WHERE TO START
The beauty of taking the whole family camping is that you don’t need much, nor do you need to go very far to enjoy spending quality time outdoors. You can camp at the local lake or find a campground in the area that will bring you closer to nature. There is always something fun to do, whether you’re relaxing with a good book, taking the kids exploring, going for a midnight swim or playing board games around the fire.
If you don’t mind putting a few miles under your tires to get where you’re going, the opportunities become endless. You can camp at national or state parks with miles of hiking and exploration at your finger tips or find campgrounds around your state that offer fun activities like river rafting, boating or fishing.
If you are unsure of how to go about planning or preparing for a camping trip, then start off by browsing an outdoors retailer, like your local Cabelas. In doing this, you and your family can get a better feel of the types of activities you’ll want to do or the places you might enjoy visiting.
MAKING IT YOUR OWN
Once you have a plan, you can find ways to make it your own. Do your children play sports in school? Are you a competitive family? If so, having a family game on your trip is a great way to put a special twist on your vacation. Just think, you and your husband could wind up with bragging rights for winning the yearly volleyball game against your children. These kinds of activities are what make a camping trip so much more than just a tent in the woods — they’re what make it a tradition!
There are many traditions you can plan and many that will be started organically. Either way, the more time you spend outdoors in close proximity to mother nature, the more you learn to appreciate the little things and cherish the memories you make with the ones closest to you.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHANGE IT UP
If you’re a little stressed about making the first trip a huge success, relax! You don’t have to get it right the first time around. But always be willing to throw in various new activities that are hands-on and interesting so you can find the ones that resonate most with each of your family members. If you’re camping at the lake, consider spending your afternoons pulling the kids around in a tube and teaching them the rules of boater safety. Even something as simple as how to bait a hook and cast can inspire and boost confidence in many children.
Instead of cooking the same dinners night after night, you can spice it up with tin foil dinners. Everyone loves taking a huge sheet of tinfoil and filling it with chicken, veggies, potatoes and all the fixings, shaping it into a trademark shape and tossing it on the fire to cook while everyone hangs out. Little quirks like these that help to personalize your trips make them that much more memorable and fun.
The little moments spent learning, laughing and exploring are the ones that can have the biggest impact on a person’s life, especially for children who don’t often spend time outside. Even when you arrive home a week later with dirt under your nails and bug bites on your legs, you can’t help but smile when you think back on all the exciting or funny moments that you shared as a family and look forward to the next trip.
Created with images by Aliaksei Lasevich - "happy children hiking in the forest" • Pavel Klimenko - "fork roads" • EduardSV - "Children happy outdoors." • Alexandr Vasilyev - "Boys go fishing with fishing rods on a rural street"