Plan Ahead, They Said.

We’ve all been there. After a seemingly endless winter springtime arrives, the weather warms up and you start your summer camping plans only to find out all the places you want to visit are already booked solid. “Plan ahead,” they said. Easier said than done.

When I was a kid, my dad enlisted my sister and me, every aunt, uncle and cousin, neighbor and friend. We were armed with the Yosemite Valley campground reservation number, ready for the clock to strike 7am PST on the 14th of the month, five months in advance of our anticipated camping date. It was a well-oiled machine and it worked until technology kicked in. I can just imagine the laughs the staff would give us now if we tried calling in to make a reservation for a campground that was booked solid by 7:01am. 


Insider Tactics for Booking the Perfect Family Camping Trip

Here are 5 tricks of the trade to get you that perfect family campsite with lots of shade for tent naps, plenty of room for toddlers to run around, close proximity to the bathroom for late-night potty training bathroom trips, but also not too close:

1. Mark reservation dates in your calendar.

Do some research to find out which camp sites to go for and when reservations open. Mark those campsite numbers and dates down in your calendar and set an alarm to remind you a day or so ahead of time. 

2. Plan ahead and book early even if you aren’t positive you can make it work.

Planning and children can be challenging concepts to put together.  In the event you can’t make the trip you booked you can usually cancel for a nominal fee. So, just in case that week in June will work out, book it now.

3. Get the kids involved.

Depending on their age they may not be able to hit redial like my sister and I did, but you can still get them excited and involved. Ask them what kind of trees or animals they’d like to see and plan your location around that. And make sure to print off their very own packing list so they can help pack and have some extra fun at the campground. 

4. Take advantage of technology.

If you’re looking to book specific dates, check out websites like Campnab that use software to monitor campground reservation sites and will alert you when they have cancellations. 

5. Try somewhere new.

If all efforts fail and you don’t get that coveted campsite not all is lost. Take to Google to find another family-friendly campground. Maybe you’ll fall in love with it and won’t need to worry so much about trying to snag that other “perfect” spot. 

Download The Kids Camping Packing List

kids camping checklist

Need some help with that Kids’ Camping List? Here’s where you can pick everything up:

Do you have any insider tips for scoring the best camping locale for your family? Drop them in the comments (if you are willing to share ;). Happy Camping!

The best way to get insider tips is from a community of inclusive parents dedicated to getting their kids outside, no matter what it takes. Become a member of Hike it Baby today and find your outdoor family community. Learn more about membership options.

About Hike it Baby

Hike it Baby is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to getting families outdoors and on trails across the U.S. and internationally, supporting, educating and inspiring families through their more than 300 communities across North America. Since its grassroots inception in 2013 in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby is now a growing community of 270,000 families and 500 volunteer branch ambassadors hosting more than 1,600 hikes per month. More information, as well as daily hike schedules, can be found at, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

This post is sponsored by L.L.Bean. We would never recommend a product we do not love. All opinions are our own.

Photos courtesy of Michelle Pearl Gee.


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