5 Essential Tips for Camping with Kids

Camping with kids can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. With some preparation and practice, you can begin planning your fun and successful family camping adventure. Rest assured, you can absolutely camp with kids and create lasting family memories. Here, we will focus on 5 essential tips to get you started on your journey of family camping.

Step #1: Start Local and Short

Start by practicing in a backyard for one night and then 2 nights. Gradually build up your trips starting with campgrounds that are close to home and increase your destination distance and length of stay over time. This helps kids get used to spending more time and sleeping outdoors. It is also helpful to practice and learn what items you need to keep your family comfortable in different weather conditions. Staying close to home to begin with allows you the benefit of retreating or easily changing plans if you need to. Once you have built up your camping experiences locally, you can confidently head out to bigger and better outdoor adventures. Think baby steps.

Step #2: Keep Your Expectations Reasonable

Things may not always go as planned while camping. That’s okay! Remember starting local and short will help prepare you for dealing with these lumps and bumps. Camping is an adventure full of learning and growing and many things will not be in your control. It’s all part of the adventure! Having a positive attitude and setting that expectation early will give you the confidence you need to get out there and make those memories.

Step #3: Choose a Campground with Family Friendly Activities and Amenities

Look for a campground that offers family friendly activities and amenities. Outside of hiking and exploring nature you may want a few extras like a playground, bike rentals, lake, or pool for swimming. When choosing your specific campsite location also look for proximately to basic amenities like bathrooms, showers, and convenience store. Not into roughing it? You know your kids best, chose a campground that offers extras to suit your family. You can even find resort style campgrounds that have anything from waterparks to full-service restaurants. Look for a camp location that has a nearby town with indoor activities which can save you on a rainy day. Explore campgrounds and reservation information here at ReserveAmerica.com or NPS.gov.

Step #4: Plan Meals and Snacks Your Kids Like

Camping may not be the best time for kids to try new foods, but you can have fun with your meals while camping. In fact, let them help you plan what kind of food they want to bring with on your camping trip! Camping is a great time to indulge in special treats, I always like to throw in a few extra surprises! Always have plenty of their favorite snacks that you can pack with you while you are exploring. Being outdoors works up an appetite, so plan for snack breaks in between meals and don’t forget dessert!

Step #5: Make a Camping Checklist

When camping with kids a checklist of all the things you need to create a comfortable and fun family camping adventure is a must. A comprehensive checklist will ensure you have all the important things you need for comfort, weather, meals, activities and the unexpected. 

John Olsen

John Olsen is a seasoned adventurer with 20 years of writing, public speaking, team leadership, analytics and project management experience.

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