Camping is one of the easiest ways to enjoy family time. Even picking out the family tent beforehand can be a fun process to include the kids. Planning ahead when camping with kids is key. Depending on their ages, they may have certain ideas about what they want to do while camping. Involving them in the preparations would help give kids some ownership about the things to do on a camping trip. Let’s get to know some suggestions on camping activities for kids, no matter the location.
Things to do on a Camping Trip
Making an itinerary or a bucket list for family vacations can be quite tricky. Not only do you need to consider your preferred places to sightsee, but there is also a need to check on whether there are child-friendly activities. Try to find a campground with plenty of activities or with open space to throw a football or frisbee. Road trips and camping activities for kids should be diverse and flexible for all members of the family, especially if you are planning a few days of vacation. Here are some of the best camping destinations in the US.
Have a Picnic with the Family
Having a picnic is one of the classic camping activities for kids. While camping, eating is one of the essential parts of the vacation that needs meticulous preparation. Consider what type of food your family prefers – would you like to cook or have things prepared ahead of time? Kids are picky eaters so having some variety in this aspect will save a lot of trouble during the whole trip. Plan meals or do some research on restaurants along the way to avoid last minute decisions on where to eat because not all food stops will be to your liking.
Meals prepared by the BBQ or on a campfire stove will be a welcomed part of the camping experience. Sandwiches are also a very easy option for lunch/dinner. If everything is well planned, it will keep the whole atmosphere light since everyone is satisfied and not hungry. Check out some of the easiest camping meals for families.
Visit Famous National Parks
A kid can consider any place to be their playground. Even more so when this is a place that they see in books and other sources. Taking them to see National Parks will awaken their sense of wonder and keep them excited for a long time. While they may not yet appreciate the history of the place, it’s one of those experiences that stick with them because they were able to visit a landmark and explore what it has to offer. You may even want to consider a national parks road trip.
As for the adults, there is no doubt that everyone can find their own activity while taking on the challenge of exploring National Parks during your road trip. Also, the landscapes you set your sights on will make for great backgrounds of family pictures. Check out these ideas for the best national park vacations for families.
There are 61 US National Parks, and while we have only visited a few, check out our reviews of why they should be on your radar of national parks to visit.
- Acadia National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Grand Teton to Yellowstone
- Mammoth Cave
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Congaree National Park
Enjoy the Tent
If you are planning to camp in a tent, that in itself could be an enjoyable experience for kids. If they are a little older, have them help you set it up so that they feel like part of the process. Camping activities for kids don’t necessarily need to be a set thing, for many children just the fact that they are sleeping outdoors in a tent, is a memory. Consider traveling locally and camping for a weekend at a state park. If you are a family of 3 or 4 check out this review of the best 4 person tent.
Explore Hiking Trails
What’s a little trip without that bit of adventure, right? While you’re at those parks, try to ask some local guides about hiking trails that are kid-friendly. You’d be surprised how many trails are short enough for kids to enjoy. The trick is knowing the right length and difficulty for your kids. We usually try to keep our hikes about 2-3 miles in length and keep the level of difficulty at easy/moderate. We also make sure to take plenty of breaks and time it correctly so it doesn’t interfere with lunch.
This might be the best way to take in the sights and your kids will see a lot of great views along the way. Most kids enjoy a little exploration, climbing and walking among the natural scenery. Make sure to bring all the necessities, like snacks and water to keep everyone hydrated and less cranky.
Try out Glamping
Family glamping is a concept that is quite new to some travelers. One can consider it as glamorous camping where all the amenities are provided by some establishments. You’ll be provided with tents but other provisions like beddings and food will be served hotel style. It makes a perfect blend of the comfort of home and a vacation with nature. This is perfect for those who are not used to camping trips outdoors. Park Model RV glamping is a great option for families. Look up some glamping establishments and spend a day or two. You might be surprised at how great this new option can be!
We tried glamping in Washington state in a luxury tepee a few years back. It was a perfect mix of ruggedness with hotel type accommodations. The one major difference was no shower or bathroom in your unit; however, one can say that is part of the adventure.
Another unique option is treehouse glamping! Adults will “feel like a kid” again and the children will be in heaven staying among the trees. There are also glamping properties you can check out on Airbnb. If you’ve never used it, here is my code for $40 off your first stay.
Sitting around a bonfire at night is one of the classic camping activities for kids. You can never go wrong with this because aside from the food, you can talk about anything under the sun! Of all the things to do on a camping trip, this is the most iconic. Play a game, make some s’mores, play music, and teach your kids how to make the classic bonfires. It will be an experience that they can take until they grow up. Make sure to note down all the safety precautions when starting that bonfire and to ask the local guide about any restrictions that they might have over this activity.
This is one of the best camping activities for kids at night. Since the cities are so bright, families don’t often get to lay down on the grass and stare at the stars. Learning about the constellations and trying to find them in the night sky is a great way to bond as a family. It also provides some downtime and can be a nice segway about our place in this world and the vastness of the universe.
Enjoy the Water
If you are camping when the weather is hot, then wading or swimming in a nearby body of water may be one of the best camping activities for kids. Depending on your location and the weather, take a bathing suit just in case. Sometimes, enjoying a dip in the cool water is a great way to spend a family vacation. If you are more of an adventurous family, then consider renting a kayak or paddle board.
Camping Activities for Kids
So, have you started creating that family vacation itinerary yet? Camping is a great option if you just plan ahead. There are many ways to get started. If you’ve ever thought about renting an RV, check out RVshare and their huge list of RV’s for rent. Look at some of the local destinations for camping, check out campgrounds, and plan out a route that suits you best. Whether you are going to stop by some parks, camp somewhere, or even where to eat, remember that this type of vacation is a flexible one so there is no need to stress over it. Check out this book for more camping activities for kids.
Camping activities for kids do not have to be expensive or complex, they just require some planning. If you consider all the likes and dislikes of your family, all of it can be arranged easily. Just take time to research all possible locations and proceed with experiencing the one-of-a-kind vacation that perfectly suits you and your family. Don’t forget to bring the camera to capture all the important moments along the way! If you’re looking for more destination guides and travel inspiration, check out Trip101.
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8 thoughts on “Camping Activities for Kids”
Somehow we have never gone camping… I want to but I just feel so intimidated by it – this article makes me excited to get out of my comfort zone though!!
I love camping! Great tips.
We LOVE camping and go often. Stargazing is one of our favorite activities!
Wonderful tips! I’m more into the idea of “glamping” these days (I am getting old???) & that picture of the glamping structure looks incredible.
Brilliant tips! We’re useless at camping, always seem to get rained off here in the UK but you’ve inspired me to give it another go.
I wish I could camp! It looks SO fun – my allergies ruin it. Such a great article!
Great post, I love all the tips! We love camping but find we don’t have time to go more than once a year in the brief UK camping season. The kids love the tent and I hope we’ll get to go more often as they get older.
Camping with kids is the best, they make it such an adventure! Your bonfire looks so inviting.