Whether you are spending the summer RVing on the road or are just taking a weekend getaway, camping with kids is a fun-filled way to get back in touch with nature. If you are planning a family camping trip, there are many adventurous, as well as more low-key, activities that some campgrounds have specifically for kids.
National Park Camping
The U.S. National Park Service makes up more than 84 million acres of land across the country. If you are planning a camping trip to one of these monumental sites, don't forget to check out the activities for kids. The Junior Ranger program allows kids to explore the park with a specially designed activity book. Kids look for answers to site-specific questions, and then share them with a park ranger. Children who complete the activity receive a park badge and a certificate. Other kids' activities that national parks offer vary by campground, but may include educational programs, hikes or visits to special landmarks and sites. At Montana's Glacier National Park, children can visit the Discovery Cabin where they can sort rocks, create a puppet show or try out the mystery touch box.
State parks, like the national ones, also have campground activities for kids. While the specific activities vary by state, there are plenty of things for your child to do when camping at many of these sites. Geocaching -- a techy type of treasure hunt that involves using GPS devices to find hidden containers that other geocachers stock with family-friendly items -- is a popular state park kids' activity. Other kids' activities that you may find in state parks include guided tours or nature workshops that include arts and crafts projects.
KOA (Kampgrounds of America) is a network of campgrounds across North America. Although some of the activities may vary depending on which location you choose, most of the KOA campgrounds have a roster of fun-filled kids' activities. Many KOA campgrounds have swimming pools and sports courts, such as basketball, for kids to enjoy. Some campgrounds have planned activities such as Maine's Augusta-Gardiner KOA. This site offers night-time flashlight candy hunts, a pancake breakfast, make-your-own T-shirts and even outdoor laser tag.
If your little water lover can't get enough of swimming and splashing, choosing a lake, river or ocean-side campground can complement her summer style. Look for age-appropriate kids' water activities that are safe for your child's comfort and ability level. If your fifth grader is an A+ swimmer, he may enjoy a dip in a campground lake. On the other hand, if your child likes the water, but doesn't necessarily want to get wet, try a boat activity. Some sites, such as the Lake Park campground in Rapid City, South Dakota, have paddle boats or canoes and row boats to try.
- National Park Service: About Us
- National Park Service: Explore.Learn. Protect. Be a Junior Ranger
- National Park Service: Glacier: Park Fun
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife: Learning at State Parks
- Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Geocaching
- KOA: Augusta-Gardiner
- Lake Park Campground
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images