My friends are almost always surprised when I tell them how much I enjoy camping in the great outdoors.
Yes, I do mean inside state parks where there are clean restrooms, trash receptacles, adequate security, etc.
I also love the creature comforts with my type of camping. By comfort, I mean serious comfort — even for tent camping.
My husband complains incessantly about just how much "stuff" we bring camping. But once we get everything set up, he usually relaxes and enjoys using a real steak knife to cut up his steak or pork tenderloin.
Even when it comes to eating, I enjoy making it special. Usually, I like to cook one easy dinner (such as hamburgers and hot dogs), and one a little more "fancy" dinner.
We recently camped at Shady Grove Campground on beautiful Lake Lanier. We loved all of the new campsites Forsyth County has added since acquiring the park.
We got a spot right on the lake, with our own private little beach in front. The newer sites have bigger tent pads, which helps since we have two tents, and of course, all of the extras.
Many of the sites also all have electricity and water, so no more lugging enough water to last for two days. That’s a lot of water when you consider having to wash dishes and stay hydrated.
We camped with our good friends, who although they have been camping before had never been camping with us.
Several times our camp site was referred to as being more like a hotel room than a camp site.
Let me offer a description. Our tent is fairly large, with a queen-sized air mattress, complete with sheets and blankets. Numerous pillows are mandatory.
There is also a large fan (remember the sites have electricity) to keep us cool on these hot Georgia nights.
The "living room" of our campsite has chairs, a few small tables and, of course, a large stereo, which is connected to my husband’s Blackberry and plays various tunes with no commercials.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the "kitchen" part of our campsite is my favorite area.
It took many years of forgetting items or realizing something that would make cooking easier/better before I finally had the perfect system.
We have a sturdy table that holds the portable grill as well as the cooking stove.
Underneath the table are a few plastic containers holding skillets, pots and other things for cooking.
There is also a plastic container and strainer which serves as the sink. The picnic table has a red-and-white checkered plastic table cloth on it, and a few anti-bug candles.
We even have a gadget that attaches to the table that holds a trash bag in place.
We learned the hard way to invest in a really good cooler, especially in the hot summer months when it is almost impossible to keep ice from melting.
If you like the outdoors and want to have some family bonding time, I highly recommend camping.
We are so lucky to live so close to one of the most beautiful lakes in the country, and the camp sites are awesome too.
Adlen Robinson is author of "Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home." E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.