As we continue to appreciate the beauty that fall brings and the much needed break from the summer heat, it’s the perfect time to get outdoors with your family. Planning a camping or glamping trip with loved ones this season is a great way to not only bond with one another but also with nature. Moreover, the great thing about it is that putting together a family camping trip doesn’t require a ton of effort.
Glamping, or glamorous camping, has become increasingly popular in recent years as it allows you to have a camping experience without sacrificing the amenities you’d typically seek in a hotel stay. With camp sites all around the country, the most you’ll have to do is pack your bags and get everyone in the car for the road trip.
If you’ve been looking for ideas for an easy—and mostly inexpensive— family trip that will appeal to everyone’s interest, here are some tips for creating the perfect glamping adventure this fall and beyond.
Location Is Key
Camping can be done just about anywhere, even in your own backyard. A tent pitched in your backyard is a great option for those who have younger children or elderly loved ones who can’t be far from home. You can go all out by setting up a makeshift campfire using a fire table (or home fire pit), and spend the evening telling stories as you roast s’mores. Pull out the sleeping bags and spend your night under the stars, with the comfort of your own bathrooms just steps away.
For folks who want to venture away from home, look for campsites that can accommodate your family’s needs and also offer family-friendly activities on-site including: hiking, nature trails, outdoor sports (like horseshoes or sports courts), as well as nearby dining or markets for last minute needs or emergencies. If you are pitching your own tent (or using an RV), be sure to read up on all site rules, as each property and location differs on what is allowed.
As far as full-service glamping sites to consider, we suggest: Wylder Hope Valley Hotel in California; Naturluxe and Stars near New York’s Finger Lakes; Westgate River Ranch in Central Florida; Under Canvas, which offers several sites across the country; and Collective Retreats, which has multiple locations across the U.S. with options for unique experiences like cooking classes and more.
Plan Meals and Snacks in Advance
For a select few, the only downside to camping—which is only a downside if you make it—is not having the comfort of your own kitchen in the outdoors. If you have dietary restrictions, planning out your meals ahead of time will help ensure everyone is able to eat at all times.
Be sure to pack plenty of non-perishable snacks, including trail mix, bottled water, hot cocoa or apple cider or any easy-to-mix powdered drinks. You can even pack a cooler with fresher foods that can be prepared over the fire, such as meats and veggies that can be roasted over the flame in foil packets. Of course, depending on the length of your camping adventure, you can also budget in the option to check out local eateries and restaurants.
Pack Clothing That You Can Layer
If you know like we know, Mother Nature does whatever she wants when she wants—so the weather may be unpredictable for your trip. To stay ahead of the game, pack clothing that can be easily layered on the go. Think cardigans, T-shirts, a button-up shirt, comfortable pants or leggings and a hat.
Also, the campgrounds may be muddy, so pack sneakers or even hiking boots that you don’t mind getting dirty. To avoid dirtying your car and sleeping area, bring along plastic bags to store wet or muddy clothing in. Finally, don’t forget light jackets or raincoats for surprise rainstorms or cooler evenings.
Unplug as Much as Possible
You’re out in nature, so why not enjoy it. In the age of digital technology, unplugging from our devices can be hard, but this is the perfect moment to try. While you don’t have to ditch your devices completely, try to limit your family to only a few hours each day or only for emergencies.
Instead, create memories by going on nature walks to identity bird and plant species along the way, engage in fun sporting activity or simply catch up on life with one another by sharing family history and stories of the past— giving the entire family a chance to build unforgettable core memories that will stick with you forever. For photos, bring along a Polaroid camera and create a physical family photo album from your outdoor adventure.
Lastly, just enjoy the opportunity to be in one another’s company.