Taking your family on an adventure at a camp site with hiking trails can be a great way to reconnect with nature and one another. The fresh air, seclusion and exercise remove the distractions of modern life and let you focus on what matters.
Before you load-up your tents and knapsacks to charge off into the wilderness, consider the following tips for a great family camping trip.
1. Gauge hiking ability
As much as you would like to see the entire hiking trail, be sure to take time and allow your family time to smell the metaphorical roses. Different ages have different hiking abilities, so use a map and plan a distance that is suitable for anyone. Remember that you’re there to enjoy and appreciate nature, not to wear holes in your hiking boots.
2. Practice fire safety
It wouldn’t be a successful camping trip without a toasty campfire. The centerpiece for any trip, a good campfire is perfect for telling scary stories, roasting marshmallows or cuddling up and appreciating the night sky. But don’t forget about fire safety. Keeping a fire extinguisher, bucket of water and shovel nearby to put out the flames is a good plan, but you should also know how to safely start a campfire.
3. Plan meals
When you think of “roughing it,” how do you picture your meals? Regardless of whether you’re planning on roasted hot dogs on sticks or baked beans in a pot you brought from home, it is important to plan your meals ahead of time. How will you store your perishable food that will spoil in the heat? What sort of pans will you use to fix dinner? Be sure to keep your plans workable – you don’t need to bring your entire kitchen with you. On-the-go foods like fresh fruits and vegetables can be easy to pack and munch on as you walk a beautiful trail.
4. Use sunscreen
Even on a cloudy day, you can be at risk for sunburn. Use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 and make sure the rest of your family does, too. And itchy, painful sunburn can put a damper on your camping trip, so limit exposure to the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, and protect your eyes with sunglasses.
5. Stay hydrated
You lose precious water and electrolytes when you exercise. If you are out hiking all day, be sure to bring plenty of clean, bottled water along for the trip. Some campsites may offer a treated water supply, but be sure to verify this before you depend on it for your family’s health.
6. Be prepared
It’s impossible to prepare for all possible crises, but being aware of your surroundings and their risks and planning ahead can keep you and your family safe. Bring an extra set of socks in case you cross a small creek to prevent your feet from blistering. Wear high boots and socks to protect your ankles and legs from shrubs, poison ivy and other threats. Prepare an emergency kit with bandages, anti-inflammatories, calamine lotion and other supplies.
Fall is a great time to get outside and enjoy the crisp air and colorful scenery. By being prepared for your trip, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy time with your family.