Camping is a popular and inexpensive way to spend a fun weekend with family. Without proper planning. However, a camping trip with children in tow can become stressful.
From weather issues to bathroom access, creepy crawlies to debating which backpack to take, camping with children creates issues few adults realise. When camping with kids, especially young ones, advance planning for all the variables is essential to ensure you make the most of each trip. With some extra thought, even camping with babies and toddlers can be a fun family experience.
Where to Camp with Children
Selecting a campsite is the first step to a successful camping trip. The type of campsite parents select depends upon the interests of their particular family. When camping with kids, it is especially important to choose a campground with plenty of activities for the children.
If the family is interested in swimming, canoeing, fishing, or other water sport, they should select a campground with water access. If they prefer nature hikes or nature programs, a state or national park will offer the best opportunities for outdoor learning. Often, naturalists at these parks offer nature walks or classes geared specifically to children. Information on the amenities at each park can be found on the website for the destination city or state.
A family interested in high-energy activities may prefer to camp at a private site. Many of them feature water parks, mini-golf, theme weeks, sports tournaments, and more. These sites are generally more expensive and offer less privacy than other parks but offer many activities for children and adults of all ages. Some even have cabins available for rental, making a camper or tent unnecessary.
When camping with small children, it is often best to choose a campsite within a two-hour drive from home. This way, if a child becomes ill or injured, or the weather becomes stormy, it will be a short trip home. In addition, parents will avoid much of the boredom caused by a very long road trip.
Choosing the Best Campsite for Kids
Selecting a campsite is another important aspect of planning a trip. To make the nights easier with the children, choosing a site near the bathrooms is wise. Unless a family is using a camper with bathroom facilities, being near the bathrooms will make night-time trips fast and simple.
Depending on the site and surrounding terrain, many places offer areas with shade as well as parts in full sun. Selecting a site with a little shade will help everyone keep their cool during the heat of the day. The shade will also keep the ice in the coolers from melting quite as quickly and will keep the tent or camper from getting too warm in the afternoon.
If possible, choosing a site near a playground or open field allows space for kids to play within sight of the parents. Meeting other children is part of the fun of camping, and these communal places offer a safe place for kids to run off some steam.
Tips for Camping with Children
Parents need to remember that, even while on holiday, small children still need to have their routines and schedules. For the most part, adhering to their regular schedules as much as possible will keep everyone from getting tired and grouchy. Parents should strive to serve meals and snacks on schedule. Likewise, keeping naps and bedtimes consistent with those at home will help children thrive during their camping adventures.
However, holidays can mean relaxing the rules somewhat, with bedtimes included. Storytime around the campfire, even after the children’s normal bedtime, is a fun way to enjoy the full camping experience together.
Children should also be expected to have more trouble falling asleep while camping. Sleeping in a new environment, especially one with strange nighttime noises, can be challenging. Providing each child with their own torch, as well as placing a dim light inside the tent or camper, will give them a sense of security; plus, they are just great fun! Camping with children, even very young ones, provides a wonderful time for creating family memories. Getting away from technology, spending time outdoors, and enjoying the crackle of a campfire is an affordable way to enjoy a family holiday, even close to home.