Family Camping Holidays | 8 Ways To Enjoy Camping As A Family

Planning a family camping holiday can be a great way to have a lot of fun together as a family and travel cheap at the same time.  By the way, when I talk about camping, I’m referring to the ‘real’ stuff – none of this sleeping in a $75,000 mansion on wheels.  Just you and your tent – that, my friends, is camping.

However, before you embark on your next camping journey, be sure to implement the following tips.

Make it a short trip.

Very few families could endure two solid weeks of camping out.  While everyone enjoys the fresh outdoors, there is also something to be said for a comfortable bed and air conditioning.  If you’re planning a week vacation, why not try and camp a few nights and stay in a hotel a few nights?

Still, you need to camp long enough to justify hauling all your camping gear.

Call or get online to find out about rental options.

When you’re traveling with your kids, one of the things that can make or break family camping holidays is the rentals at the camping area (assuming you’re traveling to something like a State or National Park). 

Call ahead and see if they have canoes for rental, and then choose the location that best suits your needs.

Expect later nights.

Every time we have camped with our kids, the kids stayed up later than normal – often by a few hours.  What this means is kids are typically a little more grouchy the next morning (if not the next day).  Go ahead and put them to bed at the regular time and know they might stay up chatting.  It’s OK because mommy and daddy can just chat by the fire.  Usually by the second night, younger kids will fall asleep at their regular bedtime. 

Check the weather.

My wife and I are both from cooler climates.  When we first moved to Houston, Texas we planned a three night camping trip.  We made it one night before we realized it was way too hot to sleep in a tent.  We stayed in a hotel the rest of the time. 

Two weather factors can ruin any family camping holiday – heat and rain. 

Precook food.

You have more luxuries in your home kitchen than you will have camping.  Try to schedule a few hours before you go camping to precook some meals.  Just find some easy vacation recipes and prepare your meals before you go.  Of course, breakfast and lunch are great times to eat something easy to prepare. 

Don’t forget, when camping, it is required that you eat hotdogs and marshmallows at least one time.

Borrow essential gear.

Even if you don’t have camping gear, you can still camp.  People I know who have tents, cooking stoves, and other essential camping gear are always willing to share.  Don’t go out and buy a lot of equipment until you have at least asked around to see if a friend has something you can borrow.

Include some dining out.

When you’re camping out during family camping holidays, heading into town to sit down at a restaurant table is always a nice feeling.  Schedule a night or two to treat the family to a special dining out night. 

Pack essentials : Make a List.

Camping requires its own special stuff.  Here are some things I would be sure to pack:

  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Tent
  • Cooking stove, wood, utensils, pots
  • Food in sealed containers
  • Zip-lock bags
  • Garbage bags
  • Sleeping gear
  • Towels and extra rags
  • Reading material
  • Enough diapers for the trip
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand sanitizer and/or soap
  • Hats and long sleeved clothing
  • Matches
  • Flashlight
  • A family game, such as Uno

Happy camping!


  1. says

    I so agree with you on the bedtime. At first kids want to stay up late, but actually keeping the regular bedtime is important. Kids get tired and cranky and cannot get up in the morning. And there is no problem with bedtimes after coming back home.

  2. says

    Thanks for the info. I agree you need at least one restaurant meal to give the cook a break. Camping is a balancing act. You want to have fun in nature, but comfort is important too, especially for us older folks. Don’t be embarrassed to bring the air mattress.

  3. Holidays for Family says

    Some good family camping tips, thanks.
    We always make a list for camping of things to bring. If not, with a family, you’re sure to miss something!
    Thanks again

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