Family Camping Tips: How To Setup And Enjoy Your Campsite

Last Updated on July 29, 2022

Family Camping Tips: How To Setup And Enjoy Your Campsite

Camping is a great way to spend time with your family. Not only does it allow you to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but it also gives you the opportunity to explore nature and spend some quality time together. Camping with children creates some of the best childhood memories! If you’re new to family camping, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we will discuss the best family camping tips about how to set up your campsite and enjoy your time in the great outdoors when camping with children.

The Key To A Successful Camp Setup

Setting up a campsite may be enjoyable. It might also be the most miserable period of your trip. What are the most important factors in starting a camp? A variety of the proper tools and equipment will help get the job done. However, the second portion needs to have children that are willing to help.

You should want your children to be enthusiastic about the campground you have picked and the experience that awaits. However, setting up a campsite can become a menace if your kids are tugging on you, complaining, or running amok in the woods as you are trying to get it done.

Family camping as an adult is a completely different experience than camping as a youngster. It’s only when we reach adulthood that we fully comprehend how much planning went into those “simple” family camping activities and started searching for all the family camping tips and advice we could find. It is hard work, but the extra effort that needs to be put in to go camping with kids is worth it. Always!

Here are all the family camping tips you need to know about creating a campsite, including how to discover and select a location, as well as tips for getting the most out of your stay.

family camping tips
Camping in Dinosaur Provincial Park, AB

Choosing A Campsite

You’ll need to select your campground and campsite before going camping with children. There are a few factors to think about when camping with children, especially if you’re new to the experience:

  • Pre-book your campsite. In the last few years especially, demand for camping has increased exponentially. You will want to reserve your campsite in advance so you do not show up only to be disappointed.
  • National, Provincial or State campgrounds offer both serviced and non-serviced campsites. Some may have flushing toilets and basic showers, but most have convenient access to water, lakes, and hiking options. These parks also tend to keep nature more rugged and the areas are less developed.
  • Private campgrounds, on the other hand, offer a few more creature comforts at the expense of some of the classic camping feel. Some may even include electricity, a convenience store, game nights, or a swimming pool.
  • Check the campground map to try to get a campsite in your desired area. Do you want to be near the trail that leads to the lake? Close to flush toilets? Close to the playground for the kids?

Choosing The Perfect Location

When looking for a campsite, it’s important to know what level of creature comforts you want, or if you are willing to rough it a little bit more. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there a lake suitable for swimming? Are there designated swimming areas or lifeguards on duty?
  • Are there flush toilets and showers?
  • Is there a strictly enforced quiet time? (Otherwise, you could end up not sleeping all night if rowdy crowds are permitted)
  • How far is it from your house to the campground?
  • Are there watersport rentals available?
  • Is potable water available? Or will it have to be boiled before use?
  • Is there a playground? If not, what will you bring to entertain the kids?
  • Is there a convenience store nearby for any forgotten items?
  • Can you have a campfire? Is firewood readily available?

Read Next – Camping Essentials: The Gear You Should Have

Choosing a Campsite

You’ll want to be as picky as possible while looking for a great camping location in order to ensure that your family’s camping trip is as pleasurable as possible.

Here are some considerations we have when choosing a campsite:

  • Is the campsite close to a big body of water? If you have younger ones that can escape in the blink of an eye, you may want to steer away from bodies of water that could turn dangerous in no time.
  • Privacy: Are the campsites wide-open, or will you have privacy from being surrounded by trees?
  • How big is the campsite? Campsites should list dimensions online so you can get an idea of the size of the space you will have. Pay attention to this! We have had campsites that are huge and campsites that barely fit our tent and vehicle.
  • Where are the washrooms located? It is nice to be close to a bathroom option, but you’ll also want to not be immediately by it unless you do not mind hearing all the foot traffic all night. Also, how far do you want to wander after dark to the washroom?
family camping tips
Roasting Marshmallows while camping at  Fort Langley National Historic Site, BC

Campfire Bans

Check for fire bans before you leave. If there is a fire ban, it will be listed on the campground’s website. Sometimes, if the conditions are dry enough, even if there is not an outright fire ban, the campground may restrict fires to certain hours or only permit them in certain areas.

If there is a fire ban, you can still bring a portable gas stove for cooking. We have even brought a portable propane fire pit before. Check with the campground to see what their restrictions are regarding portable fire pits. You certainly will not want to miss out on an important part of camping – making delicious s’mores!

Read Next –Make the Best Campfire S’mores: Tips and Tricks for Perfection

Overcoming The Excitement Of Camping

Part of the reason that camping is such a great family activity is that it can be easily tailored to accommodate different ages and interests. While some campers might be content to explore the woods and build forts all day, others might prefer to fish or swim in the nearby lake. And of course, there’s always the option of just relaxing around the campfire and telling stories. No matter what your interests are, there’s sure to be something for everyone at the campsite!

All of the activity options can be exciting. However, this can also make it extra hard for kids to focus on anything but the fun waiting for them. To get the kids’ attention and set up camp, make sure they know their favorite activities are ready, and the quicker the campsite is erected, the sooner the fun can begin.

Arrive Early For Check In Time

Arriving early in the morning can help to relieve some of the stress associated with camping. This is one of our favorite family camping tips because it works so well!

If you arrive at your campsite early, you may allow the kids to explore the region for a time before setting up camp. While you will not be able to get to your campsite until check-in, you can explore some of the nearby areas, and get in line early to check in if a lineup typically forms at bigger campsites.

The ability to stretch out muscles that have been squeezed while driving is good. During this time, your kids will get rid of their restless energy. After the kids have had an opportunity to explore, they will be more willing to help with setting up camp. Trust us, this little break in between travel and camping can make all the difference.

It’s also essential not to wait too long before establishing camp. If you allow the gap between driving and setting up camp to stretch on too long, neither you nor the children will be in a mood to get down to business. If they get too deep into their play, it can make it difficult to stop for long enough to build a campsite during the day, and you certainly won’t want to attempt it after dark.

Give The Kids Their Own Tasks

Giving them their own tasks lets them feel like they are in control and essential. It’s very important to encourage children to continue to assist when you provide them with their own jobs. Children love to be recognized for their accomplishments, and this helps them develop a sense of accomplishment. Children are more competent than we give them credit for.

There are several things that have to be done that children can assist with: laying out a tarp for under the tent, setting up the tent, using an electric pump to blow up the air mattresses, carrying all the pillows and sleeping bags to the tent, hammering tent stakes into the ground, or collecting firewood. When you split up setting a campsite into all the individual jobs, nothing really seems that difficult!

However, there are times when the assistance of a youngster adds considerably to the task, so allow for this delay while considering how long it will take to make the best campsite setup.

Easy Unpacking

Our first few camping trips were very frustrating as we packed our van like a jigsaw puzzle, but without any thought to what we were packing and where. This meant that we had to unpack everything to find the tent when the tent is the first thing we like to put up at the campsite.

If you pack your vehicle in the opposite order that you’ll need access to your camping gear, things will go more smoothly. You will have less random gear all over the place and be able to pull out what you need when it has a purpose.

If you find yourself camping in unfavorable conditions, you’ll want to get the camp set up as soon as you can! A little extra thought to camping can help make this happen.

Read next – Camping For Beginners – Tips To Enjoy Camping This Summer

There Are Always Learning Opportunities

There’s always something new to learn when you go camping with children, especially as they get older and their interests and preferences change.

We are here to assist you in planning so that your trip goes as smoothly as possible. But I guarantee there will be surprises and learning opportunities along the way.

Why Trust Our Advice?

Darcy and I grew up camping as kids. We camped as a young couple and thought we knew it all when we started camping with our firstborn. There was a lot to learn as our family grew to four kids, and now we have been camping with kids for almost a decade now. We have found plenty of ways that work and plenty that didn’t over the years. Consider this a shortcut as you can learn from our mistakes with our family camping tips.


Love it? Pin it for later!