- Location is everything – Noisy trains, car noise, partying teens, lots of dogs are all a drag when you have a sleeping baby. Think about where you are going to camp and what’s around it. While remote may not be feasible with a baby in tow, you can take the surroundings into account.
- Party Free Zone – Boozey, party campgrounds make it tough for most parents to relax when little kids are around. Look for campgrounds that are low key about alcohol and have strict noise ordinances. This may not have been fun for you pre-kid, but you will be grateful you thought about this with a little one.
- Close to Town – If this is your first time camping with your little one try keeping it close to home. We have a campground we love to go to that is literally about 40 minute from our front door. While this may not be sexy on the “big adventure” front, you will be so happy that you are close to home if your toddler decides to throw up at 3am. Yes, this has happened to us.
- Cliff-free Zone – I love a good view, but I also love relaxing and if there is a cliff nearby or a steep drop off, I am not going to relax with Mason running around. If you find yourself at a campground with a cliff move to the back of the campground so your toddler or little one has to go quite a ways to find the edge.
- Water is Wonderful – Water is the best thing in the summer, so camping near a creek or pond is great. Just make sure again to camp away from the waters edge so you can enjoy it from a distance and not worry about your little one falling in.
- Fire Pits – Fire is the number one cause of injury on camp trips with little kids. If there is a fire pit in your campground make sure you spark it up post baby in bed and put it out well before they wake up. If you still have a babe in arms make sure you keep an eye on flying sparks.
- Running Water – We are used to traveling with a lot of water, but it’s always nice when we find a campground with running water. Babies can get incredibly dirty because they just can’t help but roll around in dirt. It’s so fun. We always travel with a big tote we can empty out and turn into a “Mason bath” and he loves it. This is easier if the campground has a great water source.
- Minimal Roads – Try to look for campgrounds without roads running right through them or with super windy roads so people can’t drive fast. If you find yourself in a crowded campground with no options consider being overly cautious and bring a “Children at Play” sign to prop up and remind those around you that there are kids running about.
- Bathrooms – Bathrooms can make a camp trip a lot easier with a child just learning to potty train. And then there are outhouses. Outhouses can make it tougher because they are stinky and buggy. If you find not-such-pleasant outhouses consider carrying a portable potty to keep your little one working toward that potty training goal.
- Camp with Friends – Camping in groups can make a trip much more pleasant when you have babies and toddlers. Somehow when your baby is crying at midnight and you know your next door neighbor is feeling your pain instead of cursing you, it’s easier to just muscle through sad baby moments.
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Photo Credits: Shanti Hodges, Kim Ives
Shanti is the founder of Hike it Baby and loves to get out camping with her little one and hubby as often as possible. She is currently on tour hiking and camping across the Western US with her 2-year-old Mason. She’ll be stopping off at HIPCAMP campgrounds (a Hike it Baby partner) so catch up with her on tour. Or look for a HIPCAMP/Hike it Baby summer camp trip in your area.