Take the kids camping, they said. It will be fun…they said. You know what? It was! I know, I know, the thought of taking two families with four kids under six seems SO daunting, but it really wasn’t. We have many camping and overlanding trips planned for this year and wanted to take a little “one nighter” as sort of a test run as to what a full weekend or more might be like with our almost four year old son and seven month old daughter. If there is any advice I can give when taking kids camping it’s:
- Prep them ahead of time.
- Stick to as much routine as you can. Bed time, meal times, etc. Routine is a desperate need for kids, in my opinion.
We prepped our son all week as we were preparing for our trip. We hyped up things like sleeping in a tent, fire building, and peeing in the woods (because what’s cooler to a four year old than that, really?). He was SO excited. I made sure that we had plenty of disposable diapers as we typically use cloth for our daughter and a few changes of clothes for each kid. I put these items along with a change of clothes for each of us, toiletries, necessary essential oils, and a few snacks in a backpack. Both of our rigs are equipped with fully loaded medical kits, so I felt at ease leaving the band-aids at home. I had my son pick out four monster trucks to take with him so there was a little more for him to do while we set up camp and brought a few toys for the baby too. Packing for our trip was a bit like packing for a month long stay somewhere, but thanks to these Plano storage boxes, we have a pretty good system going so there won’t be so much packing next time. One box is filled with things like canned goods, smore ingredients (can’t have camping without smore’s!), cookware, and cleaning items. The other has our air mattress, sleeping bags, and air pump.
Let me tell you about this campsite that we stayed at. For some reason, the winter weekends in Florida must be prime time to camp! The local parks are booked for months, so we were thinking that our test run camp trip would end up being more like a back-yard camp trip! As I was scrolling through my Facebook one morning while sipping on my coffee, I noticed an ad on a local yard sale page for private camp sites just off the Withlacoochie River. I immediately called the owner and made our reservation for the following weekend sight unseen. Let me tell you…this place was a little slice of heaven right here in Florida! Who knew?? Bibi, the owner, was so accommodating and kind to us. The camp was feet from the river and surrounded by nothing but beauty. There was a toilet and shower (hooray!!), use of electric, a place to build a fire, and plenty of room for both of our tents, tables, and vehicles. You can find her site on Airbnb. There was also plenty to do. We were just a few miles from the Withlacoochie Forest and some really cool trails. We walked along the property that we stayed and played near the riverbank. When it came time to eat, we brought a single burner stove and a grill so we made hot dogs on the fire and burgers on the grill. For breakfast, I had mixed up some eggs in a bottle and brought pre-mixed pancake mix in a mason jar. Talk about convenient…thanks Pinterest!!
My only complaints…It was very cold and rainy that night. The temps got down to 46 degrees.. I would suggest something warmer and dryer especially if you are bringing kids. And coffee….there HAS to be a good and cheap solution for the coffee situation. No coffee is just absolutely not an option for me. Trust me on this…ask the hubs…mama needs the coffee. I tried a trick I found on Pinterest where you boil rubberbanded pouches made of coffee filters. It was only a mild success. I will keep trying and let you know when I come up with something better. Other than that, I would say this was wildly successful and I am itching to get out again! I can’t wait for our next trip in March and our son is too!!