When planning your first family camping trip, you should start by picking what kind of camping is right for your family. This beginner’s guide to camping will go over three of the best types of camping for families.
Tent camping, RV camping, and staying in a cabin or yurt.
You’ll want to consider the pros and cons of each camping type before picking what is right for you.
Learn more about each option to pick the best type of camping for your first family camping trip.
Beginner’s Guide To Camping With Kids – Picking The Best Type Of Camping For Your Family
There are so many different camping options! If you are a first-time camper it’s hard to know where to even begin, especially when you throw kids into the equation.
My family camped a lot when I was growing up. In fact, camping was our big summer vacation every year! I continued to camp as much as possible as a young adult. Now that I have a family of my own, we camp every chance we get and it is one of our family’s favorite things to do.
Camping can be the perfect activity for any family. You just need to find the camping option that fits your family best and plan your camping trip accordingly.
Type of Camping #1 – Tent Camping With Kids
Tent camping with kids can be a great introduction to camping for your family. When I was a kid, my family tent camped all the time and we all loved it! That being said, tent camping isn’t for everyone. My mom is a meticulous planner and packer and tent camping does take a lot of planning and packing. If you aren’t great at planning and packing I’d say steer away from tent camping. Also, you should note that tent camping with infants and toddlers is MUCH harder than tent camping with older kids.
Is tent camping right for your family? Here are the pros and cons to help you decide.
I’ll start with the good…
Pros Of Tent Camping-
- Tent camping is inexpensive, you can find a good tent for under $100. Or, you can borrow a tent from a friend or rent a tent from your local outdoor store. If you have a big family, you don’t need to rent or buy a gigantic tent. Huge tents are much more expensive and harder to set up. My parents found it easier to split the family up into two tents.
- It is much easier to find a place to camp if you are tent camping. The spots reserved for tent-camping always seem to fill up last and you can take advantage of dispersed camping easier than with an RV.
- It feels like you are really camping when you sleep in a tent.
Cons of Tent Camping –
- Bad weather can make tent camping miserable. Camping in a tent is not ideal if it is too hot, cold, or rainy. This is especially true when you are camping with kids.
- You have to bring EVERYTHING when you tent camp. Air mattress, bedding, sleeping bags, stove, water, the list goes on and on. It is a lot of work to plan and pack when you are tent camping.
- Set up and take down is a lot of work when you are tent camping.
- Even if you bring an air matress, camping in a tent isn’t very comfortable, especially when you are sharing your air matress with squirmy kids. Sleeping on the ground isn’t nearly as comortable as sleeping in a bed.
Renting An RV – Camping Type #2
An RV is a great way to experience camping as a family. Renting an RV, rather than buying one, is the way to go if you only plan to camp a few times a year.
Packing for a camping trip in an RV is much easier than packing for any other type of camping. It is like staying in a condo, just smaller. All of the essentials are usually part of the RV rental including sheets, towels, and all kitchen necessities. You just need to pack your personal items and food and you are all set. Not only that, there is a fridge and freezer so you don’t have to worry about packing a cooler.
After tent camping for the first two years of Eli’s life, we decided to buy a camper trailer. Camping with Eli was so much easier in the camper! He had his own bed for nap time, running water, a bathroom, and even a kitchen!
We’ve rented an RV in Alaska several times and it was such a great way to see the state.
Check out – The Ultimate Alaska Road Trip 10 Day Itinerary for the best Alaska camping trip itinerary
Having all of the necessities available everywhere you go makes camping so easy and fun.
That being said, there are some things to think about before renting a camper for your first family camping trip.
Things to Consider Before Renting a Camper-
- If you want all of the amenities in a camper, the camper is going to be BIG. You need to make sure that you are comfortable driving such a large vehicle before renting a camper. Also, when a camper is your only means of transportaion you need to consider finding parking for your camper. Most National Parks offer camper parking at visitor’s centers and trailheads. But, if camper is full when you arrive, it could ruin your visit.
- Renting an RV will cost much more than tent camping. There is the price of the camper rental plus the gas you will need. RVs are known to get horrible gas mileage.
- You will need to reserve campsites if you are camping in an RV! Although packing for a camping trip in an RV is easier, planning is harder. Campgrounds book out months (sometimes even a year!) in advance and you will need to have a site reserved that is big enough to accomodate your camper. You will also want to have an idea of the length of camper you plan to reserve before you book a campsite.
Type Of Camping #3 – Renting a Cabin Or Yurt
Renting a cabin or yurt is one of my favorite types of camping. It is easier than tent camping because you don’t have to set up a tent. But, you still feel like you are camping because the yurts and cabins available to rent are usually in established campgrounds.
Cabins and yurts usually have a method to heat the cabin and that makes camping with kids much easier. It is also nice to be able to go inside if it starts to rain and have an actual roof over your head.
Where To Find A Cabin Or Yurt To Book-
There are several different places to look for a cabin or yurt to book.
Many private campgrounds offer cabins or yurt rentals along with regular campsites.
Some State Parks also offer cabin or yurt rentals. In Colorado (where I live) the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Website lists all of the State Parks in Colorado that have cabins or yurts for rent. In Hawaii, we have stayed in the wonderful Wai’anapanapa State Park Cabins in Maui multiple times.
Check out this post all about Wai’anapanapa State Park Cabins
The State of Alaska has public use cabins available to rent throughout the state. Some are right in State Parks and others require you to hike in, boat in, or snowmobile in. Visit Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources website to find available cabins.
Keep in mind that cabin rentals are limited so you will want to book as far in advance as possible.
What Is Included In A Cabin Or Yurt
Before booking a cabin make sure you look into what is included in the cabin. Most cabins are very basic and only include beds. You need to bring all the cooking supplies and bedding. Some cabins don’t have bathrooms and you will need to walk to the nearest outhouse or bathroom facility.
Between these three different types of camping options, there is sure to be one that suits your family!
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