Tell your kids what to expect – Camping is a memorable family event, a special time when your family faces the wild and SURVIVES through it, forever forming lasting memories and strengthening communication within your family. It is also a great opportunity for kids to learn how to compromise with minor inconveniences while enjoying the trip. For instance, your kids will possibly have to walk farther to get to the restroom, not have access to Wi-Fi on their phones (*gasp*) and may have a run-in with a bug or two. Prepping your kids for these situations may lessen the culture shock for first-time campers and help set reasonable expectations for your family camping trip. A great way to prepare your kiddos is to backyard camp with them before a long distance trip with your family.
Good Food = Good Times – No doubt about it, outdoor activities work up appetites! While it may be tempting to stock up on your favorite junk foods like chips, cookies and candies, you may want to reserve those for the road trip and choose healthier, balanced meals while at camp. This will ensure proper nutrition and enough sustenance for your adventures and help keep the cranky factor down for hungry kids. It’s also a great opportunity to cook and dine together in the outdoors. One exception to the healthy rule is a sweet treat that is a MUST at camp – S’mores. We do cater meals here at our resort, so if you’d like breakfast, lunch or dinner prepared for you, just call us and let us know ahead of time.
Prepare for Dirt – No number of wet wipes will keep you dirt-free if you’re doing your trip right. You can prepare to keep your camp and hands cleaner by bringing along biodegradable and environmentally friendly wet wipes, clean up towels and a small broom for sweeping out the tent. Establish rules with your family such as “no shoes in the tent” to keep dirt to a minimum. Our recently renovated shower facilities are free to our campers and offer a private and extremely comfortable shower head with plenty of water pressure to keep you clean and happy. Just go into your trip knowing that you will be more exposed to the elements, and dirt, than you would be at home.
Prepare a Family Adventure Activity – Make your camping trip complete by planning a day or night adventure (or many adventures) together. One of the things adults love about camping is that they get away from everything and have a chance to just relax. For kids, it seems that just relaxing is the equivalent of sudden death. Bridge the gap by planning engaging activities that will require teamwork, communication and keep everyone involved. Perhaps a treasure hunt, night time stargazing session with constellation map, family nature hike, or camp games. Our Resort offers family-friendly whitewater rafting for children ages 6 and up and we are also down the street from the State Historic Marshall Gold Discovery Park, which offers a wonderful and historical family outing option.
Make a list and check it twice – Nothing is worse than arriving at your destination and realizing you forgot your toothbrush! Not to fret, our camp store at the Resort carries the essentials for your comfortable camping experience, even if you do forget an item. To try and avoid this common camping mishap, make or download a packing list and check it off as you and your family pack. Must-have items include: sunscreen, environmentally friendly bug spray and any prescribed medications or special foods for food allergies. Keep a second list at your campsite and take note of things that would have been nice to have on this trip. As they say, the best teacher is experience. Each family camping trip serves as a great opportunity to gain insight into the items and things which will make your future trips more comfortable.
Clothing – Layers – It’s a good rule of thumb to always be prepared for fluctuating weather when planning outdoor activities. We have seen families that are well prepared with layered clothing for their outdoor trips and an extra set of clothes for each family member be the happiest in a situation where the extra clothes came in handy. In our region the weather can sometimes vary drastically week to week, so we recommend checking the weather forecast and packing based on your anticipated needs, but also bringing extra jackets, gloves and raincoats for emergency weather conditions.
Safety Training – Camping offers a wonderful platform for teaching your kids outdoor skills, awareness, responsibility and safety training in a fun environment. We recommend that you get your kids whistles to wear and teach them safety exercises such as what to do if they get lost in the woods, the importance of staying on hiking trails and playing safely near the river (such as don’t stick your feet in the rocks and don’t play near the rapids). While our resort offers all sorts of experiences from mild to wild (such as our community pool and well-established trails), we are also in an extremely natural environment which is perfect for learning basic camp and outdoor safety procedures with your little ones.
Know the area – Take time to talk with your reservationist about things to do in the area. Ask a local or scour the internet for insider tips of must-see attractions for you and your family. Find out about local museums, trails, attractions and even seasonal activities which may be available for you to enjoy with your family. Some reservationists may assume that you know the area or don’t know that you may enjoy learning about more local activities. Just ask us anytime or cruise our annual events for some great local happenings.
A good tent – A secure and comfortable shelter makes all the difference when you choose to sleep outside. When shopping for tents think about the space inside the tent, durability of the tent material, ease in set up and break down, protection from the elements and design / functionality of the tent. If you are borrowing a tent or using an old tent, you may want to check that all the tent poles and stakes are in the tent bag before leaving. Pack any sleeping pads, blankets or pillows that you feel may make your night’s sleep more comfortable. For your convenience, we do offer tent rentals, which include the free set up and break down of the tents.
Keep it light – Don’t forget your flashlights and lanterns! Camping is new and exciting for little ones but it’s also full of the unknown and strange noises in the dark of night. If your child fears the dark, try keeping the trip positive by bringing a camping night light or lantern that can help comfort your kids at camp. Adults need lights too! Think nighttime bathroom trips or fishing out that pair of earbuds you left in the car…