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Camping takes as much planning as any fun family vacation, especially if you have kids. In fact, for a camping trip to go well, it might even take more planning because you have to consider so much about the trip to ensure that everyone has a safe yet fun time enjoying nature.
The first thing to do when planning your family camping trip is to choose your destination. Where you go will inform many of the rest of the decisions you must make about the camping trip – including clothing, supplies, and activities. Without knowing the destination, you can’t plan anything else. So, pick your destination first.
If it is your first time camping, choosing a location within an hour of your home might be a good choice. Doing so will relieve some stress on what to pack and being far from home. I am a camping packrat. Even though there may be a grocery store nearby, I am going to pack like we are going fifty miles into the wilderness. My family tends to look like modern-day Clampetts.see also – The truth about camping
Once you know your destination, research the area further. That way, you’ll know what type of camping accommodations exist. Are you allowed to use a tent? Is there a place for your RV? Are there cabins for rent or toilets and showers? This information will help you know what to bring on your trip.
Once you know what’s available, taking your children’s ages and everyone’s likes into consideration, start planning what you’ll do there. You don’t want to plan every single moment of the trip because you want to allow for time to hang out and read or enjoy nature. But having at least one planned activity daily will help everyone enjoy their family camping trip.
It doesn’t matter what the weather is today because your vacation dates might be during inclement weather. Find things that you can do if the weather is bad because it’s not likely you can go to a movie. Make sure you bring plenty of reading material in case that happens. You can still relax by reading real books and connecting as a family. Check-in advance of any local nature centers that have indoor space.
When planning anything, you must consider the ages of your children. If you have many ages, you can switch up activities often so no one gets bored or upset. Think about planning activities around young children’s nap times and bedtimes. Even though you’re on vacation, children thrive with regular schedules, making it easier on the family. We discovered that the ages between seven and twelve were when our children thoroughly enjoyed our destinations, and I could enjoy the trip as a mom.See also- Camping Vs. Nature
Taking into consideration the ages, likes, and dislikes of your kids, also take time to plan meals and snacks that everyone will enjoy. You may need more snacks if you do more physical activity than average. Some good choices are trail mix, fruit, and even boxed cereal like Chex and Cheerios. I have a great granola recipe that is perfect for camping trips.
The other important thing to plan for is packing the proper clothing. That means for everyone. You won’t have a way to wash anything while camping, so bring extra clothing and shoes for each person each day. You may not need them all, but most of the time, you will need at least two outfits for each day. Take the right gear, whether hiking boots, water shoes, or a raincoat (depending on where you’re going). You need to bring the right gear to keep everyone safe and comfortable. What you bring highly depends on what is available from the campsite or whether you’re roughing it in the backwoods.
During your planning process, create a checklist for everything you want to bring so you can pack everything a lot easier. Once you have the checklist, you can start packing for your trip, marking off the things you’ve packed. For older kids, you can let them oversee their own checklist, but do check it to ensure that nothing is forgotten. Planning is an essential component of a successful, fun family campout. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a weekend or longer; planning will make everything go more smoothly, even if you do your backup plans instead of the main plans for good weather.
Camping brings you closer as a family. Taking time to put down the devices and enjoy right where you are. When I look back at all our experiences as a family, camping is high on the list. Now, there will be times of frustration, and things don’t always go as planned. However, those are the experiences you remember most with fondest. Years later, we laugh the most about it raining inside our tent, freezing in the spring wind on the beach, and the dog running off with all our shoes.