Make your next family camping trip one to remember
Camping with the family can be a wonderful adventure, but it does take more planning than an adults-only trip. You’ll want to choose a family campsite carefully so that everyone has a memorable and enjoyable holiday.
Of course, the length of your stay will make a difference. If you are choosing a campsite just for a one-night stop-off, a convenient location will trump family-friendly facilities. But for a longer stay, you need to consider the needs of kids and adults alike when you pick a campsite.
To help you make your next camping trip a success, we’ve put together some essential advice on how to pick the best family campsite.
Do Your Research
Winging it can be fun when you are camping as a couple or with friends. But family camping holidays need a bit more planning. Before you head off, research possible campsites near your chosen destination.
Make a list of your requirements – non-negotiables and nice-to-haves. Use CampInn’s easy search function and handy filters to find potential campsites, and compare a few different options to find the best campsite for your family’s needs.
Booking in advance is also a great idea when you are traveling with kids. You don’t want to arrive with tired and hungry children to find there is no space to pitch your tent or park your motorhome.
On and Off-Site Entertainment
The best family campsites have plenty of space for kids to run and play. A dedicated play area is great for younger kids. But it isn’t an absolute necessity if there is enough clear space for them to kick a ball about or play a game of tag without disturbing other campers.
Depending on your destination, having water nearby is a sure-fire way to keep kids entertained. Some campsites have swimming pools, while others may be near a beach, river, or lake.
On-site entertainment is important for keeping kids busy when you are chilling at the campsite. But you’ll also want to choose a family campsite that is close to other kid-friendly activities.
Ideally, you want local attractions within walking distance or only a short car ride away, so you don’t have to spend your whole holiday on the road. For younger kids, playgrounds, beaches, and farms provide an easy and low-cost day out. Older children might want to try more adventurous activities, like water sports, horse riding, or climbing.
And don’t forget to check out wet weather options just in case the sun fails to shine. Are there local historic sites, cinemas, or other kids’ activities you can fall back on in bad weather?
It’s always a good idea to look at a campsite’s policies before booking it for your family camping holiday. Do they cater mainly for other families, or are there likely to be large groups of adults being noisy and keeping your kids awake late at night?
Is there a time that people are expected to be quiet? Is the campsite divided into different zones so that families can have their own space?
Will your kids be allowed to run and play? Watch out for any no-ball-game policies or rules about bikes and scooters.
Most of all, do the campsite owners welcome families, or do they begrudgingly tolerate them? You want your children to be able to relax and enjoy themselves, not have to be constantly on their best behavior. Look for campsites that specifically market themselves as family-friendly.
One of the best parts of a family camping holiday is the ability to let your kids roam wild for a few days. Finding a safe and secure campsite means you can let them explore without needing to constantly usher them away from unsafe areas.
With younger kids especially, check the safety of any pool areas. Are they away from the main campsite? Is there a fence? You don’t want to spend your whole holiday worrying about your little ones wandering off and getting into trouble.
Other things to consider include:
- nearby roads,
- whether cars will be moving around the campsite often,
- whether there’s a clear boundary to the campsite, so your children know the limits of where they can explore.
If you have older teenagers who might want to explore local towns by themselves, check out how safe the area is. Are there reliable public transport or taxi options so that teens can get back safely? What is the nightlife like?
Cooking and Eating
Unless you have some of those rare unicorn kids who eat everything, keeping everyone fed and happy on a family camping trip can be a challenge. One that will be made much easier if the campsite you choose has plenty of facilities for cooking.
Many campsites offer shared barbecues and fire pits you can use to keep hungry mouths fed. For families, these may be better options than campsites that allow campfires. Safety is a consideration, especially for little ones.
It helps if there’s a shared fridge on-site, so you can keep food fresh and plan meals a little in advance.
Check how close washing up and drinking water facilities are from where you’ll be camping. No one wants to spend their holiday traipsing over several fields just to do the washing up or fill up canteens.
Look out for family campsites with restaurants on-site or nearby for those days when cooking yet another meal is just too much. It’s supposed to be a holiday for the adults too, after all.
Finally, check whether there is a food shop or supermarket close by – ideally within walking distance. Hungry kids can get through food surprisingly quickly, especially when they are outdoors all day. With limited storage space, you’ll want to be able to top up try supplies easily.
Explore Family-Friendly Campsites
If you’re planning your next family getaway, our list of 9 of the best family campsites in Europe should give you plenty of inspiration.
And when you are ready to book, our handy search function helps you find the perfect campsite for your family.