Camping during the summer is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and travel on a budget. Even if you aren’t the outdoorsy type, there are ways to make camping more like glamping and ensure you have a good time. There is nothing worse than being under-prepared, you may feel high-maintenance packing things like a blow-up air mattress, but honestly, if you know you won’t sleep without it then it’s worth it. Trying to enjoy yourself after sleepless nights is near impossible, so make sure you consider all the possibilities and situations so you will be prepared for it all.
Book Ahead of Time
It turns out people are super organized and plan things way ahead of time these days. I assumed the camping types were more laid back and spontaneous, but every time I go to plan a last minute camping trip, sites are booked for months in advance. So, think ahead and plan your weekend or week away by booking early. Check out ReserveAmerica.com to find campsites near you.
Research Camping Spot
Once you have picked your camping destination make sure you do the research to pick a good campsite. There are definitely good and bad spots and I have experienced both. Being too far away from water or the bathrooms is never fun. Make sure your spot has all the things that are important to you. Having a waterfront site with proximity to water and bathrooms is definitely ideal if possible! Sometimes these sites are a little more expensive but definitely worth the extra cost. A spot that provides shade from trees is also really helpful for those hot summer days and even a little shelter from the rain.
Check The Weather
To each their own, but I personally am not one to camp in the rain. Yes, Mother Nature is unpredictable and a stray shower here and there is no biggie, but if the weekend is predicted to be thunderstorms and rain, I’m out. Know your limits and check the weather before you leave. If it’s going to be cooler at night, make sure you pack enough layers and blankets. If it’s going to rain bring rain gear and extra clothes, there is nothing worse than being stuck in the rain in soggy wet clothes. Be prepared so you can enjoy yourself regardless of the weather. Things like tarps and pop up tents ensure you can have fun regardless of the weather. Board games and cards are fun activities to play under a pop up tent or inside a tent when it’s raining. Really hot, dry weather can also be tough if you are not prepared. Having shade, water access, and sun protection are all key to keeping things fun.
Make a Packing List
A thorough packing list is the best way to ensure you don’t forget a thing! Here is a general list to start and you can add any additional items you will need.
General Packing List
- Sleeping bags, blankets, pillows
- Air mattress/soft support, pump (optional)
- Pop up tent
- Propane travel grill
- Wash bin/dry bin
- Water (for drinking, washing, brushing, etc)
- Plates, cups, cutlery, napkins,
- Papertowels, dishcloths
- Bug spray
- Sun screen
- Firewood, kindling (sometimes you can purchase this at the campsite)
- Trash bags
- Flashlights, headlamps
- Hiking boots
- Water shoes
- Rain Jacket
- Socks (warm and light)
- Bathing suit
- Basic toiletries
- Portable charger
- Board games/cards
- Food/Snacks/Beverages (Check out 101 Cookbooks 12+ Camping Recipes to Make Camping Meals No Big Deal)
- Cooler, ice
- All the fixings for s’mores- because you can’t go camping without ’em!
Tips for Camping with Kids
Make sure your tent is big enough. Depending on your children’s age, maybe have a large family tent or several tents. You know your kids best, what will ensure the best night sleep for everyone? Friends of mine have used things like laundry bins instead of pack-n-plays for infants. Make sure you have enough water, games and snacks to keep kids happy and entertained. Hot dogs and s’mores are always a crowd pleaser. Prepare ahead of time with the proper kids gear. Rain gear (rain suit), hats, waterproof shoes, layers and plenty of changes of clothes will help keep your kiddos warm and happy.
Let us know your favorite camping spots and best tips in the comments!
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