The weather finally dropped below scorching so we headed out camping for the weekend. Botna Bend Park was the destination this time around. Located in Hancock, Iowa and about 45 minutes from Council Bluffs make this a pretty easy drive. Sitting along the Nishnabotna River and offering fun for the whole family.
There are three campgrounds inside Botna Bend. We stayed in the first campground with great river access and walking distance to a playground. The only negative is the bathroom which I recommend avoiding. Campground number two seemed busier with a great view of the elk, a playground and a shower house that was clean and usable. Campground three sits in the far back and has a shower house.
Two fantastic playgrounds that are clean! These kept the kids busy and both are almost brand new which was great.
Elk and Bison make for fun scenery. They are in pins but watch out for the largest Bison as he likes to give you a thrill by charging the fence.
The Botna Bend Website listed a basketball court…..not so much. There is a volleyball court in campground two that sits in the middle of all the camp sites as well as horse shoe pits in each campground.
You can rent kayaks, tubes, and canoes for daytime fun on the Nishnabotna. There is ramp access in campground one and it got pretty busy in Saturday. The water levels right now were perfect for a little wading and the catfish were really biting.
Nestled back in campground three are some of the neatest trees we have seen. As well as what looks to be the makings of an earthy playground…
Notes if you are heading to Botna Bend:
- Bring your own worms if that is your bait of choice. It isn’t sold anywhere close by.
- Oakland is about 10 minutes away if you need to hit the grocery store, Blimpies, or Dairy Queen.
- There is a small nature trail through Native American Grass, and an archery range.
- You can purchase firewood and fire starters at the campground if needed but we found plenty of fire wood through out the campground that was lying on the ground.
- There are spots for tents, campers, and RVs as well as electrical sites.
- Bring along some carrots to give the Elk’s a nice afternoon treat.
When heading out camping for the weekend I look for easy but tasty meals to bring along. I love when I can do most of the prep work at home, like with my newest attempt!
Hot Ham & Cheese
- Loaf of Italian Bread
- 6 Cheese Slices
- 18 Ham Slices
Step 1) Cut Italian Bread into 12 slices but don’t cut all the way through.
Step 2) Butter every other slice of bread
Step 3) Fold a piece of cheese in half and put between every two slices
Step 4) Place ham between cheese slices. We used three slices in each sandwich and it was proportioned well.
Step 5) Wrap in Foil
Step 6) Place over open fire for about 20 – 30 minutes and turn about halfway through.
We got 6 sandwiches out of this and both hubby, grandparents, and kiddos enjoyed it!
Hot dogs are a favorite around a campfire. When you have a big family or groups of friends that join you on an outing it can become a long process of cooking up hot dogs. Save some time and cook several at once with a rake! We tried it out this past weekend and it worked out pretty well. I bought an extendable rake which made it pretty easy to store and cook with. The rake can get a bit heavy so you can try propping it up on the fire pit grate if needed.
The next time you have a group craving hot dogs over an open fire, give a rake a try!
This week’s Campfire Recipe is a tasty one that can be tweaked and added to for a new twist each time. The Frito-Bean-Rito is one of my newest fav things to whip up and it so simple!
Campfire Recipe: Frito-Bean-Rito
- Can of Refried Beans
- Shredded Cheese
- Chili Cheese Fritos
- Foil – torn into squares
Step 1) Place tortilla on foil
Step 2) Spread on refried beans
Step 3) Layer on Chili Cheese Fritos and Shredded Cheese
Step 4) Roll tortilla up in burrito shape and wrap in the foil
Toss them in the cooler and throw them on the campfire when you get hungry. Leave them on the first for about 15 minutes, turning them occasionally so one side of the tortilla doesn’t harden. You can also freeze these ahead of time and let them defrost in the cooler at the campground.
Pitching a tent, starting a campfire, and listening to the sounds of nature are how I relax. Unwind. Unplug. Whatever you want to call it, it’s my release. Camping is something I did a lot of as a child and am now getting back into as an adult. I’m discovering new parks, tasty recipes, and fantastic camping products along the way.
Grab a chair and gather around the fire. Hopefully you will have a tale or two.