Are you planning a family vacation to nearby family campgrounds? You’ve scouted out the local camping sites, and booked your reservation on the family campgrounds of your choice. You’ve gathered the gear you need. You’ve researched tent camping, read brochures and planned outings for your children. You’ve even created your meal plan and a grocery shopping list. What else do you need?
If this is your first time making a visit to family campgrounds, we’ve put together a couple must-know tips, to ensure you all have an amazing time, and this is the first of many enjoyable family camping trips:
How to get the most out of your stay at a family campgrounds
- Practice good animal safety.
There is bound to be a variety of critters that live around your camping area. This is their home, and it is their natural instinct to look for food to eat. If you feed the animals, you are training them that your food (and that of future campers) is available to them, creating a big issue. Your food should be enclosed and out of sight any time you are not actually eating. Most of the time, small critters like squirrels and raccoon are your biggest food offenders. If you leave your lunch sitting on the picnic table while you’re away, you’ll likely find that it is destroyed when you return.
If you are camping in bear country, you need to be particularly careful. Bears are incredibly intelligent creatures. They know what ice chests look like and how to get them open to get the food inside. You need to make sure that your food is secured in a locked area that is not visible. Many camp sites have their own locked bins available that is large enough to hold a standard ice chest. If your camping grounds do not, you’ll want to keep it in your locked car. As we mentioned, bears know to look for ice chests, so make sure the ice chest is not visible through the window; unless you don’t want that window to be there in the morning.
- Be courteous to other campers.
Your campsite is a shared space with other campers, and with future campers. Common courtesy, such as not being too loud applies. Keep your pets and children supervised at all times, so they don’t disturb other campers. You might not realize some common etiquette rules though: You should not wash your dishes in the water fountains. The leftover food that washes into the fountain attracts critters, or rots and makes the essential drinking area unpleasant to others. You should not collect campfire wood from directly around your camp area; if every camper did this, the area would soon be bare.
- Leave your camp area cleaner than you found it.
If you arrive at your much anticipated camp area, only to find that it is littered with trash from previous campers, with cigarette butts strewn about, cans and bottles thrown all over the ground, and filthy diapers in the area, you’ll be understandably disappointed. Likewise, when you pack up and leave the campsite at the end of your stay, it is not the end of use of the camp area, and there is no maid service to clean it for the next visitors. You should not only clean up anything that you disturbed during your visit, take it a step further and leave the area cleaner than you found it. If every camper practiced this rule, Mother Nature will be preserved for generations to enjoy camp outs in future years.
- Understand what you should pack.
You do not want to arrive at your camp site and realize they do not provide toilet paper, as you had assumed. That would make for a very unpleasant visit. Some camp grounds have running water and shower facilities, and some don’t. Some camp grounds provide parking and nothing more. Before you ever leave the house to go to your camping trip, make sure you understand what amenities your campsite has, so you know to pack the things that it does not have.
Do you have any other tips for brand new campers? Please share your input in the comment section below.