Camping for Beginners

Camping for Beginners

Posted by WinterKids on Monday, June 9, 2014

On the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, friends of my husband and I headed out for a fun-filled weekend of camping with their four daughters, who range in age from 18 months to 9 years old. They had everything they needed: warm clothes, plenty of food and water, camping chairs, the family dog, and most importantly – their camping trailer equipped with a bathroom, kitchen, full sized-bed, and two bunk beds. They had an amazing long-weekend filled with adventures including hiking, exploring, ATVing, Frisbee golfing, roasting marshmallows for s’mores, and making mud pies.

We had the pleasure of coming up to visit them for a day and see first-hand their comfortable style of living while camping. If you are new to camping and can afford a camper trailer, this would definitely be the way to go. With a camper trailer, you can experience camping at its finest with little ones without having to worry about varying weather conditions or the dangers of the great outdoors. Most of us, however, do not have this luxury. Either we don’t have the truck with hauling capabilities or even more realistically, the funds. With that being said, here is some insight into what you should look for on your next camping experience with the kids that will make your trip more luxurious and hassle-free.

Want to plan a camping trip in the woods but don’t want to pitch a tent or don’t have the expenses for an RV or camper trailer? I just discovered these amazing things called yurts. What’s a yurt, you ask? Yurts are lightweight, portable shelters, ideal for family camping, vacations, temporary accommodations, or even special events. Think of a yurt as a tent that is already set up for you that is built with wood and canvas. They usually feature a deck or picnic table and grill or fire ring outside, as well as furniture inside that allows for sleeping accommodations. All you need to bring along are linens or sleeping bags, cooking utensils, food, and water for yourself and your family. Want to try your hand at yurt camping? For even more convincing plus some great pictures, check out this blog. Also, you can visit here to find yurt rentals in your area.

Popular on the East Coast, lean-to shelters are also a great alternative to tents or RVs. A lean-to is a standing structure with three walls and a roof, typically opening up to fire pit or even picnic table. Lean-tos make camping so much easier, since there's no tent to set up. Once you get to the campground, just sweep out your lean-to and you're good to go! I grew up camping in Vermont at Ricker Pond State Park, which is an ideal campground for kids of all ages. We would set up our lean-to with sleeping bags next to each other facing outward, so we could all fall asleep to the fire slowly dwindling away through the night. Some of the lean-tos there even offered private access down a short trail to the water. It was perfect for some early morning bobber fishing or a simple toe dip to cool off in the afternoons.

One time back in the days just after college, I went to Moab with my boyfriend at the time. It was an impromptu trip and we packed up the car at the night and left early the next morning on a whim. We drove the six hours through to our destination, maybe stopping a total of two times for bathroom breaks. Once we arrived, we were shocked to find out that we had chosen to travel on the same weekend as the infamous Moab car show. With our extreme lack of planning, we were left in a bit of a pickle. After driving around to every single campground in the area, to our dismay, we found that all the campsites had been booked. By late afternoon, we really had no choice but to book one of the only remaining spots at a KOA RV campground. Since we had been traveling in my old beat up 4-Runner, we felt a little out of place at an RV park. However, once we got our tent set up and began to get settled in for the night, we realized what great amenities we had surrounding us. Our campsite had a picnic table and charcoal grill, the bathrooms were spotless, had numerous outlets as well as free showers and there was even a (very mini) mini golf course set up not too far from our site.

It wound up being an unforgettable experience and I would definitely consider camping at an RV park again in the future. The moral of my story is that there are places that allow you to comfortably camp in a tent with your family in a place that offers plenty of amenities without having to ‘rough it’ out in the wild. For your next camping trip, plan a stay at a KOA. KOAs are a great resource if you are looking for great family camping where you can be cozy and have an abundance of convenient services right at your fingertips.

Camping with your family can be very fun and rewarding - except of course if forest critters get into your supplies and eat all your food. Learn how to protect your provisions while camping with these great tips.

What camping advice do you have for beginners?

Categories: Family Fun

Tagged: camping, camping with children, outdoors, family camping

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