8 Simple Ideas for a Great Family Camping Trip
Do you want to treat your family to the camping trip they always wanted?
Here are 8 simple ideas for a great family camping trip.
THIS is going to be the year, the year that you have a successful family camping adventure. One that ends with everyone driving home thinking the same thing - "We've got to do that again."
But how? How can you achieve campsite success? Here are 8 simple ideas for a great family camping trip.
1. Find the Middle Ground
You might want a relaxing place under the trees. The kids might be more interested with splashing in water teeming with people.
This might be the most important decision - location. Set the tone for your trip by finding a place that meets at least one of everyone's wants.
If your children want to spend time at the waterfront, maybe choose a campground with a smaller lake or if you go bigger, pick one that has supervised activities so that they can go do their thing while you do yours.
Remember, just because it's a family vacation, you don't have to spend every waking moment together. That old adage can be as true in the wilderness as it is anywhere, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
2. Set Aside an Hour a Day for Family Time
If you have chidlren of all ages, they are going to want to do things across the activity spectrum. And so they should.
But as this is a family vacation you need to make sure that the family is getting time together to recharge relationships. Instead of forcing everyone to do everything, set aside one period of time everyday where everyone can be together.
Maybe it's right after breakfast or make it the hour before dinner. If you want, you can even assign a day to a child and make them responsible for the activity of the day.
You may be surprised at what they come up with, and whether it's hiking or sitting by the campfire playing games, you'll know that they're doing what they want while you're getting what you want - family time together.
Take only what you need. That's often the motto on vacation. When it's a family camping trip, taking a little bit more can make all the difference in the world.
Extra clothes, extra crafts, extra snacks, extra games - being prepared for the unexpected can make the difference in turning the tables on a potentially volatile toddler moment.
4. Old Traditions vs. New Memories
Is a family camping trip a time-honored tradition in your family? Something that you did as a child and are excited to start doing with your own children?
While that's a perfectly lovely sentiment, it's important to remember that memories are not always an accurate record of history. Before you try and recreate your camping history, you should spend some time on reflecting what made those trips so important to you in the first place.
Then, rather than trying to recreate those moments from your youth, find new ways to be with your family that will create those same warm memories in them.
5. Plan Meals
People who don't camp often are always surprised by how much food you go through when you're sleeping out under the stars. There's just something about being outside that amps up one's hunger.
Before you hit the campsite, know what you'll be doing regarding meals every day. This could be part of your bonding time, with each child getting a chance to plan and cook a meal on their assigned day for the entire family.
Just think about how cranky people get at home where they have easy access to food when they get hungry. That only amplifies outside, so do yourself a favour and bring the groceries.
Some campgrounds will supply meals for you, this is a great bonus and can free up time. But make sure you've got the snacks covered!
6. Be Flexible
I know that for most of this article we've been extolling the virtues of planning ahead, and while that's important, it's also important that you retain a certain amount of flexibility.
Things are going to come up. Nature will wash out your plans. A class you were planning to take will be canceled but an adventurous hike will be added.
Decide which of your planned moments (like a set hour for family time) are set in stone and be prepared for flexibility around the others. Great adventures and memorable moments almost always start from taking a wrong turn.
7. Look Past the Trees
Don't forget the vast variety of activities available when you're out camping, there are often many great destinations right outside the campsite waiting for you.
A few years ago my family and I went camping and about a half an hour away was a small town with a classic town square. We spent a memorable afternoon walking through shops, eating ice cream and playing on the green.
It was one of the things that made the family camping trip so memorable.
8. Define What Camping Means to You
This is a big one - what amenities will you look for in a campground vs. not-tolerate from the family. Will electronics be welcomed? Is a showering everyday a necessity?
Camping comes in many flavors. You'll get the most success from your family camping trip if you don't just know what you want but set the ground rules for the trip at large.
This is a hard thing to do, as so many kids see their phones in particular as an extension of their personas. Given this, perhaps you could compromise and regulate screen-time so that it's a set period every day.
This gives them some control, knowing when they will be able to talk with their friends allows some independence and it also helps you avoid playing smartphone referee.
Family Camping Trip Success
We just looked at 8 easy ways you can turn a family camping trip into the year's best memories. When you're ready to get packing and hit the great outdoors, we can help make that trip memorable (for all the right reasons).