Starting today, close to a thousand members of the American Camp Association will descend on Dallas in flanneled and Teva'd droves, for what is one of the largest gathering of camping professionals in the country. As participants prepare to debate the merits of double-stitched tent seams, quote gratuitously from Wet, Hot American Summer and sing lovingly about the great big bear they met oh way out there, we thought we'd offer some suggestions to make the camp nerds feel welcome in Dallas.
Tillman's Roadhouse for S'mores (above) We know you love roasting marshmallows by the campfire, but it's cold and rainy out as of late. Instead, head to Tillman's, a short ride form your Hyatt home base, and incinerate home-made fluff-cubes over a little baby table-top campfire. These are top-shelf confections. And you don't have to wander around in the woods looking for a stick to enjoy them.
Have a picnic at the Foundry Oak Cliff's best patio bar has more picnic tables than your favorite state park. If you get hungry there's passable fried bird for sale next door at Chicken Scratch, and the offering of good local drafts is seemingly endless.
Off-Site Kitchen's Bullet Boxes and Bug Juice What better way to hold a squeeze bottle of ketchup and other condiments. The empty boxes recall rifle ranges, target shooting, and that elusive marksmanship badge you failed to earn in the Boy Scouts.
OSK also has picnic tables, several percolating fountains of "bug juice" to be poured into the largest Styrofoam cups in America, some of Dallas' best burgers and sloppy tacos.
Outdoor Activities at Klyde Warren Park I'm pretty sure camping is prohibited here, but you really should check out the park we built on top of a freeway. Here's a list of outdoor activities that aren't prohibited, and if you stay for the weekend the food trucks come out en masse. Capture that flag, campers.
Warm your posterior by Lee Harvey's fire pits Just let someone else build the campfire for once. Lee Harvey's fire pits will have you smelling like an ashtray in no time. They also serve one of the city's iconic burgers, and there will be enough dogs running around to make you feel like you're out in the wild.
Camp Songs and CFS at All Good Cafe Dallas doesn't really have a folk venue suited for campfire songs, but most of the artists I've seen playing on the small stage at the back of All Good Cafe look like they've been camping for the last few years. As a bonus, the small, quirky Deep Ellum restaurant serves up one of the city's most celebrated Chicken Fried Steaks.
Actual Outdoor Activities We're not big on these here, but if you get some free time and need to see some grass that's not on a knoll, peruse our recent cover story, the The Bushwhacker's Guide to Exploring Dallas. But hurry back, OK? There are burgers to eat.