Cody and Nick Go Camping



I have fond memories of going camping with my parents as a kid. We had a pop-up camper that my dad would pull behind whatever big vehicle they owned at the time. We camped everywhere from Branson, Missouri to Avalon Beach, New Jersey. I think part of my recent inspiration to go camping again is remembering all those places my parents took me to back then. I was definitely not as into the ‘camping experience’ then; I insisted on bringing my Nintendo with me almost everywhere (what good was having electricity if I couldn’t play video games?).

A few months ago I decided I wanted to spend more time outside because I spend most of my days inside on the computer at work. That prompted me to start researching camping locations and gear so we could experience some of the best spots near Austin. Cody had only kinda-sorta been camping once when she was a kid, so I needed to make sure the first time we went was a success so I could keep dragging her and Vito on these crazy camping adventures.

Many hours of research and probably hundreds of campground and camping gear reviews later, plus several trips to REI to test out sleeping pads, we were ready to camp! The first campground we went to was Pace Bend Park.

Pace Bend Park

Pace Bend sits on a peninsula surrounded by the Colorado River. They have 400 primitive camp sites don’t take reservations, so Cody and I woke up early one Saturday morning and drove out there to see what was available. We ended up at this gorgeous campsite overlooking the water where we could watch the sunset.

Pace Bend campsite

I think both of us were a little surprised with how much we both enjoyed spending all day outside. The beautiful 70 degree weather certainly didn’t hurt, and it’s probably impossible to not have fun eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and playing with Vito.

Vito at pace bend

Pace bend night photo

After getting back, Cody told me that she enjoyed camping so much that she wanted to quit our jobs and go live in the woods. Ok, maybe she didn’t exactly say that. What she actually said was more along the lines of “I didn’t hate that as much as I thought I would”. That was all I needed to start planning our next trip.

Palmetto Map

We drove to Palmetto State Park, which is a little East of San Antonio. On our way there we drove through Lockhart, which was named the BBQ capitol of Texas by the Texas State Legislature. We unfortunately didn’t get to try any on this trip, but we’ve already made plans to go back next weekend to make up for it.

The entire park looked like it was straight out of a Jurassic Park movie. Hundreds of palmetto bush’s(which is what the park is named after) covered almost every inch of the trails.

Cody and Vito at Palmetto

We took full advantage of the hiking trails here which were surprisingly sparsely populated.

Cody and Vito again at Palmetto

Our campsite here was a little closer to other people than at Pace Bend, but we still had a fun time. Unfortunately we forgot to bring firewood (you can’t collect your own), so we sipped our hot chocolate while watching everyone else huddle around their own warm, crackling fires. Definitely a lesson for next time.

After the sun went down Cody snapped some amazing photos of the night sky.


We went to bed pretty early due to our lack of campfire. Apparently Vito was tired of our crap because he was in no mood to pose for a selfie inside the tent.

Grumpy Vito

We have one more camping trip planned before our big trip to Japan in April. I think Cody’s hooked :)

Selfie at Palmetto State Park