5 Tips for Camping With Kids That Could Save Your Family Vacation

September 12, 2016

Pamela Miller 1Camping can be a lot of fun at any age. If you love hiking in the great outdoors and sleeping under the stars, you probably want to share your passion with your kids. Camping with kids is great fun!

In fact, camping vacations are already one of the most popular vacation choices for American families. In total, they spent about 534.9 million days camping in 2011 alone. According to a recent survey, as many as 13% of adult campers took a family camping vacation because they wanted to spend more time with their families. Camping with your kids can be a blast, but it can also be a challenge.

To avoid any vacation-ruining drama, here are five ways you can make your family camping trip a little easier for everyone.

Plan and prep meals. Planning meals for camping trips can be hard enough since storage and cooking supplies are so limited. Add kids and their picky appetites into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a whole new challenge. Make sure you portion everything out ahead of time and keep all food sealed in a bear-proof container. Bring snacks that will provide your kids with enough energy throughout the day to hike and play.

Make a checklist. Packing all the essentials is critical to planning a successful family camping trip. Kids require a lot more gear than you might realize, so make a list and check items off as they go into the backpack.

Keep them busy. Not all kids are fascinated by sticks and pine cones, especially in this day and age, when so many kids rely on their television or Minecraft for entertainment. To keep the boredom at bay, get them outside and participating in all of the activities and amenities Our parks have to offer!  Bring along some books and board games for rainy days as well. While you’re outside enjoying the fresh air, take the time to teach your kids about nature and get them excited about outdoor activities.

Find a family-friendly campsite. For family camping trips, make sure you are heading to a safe and kid-friendly site. Choose family campgrounds that provide an array of options for activities such as hiking trails or a lake for swimming or fishing. For a child’s first camping trip, you may want to stay close to home, especially if you are tent camping.

Stay safe. Nothing is more important than safety during family camping trips. If you have multiple children and are worried that you won’t be able to keep an eye on them at all times, have them use the buddy system. You can also give them whistles to blow in case they get lost or hurt.

Among current campers, 85% took their first trip between birth and age 15. After age 15, the chances of being introduced to camping are lower. Similarly, 57% of campers regularly participated in outdoor activities when they were young, while just one-quarter of non-participants were exposed to the outdoors.

If you want your kids to have a healthy relationship to the world away from screens, camping is the perfect solution. Taking your kids camping is a wonderful experience!

Don't Forget These Must-Bring Camping Items on Your Next Family Vacation

September 12, 2016

easy-camping-recipe-campfire-coneWhen you are prepping for a family vacation, it can be easy to forget some items in your stash. You don’t want to shell out a lot of money replacing forgotten items at your camp resort’s store, so here is a list of some must-bring camping items. Be sure to check these items off your pre-camping checklist so you never go without on those family camping trips!

A first aid kit

You are bound to experience a bump, bruise, scratch, or burn while on a camping trip. Carry one with you at all times and make sure it is stocked with plenty of bandages of all sizes, anti-septic cream, burn ointment, gauze, and medical tape. While you’re at it, be sure to pack things like asthma inhalers or Epipens as needed!

Peanut butter and Nutella

These two snack staples are a must for any family vacation, as they are well-liked by all ages and can be used for many different purposes. Peanut butter especially is a great source of protein that can be used for a makeshift dinner, or to even remove gum from your hair!

A couple pairs of matches and a lighter

You can leave matches in your camping bag for long periods of time, but it is always a good idea to have a couple more for backup. It can also be helpful to have a lighter on hand in case the matches get wet.

Tarps

These are great if you are camping in tents and need a little extra protection. They are easy to store and take up virtually no space in the car.

Flashlights and Lanterns

You can never have enough sources of light when you are camping. Bring at least one flashlight for every person in your party to use, and toss a few lanterns in your bag. Don’t forget plenty of extra batteries, too.

A water filter

For those roughing it, it is a good idea to bring a water filter so you will not be concerned over the quality of the water you’re drinking. You can get portable water bottle filters, or a big jug or pump for the entire family to use.

An extra set of sheets and blankets

Mother Nature can surprise you and deliver a rainstorm at the most inopportune moment. Leaks happen quite frequently when tent camping, so you can never be too safe. Always pack extra bedding, just in case. After all, who wants to sleep in damp sheets?

On average, camping aficionados spend 14.9 days a year camping. No matter where you stay, remember these items for a family vacation with no stress!

Kid-Friendly Camping Tips and Activities

September 12, 2016

RVFTA Syndicate Image 8_16Camping is a great way to spend time as a family. In fact, the 2014 American Camper Report showed that 40.1 million Americans (that’s 14% of the U.S. population over age six) camped in 2013. This just shows that kids of all ages enjoy camping, so plan your next family vacation immersed within the wilderness!

That being said, not all camping activities are kid friendly. Here are some fun tips and activities to enjoy with your kiddos that will make those family camping vacations ones to remember!

Preparation:

1.Pack clothes with easy dressing in mind. It will make the entire campsite tidy and easy to clean.

2.Prepare a good first aid kit.

3.Buy two collapsible bins. Throw laundry in one and trash in the other to stay a bit more organized.

4.Bring along puzzles, books, and quiet games so your kids can relax and have some free time to themselves when they are cabin camping.

Set up:

1.Think ahead and determine a safe campground layout, keeping the child’s location to the fire in mind at all times.

2.Set up a hand sanitizer or hand washing station that is easy for everyone to access.

3.Make sure your child has a lantern or flashlight within reach.

4.If you are camping in a tent, toss in some blankets and pillows to make the ambiance feel more comfortable.

Activities to do

Of course, Jellystone Parks pride themselves in 1st rate activities and amenities on site, but it’s always fun to have some old fashioned alternatives to keep in mind as well.

1.Star gaze! Bring along a book of constellations that are visible in your location at that time of year and get to imagining! See who can find the most unique constellations and hard to find planets.

2.Go searching for animal tracks. This is a great way to teach your younger kids to learn about wild animals in your geographic location.

3.Make s’mores and other treats over the campfire.

Games to play

1.Have a family-wide scavenger hunt! Be creative, split into teams, and whoever gets the most amount of items in an hour wins! Some ideas to include are a feather, a purple flower, an odd shaped rock, a piece of trash, a pine cone, a piece of rope, and/or a coin.

2.Lawn twister.

3.Glow stick ring toss.

4.Frisbee Golf.

5.Nature Tic Tac Toe.

With these tips in mind, you will not want to return from your family vacation! All you need to do is pull up to your family cabin rentals, pitch your tent, or rent an RV and get ready to make some great memories.

Tips for Keeping a Campground Clean

August 1, 2016

Camping isn’t just about reconnecting with family and friends — it’s about connecting with our natural environment. Part of our responsibility as campers is to keep the impact on our environment to a minimum while we enjoy it. We all know that we should “leave no trace” while in the wilderness, but that can be hard to do when camping, especially with large groups or children on family vacations. Campers travel an average of 186.7 miles to go camping and spend an average of 14 days at a campsite, which can make cleaning up an extra chore that many don’t feel they have time for.

Cleaning a campsite can be difficult, but it is also an important part of the experience. Check out these tips for making and keeping your campsite clean and pristine during your family camping vacations:

    • Less is more. When packing for your trip, be deliberate and mindful of what you are bringing. The more times you go camping, the better you should be able to plan for your next trip. Doing things like prepping for meals before you go, “undressing” snacks and toiletries products, and using versatile pieces of clothing instead of several different ones is a great way to reduce mess before you even get to the campsite.
    • Bring biodegradable soaps for washing: Soaps and laundry detergent that is biodegradable can help lessen the impact on the environment.
    • If you are tent camping, start a garbage bag as soon as you set up camp, but make sure to move it inside or into an animal or bear-proof locker before you go to bed every night. Consider using a pop-up hamper with a zipper, lined with a heavier duty trash bag.
    • Bring a mat to put outside of your tent or cabin entrance, to prevent the inside from getting messy, muddy, and hard to pack up later.

The overwhelming majority of surveyed campers said they’re planning an average of 4.9 camping trips. Whether you go on one trip or five, make sure to try that your family camping vacations “leave no trace”.

3 Simple Recipes for Your Next Family Camping Trip

August 1, 2016

When it comes to family vacations, there are so many fun activities to choose from. For Americans, however, camping is at the top of the list.

In 2010, approximately 40 million people took a camping trip, for a total of 515 million outings. Fast forward to 2014 – the American Camper Report revealed that 40.1 million Americans, or 14% of the U.S. population over the age of six, camped in 2013. As many as 99% of those surveyed in the report said that they were “likely” or “very likely” to camp again during the next year.

So, yes, some families prefer lounging on the beach or riding roller coasters at an amusement park, but the experience of tent and cabin camping is alive and well in the 21st century.

One aspect of camping is that some campers may struggle with cooking. Most of our cabins have all of the essentials you need for helping you make a fun meal, but if you are tent camping, then we have some easy camping recipes and delicious suggestions to help you enjoy the most of your family camping time!

Three Simple Meals for Campers

    1. Foil Packet Breakfast: Foil packets are great for cooking on a camping trip. All you have to do is toss it on the grill or over the campfire. For this meal, add your choice of breakfast goodies. For example, we recommend sausage, eggs, potatoes, and onions. You’ll need to par-cook the potatoes a little bit — or throw in the leftover veggies from last night’s grilling adventure.
    2. Hobo Dinner: Like the previous meal, all you need to do is throw some ingredients in a foil packet. Your hobo dinner can consist of beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions. Fish filets are another great candidate for this low-maintenance meal, since the foil will keep it from drying out or falling apart — two problems that tend to occur when you’re grilling fish.
    3. Orange Peel Blueberry Muffins: This one is super creative. Pour your muffin ingredients inside a hollowed out orange peel to keep them moist, and add extra flavor, while they cook over the fire.

Those were just a few to get you started as there are so many more creative ways to craft delicious meals with minimal tools and ingredients.

The 3 Best Camping Recipes For You and Your Family

August 1, 2016

camping recipesWhen it comes to vacations, a family camping trip is often the most convenient and low-cost way to get the whole family out of the house and into nature. Indeed, about 13% of adult camping participants went on trips because they wanted to spend more time with their families, and 12% of adult campers first went camping with their own immediate family.

Family camping is truly an American past-time, with American families camping around 534 million days collectively in 2011. And while it can be the best choice, it doesn’t mean it is the easiest.

Camping can require a lot of planning; from getting the necessary outdoor gear to remembering to bring appropriate clothing. However, the most important thing to consider is food. Contingent upon where you camp, there may not be many restaurants in or around family campgrounds, after all. (Plus, it’s much more fun to cook over the fire with the whole family.) Check out these awesome camping recipes for easy preparation and delicious flavors:

Omelet in a Bag
With just a gallon-sized Ziploc and boiling water, you can make easy omelettes for the whole family. Crack two or three eggs into each individual bag, and add fun ingredients, like onions, peppers, cheese, ham, sausage, and spinach. Stick them in the cooler. In the morning, boil a large pot of water and cook them for about 12 or 13 minutes. After that, pull them out of the water, slip them out of the bags and onto a plate.

Campfire Sandwiches

Without cutting all the way through a loaf of French bread, cut 12 slices about 3/4 an inch thick, which will create six sandwiches. Melt some butter and spread it with mustard on each slice. Then, fold cheese slices in half, adding ham slices into the middle, and slip them in the slits of the bread. Wrap the whole loaf in foil and place on the grill or on coals for about 20 minutes. Remove from the fire and pull apart delicious melty sandwiches!

Cake in an Orange

Cut the top off of an orange and scoop out the flesh, which you can use for juice or fruit salad in the morning. Then, fill with cake batter, cover, wrap in foil, and stick in the coals. About 20 minutes later, you’ll have a cake in an orange!

Make sure you make your reservation at CampJellystone.com and try out these fun recipes.

Family Camping Vacation Ideas: Part 1

August 1, 2016

When summer is here and the kids are out of school, it is time to think about your next family vacation! Why not try something new and go camping? Family camping vacations are one of the most popular choices for Americans, who spent in total 534.9 million days camping in 2011 alone.

People who already understand about the joys of camping cite many reasons why it makes for a great vacation. A full 87% went to participate in outdoor activities, 13% went on a family camping vacation to spend more time with their families, and 99% of all campers enjoyed themselves so much on their family vacation that they planned on going back to camp the following year.

Camping in an outdoor camp resort is also a great way to get your children involved in nature. Need some inspiration for your next camping trip? Read on for some family friendly, kid-approved games and activities!

Twig Castles

Your kids enjoy making sandcastles at the beach, so why not make some out of twigs they collect all around your campsite? Because you may have some difficulty keeping the sticks together, make sure to bring some glue, string, and scissors along.

Stories around the campfire

This old classic is a tried and true favorite. The stories can range from childhood laughs, to scary ghost stories. You can even have the group collaborate on a story: one person starts, then the next person contributes a sentence, and so on and so forth.

Scavenger hunt with a nature walk

      Mix two activities into one! Go on a nature walk or hike and have a list of things to find. Some ideas include:
      • A heart shaped leaf
      • A feather
      • A pinecone
      • Something a raccoon would like to eat
      • Something of every color of the rainbow
      • Something fuzzy
      • Something that makes noise
      • Two pieces of garbage (to throw out)
      • A piece of treasure
      Whoever gets the most on the list wins a prize!

Fairy Houses

      Make houses for homeless fairies! Collect wood, twigs, rocks, and feathers for your construction materials, and place a little door next to a tree trunk, to let the fairy know she is welcome there! Remember to make it as beautiful as you can, because fairies are picky and only deserve the best. Keep your eye out for our family vacation ideas: Part 2!

 

3 Things to Focus on When Camping With the Family

June 24, 2016

Camping is one of the most time honored, cost efficient, and family friendly ways to vacation. In 2010 alone, approximately 40 million people went camping for a total of 515 million outings. Indeed, campers get physical activity (evidenced by the fact that 87% of campers participated in multiple outdoor activities), the opportunity to travel (evidenced by the fact that campers traveled an average distance of 186.7 miles for camping trips) and of course, time to spend with friends and family.

But, it can be hard to focus your attention and prioritize everyone’s activities, especially when traveling with kids. Check out these tips for camping mindfully:

Learn Through Hobbies

Use your family camping vacations as a way for the whole family to learn a new skill or develop an old one. For instance, birding, fishing, or foraging can make your family vacations much more goal oriented and overall structured. Plus, if you come away from your trip having seen a couple species of birds you’ve never seen or caught a particularly large fish, you and your family will feel quite positive and triumphant.

Hiking Goals

Don’t underestimate your children, especially if they are slightly older and share your love for the outdoors. For some people, vacation time simply means that the schedule is clear for pursuing loftier goals — literally. Why not use some vacation cabins as base, and take on the tougher trails by having overnight camping trips. Some families in New York might have their eyes on the ultimate prize of becoming 46ers — folks who have climbed the 46 highest peaks in the state — but every state in the country has its own unique landscape upon which goals of height and endurance can be reached.

Let Your Creativity Rein

Before you go on your trip, have everyone in your family select an artistic medium to explore while you immerse yourselves in nature, with one piece of equipment each. This might include a palette and sketchbook for a painter, a journal for a writer, a camera for a photographer, and an instrument or tape recorder for a musician. The natural world has inspired art for many millennia — why should your family take any exception? Share with each other what you have created and encourage one another to explore new mediums.

From vacation cabins to tent camping, there is no reason why a camping trip with the family shouldn’t be the best time of the year.

How to Have Fun With the Whole Family

June 12, 2016

Think there’s no such thing as “fun for the whole family”? That’s understandable — after all, in-between working, school, and other activities, it may seem as though there isn’t even a time when the family is together, let alone having fun together. Not to mention the fact that each member of the family has his or her own idea of what “fun” even means.

Enter family vacations, which are the one time that you and your family have the chance to relax, bond, share valuable experiences, and create memories. Fun for the whole family is possible — even on a low budget. Check out these tips for having a successful family vacation that will show everyone a good time:

Compromise

It’s unreasonable to expect everyone in the family to be excited about everything on a trip, so compromising is the way to go. Camping is one of the most popular family vacations — American families spent about 534.9 million days camping in 2011 alone, when approximately 40 million people went camping for a total of 515 million outings. Not everyone likes sleeping out in a tent, however, so if you want the pleasures of the great outdoors but also the luxury and convenience of having a roof over your heads, you can compromise by staying in family vacation cabins instead.

Spend Time Alone

Yes, the point of the family vacation is to spend time with one another, but 24/7 living with the same people is never going to have a happy ending — make sure that everyone gets the chance to do the activities they want, see the sights that they are excited for, and have some time alone to unwind and rest.

Come Prepared

This goes especially for family camping trips — even cabin camping. Indeed, 82% of cabin campers spend one to two nights outside. Make sure to do meal prep and prepare an itinerary, even if you don’t end up following it. Have a backup plan for rainy days, and be aware of your surroundings on your trip so that you won’t be stuck in the event of an emergency or any special circumstances.

Your family vacation can be truly amazing, as long as you put some thought into how exactly it is executed. Whether you are on a road trip or renting family vacation cabins, make sure to take the time to bond with your family members and enjoy the ride.

The Camper's Guide to Zika

May 25, 2016

With spring in the air, many camping fanatics are switching off their television sets and hitching on their hiking boots in hopes of making their first tent camping endeavor of the season. Indeed, camping is somewhat of a pastime for Americans: in 2013 alone, over 40 million people went camping, and almost 99% of campers report that they were likely to camp again within the coming year.

And while 87% of those campers are eager to engage in multiple outdoor activities on their family camping trip, perhaps they shouldn’t turn off their television news program just yet — especially if the Zika virus is the hot topic that’s trending.

What is the Zika virus?
Zika is an illness caused by the Zika virus. Typically, it is usually mild, with the most frequent symptoms being fever, joint pain, rash and red eyes. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a week. It’s rare for someone to have to be hospitalized because of the Zika virus.

Who is vulnerable?
While anyone can contract the Zika virus, those who spend a lot of time outdoors are of course at a slightly greater risk. Pregnant women and campers should be especially cautious of the Zika virus, as it can cause very serious negative birth outcomes as well as birth defects of the brain.

How does it spread?
The Zika virus is typically spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes normally lay their eggs in and near standing water. They also occupy shady areas, like wooded campgrounds and shaded campgrounds. They will also come out at night, so be sure to prepare yourself if you are tent camping.

Where is Zika now?
Currently, no one in the U.S. has been locally infected by the virus. Check your local news station for outbreaks and warnings. However, do not live in fear of Zika. Regardless of where you are, it’s important to take precautionary measures.

How do I protect myself.
Stocking up on permethrin and EPA approved bug repellent sprays is one of the biggest and best lines of defense. Spray your clothing in permethrin and let it sit overnight. Additionally, cover exposed areas of your body with Deet. If possible, try to wear long sleeves.

There’s no family vacation like a family camping vacation. That being said, don’t be afraid to get out there and enjoy yourself. With education and awareness, it’s possible to protect yourself from Zika and have a good time.

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