In today’s technology-filled era, few places offer the reset and primal joys of camping in the great outdoors. You don’t have to be “outdoorsy” to enjoy this incredible vacation opportunity for your family. In fact, with RVs to rent or resort campgrounds that offer cabins, the tent is optional these days.
I have camped in a pop-up camper and a good old-fashioned tent with my kids, offering an adventure and memories for a lifetime. We like it so much we’ve made it a summer tradition. There is something special about how lightning-bugs-turned-fairies make our kids giggle and run around in the dark or take in the fresh air on their tiny camping chairs with freshly made s’more in their hands. Bonus: They get great sleep after a full day of running around outside.
Gone are the days when camping meant roughing it without the comforts of home. Here are some pro tips to make your camping family-friendly and fun for everyone.
1. Start small.
You can camp for one night. Reserve a camping spot somewhere close to home to maximize the day. Hike, swim in a lake or waterfall, set up your tent or camper, have dinner, and make some s’mores before bedtime. If you’ve never camped with your kids, doing it for one overnight is a great way to learn what works for your family.
2. If you don’t have a large tent and other equipment, you can always borrow or rent to avoid making a huge investment.
There are lots of local sports shops that provide tent and equipment rentals. You will want a tent, bedding and pads, a small camp stove to boil water, a French press for coffee, insulated cups or mugs for soup or hot drinks, and lanterns for the nighttime. If you are going for a tent, get a tall one you can stand and change in. This will make getting the kids ready for bed comfortable and easy.
3. Pack the basics.
An efficient cooler with ice will provide the opportunity to bring hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, deli meats, and condiments. Water, bread, nut butters, chips, crackers, shelf-stable milk, cereal, instant oatmeal or instant soups, and tea or ground coffee for a French press will ensure you have all the yummy food and morning comforts you want. Insulated drinkware works for serving soup or oatmeal and also provides a tea or coffee mug for the morning.
4. Bug spray!
These days, bug sprays actually work. You can also use bracelets and ankle bands if you prefer, and spraying your clothes and camp chairs/tent exteriors will help keep the bugs at bay and ensure everyone stays comfortable.
Several campgrounds offer cabins or tiny homes for rent on-site. Your family will still be in an outdoor setting with hikes, lakes, and all of the same outdoor opportunities, without the tent.