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Ultimate Guide to Planning the Best Family Camping Holiday

If you are ready to embark on a thrilling adventure that will create lasting memories for your entire family, look no further than our ultimate guide to planning the best family camping holiday! Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a first-timer, this comprehensive guide will equip you with all the tips, tricks, and insider knowledge you need to make your camping trip a resounding success!

From choosing the perfect campsite to packing the essential gear, we’ve got you covered every step of the way. This article will take all the unknowns out of camping with kids so all you have to do is get stuck in and enjoy it! Get ready to reconnect with nature, bond with your loved ones, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Let’s start planning your unforgettable family camping holiday today!

Family camping holiday
Family camping in Dorset, UK

Benefits of Family Camping Holidays

We have been camping as a couple and as a family for over 15 years and family camping trips are like no other holiday. First and foremost family camping holidays are cheap! Once you have the gear and the transport the world is your oyster. All you need to do is pack up the car, book your pitch (if you want to) and go for it!

Some family-friendly campsites can be quite costly. This is because you’ll be paying for all the added extras like swimming pools and soft plays. However, if you’re just looking for a field to call home for a few nights, camping is still a gloriously wallet-friendly holiday option.

Camping with your family is a great way to spend quality time together. It’s a way for you all to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and it provides the opportunity for you all to bond and reconnect without outside interference. Camping with kids also exposes children to the wonders of the natural world. Camping teaches them valuable lessons about the environment and fostering a love of the outdoors. While you are away in your tent you might also consider going electricity free. Spend some time living outside, cooking outside, playing outside and relaxing outside without ANY distractions. I’m sure it’s good for the soul. So, pack your bags, leave your worries behind, and embark on a family camping adventure that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

The ultimate guide to the best family camping holiday
Camping on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. Click here to read our article all about our visit Lyme Regis

Choosing the Right Camping Location

Selecting the perfect camping location is crucial to the success of your family camping holiday. Consider the interests and preferences of your family members when choosing a campsite. If your family loves hiking, look for a campground near scenic trails and nature reserves. For those who enjoy water activities, choose a campsite near a lake or river for fishing, swimming, or boating.

Specific locations will be more expensive than others. For example, campsites on the beach will charge a premium for the location. However, campsites further way will be more reasonable. You need to decide what you want from your family camping trip and what you are not prepared to compromise on.

It’s also important to consider the amenities offered by the campsite, such as restroom facilities, showers, and playgrounds for children. If these things are important be prepared to pay a little more money for your pitch per night. Furthermore, check if the campsite allows pets if you plan to bring your furry friends along. By carefully selecting the right camping location, you can ensure that every member of your family will have an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Family camping trip as new parents in Germany
The first time we went camping as parents in Germany along the fairytale route

Essential Camping Gear and Equipment

Packing the right gear and equipment is essential for a successful camping trip. I think it is this element of camping that scares most families who are just starting out!

My advice is always start with the basics and keep it simple. Every year I change what we pack on our family camping holidays. This is mainly due to the children getting older and needing different things and my desire to make our camping packing list more streamlined, organised and, above all, simple.

Start with items such as a tent, sleeping bags, and camping chairs. If you are new to camping and just starting out, check out our camping essentials list to give you an idea of what is on offer. Make sure you buy a tent spacious enough to accommodate your entire family comfortably. If you want some more advice on how to choose the right tent for your family read our guide to tents here.

Don’t forget to pack camping chairs for lounging around the campsite and essentials such as a camping stove, extra gas canisters, cooking utensils and a cooler to store perishable food items. In addition to this remember to pack other must-haves for your camping trip such as a first aid kit, insect repellent, a head torch, pegs and sunscreen.

Planning the best family camping holiday in Croatia
Camping with the paddle board in 2019 Croatia
Planning the best family camping holiday in France
Breakfast time in the wood in France

Other useful items that we have added to our list over the years are a washing-up bowl, water containers, camping table, tupperware containers for food and leftovers, cotton sheets in the hot weather, camp beds instead if blow up beds, sunshade / sun sail, tablet for occasional movie night, ground mat for front of tent and collapsible storage boxes to keep clothes, toys and utensils organised in the tent. By packing the right gear and equipment, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable camping experience for the whole family. My advice is be pragmatic and keep it simple. Whatever you get out, you have to pack back into the car too!

Meal Planning and Tips when Planning the Best Family Camping Holiday

On our family camping holidays mealtimes are, again, a simple affair which we organise on a day by day basis. This is especially true when camping in hot countries. We tend to take some canned goods with us because we know they won’t go off and will keep well. Around these foods we buy fresh fruit and veg as we need it. This is because it is very difficult to keep them fresh for long periods of time in the heat. We also prepare lots of picnics with fresh bread and meats from the local shop either on the campsite or in the nearby town. When camping we have three rules; take what you need, use what you need and produce minimal waste.

Simple kitchen set up in France
Simple kitchen set up in France

Safety Precautions for when Planning the Best Family Camping Holiday

When you are travelling with a young family you will want to make sure you feel safe in your tent and in your new surroundings. Familiarize yourself with the campsites rules and regulations, and ensure that everyone in your family understands and follows them. If your children stray too far it might be an idea to create a ‘safe zone’ or ‘familiar area’ they can go to and wait for you. You can also tell them about the trusted adults on site who can help them if they ever need it.

Set up your campsite away from hazards such as cliffs, steep slopes, or stagnant water. These hazards will be different for each and every family depending on how old your children are. But it is worth looking around your site to ensure you are happy with the overall location of your tent pitch.

Camp set up in France
Camping pitch in Gruissan France. Click here to find out more about this holiday!

Fun Activities and Games for the Whole Family

When on a camping holiday we tend to do a lot of walking. This is because it’s a great way to explore your surroundings. The pace is slower and you will see things in more detail than if you whizz by in the car. We have also invested in a paddleboard as we love to camp near the beach. This is an investment that has really paid off over the years for us. However, other options are inflatables for the sea and pool areas, scooters, skateboards and boogie boards! One option we shall be looking at in the near future is taking our bikes. This will give us loads more freedom as the kids get a little older.

Waiting to go to the beach with boogie board on a family camping holiday to Dorset
The boy waiting to go to the beach with his boogie board on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset

For those moments around the tent, take a selection of outdoor activities with you such as a football, boules and throwing rockets. They are great games to play around the tent at the end of a long day exploring. Craft packs with magazines, colouring books, stickers, pens, pencils and notepads are also a great way to keep little minds and fingers entertained for a little while. Board games, playing cards and books are essential for those quieter moments. Travel sized games are a much better option when it comes to packing too.

Boys enjoying their craft packs on a camping holiday
The boys journalling and enjoying their craft pack on holiday in France

Conclusion and Final Tips for Planning the Best Family Camping Holiday

Planning an unforgettable family camping holiday requires careful consideration and preparation. By choosing the right camping location, packing essential gear and equipment, spending quality time together and prioritizing safety, you can create a memorable and enjoyable experience for your entire family. Remember to practice good camping etiquette and respect for nature. Also take the time to appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors.

Whether you choose a beach side location with every facility going or a quiet pitch in the middle of a field, a family camping holiday is an opportunity to connect with nature, bond with your loved ones, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. It is also a great money saving option whether you stay home or go abroad. So, gather your family, pack your tent and your bags, grab your camera and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the great outdoors!

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