Camping Out Bermuda-Style

Crowds of locals lounging under roadside tarpaulins, blasting their stereos and barbecuing four-course meals—no, it’s not squatters or a sudden outbreak of homelessness, just the start of camping season, Bermudian-style.

Camping is restricted to Bermuda residents, though perhaps if staying with locals at a private residence, a visitor could partake in this beloved ritual…The island may lack North America’s natural drama and absolute serenity of the great outdoors, but camping is a beloved summer ritual nonetheless. True, it’s difficult to retreat far from the madding crowd on an island with so little undeveloped land, but for islanders, that’s not really the point. Bermudians simply enjoy the change of scenery and routine, coupled with the camaraderie of outdoor living, even if they do take all the comforts of home with them—everything including the kitchen sink.

“I saw one guy with his laptop and a 52-inch TV, which he was running from the battery of his dump truck,” recalls Craig Burt, of the Department of Parks. “Bermudians don’t like to leave anything behind.”

Sand dunes along Bermuda's south shore.

In July and August, you’ll spot residents camping along the South Shore dunes. Photo © Rosemary Jones.

Come July and August, particularly the four-day Cup Match public holiday that falls between these months, Bermudians set up camp all over the island—in public parks, on roadsides, and along the South Shore dunes. At the height of camping season, virtual tent villages sprawl along the North Shore waterfront, along Kindley Field Road at Ferry Reach, between Warwick Long Bay and Horseshoe Bay, and everywhere in between. Whole families turn out, with camping accoutrements and picnic fare galore, to swim, rest, spend time with friends and relatives, wave to passing traffic, and generally enjoy time off work.

Camping is, however, restricted to Bermuda residents; all island visitors must be registered at a local hotel, guesthouse, cruise ship, or private residence—though, perhaps, if a visitor was staying with locals at a private residence, they could partake in this beloved ritual and join the bevy of tents under the subtropical stars.

Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Bermuda.

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