What You Need:
Depending on where you go & how 'rugged' you want to get, there are a ton of camping options. You could camp in a tent, a pop up camper, a self contained camper, a large mobile home, a van or many campgrounds offer cabin rentals. The cabin rentals are a good way to go for the camping newbie. At KOA campgrounds, they offer many different rental opportunities - from small cabins for a real camping experience, to full house cabins with kitchens and bathrooms. KOA have campgrounds all over the country. Our favorites have been Lake Placid and Bar Harbor Maine.
grilled chicken pasta salad fruit salad
sausage & peppers soup chili
beef stew potato salad fajitas
Many of these can be eaten cold, or it's as easy as putting into a dollar store tin foil pan and re-heating over a grill or fire. Many campgrounds offer community grills. You only need to bring charcoal. But you can pick up a small camping grill at a sporting goods store for $25-30. Worth every penny if you plan to go camping more than once. Or that same grill is perfect for tailgating or family picnics at a park!
As far as what to do - the question is - what NOT to do! The beauty of camping is that the kids are entertained just running around in the woods near your site! But most campgrounds offer playgrounds, pools, beaches, hiking trails, bike paths, fishing, boating and more!
Tent/camper folding camping chairs
Bedding/pillows/air mattress or pad flashlights
small grill & propane plastic tablecloth
tin foil trays to cook in BABY WIPES (trust me)
serving/cooking utensils paper & lighter for campfire
paper goods marshmallows
cooler bug spray, sun screen, aloe
food & drinks first aid kit (cuts & bug bites happen)
playing cards camera
~Pack warm clothes & hats - even in the summer. It can get chilly at night.
~Research the area for indoor activities - you don't want to be stuck in a tent on a rainy day.
~Make sure you arrive with plenty of daylight - setting up in the dark is hard even for seasoned campers.
~First timers go local - so if disaster strikes, you are close to home. (and you can run home for all the things you forget)
So go ahead and give camping a try this summer. There are thousands of campgrounds everywhere. From mountains to lakes to the ocean. Check your local state parks, national parks, and private campgrounds like KOA. Some are rugged with little amenities and others have scheduled activities like arts & crafts and hayrides! Once you get over your fear and go, you'll never look back. Go out, unplug and enjoy nature with your kidz!
Reserve America - great for booking campgrounds both state & private
Camp Jellystone - great for little kids and families that want a lot of activities