I live in Texas and decided to go beach camping for a weekend during the pandemic. Here's how I did it as safely as possible — and for less than $100 total.

I live in Texas and decided to go beach camping for a weekend during the pandemic. Here's how I did it as safely as possible — and for less than $100 total.

July 3, 2020
  • In June, I ventured out on a beach camping trip to Goose Island State Park in Texas after spending months at home.
  • The coronavirus pandemic is still going on and confirmed cases in Texas reached record highs in June.
  • Experts previously told Business Insider that camping is a relatively low-risk activity for contracting and spreading the coronavirus. They also said beach lounging is riskier due to crowds.
  • From planning ahead to leaving the beach early, here's how I avoided close contact and enclosed spaces while traveling through Texas during the pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Editor's note: Before embarking on any travel, consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

In June, a friend and I drove from my parents' home in Austin, Texas, to Goose Island State Park for a night of camping. The park is near Rockport Beach, where we expected to spend most of the daylight of during our trip.

Because the park was letting in fewer campers than usual to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, I made camping reservations at Goose Island State Park a week before our trip through Texas Park and Wildlife to ensure I'd get a spot.

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife

The night before I left for my weekend getaway, I checked for coronavirus updates in Aransas County, where Goose Island State Park and Rockport Beach are located.

I checked for coronavirus updates in Arkansas County on June 19 before leaving on June 20. At that time, the last update on June 3 read that there were five confirmed cases in the county, none of which were active. 

The week after I returned, Aransas County reported three more cases.

I also noted coronavirus guidelines for Goose Island State Park. The park recommends wearing a face covering and bans entering with more than 10 people, unless they are all coming from the same household, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Since I was going to be sweating in hot weather all weekend, I brought several face masks and bandanas for face coverings and wore them every time I thought I might be less than six feet away from other people.

I also brought my own food to avoid going inside any restaurants and stores during the trip.

I left for Goose Island State Park at 6 a.m. on June 20 and arrived at my destination around 9:30 a.m.

I didn't wear a mask the whole car ride, but I slipped one on as soon as I got to the campgrounds and rolled down the windows to ask a park ranger for directions.

Once at the site, I pitched my tent in the furthest corner of the campsite to maintain distance from other campers.

Source: CDC

Looking back on it, I should have pulled out the anti-bacterial wipes before pitching the tent, but the second thing I did was disinfect all the surfaces that could have been recently touched by others, like the picnic table …

… and the water faucet.

I ended up also using the water faucet to brush my teeth and wash my hands to avoid using the communal restrooms on the camping grounds as much as possible.

After I cleaned all the surfaces, it was time to go to the beach, which was about a 10-minute drive from the campsite.

I got to the beach at 10:30 a.m. and drove to the far end of the beach, where there were fewer people gathered. I wore a face covering from the moment I got out of the car …

… until I was safely settled more than six feet away from other beachgoers.

After setting up the chairs, I headed into the ocean, where it was easy to keep a distance from others.

By 12:30, the beach was crowded, and I wasn't able to maintain six feet between my chairs and other people's, so I left.

While driving away from the beach, I scanned the coastline for a six-foot gap between groups, but there wasn't a spot left.

Instead, I spent the rest of the trip hiking on some nearby trails, where I didn't run into any other people.

Before I left the campsite, I wiped down everything I touched with anti-bacterial wipes.

On the way home, I had to stop for gas. I made sure to touch things as little as possible wore gloves to handle the gas pump and payment transaction.

Source: Business Insider

Bringing my own food and settling for free activities, I managed to keep costs low — really low. I spent $30 on gas, $20 on groceries and supplies, and $20 on the campsite and entry fee for one night.

Although it wasn't exactly the trip I planned, I'm glad I ventured out for a weekend after months of weekends spent playing video games and watching TV.

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