|The Joy of Camping With Kids - © Katrena|
|Practical Tips for Camping With Kids © Katrena|
Many people find they can save money by camping. Popular destinations like the beach are often a fraction of the cost of a hotel room or renting a home in a similar area. Those who like to rough it on primitive sites can often find the cheapest rates. In addition, the tent campers tend to save money on gasoline en route. Extras like electricity, water, sewer hook-up, satellite, wifi, etc. may cost more, but they may be worth the extra expense for many folks.
|Educational Opportunities on Vacation © Katrena|
As a mother of three children with multiple food sensitivities, camping is particularly well-suited for us because we are packing our own food and supplies for cooking. We are not paying for a "free" breakfast that the kids cannot eat at a hotel. Since my children also have asthma, I bring supplies for cooking that do not involve a fire since I know that smoke tends to set off their breathing problems. It's okay – we just do what works for us. I ensure that the site has electricity before making reservations and bring two extension cords and a power strip because electrical cooking supplies have the potential to overload the circuit – I learned that the hard way with our first camping trip!
|How to Find Pet-Friendly Vacation Destinations © Katrena|
|Enjoy Nature While Camping With Kids © Katrena|
Some might think I am crazy to camp alone with the girls, but I have discovered an inner strength and have been able to demonstrate to my daughters that we are quite capable of working together to solve any problems that come our way. Life's challenges often bring out the best in people, and the experience may serve to strengthen our character. We have also been quite grateful when other campers have offered a helping hand at just the right time. It is quite alright to eat humble pie while camping...and then we can pay it forward to someone else!
|How to Plan a Family Vacation © Katrena|
Choosing a destination can be a fun way to begin a vacation. Even if you are planning to camp in the great outdoors on the lawn out back, the excitement can build as everyone begins to anticipate the date. The surroundings pale in comparison to those with whom you are spending the time. One of my kids mentioned that she liked Disney World almost as much as she liked shopping at Walmart with me...there you go. If I had just known that before heading south!
|Find Fun Things to do on Vacation While Camping © Katrena|
Before making a reservation, ensure that the site:
- is large enough to accommodate your needs (some campgrounds charge extra depending on the number in the party and may limit the number of vehicles per site but it still might be cheaper to reserve two campsites than to rent a house or stay in a hotel)
- offers whatever amenities you prefer (water, electricity, sewer, pull-through, level ground, etc.)
- is available during the time desired (some campgrounds fill up months in advance, particularly if a special event is in the area at the time or if it has great rates – those who have their hearts set on a particular campground may find that they can camp a night or two on one site and then move to another site for an additional night or two and some campgrounds offer waiting lists)
- is in the area of the campground you prefer (small kids may particularly appreciate a site in close vicinity to restroom facilities and near a playground if available)
|Supplies for Camping © Katrena|
Ensure that the camper or tent is in good condition and dry before packing if possible. Areas that are wet when packed tend to leak. It helps to set up a tent or pop-up a few days before the vacation to ensure that no vital parts are missing and that everything is in good working order. This can also serve as a refresher course for those who have not set one up in a while.
|Tips for Having a Smooth Family Vacation © Katrena|
Traveling to the campground can also be an adventure. I like to pack a few simple surprises, like new music, cool book on CD, bubbles for blowing at the rest area, travel games, etc. so that the children can enjoy the ride a bit more. If you have a child who tends to get carsick, it can be helpful to have supplies readily available in the car. You might also want to choose destinations that are closer and have less twists and turns, plan for extra stops, and adjust eating times so that you are not combining a full stomach with a long road trip.
|Vacation Packing Tips © Katrena|
I like to pack supplies in the pop-up several days before the big day to cut down on the chaos. My kids love to help pack for vacations. Make sure to double-check what the children have packed. Their definition of appropriate attire for camping might be rather different from your own. They may also be more concerned with packing Barbie dolls than underwear.
|What to do on a Vacation © Katrena|
You may wish to plan a few outings where you can enjoy the sites near the campground. The area's Chamber of Commerce can be a great place to begin searching for ideas. Campground web sites may give links for nearby areas of interest, and the campground may offer a variety of fun and educational opportunities. I have found that state parks often do a great job with educational programs at and near campgrounds. Travel blogs and review sites may offer great ideas for the popular destinations and also those gems that may offer a pleasant surprise. Asking about areas via social media can also be a great way to learn from those who know the area best – just be careful not to announce to the world when you plan to be away from home!
It can be just as important to leave lots of opportunities in the plan to simply relax and enjoy spur-of-the-moment times together. We like to pack bikes and enjoy cruising through the campground or might simply go for several walks together each day. We will typically meet a few other campers and may even see a deer, butterflies, or an awesome sunset. Making wonderful memories together is not always a planned event. You may wish to plan to hike, bike, swim, kayak, go tubing, or find other ways to enjoy the natural beauty of the area from various vantage points.
|Working Around the Weather While Camping © Katrena|
Wild animals are often abundant while camping. Ensure that all food is stored appropriately. Raccoons, for example, are often quite adept at opening coolers and feasting on one's food while everyone is asleep. Mosquitoes are often prevalent during warmer months, and I have found mosquito repellent to be very helpful on all of my camping trips. If your kids have sensitive skin and/or allergies, it is a good idea to check ingredients and give any lotions or spray a test drive before the big date.
|Wild Animals Near Campground © Katrena|
I have found camping with my kids to be an amazing opportunity to unwind, unplug, and create something special for all of us to remember. I love to pack my camera and try to capture just a few of those wonderful memories to share with my family and hope that by sharing some of my tips that you too will find camping to be a great way to vacation with your family!
Find additional articles, tips, and free printables and scavenger hunts at the Wildflower Bouquets site map. Visit my Travel NC With Kids blog for great kid-friendly things to do in North Carolina.
|How to Enjoy a Family-friendly Vacation © Katrena|