23 July 2008

Family camping hack: Choosing the best campsite with kids

Here's Sarah's practical advice about choosing a campsite when you've got little ones along:

We just got back from camping with our 3 year-old twins. It was a lot of fun, but could have been better if we'd just had better criteria for choosing a site. So here are the two criteria I'll use next time:

1) Find a site that's as close to the nicest bathrooms that the campground has. In our pre-kid days, I always wanted to be far away from the bathroom and away from any RV campers. But we quickly learned that our sons who will pee anywhere in the city don't like rustic potties. Even if it means being right next to the bathroom, with kids it's better to be too close than too far.

2) Choose a site that's close to a trailhead. Hiking with toddlers is ambitious since they get tired easily. And getting in and out of the car just to go for a hike seems silly. A campsite close to a trailhead will help ensure that you actually get to go a little ways into the woods before the kids start begging to be carried.

What features do you look for in an ideal family campsite?

More: Family camping tips at Parent Hacks

Your comments

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I like to find sites that don't have other sites behind them, so the kids (7, 7 & 3) have plenty of room to play. The neurotic dad in me prefers sites well away from any water, too.

Cheers,
Roy

Any packing tips? We've never gone camping with the little one because the sheer work involved in packing daunts me. Toddlers seem to need everything it's a given I'd be lugging along an eighth of all our worldly possessions should we ever decide to go camping!

If your campgrounds will let you pitch more than 1 tent on a site, buy a cheap tent and just keep supplies in it. A tent can get very crowded with all the baby gear and toys. This way, you can keep stuff clean, but keep your main tent livable.

If your campgrounds will let you pitch more than 1 tent on a site, buy a cheap tent and just keep supplies in it. A tent can get very crowded with all the baby gear and toys. This way, you can keep stuff clean, but keep your main tent livable.

Great tips. I love hiking with my kids. We do it once a month. But surely we gonna try out camping one day.

Many campgrounds allow you to reserve a specific campsite ahead of time, so check out online maps and get campsite numbers if you’re getting a recommendation from a friend or fellow forum-user. Obviously, you will want a level site that gets a good mixture of sun and shade, with some trees, bushes or large rocks for privacy if possible. Sites near the entrance of the park likely get the most traffic, while sites near the back often get the least.
JOSEPH

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