Camping With Kids – Secrets for Success!


About a year ago, I embarked on my first camping trip. I went with a few women I work with for one little (adults only) overnight campout… and I fell in love. There is just something about the simplicity of gooey s’mores, talks by the campfire, and sleeping under the stars that makes me feel so at ease. I never (NEVER) thought I was the camping type, but now it’s a regular part of our family life. I’m definitely not an expert, but I’ve done my research, tried a few different things, and have some great tips to help make camping with kids an amazing family experience.


Car Camping
Car camping is pretty much the only way I’m willing to camp, especially with my kids. You pull up to your campsite with whatever you can fit into your car, and don’t really have to haul anything very far at all. Some people say this is cheating. I am not one of those people. When you’re looking for a campsite, you want to make sure it is a drive up site. Most state park websites are really clear about this. The only exception I have is if the campground has a sweet gear hauling arrangement for you. My husband and I went camping in Boone, NC earlier this spring at Blue Bear Mountain Campground and picked out a “remote site.” The great part was, for a fee, they would haul a reasonable amount of gear out to your site for you! AWESOME!

Cook It On a Stick
In my (minimal) camping experiences, I’ve only eaten food I can cook on a stick. Hot dogs and precooked meatballs both make great campfire food. This way, you don’t really have to worry about cleaning any dishes. If you’re going to be out for multiple nights, it can get a little tricker to plan for meals. If hot dogs are dinner for night one, and you have a really efficient cooler, frozen meatballs should thaw just in time for dinner on night number two. My family also really enjoys pretzel rolls. Toasted over the campfire, these make great buns for hot dogs or just a good treat to eat. You can find great metal campfire sticks at Dick’s Sporting Goods and of course, on Amazon. But let’s be honest, depending on where you are, there is no shame in picking up some take out and bringing it to your campsite to eat.

Cover the Table
Most campsites have a picnic table. You’re outside, so dirt and grime is kind of part of the deal.  BUT you can easily have a clean-ish eating space with the purchase of a disposable table cloth and table cloth clips. I know it isn’t the most eco-friendly, but I prefer using the cheap plastic covers. If anything spills or if it rains, you can pretty much squeegee the liquid off and you’re good to go. If you wanted to use an actual fabric cloth, you certainly could. Just make sure you bring a table cover and the clips to keep it in place. (I got our clips from the Dollar Store. Totally worth it.)


Pool Noodles to Cover Cords
If your rainfly is on, and a majority of my camping experiences have required that, the tie downs can be a little bit of a hazard. I could say it’s all to be extra safe when camping with kids, but I’ve definitely tripped over those cords more than once. You can use a pool noodle to cover them and help everyone know where they are. To do this, slit the noodle down one side and simply cover the cord with it. This is super cheap, super easy, and will definitely make for better camp life. The best part is, since pool noodles are made for water, they dry out pretty quickly when it’s time to pack up.


Bug Spray
If you are camping, you’re going to have to deal with bugs. I have a wide variety of bug sprays, everything from my own essential oil mixes to the not messing around” bug spray with DEET. Use what you prefer and what works best for your family. I’ve been really happy with the Ecosmart brand and I can always find it at Target. Especially since my kids are pretty little, and not usually showering when we camp, I prefer going with something less harsh. I apply this stuff liberally and often.


Silicon Sealant and a Tarp – STAY DRY!
If there is one thing I am grateful for in our family camping adventures, it’s my husband sealing each seam on our tents. On our first family camping trip, it literally rained all night long.  Thanks to the tarp under our tent footprint (the tarp was sized so it couldn’t be seen hanging out around the edges of the tent) and the silicone sealant, we stayed dry. The tarp helps keep water from coming through the bottom of your tent, and the silicone just adds a little extra protection on the seams of your tent.

Magnetic Board Games
So what do you do if it rains? And what can kids really do once it starts to get dark? Board games! There are so many magnetic games out there. Pick some of your family favorites and bag them for your camping adventure.

Boys playing game while camping

How To Pack
We try to pack all of our camping gear, except sleeping bags and tents, in storage tubs. This makes for easy organization and easy storage at home. There is a gear box, a food box, and each of us has a small clothing bag or backpack. If I am bringing linens (towels, extra blankets), they get packed right into an extra laundry basket, which then holds our dirty clothes on the way home.

I never camped as a child,  and I don’t think you could have convinced me to back then. I’m so glad that I’ve discovered the magical simplicity of it now and even happier that I’m sharing it all with my family. Camping is such an affordable way to spend time with your family and make some magical memories.


How do I teach my daughter about beauty?

#realbeauty is

Last week, I sat in a room with about 20 other women and we talked about beauty and the stereotypes that women have to deal with. (Yes, men have to deal with some too, but for the purpose of this post, let’s just focus on women.) We talked about self-esteem and the struggle women have… [Read More]

25 Road Trip Activities to Keep Young Kids Busy

Road Trip Activities for your kids

We all know traveling can be stressful, but road tripping with young children can make it even worse if you’re not prepared. As you’re looking to take a long trip with your kids this summer, consider a few activities (other than the much appreciated portable DVD player) to keep them busy. I’ve rounded up 25 of the best… [Read More]

5 things that make being a mom crazy awesome


I’m gearing up to go out of town, which is always stressful. The kids hate it when I’m gone and we’ve already had tears over me telling them that no, they can’t actually come with me. Luckily, I’m back in time for Mother’s Day so we’ll have a nice time celebrating together upon my return…. [Read More]

To the Mom Who Used to Be a Dancer

Ballet Shoes on Wood Floor

If you’ve ever clicked on those links that say “You Were a Dance Kid If…” then this post is written for you, from the bottom of my heart. I’m pretty sure I’ve clicked on them all. Do you ever catch yourself with your hand on the handle of your grocery cart in the oh so… [Read More]

10 Natural Ways to Relieve Migraines

Relieve headaches naturally

Having had migraines since I was a pre-teen, I have tried my fair share of drugs. You name a prescription and I’ve probably been on it at some point. Over-the-counter? I have Excedrin in every purse and in my car. But sometimes I don’t want to take medicine. Sometimes I prefer to try and see… [Read More]

We’re going places in the 2017 Toyota Sienna Limited

Kids give thumbs up to the Toyota Sienna

To quote my kids “This is the best car EVAH!!!” Last week, I had the opportunity to test drive the 2017 Toyota Sienna Limited. My entire life I have been self-proclaimed “anti-minivan”… well, except that three month period in 2012. Read: I think I want a minivan When we bought our Nissan Pathfinder two years ago, we… [Read More]