It’s been a few years since we went camping as a family. We used to go all the time and kind of stopped for a little while when all the kids were little.
We used to camp all the time when our oldest two were babies & toddlers, but something about having three in 4.5 years puts you over the edge. We kinda stopped for a while! Now that our youngest is 5 years old, we feel prepared to start back up again.
This month we went on a camping trip at a lake just down the road from our house, and it was lovely.
We chose a weekend when there were scattered thunderstorms predicted, but we figured it would be ok if we got a little wet. So off we went!
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Our camp site that was on a loop set back into the woods. A bathhouse was at the front of the loop (where we parked our vehicles), then our campsite was 1/3 mile walk into the woods down the left side of the loop.
So- if you can image it – if the loop was a clock, the bath house sat at 6 o’clock, and our campsite was at 10 o’clock. This was the path leading down to our campsite:
We kind of over packed for this camping trip. Never again will I do that! Walking all of our unnecessary additional camping supplies down a gravel road for 1/3 of a mile in May is not my idea of a fun time.
You live and learn! 🙂
Once we lugged all of our stuff down to the campsite, we got it all set up fairly quickly.
We kept most of it at our friend’s campsite. Because we camped with two other families – each family had their own camp site with 4 or 5 people at each site.
We congregated (and set up all of our food) at the middle camp site belonging to our good friends who were set up at a centrally located site.
We kept this camping trip rather low key. We didn’t plan tons of activities other than riding our bikes around to explore the beach at the lake.
Our friends brought this handy little water toy that we took turns going out on one day!
And at night we played games. Our favorite camping game of all time is (don’t laugh) Catch Phrase! It’s like hot potato for grown ups! 🙂 Some of the questions are easy enough for the older kids to play (9 years old +). It’s perfect for anytime you’re sitting around in a circle, like around a camp fire.
The rest of the time, we just lounged around, ate campfire food, and laughed a lot. It was so relaxing!!
Everyone had an amazing time, kids and adults alike. I wish I had gotten more pictures to share with you but I literally unplugged almost the entire time!
I’ll remember to take an actual camera next time so I don’t have to have my iPhone on me at all times to snap pictures.
I’m currently researching camera options for capture outdoor activities with kids. I’ll report back when I find the perfect one!
Where do you like to go camping as a family?
So many moms have told me recently that they would NEVER go camping with their kids!
It kinda makes me sad. Cuz it’s not really that hard at all.
In fact, it’s easier than staying at home for the weekend because something about the outdoors makes the kids just want to play & explore all on their own the entire time!
If you are squeamish about taking your kids camping, I have a few tips that might help:
1) Take care of the bugs.
Make sure to keep everyone covered with bug spray and set up citronella candles around your campsite.
Nobody likes to be itchy the entire time, including the kids (and they will for sure complain about this constantly if they get all bit up!)
We burned 6 citronella candles like these around the camp site where we congregated the most (and blew them out before we went to bed each night). We used Off insect repellant and it worked like a charm.
We usually use Avon’s Skin So Soft oil and it works very well. I don’t know why it works but I’ve been told that bugs don’t like the scent. We ran out right before our trip and had to grab something else at the store on the way to the campground. Avon also has a lotion specifically for warding off bugs. I’ve not tried it before, but I bet it works great considering Skin So Soft works so well.
2) Plan one major activity you can do more than once.
For us, that was riding our bikes to the beach at the lake and hanging out for the afternoon. Sometimes we’ll plan to fish instead. Other fun activities that take up a lot of time are collecting cool rocks, collecting fire wood, and going on a hike.
3) Give everyone a job.
We put our 5-year-old in charge of flashlights. If you needed a flash light and a guide to walk you to the bath house at night, he was your guy! If you needed to walk between tents in the dark, he would lead the way! Our girls were in charge of making sure the fire had enough wood in it at all times. This meant that they had to periodically collect sticks to keep it going. They also roasted all the marshmallows for our smores every evening.
That’s really it – if you make minor plans, make sure no one gets eaten up by bugs, give everyone something to do to make camp a happy place, you’ll be good to go! You’ll have happy kids and an all around good time just hanging out in nature for the weekend.
Let me know if you decide to go camping as a family for the first time after reading this! I can’t wait to hear about it.