Camping is a time honored tradition, especially for families. Indeed, family camping vacations are one of the most popular choices for Americans, with families spending about 534.9 million days camping altogether in 2011. Camping is a formative experience for many young people, especially for those who don’t get the chance to experience much of nature in their homes. Among current camping participants, 85% took their first trip between birth and the ages of 15 — after 15, chances of being introduced to camping were small. In order to foster an appreciation and respect for the great outdoors, many families choose to camp with their children during vacation times.
Of course, camping can also be labor intensive, especially with kids in tow. Check out how to make your family vacation camping trip a little for relaxing for everyone:
- Food Prep: Make your vacation feel more like a vacation by doing as much food prep before hand as possible, while you have a sink, cutting boards, and space at your disposal. Marinate meat, prepare kebabs, pack sandwiches, and chop vegetables with dip. Don’t forget the watermelon.
- Come Prepared for Rainy Days: Even though you may be all geared up for some summer outdoor fun, rain happens, and when it does, it is best to have activities planned so the little ones (and their parents) don’t go tent-crazy. Bring board games, coloring supplies, and books to pass the time until the sun shines again.
- Take Advantage of the Ranger Stations: The ranger stations or visitors centers at parks are chock-full of untapped resources for camping families. During busy seasons, rangers will often hold learning sessions and nature activities for kids. Plus, they’ll provide maps, interesting facts, wildlife identification checklists, and suggestions for activities to do together.
Camping has a high rate of return for a reason — 99% of camping participants said they were “likely” or “very likely” to camp next year, according to the 2014 American Camping Report. Whether you and your family go cabin camping or tent camping, tenting or family cabin camping provides a valuable chance for families and groups to spend time in nature, take a break from work or school, and spend your family vacation together with those who matter the most.