we get to share an awesome adventure with readers. Bonus points if you show off your smartwatch, GPS, hiking app, or other technology outside.

Exploring Wabashiki Wetlands

Wabashiki Banner

The Wabashiki Wetlands are part of a larger Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area (FWA) west of Terre Haute, Indiana. Wabashiki has been featured frequently by the local media for recreational opportunities as well as bird watching.

While I’m focusing on kayaking for this post, I don’t want to ignore what else Wabashiki has to offer. Dewey Point has free parking with restrooms, picnic tables, and a chance for bird watching. From Dewey Point, there’s a seven mile trail between West Terre Haute and the wetlands. There is also a check in at Dewey Point for hunting.

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