25+ Fun Camping Ideas for Families

Ready to take the kids camping? Try these fun camping ideas for families so you’ll all be happy campers! From choosing a kid-safe campsite to kid-friendly camping foods and activities, these tips will fill your camping trip with memories.

You’ll also want to get our free printable summer bucket list for kids and play these great outdoor games this summer.

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25+ Fun Camping Ideas for Families

When we finally reach and celebrate the last day of school, and commemorate Memorial Day — that’s when camping season begins!

(Also barbecue season and pool season, but this post is about the camping part.)

I don’t really come from a family of campers. But it is something that my husband and I have adopted into our own family!

As much fun as it can be to get pampered at a swanky hotel, it’s not always my first choice for a weekend getaway. Nope, I’d much rather get cozy around a blazing fire, get my fingers sticky from s’mores, and sleep out under the stars.

Now that we live so close to the mountains, Justin and I are really excited to pass along our love of roughing it in the great outdoors to our girls. We can’t wait to show them how much fun it can be to spend the out of doors.

“How much fun it can be” is an important phrase when it comes to camping.

While weather and mosquitoes can work together to wreak havoc on a campout, often times it’s a simple lack of preparation that keeps first time campers from being able to enjoy a new experience.

The Tent Commandments Infographic From Visually Featured On Remodelaholic
The Tent Commandments | Visual.ly

If you are taking kids along, it’s especially important to be prepared for changes in the weather, have food that’s easy to prepare, and know how to provide basic first aid.

Luckily, there are lots of good resources out there to help you get ready for living life on the wild side for a few days.

All it takes is a little prep work so that you can have a great time camping with your family.

By the way…if you happen to be a happy camper, too, I’d love to get your recommendations for favorite campsites–make sure you let me know yours in the comments, below!

Kodiak camping scenery
image via Kodiak.org

Choosing the Right Family Camping Site

For new campers on a first campout, we recommend choosing a campground location close to home, or at least close to civilization (like a grocery store). This makes it easier to pack everything to get there, and makes the stress lower for parents and kids.

When evaluating a family campsite, you’ll also want to pay attention to the campground amenities such as:

  • picnic table in the site
  • a fire pit or campfire ring
  • restroom facilities (portable, pit toilets, or flushable) and possibly showers
  • reasonable quiet hours
  • trails or a creek nearby – hours of fun exploring!
  • a playground

When picking the campsite for your family camping trip, you’ll want to choose a site that is near the restrooms (but down-wind!) and near the other amenities that are interesting or important to you.

  • Check out the best camping areas near you with these lists from TimeOut and Greatist.
  • Find lesser-known local camping sites by checking local online groups (like Facebook).
  • Read: How to Get a Kid Safe Campsite at Camping with Gus.
Camping with Gus safe camp

Be Prepared: Family Camping Checklists & Must-Haves

As I mentioned, being prepared can make the difference between happy campers (parents and kids both) and campers who end up packing up in the middle of the night and drive home. [And no shame — if you camp enough with kids, it will happen!]

BEYOND THE TENT

And don’t forget the toilet paper, wet wipes, first aid kit, sunscreen, and after sun sunburn treatment! (This stuff is amazing.)

Use Alternative Packing Options

Depending on the length of your trip and your preferences, packing camping gear in bins is a good alternative to duffel bags, backpacks, and traditional luggage. Bins stack easily for more vertical storage in the tent, and the rigid sides mean you can pack them f-u-l-l.

TIP: Pack sleeping bags and blankets in nooks and crannies throughout the car — you can fit a squishy sleeping mat in lots of places! Camp chairs and towels can also be creatively stored under kids’ feet or tucked between bins.

Extra large bins like these are great for bigger camp items like lanterns, emergency radios, skillets, hot plates, camp stoves, etc. while medium sized bins or extra large shoe bins are good for clothing, Bins stack nicely together, have flat tops, are water resistant, and pack up well since they aren’t odd shapes.  They are also easy to identify by using large labels such as these.

Light Up the Site

The total darkness of a campsite can be disconcerting for kids! Help make it fun with pop-up lanterns, hanging rechargeable lightbulbs, plenty of glow sticks, and a few solar stake lights around the campsite — great for setting campsite boundaries and also for middle of the night bathroom trips!

Family Camping Activities for Kids

Kids are often content with adventures to explore the campsite and hike — or play at the playground, if you chose a campground with a play area.

But it’s always good to have a few extra activities planned during afternoon down time or the post-dinner wrap up before the sun goes down. Plan a nature scavenger hunt, bring board games and card games and simple toys like bubbles and sidewalk chalk — or even the kids bikes if you can.

Check out our printable summer bucket list for kids for more ideas, including

The Frosted Petticoat camping portraits
Tips for getting the best camp pictures | Clickin Moms

Tips for Family Campfire Cooking

Whether your kids are picky eaters or well-rounded foodies, campfire food can be tricky to plan, pack, and cook. Be sure to pack the marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate… but what else?

Try these Easy Camping Menu Tips and Camping Hacks from The Frugal Girls to make planning camping food and cooking at the campsite easier.

You’ll also like these camping recipes:

And a few more fun camping desserts to cook over the fire:

How To Make Campfire Banana Boats Fresh Off The Grid
Roasted Banana Boats – 9 Variations | Fresh Off the Grid
Oleander and Palm campfire cakes
Campfire Orange Rolls | Oleander and Pal
Ninth and Bird campurritos
Breakfast Campurritos | Ninth & Bird via Starling Trave
Camping with Gus monkey bread
Campfire Monkey Bread | Camping with Gus


The Greenwoods Woofums
Woofums | The Greenwoods

Take your camp cooking up a level with these techniques:

How to Keep Bugs Away When Camping

It’s part of campsite safety: keep food secured to keep away the wildlife, and protect yourself and the kids from the bugs to keep safe and un-bugged (see what I did there?).

Remodelaholic bug spray
Homemade Natural Bug Spray | Remodelaholic

Amazon sage smudge
Adding Sage to the Campfire Keeps Bugs Away | Amazon

Are You A Mosquito Magnet Infographic From Visually Featured On Remodelaholic
Mosquito Magnet Infographic | Visual.ly

Choosing a Family Camping Tent

When you’re camping as a family, it’s important to have a tent that large enough to sleep all of you comfortably *and* hold your luggage.

Shop these best-selling family sized tents:

Or check out these fun DIY glamping and camping ideas:

The Fancy Farmgirl trailer
Camper Makeover | The Fancy Farmgirl

CasaSugar trampoline tent
Trampoline Tent | CasaSugar (find the tent here or get this cool clubhouse version)

The Lettered Cottage boy scout tents

DIY Boy Scout-Style Tent Camp | The Lettered Cottage

If you liked this post, I hope that you will please pin it! Thanks!

Featured picture from Travel and Leisure Camping

Read these camping tips and indoor “camping” ideas, too:

Fun Tips And Ideas For Family Camping Featured On Remodelaholic
Camping Ideas For Families Featured On Remodelaholic

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18 Comments

  1. These are some great ideas. When I was a kid camping we used to make baked potatoes by wrapping them in foil and burying them in a hole with some hot coals!

  2. I was so surprised that the 100 best campground list only had one campsite from Utah. Utah is home to several national parks and some of the most beautiful campsites. Some of my favorites being Calf Creek, Capitol Reef, and Kodachrome State Park. Check them out!

    1. Cydnee, I agree, there should be more for Utah. I have been to some amazing places along the Wasatch Front. Those other ones you listed sound nice. We will have to look into them. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Every year we go to West Port Beach near Fort Bragg, California. There is a play ground for the kids, horse shoes, volley ball and is less than a 1/2 mile walk to the beach.

  4. This is a great post with excellent resources. I love camping we just got back from Kayak camping this weekend in the Adirondacks. It was so peaceful and beautiful till the ranger kayaked up and told us to make sure we did a bear bag because a bear was sited a day ago at the site we kayaked out to camp. I was thrilled we brought the watch dog since the ranger also told us the bear that has been around was afraid of dogs. We do not have children yet and I have always wondered how it will be camping with them so I am off to pin this for future reference. Ahh now counting the days till another camping trip this weekend. Cheers!

  5. I grew up camping and I always hated having to help but what child wouldn’t rather go play. Now that I have a family of my own we went camping with a friend family and its so different when you are the adult and in charge, making decisions. Not in a bad way, I enjoyed myself completely it’s just you haave a different look on things so now I have been pin crazy looking at all the different camping tips on pintrest to help make the experience better. Thanks for this post.

  6. Thanks for linking up to us :). We are planning our first cross state camping trip and I found you via pinterest. It was an exciting treat to see a link back to my own blog, lol.

  7. The “Tent Commandments” info graphic is absolutely amazing. I’m going to print it out and give it to my kids for our next outing. Thanks for the share!

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