The number of U.S. households who camp at least once a year increased 20 percent between 2014 and 2017.
And even more amazing is that some of these campers are having the time of their lives for free. The rest only pay small fees for campsites or facilities. It sure beats spending thousands of dollars taking your children to a major theme park.
Camping is now more popular than ever—due in large part to social distancing guidelines—but if not planned correctly a trip outside can be stressful. Are you planning a family camping trip soon?
If your answer to this question is yes, we’ve compiled these top 10 tips for planning a camping trip for the family.
1. Research Potential Camping Destinations
Selecting the right campsite for your family isn’t as easy as it seems. You will want to research different locations to ensure it has everything you want.
Enjoy fishing? Select a campsite with a lake. Want to have plenty of room from other campers? Select a campsite with extra-large lots. Also, check if your campsite has water and electricity available.
And don’t forget you’ll need to research whether it has hiking, pools or playgrounds for the kids or even shower facilities. There’s a lot to choose from!
2. Choose a Kid-Friendly Camping Location
Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to select a kid-friendly campsite. You’ll want plenty of activities to keep them occupied and things that all of you can do together.
Some campsites have special movie nights or S’more making workshops.
Another reason for selecting a kid-friendly campsite is to avoid a situation where you have college students or adults partying late into the night. This happens more than you think.
3. Book Your Campsite as Early as Possible
The best campsites book quickly. This means you’ll want to start your research months before the trip. And you’ll want to reserve your campsite well in advance.
It’s particularly important if you’re camping during a peak season or if there’s a popular attraction next door to the campsite.
Pick your camping days and try to reserve the site months in advance. You’ll get to pick the best one and maybe save a few dollars in the long run.
4. Make a Camping Trip Checklist of Outdoor Activities
Making plans for camping is a good idea. The last thing you want to hear from your children is “I’m bored.”
After researching your campsite, you should have an idea about what outdoor activities are available: swimming, boating, wildlife spotting, arts & crafts, and more!
It’s also possible there are educational centers or interesting day trip opportunities next to your campsite. Make a list of everything to do and refer to it when you aren’t sure what’s next.
5. Which Experience Do You Prefer? Camping vs Glamping
Decide early on if you want to rough it the old-fashioned way or use an RV or campervan to enhance your experience.
Most children will prefer the down and dirty way of camping. But, every family is different. Some may prefer glamping with comfortable furniture and air conditioning.
6. Tips on Food Preparation for a Family Camping Trip
Having your food sorted can make or break a camping trip. This is more complex with small children who are less open-minded to new recipes.
The good news is you don’t have to eat hotdogs all week.
Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Keep in mind what you can prepare depends on whether you are using a campfire or have an RV with a stove.
Prep side dishes like rice in advance and bring containers of marinating meat to cook on the fire. Cooking experts recommend packing only necessary utensils and not forgetting cast iron pans.
7. Camping Trip Planning: What to Bring?
Camping can be challenging and tiring, especially if you don’t pack the right stuff.
Here is a list of what to take camping:
- Waterproof tents
- Comfortable bedding
- Hiking boots
- And more!
Follow the link above to see the full list. You can make your list of things to bring when researching campsites. Pack light but make sure you have everything you need.
8. Assign Camping Responsibilities for Everyone
As a family affair, you want to make sure everyone is included in the camping experience. Some families include their children in the decision-making process of where to go and what to do.
Teach your kids how to set up the tent, roll out sleeping bags, or wash dishes. Assign everyone in the family responsibilities to make sure things get done. These are great lessons for your children to learn.
Just make sure what you assign is age-appropriate.
9. Should You Bring the Family Pet Camping?
This is a question a lot of families struggle with. Should they bring their beloved dog camping? The decision is ultimately up to you. Some dogs like labradors would love the opportunity to be out in nature.
Bringing a pet will be extra work on your shoulders. You’ll need to keep track of their food, pick up their droppings, and make sure they don’t run away.
One thing you should do is find out your campsite’s rules on having pets and make sure to follow them as strictly as you can.
10. Leave Yourself Free Time for New Camping Experiences
After reading this blog post you’ve probably noticed how many times we recommended planning out your camping experience in advance. It’s better to be prepared when you’re in the middle of nowhere.
But, you don’t want to plan every second of the day. Leave yourself some free time to do something spontaneous or enjoy unexpected experiences.
You may miss out on something truly special if your schedule is too tight.
Ready To Experience the Outdoors With Your Family?
After reading this article you’ll be prepared to plan a family camping trip. Make sure to complete your research early and create checklists so you don’t forget a thing.
Do you enjoy reading about travel, camping, and outdoor sports? Check out the rest of our blog to learn how you can experience the outdoors while on a budget.