Top 10 Camping Tips

We recently ventured out for our first camping trip as a family in several years. SkipperClan was in Boy Scouts as a teenager and now SkipperClanJr is as well. Despite previous experience, it was still a little challenging to figure out the best things to pack. We had a great time and here are ten reasons why.

1. We picked a location close to home. We were just over an hour away. We could enjoy the ocean, tour a lighthouse, and go home if needed.

2. We planned simple meals. Grilled chicken sausages, sandwiches and pancakes from a “just add water” mix meant little need for cooking supplies or groceries.

3. We researched local attractions. Since we only stayed one night and the check-in time was afternoon, we arrived early to tour the state’s tallest lighthouse and take a driving tour of the local cranberry bogs. This can be particularly useful if you are a homeschooling family (or just like learning weird facts).

4. We spent time doing nothing. Seriously, what is the point of going camping if you don’t take some time to waste time? We walked the beach, read books, and sat in front of the campfire.

5. We turned off cell phones. We used them once we arrived to take photos and check on messages a couple of times, but I would be willing to turn them completely off for the next 24 hour trip. The teenagers talked peaceably while sketching and reading for the journey instead of constantly clicking text messages to their friends. Very good start to the trip.

6. We camped in a State Park. Each state is somewhat different, but in Washington State you can reserve a campsite in advance after viewing its location on a map and you can often see an image of the campsite as well. We have a large tent so it can be challenging to find a spot that fits. The details available online here helped make the best decision.

7. We chose a campsite between two restroom facilities. In state parks, you will often find small dumpsters outside the restroom buildings as well as the footsteps of everyone coming and going to the facilities. This sometimes means the sites right next door lack privacy and quiet. We chose a site about halfway between two facilities. This gave us the option of which building we wanted to use and we would not have had a far walk had a problem developed at either one.

8. We waited to get firewood. Not only do most campgrounds ask you to buy firewood locally to prevent the spread of disease among plant life, but it could save you money. When we checked in, there was a staff member clearing debris from the firepits of unoccupied sites. He happily gave us the usable logs he had collected and we enjoyed a toasty fire well into the night.

9. We got recommendations. Most of us would never take a cruise or weekend getaway without asking someone who travels extensively what their experience with locales we are considering. Why should it be any different with camping? We were blessed that this particular area was shared with me at a Bible study class a few weeks ago.

10. We brought paper and pen. You will certainly think of something you want to do different. Perhaps you will need to remember a bowl for mixing the just-add-water pancakes. Maybe you will think of a great meal you had on a previous campout that you want to make next time (fried apples or smores anyone?). Being able to jot things down as they come to mind will make the next trip even better.

What is your number one tip for making camping fun?

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