Kids and Family
by Amie O"Shaughnessy of Ciao Bambino
We love camping as a family and go on at least 2-3 camping trips per year. Camping is not for everyone—there’s no way to avoid getting dirty and living in a bit of chaos. There’s little privacy and lots of work involved in preparing for even a short weekend away.
Why do we do it then?
Camping is an amazing way to escape from the rigors of day-to-day life and enjoy simple pleasures. Without the distractions of TV, the phone, and electronics—it’s amazing how families connect and communicate. Nothing inspires wonderful conversation like a campfire!
Of course, camping is a great way for kids to appreciate nature’s gifts, not to mention for them to have hours and hours of fun outside.
Camping with kids tips:
1. Everyone in the family is going to get very, very dirty. Know and expect that this will happen and enjoy the freedom of not worrying about it.
2. Camping is work. Make a list and check it twice, but just take the essentials. There is a fine line between what you need to be comfortable and so much stuff that the set-up/clean-up is a huge hassle.
3. Plan meals carefully. It’s amazing what people can bring when they car camp. Elaborate meals are possible, but not necessary. That said, in many places getting groceries is not easy, so bring more than you think you’ll need just in case. Camping seems to be a hunger producing activity.
4. Make reservations for weekend camping. Many of the best campgrounds are first-come-first-serve. This is a huge challenge for those of us that can’t get out of town on a Thursday. Some campgrounds allow you to reserve specific campsites up to 6 months ahead of time. Reserve America is a comprehensive reservation resource.
5. Understand what there is do with kids in the area. By nature, camping is very kid-friendly, but it helps to have kid-friendly excursions within easy reach too—short hikes, fishing, shallow lakes, and safe bike riding to name a few. Camping is a great way to experience National Parks. Check out Yellowstone Park with kids and our Yosemite Family Travel Guide for tips an these breathtaking destinations.
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