Here are some tips to make your family camping trip safe and successful:
Decide on your activities and pick a location
Think about what you would like to enjoy on your trip and then do some research. Do you want to explore caves and see California Condors? Check out Pinnacles National Park! Looking for a redwood adventure? Portola Redwoods State Park is a great option. Is your family excited for a local beach camping getaway? Sunset State Beach in Watsonville provides miles of sand for exploring and relaxing. And this is just a start! There are so many options for camping within a few hours-drive from the Bay Area. Check out some of our favorites here.
Set a date and reserve your spot
Now that you picked a location, it is time to set a date! CA State Parks and National Parks fill up fast, especially on the weekends, holidays, and in the summer. Pick a date and reserve a spot if possible to ensure you get the spot of your choice. Most regional, state, and national parks ask you to use their online reservation services; some also provide a contact phone number.
The more the merrier
Camping is a great way to spend time with your family, but it can be even more fun with friends and other families. Plan a trip with a group of friends, bring along your children’s friends, or invite a few families and reserve a group camp. Everyone will have fun and stay occupied!
Get geared up
Make packing a breeze with this camping checklist (or use it to spark ides for your own custom checklist). Topics include: Practice setting up your tent with your family before your trip and check all your gear to make sure it works before your excursion. If you are going to go on frequent camping trips, put together a camping kitchen kit equipped with dishes, utensils, cups, pots and pans, spices and oils that is always ready to go!
Check out these great camping menu ideas to help you plan out a menu beforehand! And, to make it easier to cook outdoors, chop and prepare as many ingredients as possible at home and store in ziplock bags in your cooler. Or better yet, prepare meals beforehand to have ready for your trip. There are some great recipe ideas here.
Be prepared and pack a full first aid kit. Buy a pre-stocked kit or make your own with this first aid checklist. Learn about the potentially dangerous plants, insects, or animals in the area and inform your family of how to stay safe. Show your children the boundaries in the campsite and campground when you first arrive. Teach children about safety around a campfire. Bring a bucket to pour water on your fire when you are done to make sure it is really out. Remember, a safe trip is a fun trip!
Pack games, sports equipment and bikes to keep everyone occupied and have a great time! Bring along your family’s favorite board game to play in the evening or a Frisbee to play around camp. Check out this fun family camping and activities list. Happy Camping!