Camping is a great way to enjoy nature as a family! Whether it’s a simple campout at home, or a full-fledged trip to a local park, there are many ways to experience the fun of sleeping outdoors and create special memories together.
There is no one right way to camp. Camping can offer a variety of options for your family’s comfort or experience level, as well as for a range of budgets. Infusing your own traditions, foods, and activities into a family camping experience is also a great way to make it your own!
If you are new to camping, start small, take time to plan ahead, and do your research. You can also check out CWF’s Great Canadian Campout for additional resources and safety tips.
What You Will Need:
Supplies will vary based on where you are camping. Here are some things to consider bringing along:
- Tent or shelter building supplies
- Equipment for sleeping such as sleeping bags, pads, etc.
- Cooking implements and/or campfire materials
- Food, drinks and dishware
- Safety items like sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kit, flashlight
- Family-friendly activities
Share Your Experience to Earn a Camping Badge!
Snap a picture of your family camping and upload it to the Gallery, or share your own tips and campfire recipes with others on the Discussions page to earn a digital Camping badge. All you need to do is log into, or sign up for, your own WILD Family Nature Club account!
Backyard or Living Room Campout
Looking for a fun and easy way to have a family camping experience at home? Plan a backyard or living room campout! With all the creature comforts close by, planning this type of family camping experience can be relatively easy and low-cost.
If you already have a tent, get kids involved in setting it up in the backyard or even inside your home. If you don’t, you can still have lots of fun constructing your own pillow fort or shelter.
- Set up your shelter together. This allows for everyone to share ideas, problem solve together and celebrate your success as a family team.
- Take only the essentials. Camping at home can be a great opportunity to practice being outdoors without electronics.
- Making food outdoors can be a fantastic memory to create and can add to the learning experience. Try making some classic campfire sweets like smores, banana boats and cakes cooked inside an orange.
- If you don’t have access to an outdoor firepit, don’t worry! There are other options, such as making a terra cotta fire pit or candle campfire.
- Incorporate fun activities into your campout! You can use lights to create a shadow puppet shows or play flashlight tag.
- Story telling is a part of many cultures and can be spooky, funny, or have deep meaning. Encourage kids to contribute to the story or make up their own.
Take your camping experience to the next level by heading to comfort camping site. Camping with amenities, or “glamping”, can take many forms including: oTentiks, cabins, and much more! Comfort camping allows you to enjoy some of the comforts of home, while providing the opportunity to be more immersed in nature and grow your family’s comfort level outdoors.
- Research which campsites have comfort camping options. Many national and provincial parks offer a form of comfort camping, but there are often other possibilities. Air B&B, local bloggers and other online camping/outdoors websites can supply you with a list of ideas.
- Once you have found a spot you that fits your needs, try to book early! In most areas, this form of camping is in high demand and reservations normally need to be made in well in advance.
- Comfort camping sites are usually more expensive than booking a traditional campsite, so keep this in mind budgeting for your trip.
- Find out what amenities are available at your site and pack accordingly. Some sites may have power and water, while others may be unserviced. A variety of other supplies might be available but are not guaranteed.
- Bring some comforts from home. A blanket, toy, or stuffed animal can make kids more comfortable with the change in sleeping arrangements.
- Plan for the rainy days. Although we all hope for nice weather, bringing along rain day activities, such as board games, books and colouring pages, can ensure your visit isn’t a bust.
Front Country Camping
Ready to embrace the wilderness a bit more? Front country, or “car camping” involves loading up all your gear into a vehicle, driving to your designated spot, and setting up your campsite. This could involve sleeping in a tent, RV/trailer, your vehicle, or even building your own shelter!
Campgrounds can be found in many different locations, not only in national and provincial parks. Try visiting a municipal or private campground too!
- Rates from front country camping are normally lower than comfort camping, but campgrounds can still book up quickly and reservations are normally required.
- Find out what amenities are available at your site and pack accordingly. Some sites may have power and water, while others may be unserviced. If you own or rent an RV, you may want to pay a bit more for a powered site.
- Getting supplies for front country camping can be expensive, but many can be found at your local dollar store or discount shop. You can also rent supplies through shops like MEC, who also partners with Parks Canada.
- Find out what types of educational activities are available at your campsite. Amphitheatre shows, guided hikes or campfires could be available!
- Go camping with another family. The buddy system can be very supportive, and you can even book group sites at some places if you want to have many families join you!
- Be aware of what kinds of wildlife can be found in the area and check out campground information boards for wildlife advisories.
- Make sure to follow the Leave No Trace principals by packing up all trash and leftover food.
- If you plan on having a fire, see if there are any local fire bans or if you will need to purchase a fire permit. Only use designated fire pits and learn how to prevent wildfires by extinguishing it properly.
- Be respectful of others camping near you, the natural environment and any rules for the natural area or campground you are staying in.
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