Whether it’s your family’s first camping adventure, or annual traditional camping pow wow, these moments spent together should surpass the norm. After all, this is how traditions and memories that are cherished for a lifetime are made. When planning an epic camping experience for the family, it takes meticulous planning, organization, and creativity to select the perfect campsite location, style, and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Before getting into the fun stuff, let’s not forget about preparing for your family’s safety not just at the campsite, but also on the road. Nothing ruins a trip more than realizing you forgot something, or your car breaks down before arriving at your destination.
- Pack your camping gear essentials securely to avoid objects falling in the car.
- Prep food for portability and store it in waterproof containers. For perishable and raw foods, use ice to help store at a safe temperature.
- Bring a complete first aid and emergency roadside kit.
- Make sure your automobile gets a full-service checkup beforehand and repair any issues found.
Choosing your campground destination is the most exciting part of planning a family camping trip. It sets the stage for your entire camping experience. You’ll want to pick a campsite that’s best suited for your family. Check out these 3 popular U.S. national parks that are perfect for an unforgettable family camping trip.
- Yosemite National Park in California ranks high in everyone’s camping destination bucket list. Known as “California’s Sweetheart” graces North America’s biggest waterfall, picturesque meadows with wildflowers, wild scenic Tuolumne and Merced rivers, and towering granite walls. There are many lodging accommodations for any budget along with RV camper lots. They welcome families with bountiful activities and programs all year-round. You can choose to camp in a campground or park your RV in the RV parks provided there.
- Glacier National Park in Montana aka the “Shining Mountains” and the “Backbone of the World” is surrounded by jaw-dropping natural beauty, alpine lakes, glacier-carved terrain, and rugged mountains. This campsite offers a remote and primitive backcountry camping experience. Ideal for adventure-seeking families to answer the calls of the wild.
- Biscayne National Park in Florida isn’t your ordinary camping experience. Imagine camping on a watery wonderland exploring the waters canoeing, snorkeling, sailing, fishing, saltwater bow fishing, and taking a tour in a glass bottom boat. You may be surprised and spot a manatee or a sea turtle! There are 2 campsites that are accessible only by boat. A unique island getaway and camping experience in one. During the months of December to April, the park connects the community and campers for a monthly themed Family Fun Fest.
Related: Top Camping Tips for First Timers
Making sure your family is comfortable means having home-like amenities. Making sure you have an ultimate camping trip for the family means going the extra mile with lodging and gear. With that said, it’s time to define your camping style. Bypass the standard norm and go for an epic camping experience. Find out if your campsite or nearby camping resources offer the following.
- Glamping was recognized as a modern glamorous camping trend in 2007, but the history of glamping dates back to the 1100s with the Mongolian Tribes. Since then, you can conveniently find glamping experiences throughout the world. There are many unique glamping style options available like yurts, vintage trailers, fancy teepees, pioneer wagons, canvas tents, tree houses, floating boats, and inflatable bubble tent domes.
- Themed camping immerses your family into a true camping adventure. Experience campsites and sounds from a decked out themed period. Some themed campgrounds give you the option to get fully involved by dressing up in clothing from that era. For instance, Riley Farms in Yucaipa, California offers glamping in a themed colonial style setting. There you’ll be taken back with their thoughtfully designed canvas tent decorated with colonial furnishings. The Riley Farms campground is propped in a little nostalgic town with an apple tree farm, where your family can pick delicious apples while dressed in colonial attire. At Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave, you can sing along with Yogi Bear around a campfire while eating smores. Then there are theme parks offering theme camping adventures like Disney World’s Pandora Theme Park and San Diego Zoo’s Roar and Snore.
- Luxury rides pamper your family for your camping trip right from the start. This service delivers your luxury RV to your chosen park and they also supply campers that are fully stocked and ready to go. There are several luxury ride types available to match your camping destination and style. If you’re going for a rustic backcountry experience or a bohemian desert sand dunes camping escapade, why not take your family cruising in a charming, nostalgic, and vintage camper. If you prefer a more modern and posh vehicle, choose a luxury RV camper. Whichever option you choose, you’ll find these mobile luxury accommodations packed with amenities similar to luxury hotel rooms. Inside you’ll find organic cotton sheets, a full kitchenette, wireless access, electric generators, and outdoor furniture.
When traveling with your family, you’ll want to prepare your family’s camping activities in advance to ensure availability. Your activities will vary depending on your campground location. Wherever you camp, you’ll have several popular and convenient activities right outside your door or tent. A perfect example is hiking. Hiking is ranked as one of the top outdoor activities in the U.S. next to RV camping.
Many U.S. national parks offer the best hiking with trails to fit every level. Hiking at U.S. national parks turns this simple activity into an extraordinary way to spend your time. Be sure to have a camera handy to preserve the picturesque moments that you’re sure to encounter. Also, be sure to have your camping gear, tent, and equipment at your campsite before you trail off into the wilderness. Here are a few other classic camping activities for the family to enjoy together along with tips to take them to a new level.
- Create smores with gourmet chocolate and homemade marshmallows. Try adding all these ingredients into a graham cracker pie crust and roast over a campfire. Add a few candles. Now you have a yummy celebratory dessert for any occasion during your family camping trip.
- Campfire cooking like a chef using a cast iron cooking set and an outdoor oven. With this set-up, you can easily turn boring meals into scrumptious home-cooked meals.
- Stargaze comfortably on an inflatable pull-out sofa or daybed coupled with plush pillows and blankets. Treat yourself and family to a cup of hot cocoa topped with marshmallows. After all, you’re outdoors and need to stay warm.
- Picnic inside a magnetic screen porch/house furnished with a picnic table and chairs. For an ambient setting, decorate it with LED camping lights. After a meal, play board games with the family. By day, this setup is great for lounging away from the sun and bugs.
- Photograph your camping moments. It’s a great opportunity to capture mother nature’s marvels too. It doesn’t matter if you use your smartphone’s camera or a point and shoot, just take pictures. You won’t regret it. With the family all together at a beautiful backdrop, consider hiring a professional photographer to capture picture-perfect family moments.
- Scavenger hunt for treasures with a geocache and a GPS enabled device. Don’t forget to leave something behind for the next family to find. Parents create a special secret geocache for your children to find at your next annual camping trip or during a milestone year in which they can return to find a piece of their childhood history.
With a bit of TLC in discovering the perfect campground location, defining a camping style, and creatively executing family activities, there will be no doubt that you’ll far exceed the camping norm. With the multitude of options available, each camping experience can be unique and special. So, now you know how to reinvent camping and turn your trips into a wonderful family experience every time!