Planning Your Family’s Summer Camping Trip

Summer’s Eve is upon us and soon those amber nights, followed by campfire stories, gooey roasted marshmallows atop creamy warm chocolate, and the smell of nature will be here. Where will you camp? What kind of camping will you do and how many times are you going this summer? Here’s a guide to planning your family’s summer camping trip, whether it’s one big grand adventure or many Friday nights on a smaller scale.

Select kind of Camping

Will you camp in a tent, utilize the glamping amenities of a camper, or sleep under the stars?  Deciding this factor first will help you plan the rest of your trip.

  • Tent Camping

Is your tent in tip-top shape? Is it time to replace it? Will you need to hit up the Memorial Day sales in May?

  • Camper Camping

If you already own a camper, make sure to do a check of fluids and tires before heading out. If you do not have a camper, maybe this is the year. The other option is to rent a camper for your trip that can be hauled behind a truck. Perhaps, renting a camper for one trip will give you an idea about whether or not you want to pursue purchasing one.

Selecting a Camp Site

Once you know the type of camping that your family is going to engage in, you can select a campsite. You can Google thousands of camping spots online, complete with maps.

  • Car Camping

Car camping gets a bad rep. The truth is that if you have little ones, hiking in is not necessarily feasible. Driving to a campground and settling in for the night could prove to be a great experience and give you all the wilderness fill you need until the babies are a bit older.

  • Hiking In

Great adventures are to be had amidst the woods and mountains nearby. Consider hiking into a beautiful lake. Be prepared with solid hiking boots and sturdy packs, as well as rain gear.

How Remote Do You Want to Go?

Depending on what type of campsite you are looking for, it will depend on how remote you can go. Some people prefer crowded campgrounds with friendly faces. They like the interaction, the amenities typically provided by the campgrounds, as well as bask in the safety factor of numbers.

Others prefer to drive their RV as far away from civilization as possible. Just be sure that you have packed enough fuel, as well as food to get you to and from your destination. Have a safety plan, in the event that someone gets hurt.

Hiking in can accommodate crowds or find individuals in solace and stillness. Remember that if the trail is marked easier and not too far up the way, you’ll likely have other campers nearby. Medium to difficult hikes is going to be more remote, as fewer people will be inclined to hike as far or go up the mountain terrain. Again, be prepared with the necessary water filtration, a water source (hike near a stream), tools, and a source of food.


Amenities are pretty self-explanatory. Do you need showers, running water and toilets, or a grocery store nearby? Maybe you’re interested in volleyball courts. That will determine a lot about where you decide to camp and how.

Menu Planning

Full bellies bring typically happier and more agreeable faces. Make sure to consider the crowd you are feeding. If they don’t like fish, then, hiking to that lake where you plan to catch all of your food may not be the right camping spot. What happens if the fish don’t bite? What is your back-up? Consider meals that you can prepare ahead of time if possible and that will have quick clean up.  And choose the meals that people like. Maybe ask everyone for ideas before making the menu.


If you’re camping with a big family group, you will want to plan some sort of itinerary. Since this group is likely car camping, it may be easier to bring various activities, like crafts, volleyball nets to set up at the campsite, and nature walks. Sitting around camp chairs for an entire day will likely not go over well with everyone. Since electronics will not be feasible, make sure to plan.

For people hiking in, activities can include nature walks, collecting treasures along the way, fishing, berry picking, quiet reading, and perhaps, something like wood carving.

Glampers have a bit of an advantage because they will potentially have electronics added as a bonus. Maybe a movie night under the stars is a possibility.

The beauty of camping is that you can make it what you want. If you want a more raw, authentic, and rustic experience, you can plan that. Maybe your family is more of the indoor type and glamping is as much as they do. That’s okay. Car camping at its finest is as much as some people ever do, and they feel satisfied. Don’t let someone’s judgment bully you into an experience you don’t want to have. Find out what works for your family and begin planning the perfect family summer camping trip.

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