Camping can be a great way to have a vacation to remember without spending a lot of cash. Once you’ve bought a tent, sleeping gear, and a small portable stove, you can go almost anywhere and stay cheaply. There is also no need to “rough it” if you don’t want to. Many modern campsites have hot showers, clean toilets and electrical hook-ups for power. Some even offer free WiFi internet access.
Camping with kids brings in a few extra challenges but it can also be very rewarding for the whole family. Suddenly even the act of making dinner will seem a whole lot more interesting if it happens outside. Kids love the excitement of setting up camp and you can make it even more fun with a few simple tips:
- Everyone loves an open fire but if your campsite doesn’t allow them (some do and some don’t) you can still roast marshmallows, make smores and brew up a hot chocolate before bedtime on a camp stove. It’s almost as much fun and a whole lot easier for mom and dad.
- Camping can be cold, even in summer. You can always beat the temperature with a good sleeping bag but if it’s colder than expected, tuck the kids into their camp beds with a hot water bottle. Fill an empty soda bottle with water that is not quite too hot to dip your fingers into, pop it into a woolly sock for insulation and their feet will stay warm all night long.
- Try a different activity every day. You might have a passion for fishing or hiking but kids who aren’t used to spending time outdoors can get bored quickly. Pick a campsite with plenty of different activity venues nearby and try a hike in the woods, a day canoeing on a local river or lake, a mountain biking session or a horse ride…or whatever else you feel like. Older kids can be allowed to choose the itinerary for one day each, if they have been good recently!
- Nighttime activities are also important. Bring along a deck of cards and some travel board games, and read up on ghost stories before leaving the house. These will also come in handy if you need to fill a few rainy hours.
- Have a backup plan in case the rain really comes down heavily. It might be a local museum, a theme park or even a shopping mall. As long as you know there’s something to do if it rains, you can sleep well without worrying about the weather.
This post was contributed by Jess Spate. Jess comes from a family that loves camping, and the next generation is well on their way to loving it too. She writes for Appalachian Outdoors, one of America’s favourite outdoor stores.