The Most Awful Summer Vacation Horror Stories of All TimeS

On Wednesday we asked for your vacation horror stories, and you people delivered with some shitty vacations. Literally. Step on in for tales of woe that will shock and amaze you, and might make you stay at home this summer.

We've done this horror story thing before and usually the tales are a little tragic but mostly funny and ironic and we can all laugh at each others' misery. This time they were just downright depressing! It's hard to giggle at death, dismemberment, maiming, and being trapped at one fundamentalist church camp or another. But still, there were plenty of funny stories peppered in the mix to make slogging through all of them worthwhile. The best of the bunch often included a combination bodily fluids, sickness, airplane woes, shit, summer camp, and old people—lots of feeble old people.

Anyway, here are the people who deserve commendation for their horrible tales. Click on the link to read the story. The titles are mine, but the stories are all theirs. Those of you who didn't have a star before have earned one now.

But, ladies and gentlemen, there can only be one winner, and this story is the most Griswoldian of the bunch. It doesn't contain just one horrible incident at an abandoned campground, but a whole month's worth of them. Unlike the comedic Vacation this is a bit of a sad drama, but reading it is like coming across the treatment for a great coming of age movie that will kickstart some indie director's career. It is Rocket Surgeon's Summer of Sadness:

When I was 14, my family decided to take a month-long cross-country summer camping trip. My mom planned for months, bought a used van, and loaded my 11-year old sister, dad and I in it. The trip, while a great experience overall, included a surprising series of minor and major disasters. In the middle of our third night in, our tent collapsed on us during a near-tornado in Arkansas. Later, the weather kept us confined to a Pizza Hut in Kansas for 7 hours during hurricane-force winds and rain. The seals of the windows were coming loose, cracks were forming at the edges and the flag pole in the parking lot bent to the ground. On our way to Phoenix, our half-way point, we arrived at the park we'd chosen to camp at in Oklahoma, it was completely empty. No staff, no campers, nothing - like everyone had picked up and left. There were wanted posters stapled all over the door of the ranger station showing a police sketch of a multiple-murderer who had escaped in the immediate area. We piled back in the van and got the hell out of there.

After a week in Phoenix, we made our way to northern Arizona, for a 3 day stay at the Grand Canyon, were caught in the middle of a heartbreaking domestic violence situation. On our second day, two men with a camper took the spot across from us. They had a small boy, maybe 10 years old, with them. They beat him savagely that night, and lord knows what else they did to him. We could hear him screaming in pain, for a long, long time. My mother called the park police, who didn't respond. The next morning they were gone, but I'll never forget seeing that poor little guy peeping out of the window.

The craziest night of the trip followed soon thereafter. Once we left Flagstaff, we were in the middle of nowhere. The only campground around for miles was on a reservation. As we were driving through the entrance, we were stopped by a "Pat" of a park ranger - a fat, little gray-haired possible female - on his/her golf cart. Pat the ranger directed our attention to a large sign that said in big, carved state park sign font "SECURE ALL VALUABLES", not responsible for stolen property, personal injury, damage to vehicles, etc. etc. Sounds like a nice place, we thought. Let's stay here in a thin, nylon tent for the night. There were a number of scraggly-looking dogs roaming the camping area. I tossed them peanut-butter sandwiches, because mom wouldn't let me touch them. That night, after being bothered by a drunk panhandler in the dark on my way back from the bathhouse, I finally tried to fall asleep. As I lay there, I heard multiple gunshots coming from very near the tent, followed by pained yelps and whimpers. This went on for maybe 5 or 10 minutes. My stomach churned. In the morning, we saw Pat the ranger and asked him/her just what exactly the fuck was happening the night before. The response, "Ah, we got to shoot dem dogs. They's got tha buuubonic plague. " They were shooting plague-infested animals outside our tent.

I developed a rash on my arm about 24 hours later, but luckily, it wasn't the Black Death.

Congratulations, Rocket Surgeon. You have won our admiration, a star, and a free beach towel. Email me to redeem your prize.

Thanks for sharing everyone. Now get out there and make some more horrible memories to share with us.

[Image via Christopher Parypa/Shutterstock]