Camping with kids – our ultimate guide to fuss free holidays

Taking kids camping is one of the most fun things to do and can create memories to last a lifetime. Sometimes they are memories of splashing in puddles as the great British weather takes it toll and sometimes it’s of eating simple food and it tasting delicious in the fresh air.

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Have I tempted you yet?

Perhaps the thought of camping with kids is making you wonder. Is it worth the hassle? Is it even fun? What kind of stuff do you need and will you have room in the car for it?

I had all these thoughts too, don’t worry, you’re not alone! I’ve tried to cover a lot of topics lightly in this post about family camping but have also linked to more in depth articles where appropriate. Do let me know in the comments if you have any questions about camping with children and I’ll try and help!

camping with kids and toddlers in the rain
Throwback to camping when my eldest was about 5 – OMG the rain!

Is camping with kids hard?

Camping can often be easier than other kinds of holidays with kids because they have the great outdoors safely by their tent. They can play games, go nature hunting, run around for hours and get so much fresh air they fall asleep straight away.

That’s the version we all love to imagine and if I’m honest it can be true, but of course it’s not a sure fire thing and will depend on your child.

I am often asked is whether it’s hard to take kids camping – I always think yes and no. It’s different to life at home which can require some different skills for both the kids and the parents. It’s definitely easier to keep kids occupied than you might find when staying in cottages or a hotel and there’s no TV and very little electric to power up screens.

Rainy days when camping can be tricky though. Always good to be prepared with ideas or some days out to attractions.

My tip? If the kids are having fun, take a moment to chill with a book or chat with your partner. It can be a full on holiday so get your rest while you can!

How do I have fun camping with kids?

Is camping fun for family? Absolutely!

Here are some ways to have fun camping with kids:

  • play outdoor games like football, rounders, frisbee together
  • go on a bug hunt and see what critters you can find
  • watch out for bats as the night falls
  • bring card games and books for rainy days
  • take bikes and scooters

Posts you might like:

Fun camping games for kids

Hacks and tips for camping as a family

I have a lot of tips for camping with little ones from being small to being teens. I loved coming up with ideas that were cheap and fun!

Posts you might like:

Tips for camping with kids and toddlers
How to get kids to sleep when camping
Tips for camping with babies
Tips for camping with teenagers

What do you need for camping with children

Getting together the kit you need for camping can be overwhelming. There’s always something else that needs bought or seems to be an ‘essential’. Here are the basics you’ll need for a good trip away:

  • Shelter – a tent of some description but could be a trailer tent, caravan or camper. I always recommend having standing room if you can.
  • Sleeping gear – something to sleep on (airbed, camping bed or mat), bedding (sleeping bags or duvets from home)
  • Something to sit on – folding chairs for everyone. Maybe not essential but you’ll thank me for it! A picnic rug.
  • Kitchen gear – a stove to cook on, pots, pans, cups and plates (I just take from home). Don’t forget gas and matches.
  • Light – torches and lanterns for evening time. Solar powered fairy lights can act like a nightlight too and look pretty!

Everything else is extra and can be added to your kit as and when. Having too much can be stressful too especially when packing.

I always recommend borrowing gear if you can. Perhaps you know a friend who might allow you to loan some things while you see if you need it and enjoy it?

A good checklist for camping is recommended – check it over after each trip. Did you forget anything? Anything that would have made life easier? Did you bring things you never used?

Posts you might like:

Family camping checklist

Best family tents for all budgets

Is camping expensive for families?

Camping used to be the cheap way to take your kids on holiday. With rising campsite costs and a long list of camping essentials it can definitely feel like it’s an expensive holiday for families.

It’s still possible to find campsites that are basic and back to nature and you can keep costs down by borrowing gear as I mentioned above.

Some more tips for keeping camping budget friendly:

  • find sites that charge per pitch rather than per person. Be aware that if you have a large tent some might charge more for that too!
  • Hook up adds to the costs so if you don’t need electric you can save there
  • Don’t discount large holiday parks – they can be similar to other sites and have the benefit of things like entertainment and pools (our best and cheapest breaks used to be at the Park Resorts holiday parks)

Where are the best family campsites?

Best for me might not be best for you and your family. So have a think about what would make the perfect family camping trip for you.

  • Is it a peaceful space with fields around you?
  • Is it somewhere with good showers?
  • Will it have phone signal and wifi? Some kids might not forgive you for not having signal!
  • Is it nearby to the beach, or forests, or a theme park?
  • How busy does it get – how many pitches does it have?
  • Does it have a swimming pool, a kids club or a play park?
  • Does it have space for kids to play ball games and run around (some campsites can be very regimented and not always child friendly!)

Camping with babies, toddlers, older kids and teens (or a mixture of them all) will all require different things.

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