7 Tips For Planning the Perfect Family Summer Camping Trip

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The vast majority of campers took their first camping trip before their 15th birthday. For those who hadn’t taken a camping trip before age 15, the chances of them ever experiencing the joys of an overnight wilderness getaway were slim. Have your kids been exposed to the unique joys of living out of doors yet? Taking summer camping trips can be a great way to get in some family bonding while also encouraging your kids to engage more with the outdoors. Here are 7 tips to help you plan your family camping trip this summer:

  1. Choosing your campgrounds

    Around 70% of camping vacations are done in public campgrounds. The beauty of public campgrounds is they often provide more amenities and entertainments than tent camping in the wilderness. There’s also the possibility of finding playmates for your children at public campgrounds. When camping with children, it’s typically a good idea to pick a destination that isn’t too remote in case of accidents. For summer camping trips, you’ll also likely want to find shady campsites so you don’t feel like you’re stranded in the desert. Lakeside campgrounds can be a great options as having a lake nearby promises more entertainment than just hiking and nature watching.
  2. Book your campgrounds early

    Thanks to the popularity of summer camping trips, campsites tend to fill up fast during the summer months. Once you’ve picked a date and chosen your family campgrounds, make a reservation. When it comes time to leave, the same logic applies: try to hit the road early if you’re traveling on the weekend or (better yet) plan your trip during the workweek and leave during a lull in commuter traffic.
  3. Make a checklist

    Just as it’s never too early to book a campsite for your summer camping trips, it’s never too early to start compiling a checklist. Keep a notepad handy so you can jot down items as they occur to you. A great place to keep it is with you grocery list or on your fridge since you’re most likely to think of the necessities when you’re doing your shopping. Involving your kids in the planning for your summer camping trips can be fun, too. Particularly if they have reservations about a vacation away from home, including them in your checklist and planning will help them become more comfortable with the trip and gain an idea of what to expect.
  4. Don’t forsake healthy food (unless you want to)

    Summer camping trips may be a diversion from your normal environment, but they don’t have to be a break with your typical diet. You can keep your family eating healthy without subsisting on protein bars and hot dogs the whole time. Trail mix is a natural choice, as are any other non-refrigerated snacks. For dinner, you could bring a small grill.

    Your menu will largely depend on the amenities provided at your campsite. If you’re cabin camping, you may have a full kitchen. Some campgrounds offer shared kitchens or outdoor barbecues. Make sure you know exactly what your campsite includes as far as appliances and utensils are concerned so you bring no more and no less than what you need. If you won’t have access to a refrigerator, the CDC says recommends food be kept in tight, waterproof containers and stored inside a cooler to prevent infections. Use a large cooler packed with ice to keep foods at safe temperatures (i.e. below 40 degrees Fahrenheit).
  5. Keeping your kids entertained while away

    Without their favorite electronics, it can be hard to keep your kids entertained on summer camping trips. To prevent boredom, brainstorm ideas of games and activities the whole family can enjoy together ahead of time. Scavenger hunts can be a great way to keep them engaged while outdoors. When it’s time to wind down, having a collection of favorite books on hand or indoor games can be handy.
  6. Pack for the car ride, too

    On average, campers travel 186.7 miles for summer camping trips. Whether you’re traveling near or far, a car ride sans entertainment can feel like a long-distance marathon in itself. Keep your little ones entertained with videos or games on the way to forestall the “Are we there yet?” game.