Whether your child is a natural outdoors enthusiast or is just going along with a summer family trip, a variety of camping places exist for kids to try out. While it might most camping sites would be ideal for your little one, some areas are more family-friendly than others. Before you head out on a camping trip, check out some of the more kid-focused options.
Older kids who can understand the beauty of nature might enjoy a national park camping trip. With more than 84 million acres of national park lands across the U.S., camping sites can be found in every state except Delaware. Not every national park offers camping and many have only seasonal offerings, such as in spring through early fall. Parents should look for national parks that are part of the Junior Ranger program. This program features workbooks and activities that you can typically pick up at the park's visitors or nature center.
Like national parks, state parks also offer pristine natural grounds that are ideal for camping with kids. State parks are often inexpensive alternatives to private campgrounds, set in government-maintained woodlands, beaches and other outdoors areas. Some states offer special programs for families with children or other get-outdoors incentives. For example, the Pennsylvania State Parks have a First-Time Camper Program in which beginners get two nights stay at select state parks and instruction on the how-to's of camping from experts for $20 per family. Likewise, Texas Parks and Wildlife state has a similar program called the Texas Outdoor family workshops. These kid-friendly programs help families to enjoy their camping experience by teaching parents and kids how to set up the camp, use a GPS and learn about wildlife activities.
Private camping spots give your family amenities galore, depending on the site. If you are looking for a extra camping activities that go beyond hiking, biking and sitting around the campfire, a private campground is the way to go. KOA campgrounds, which provide private, nationwide camping, have an array of amenities and activities at sites around the country. For example, the Yosemite South KOA in California has a swimming pool, Wi-Fi, cable TV and activities such as potluck dinners.
If you don't have time to go away on on a full-fledged camping trip, try a backyard adventure. Set up a tent, get out the sleeping bags and spend the night in the great outdoors of your own home. This camping activity is ideal for families with younger children or those who may have fears of spending the night outside. If your child starts to feel some outdoors anxiety, take the trip inside and set up a makeshift tent in the family room.