It’s summer, time for a wee bit of recreation with your family and what better way than camping?
Especially with children----it can be quite an education for the little ones—and a near magical experience as they look up to you as you show 'em the ropes as it were.
If they’re approaching puberty, it may well be the last time they’ll acknowledge that their parents might actually know something, so it’s probably best to start 'em off young and enjoy them while you can.
What are some of your most memorable family camping trips?
I have actually never been camping, but my 10-year-old daughter has been expressing that she wants to go someday, so we will do it this Summer. I am looking forward to creating those memories with her. I am starting to watch YouTube videos to get tips on what to do and what to take since it will be my first time too. I also look forward to reading the responses here, to get ideas on how to make it a great time for her.
Brother, if you aren’t an author, you have another calling man. Beautiful words. Never knew it meant so much to them, as once they grew up, they reminded me and they spoke about the experience. Rare opportunity. Safe travels all.
Bring binoculars to view critters from a safe distance. Many times on family trips when I was young, we saw deer on open fields in broad daylight. If you find yourself near sizeable rivers or lakes, bald eagles are making a comeback, as well. Beautiful birds.
Lots of memories, fishing/camping trips with my parents as a kid, then mainly hiking, mountain biking and canoe trips with my son…I also sailed a lot on my parents boat, and later on with my wife and son on my boats, which is somewhat like camping on the water, with a bit less room but more comfort…
Nowadays, wife and I and the motorhome…hey, I got older
Dang…I had two deer in my yard a few mornings ago…in broad daylight . Cool thing was they stopped and looked over their shoulder when my wife started talking to them. I love the way their ears perk up. Couple balds in the neighborhood, got my own Coopers hawk, comes around when I split wood, waiting on chipmunks or mice.
Guess I had my outdoor recliner on the “bunny run” this afternoon. Couple bunnies going back and forth, seriously passing a foot away, stopped next to me a few times. We go through phases…rabbits show, coyote show…rabbits gone…a couple years later the cycle repeats. More bear than deer last 8 years or so. I’m not even that rural, just close enough to the woods I guess.
Nature beats Netflix every time.
I put the kids along a stream in the Uintah Mountains, fishing for Brook Trout. When I came back along to checking on them they were pretty excited. We saw a cougar, he was right over there!!! I’m like “No Way” “Big cats don’t show themselves that easy”. “No Really, he was, he was right over there”. SO We walk over to where they said they saw him and I’ll be damned, Cat Tracks. They still talk about that.
paper plates, paper cups…or 1 cup, 1 bowl, and K.I.S.S. principle. Paper can get burned, so no trash, less cleaning.
I went camping with my son, 2 friends and their kids one weekend. Canoe trip. My friends were all about the discipline and chores, washing dishes etc… fortunately we all had our own set ups, and my son and I ended up moving a bit away, chilled, talked, looked at stars.
We’ve done a lot of camping, but when my kids were still quite young it occurred to me that up to then, they’ve never slept under the stars.
One Friday when there was a high pressure area over much of the state( no rain, no clouds, nor was there to be a moon that evening) I packed them up and headed to Granite Campground on the Truckee River. It was Autumn and we had the camp ground to ourselves. We chose the best campsite alongside the Truckee River and gathered firewood for a campfire (it would scare away bears, cougars and snakes, I told them) and cooked a simple dinner and of course the obligatory S’mores.
After brushing our teeth, we put our sleeping bags around the fire and I watched them looking up at the stars wheeling above their heads so close it seemed, you could touch them. The only sound was the babbling of the Truckee River flowing past our campsite
I stayed up to feed the fire (because of those bears, you know) and listened to them discuss the deep philosophy little children discuss when they think nobody is listening. eventually they nodded off to sleep.
The next morning we had pancakes for breakfast.
After seventeen years this is still one of my most favorite camping memories.
My mother was camp host at a lake for a summer, I cut and sold firewood at the lake eith my 2 younger brothers and in little time, I was able to afford a canoe (they bought Pokémon Cards with their money).
Used that canoe all summer long and still have it to this day, I still like to take that same canoe up to that same lake and camp in the same campground.
My parents weren’t into camping. Only went camping once with them and my uncle when I was fairly young. But I still have a few memories from that trip. My parents preferred to hotel it and do lots of day hikes.
Funny thing is despite my lack of camping experience I grew up to do a lot of long distance backpacking and then a lot of backcountry camping and car camping for work which I still do on a semi regular basis. Or did until this year.
My 7 year old son loves camping. We have only done one backpacking trip but have done a dozen or more car camping excursions starting when he was probably 2.
With kids it’s important to bring lots of snack and drink options they will like. S’mores over the fire are always a hit. Avoid the screens if possible but bring some travel games in case they get bored or the weather turns bad. I have a glow in the dark bocce set that everyone loves for after sunset entertainment. Just watch where your throwing if there are cactuses, snakes and scorpions around!
A key to a successful trip is making sure you have everything you need and know how to use it before you get out there. You don’t want to be setting up your tent for the first time with a rainstorm rolling in.
Some important items for first time car campers to remember:
A tent that is truly rain proof and won’t blow away in the wind. A ground cloth for under the tent will help keep water from seeping in.
Warm enough sleeping bags and comfy sleeping pads and pillows. Blankets can work instead of sleeping bags in a pinch but not on really chilly nights.
Extra water for cooking cleaning and drinking. Water bottles for hiking and having in the tent at night.
Cook kit and easy to use stove. All the pots pans dishes and utensils needed. Plan simple but filling meals that your sure everyone will like. Don’t forget the salt other spices and an extra lighter. Can opener if you are bringing canned food.
Sunscreen and bug spray
Headlamps or at least flashlights for everyone along with a spare and spare batteries. An LED battery or solar lantern can also be a plus.
Extra clothing layers and rain gear. Extra socks. Some flip flops or sandals for getting out of the tent at night.
Extra TP. Even if you are at a formal campground they sometimes run out.
Handy wipes and/or hand sanitizer for cleaning self before getting into the sleeping bags and keeping hands clean.
Comfy camp chairs.
Firewood or an optional small bow saw or hatchet to help collect some nearby downed wood. Some fire starter cubes or similar to help make you look like a pro:)
A shovel to help put the fire completely out before you leave and for use when a bathroom isn’t available.
Tarp or canopy if you are heading to a sunny area without much shade.
Some guidebooks for local plants, animals and stargazing. Some good books for reading at night before falling asleep.
Maps of local roads and trails.
Good sized cooler for fresh food and cold drinks.,
Trash bags. Pack it in pack it out. Burning trash is OK when the trash is actually burnable. Plastic is toxic when burned and tinfoil doesn’t burn. Don’t leave trash or food around your camp or in your tent unless you want some unexpected visitors.
Good first aid kit with some important medicines like Benadryl (helps with bee/yellow jacket stings and snake bites as well as allergies), Imodium (in case you aren’t as good at cleaning your hands and plates as you need to be), cortisone cream (for itchy bug bites and skin irritations), antibacterial cream (for cuts and scrapes) and Ibuprofen or other pain reliever of choice.
We trailer camped with my parents for many years starting after my sister was 5 or 6. My Father had discovered he had an interest in ocean skin diving along the California and Oregon coasts and, more was taught the skill of abalone hunting and the sport of spearfishing. So during abalone season, Mom would prepare the trailer for our trips each weekend by Thursday. We’d come home from school Friday afternoons and when Dad got off work would all get in the car or truck and hook up the trailer and go. Often my sis and I would be sound asleep by the time we arrived at coastal State Parks late at night. Waking in the morning we found ourselves in regularly visited places like Bodega Head, often in magical locations further up the coast, all the way up to around Mendocino and Cresent City.
As children, we became mountain goats and rock hoppers along the rough coastline. We explored forests, creeks, and campgrounds as totally free spirits. Spent many weekends and week or two long vacations on huge beaches playing and discovering as we chose.
There were no ‘helicopter parents’ no overriding fear of the unknown neighboring families parked and camping next to us. We had no concern about the local folk found in the nearby towns and stores. We met folks in innocence and discovered so many people who were receptive and honestly good people.
Those experiences carried me into my twenties and thirties, allowing me to enjoy camping and wilderness backpacking all over the western US. Now that my body no longer supports those exertions I realize what a wonderful life I had in those times. Today, I ride an electric-assisted bike and love the arboreal lands of Georgia surrounding me. I just wish my body adjusts better to heat. Until we moved here I was always in places the air was cool and comfort was just the effect of changing layered clothing.
Have had many great memory camping outings growing up with grandparents and parents, and still to this day enjoying the great outdoors, as I speak got the camper trailer ready, truck fueled up and hooked up to the camper ready to head out early morning. SEE YEA!!
I never realized how deeply ingrained cast iron skillet cornbread was a part of our camping life. It seemed like whatever the bounty of the ocean and the complimentary vegetable dishes there was always a fresh hot slice of cornbread slathered with margarine… well, my parents thought they were doing the right thing not serving real butter; signs of the times. I’ve since corrected the folly every time I make skillet bread!
I should add to my above post that having any kind of open fire while camping during stage 1 or 2 fire restrictions is not in any way ok! We have another big fire taking off North of Flagstaff. Reports are definitely human caused potentially arson.
Was on my way to go hike on the Mountain with my son but fortunately saw the first puffs of smoke and knew it was going to get out of hand quick so we turned back. They are evacuating the forest now.