One idea: Try Yurts. They're canvas tents already set up in campgrounds. Alot of National Parks have them and on the west coast anyway alot of state and even private parks. The ones we've stayed in we're plush... wood or cememt floors, bunk beds, picnic table, and you can also get pillows, blankets, sheets, pots, pans, lanterns, etc. Usually $20-$30/night weekends peak season [in CA, OR, WA] less off season weekday etc. Saves on alot of the packing. Eating at nearby delis or buffets helps too.
We usually do day trips now. I read Sunset Magazine which has 3 day trips on a budget in each issue. We pick a days worth of stuff to do, pack go to bed and get in the car for breakfast on the road, 3 hr drive max. Then we just do stuff until bedtime in the car and music and talking on the ride home. We get to see grat places and take great trips but without the overnight hassle. I am finally using the picnic basket we got as a wedding present!!