Family camping is one of America’s favorite past times. Of those surveyed about their camping vacations, 13% reported they went camping because they wanted to spend more time with their family. Yet only 12% of adult campers went with their immediate family. Why not change that this year by having a camping family reunion?
Here’s a simple three step guide to planning an unforgettable family reunion camping vacation:
Step One: Find Your Campground
This can be easier said than done. Finding family campgrounds when it’s just your household isn’t so hard, but when it comes to coordinating the schedules and locations of your extended family as well, things get a little dicier. And location is only the first challenge you’ll face. Other important considerations include your group size, the activities available at the campsite, the camping amenities provided, and sleeping arrangements.
- Group size
The number of overnight guests will be a key determinant in the campgrounds you choose. Depending on the days of the week you’re planning to stay and how far in advance you’re booking, finding a site with enough space to accommodate everyone could be a challenge. If you can plan a trip during the workweek, you’ll be more likely to find availability at your chosen campgrounds. Likewise, the selection available will be far better if you can plan your trip well in advance.
Chances are your group will cover a wide age range. Make sure the campsite you choose has fun activities for all attendees. If children will be coming, a campsite with playgrounds and open recreation areas works well. You might want to find a site with activities the whole family can do together as well such as hiking, sports, or boat rentals if you’ll be at lakeside campgrounds.
- Camping Amenities
Even if you’re comfortable roughing it with only the barest of essentials, Grandma and Grandpa may have different ideas. Before committing to a campgrounds, ask about the camping amenities that will be provided. Important camping amenities to inquire about include: the bathrooms, cooking appliances, and food availability such as onsite grocery stores. If you’re planning a longer stay you may want camping amenities such as laundry and electricity.
- Sleeping Arrangements
Do you want to stay at a group site? If so, you can reserve one large site and divide the cost among everyone. Or should everyone can reserve their own separate campsite? Ideally, in this case, you’d be able to block off part of the campgrounds for just your family but it does require more coordination.
Step Two: Meal Plan
What’s a reunion without food? A much simpler reuinion to plan, but also much less enjoyable. There are a couple ways of going about meal planning with a large party: everyone fends for themselves, assign food contributions, or assign meals. It’s up to you and your family what works best.
With everyone fending for yourselves you miss out on the fun of bonding over meals. With individual food contributions, you can keep control of the menu and divvy up the ingredients among your group. Or you could divvy up the meals themselves and assign each family member a different meal. Regardless of how you meal plan, it’s important to keep in mind the kitchen camping amenities provided. Make sure whatever meals you plan are ones that can be prepared with the camping amenities the site provides.
Step Three: Prepare your Children
Depending on how experienced of campers your children are and the camping amenities you’ll have, preparing them could be a long or short process. If this is your kids first trip, take heart knowing that 85% of campers take their first trip before the age of 15. Once that pivotal age is reached, the chances of taking up camping are far less likely.
A fun way to prepare camping beginners is with a backyard camp out. If you’ll be tent camping, this can be a great opportunity to teach your children how to pitch a tent. If you’ve got an outdoor grill or bonfire pit, you could even introduce them to their first campfire hot dog or s’mores. Whatever you do, make sure you educate them about camping safety, particularly around fires.