Camping could be described as a one of the great American past times. In 2013 alone, 40.1 million Americans went camping. Camping has shaped not only our national character, but also our individual characters. Campers who were introduced to family camping vacations as children were found to engage in other outdoor activities more regularly than those who weren’t taking camping as children. For those camping enthusiasts, 85% had their first camping family vacation before the age of 15. Once that landmark age was reached, the chances of a person being introduced to camping dropped dramatically.
For many parents, the quest for ways to have family time that doesn’t involve the television or the kids complaining can seem never ending. When it comes to bonding, building character, and experiencing the great outdoors, nothing beats cabin camping. Here’s how you can plan a perfect family cabin camping vacation:
This may seem obvious, but when it comes to choosing a cabin for rent for your family, there’s more to consider than just location. Consider the amenities you have at home and your current living situation. Do your kids share a room? How many bathrooms do you have? What sort of outdoor play areas do the cabin camping sites provide? Take into account the sorts of activities your family is most likely to be interested in before taking a particular cabin for rent.
Camping cabins are not hotels in the woods. At least, most of them aren’t. Each cabin for rent will differ in what it does and does not provide. You can call ahead to find out what your particular campgrounds will supply. The biggest things you’ll want to ask about are the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. Does the cabin come with bedding? If not, what size beds do they provide so you can pack accordingly? Of course you could always keep it simple and put everyone up in sleeping bags, but the bathroom and kitchen are less negotiable. Find out about towels and kitchen amenities, if your cabin for rent has a kitchen.
Regardless of what the campground provides, it’s still a good idea to over pack. Bring extra pillows and blankets, just in case. Extra towels are also always a wise addition when packing for family vacations. You may also want to throw dish and hand soap, bug spray, night lights, and food storage containers in while you’re loading up the car.
After a full day of hiking or fishing or swimming, the last thing you’ll likely want to do is slave over an elaborate meal. Finding a cabin for rent with a kitchen can be a major plus as it’ll save money on food as well as keep the experience more natural. But don’t overexert yourself.
The trick is to keep it simple. Family favorites are a great choice, provided they don’t require too much labor. If they’re something the kids can help prepare, even better. Try to plan meals that can double up as lunch or a second dinner to keep food packing light. If an ingredient can serve in two dishes, all the better.
Chances are your days will be filled with cavorting in the woods and experiencing the great outdoors, but your nights may be a different story. With no television to veg in front of after dark, you’d be wise to dust off that card deck for after-hours entertainment. You could have each kid pick his or her favorite board game or book to bring along or make an executive decision. Puzzles are also fun for the right age group.
Most of all, remember to leave some time to just be free. The beauty of the outdoors is it provides space and room to breathe. While it’s good to have a list of fun activities in your back pocket, let there be some spontaneity, too. You want your kids to have time to just explore. Let them be your guide for a while and see where it takes you. There’s no telling just where a family cabin camping vacation will go.