Family Camping 101: Tips for Camping with Kids

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

After months of wanting to go and two failed attempts...we finally made camping happen! One of the main reasons it has taken us so long to actually get a family camping trip planned is that we’re last-minute planners. At this point, I’m convinced that we function at our best when we do things in a crunch versus spending weeks or months mulling over the details. I mean look at how our wedding turned out and that was just two weeks of effort.

With that being said, booking a group campsite at a national park or public site for a weekend actually requires advance planning so our one week rallying just wasn’t going to work there. We had just about given up our 2020 camping dream when I found this handy website called HipCamp! It's like the Airbnb of camping! Their whole mission is helping adventurers book campsites from national parks to private farmlands - which was exactly what we needed!

I spent all of 10 minutes browsing around on HipCamp's site when I landed on The Farm at Wilkerson Mill. We wanted to avoid waterfronts and heavily wooded areas since we were taking the kids (two "big" kids and a pack of roaming one-year-olds).

Wilkerson Mill's campsites are in a wide-open field which would give the little ones plenty of space to run around. Plus the large opening would be perfect for viewing the night sky! I created my account on HipCamp, selected our site number, and just that quick we were booked for our weekend excursion! My only critique of their site is that they only allow you to book one site and since we were going with a group I had to contact the owner to book the rest of our sites - nothing too bad but I would've liked to do it all on the site.

Onward to the camping!

Make the Most of Your Family Trip by Doing This

Start early! Typically, when going with friends you may want to start in the afternoon because the night time is when you're ready to party but with kids, it doesn't pay to delay!

We got to camp around 10 in the morning to give ourselves plenty of time to set up and hang out before it got dark outside. This allowed us time to go on a little excursion to a nearby sunflower patch, play games, cook lunch and dinner, and let the kids run WILD! They wore themselves out and were ready for bed by sundown. This left the grown folks time to hang out, have a few drinks, play adult games, and gaze at the full moon we were blessed with that night!

Here are some photos of our unforgettable experience at Wilkerson Mill Farm:

Camping Vlog:

Family Camping Gear Checklist

Don't forget to bring these things on your trip!

  • Tent

  • Chairs

  • Sleeping bags/air mattress/Pack n' Play for kids under 2.

  • Extra blankets

  • Firestarter logs (3 or 4)

  • Table to place food on (or you could always use your truck like we did here)

  • Toys for kids(balls, bubbles, nerf guns, slingshot, binoculars, cars/trucks, kite)

  • Flashlights (each person should have their own)

  • Lanterns to have around your site area

  • Food (plenty of snacks and food to grill on open fire)

  • Foil

  • Open-fire grill

  • Slip-on shoes - you'll want to take your shoes off when going in your tent so having those slide-ons will make maneuvering a whole lot easier!

  • Extra socks (in case it gets cold at night!)

  • Extra pair of dry clothes

  • Toiletries

  • Eating/cooking utensils including spatula, knife, and mitt for pulling hot things off grill.

  • Cast iron skillet and pot for boiling water (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soup)

  • Bug repellent

  • First aid kit

  • Bluetooth Speaker

  • Portable Charger


A Few More Tips to Make Your Trip Even Better

  1. Book a campsite with restrooms on-site.

  2. Plan ahead for nearby excursions like hikes, fishing, farm visits, etc.

  3. Take lots of pictures!

  4. Remove all food from your campsite at night before going to bed.

  5. Leave the land better than you found it.

  6. Go with the flow! Everything may not go exactly as you plan but soak up the experience/memory that you're creating with your family!

Here are a few items we used on our trip! (These are affiliate links below that I will earn a commission from if you click through and make a purchase).

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