Taking the family out into nature and saying goodbye to technology for a couple days is necessary these days as we are all super connected, even out kids. Kids at first will have a hard time understanding why you are taking away their iPod or Xbox but a couple days hanging out in nature will show them that there is more to life than what level you are on in Candy Crush.
Car camping is one of the easiest ways to get the family started on a life of loving the outdoors. The reason it is called car camping is that you drive your car to the camping spot and staying in a tent. Whereas backpack camping is where you carry all of your things to the campsite. RV camping is just that – you are staying in a motorized vehicle and not in a tent.
Car camping with kids is a lot of fun and there are quite a few items on the market to make your trip even more enjoyable. First, you need a good quality tent. The tents at REI that are for 4- and 6-persons are very easy to put together and are backed by that great REI guarantee. You can even buy the additional front porch-like structure to give you more room. If you will be camping in an area with a lot of bugs or mosquitos, invest in a shade structure that sits over the picnic table so that you are safe from the little guys while you eat.
With car camping you have to decide if you want to go fully rustic or have things that plug in and make your life a little easier. If you are bringing generators, fans, or anything else with a plug, make sure you get a campsite with electricity. The majority of all campsites come with a fire ring and a picnic table, some will have a water and electricity. Even if you go the rustic route, you can pick up a couple solar mats to charge your cell phone if needed.
When camping in National Parks check with the Park Rangers on their kid’s programs. Often times they have a Junior Park Ranger program, kid’s hikes, and a ton of activities for kids of all ages. You will find everything from butterfly catching to hiking back to see waterfalls. In the evenings there are night programs at the camp theater where they might bring in local animals, talk about the park’s conservation efforts, or show the different star constellations. All of the programs are typically listed online a month in advance so you can see what your family would be interested in.
Bringing outdoor toys for the kids is a great way to enjoy camping. Throwing the Frisbee or riding their bikes around with the other kids is a great way to pass the afternoon. A lot of times some of the best car camping sites are located near a lake where you can dip your toes or toss in your fishing line. A couple days of swimming, biking, and fishing is sure to help your kids forget that they are not glued to their iPods!