Family camping trips can be some of the most enjoyable, memorable and affordable vacations for a family to take. Unfortunately, when the mosquitoes start biting and the tent starts leaking during an unexpected torrential downpour, they can quickly become huge disasters. The good news is, even potential disasters can turn into laughable family memories if the right preparations are taken.
The first step in planning a camping trip is to find a campground that will be both enjoyable and convenient for the whole family. Important amenities to look for are close access to drinking water and bathrooms, bathrooms fitted with real toilets and sinks (outhouses can become an absolute headache with small children), and electric hookups. The more rustic locations can be saved for a later time. It might be a good idea to start with a campground a bit closer to home. A good campground should offer lots of kid friendly activities such as a swimming beach, fishing dock, playground or paved hiking trails.
When packing supplies, having proper shelter and bedding is essential. Tents should be waterproof and big enough to comfortably fit the entire family. A three person tent fits three people comfortably sleeping, but not necessarily three people stuck inside all weekend because of the rain. Everyone should have a warm sleeping bag or blankets to withstand cold nightly temperatures. Supplies for any activities, such as fishing poles, swim suits and hiking gear as well as general camping gear like bug spray and sunscreen need to be packed. Making a checklist beforehand can be helpful to make sure nothing is forgotten.
The key to successful camping meals is easy easy easy. The less prep needed on site the better, and the less dishes needed to cook and eat the meal, the easier it will be to clean up. Meals should be planned in advance and prepped at home. Disposable dishes and silverware makes eating a meal around the campfire ever so convenient. Eating meals while camping can become a favorite for children, so be creative.
Coming up with a list of fun camping activities beforehand and bringing the required materials will make sure there is never a bored moment. Even if there is no rain on the forecast, it is a good idea to have a few back pocket rainy day activities just in case (i.e. card or board games).
The amount of work and planning that goes into the first family camping trip can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but taking time to plan ahead will ensure that everyone has time to relax and enjoy an unforgettable experience together as a family.