RV camping with kids opens up a world of adventure. Exploring the great outdoors as a family creates lasting memories. With the right preparation, an RV trip allows parents to experience nature alongside their children. This guides covers everything from choosing an RV to planning activities for kids of all ages.
Camping in an RV offers comfort and amenities while still getting an immersive outdoor experience. Kids learn new independence and practical skills when camping. From crafts under the awning to hikes in the woods, there are endless educational opportunities. With kid-friendly gear and preparation, the whole family can enjoy getting back to nature. Use this guide to plan your next memorable RV adventure.
- Choose a family-sized RV with bunk beds, separate rooms, outdoor awning space and plenty of storage.
- Pack camping essentials like outdoor toys, games, first aid supplies, flashlights and walkie talkies.
- Plan a route with family-friendly campsites, kid activities and stops at amusement parks or museums.
- Teach RV etiquette like conserving resources along with outdoor skills.
- Do crafts, scavenger hunts, hiking, biking and outdoor games. Have evening campfires with songs and s’mores.
Choosing the Right RV for Your Family
The first step for a memorable trip is choosing the right RV for your crew. Look for family-friendly floorplans with plenty of bunks, storage and living space. Key factors when RV shopping with kids in mind include:
Sleeping Capacity – Choose an RV with bunk beds or convertible dinette sleeping space to accommodate the whole family. Look for at least queen or full-sized master bedroom.
Interior Spaces – Separate rooms like cab-over bunks along with slide outs create defined kid zones for sleep and play.
Outdoor Awning Area – Extended awnings with space for picnic tables allow for outdoor play even in rain. Screened exterior compartments are great for older kids.
Storage Capacity – From toys to games to outdoor gear, storage for all the kid accessories is a must. Exterior compartments keep bulky items out of the interior.
Amenities – Family RVs should have a full bathroom, adequately sized refrigerator/freezer, oven and microwave for meal prep. Entertainment features like exterior TV hookups allow movie nights.
Other useful features include blackout curtains for nap times, safe space heaters, and central vacuums to easily clean up messes. Carefully evaluate floorplans to find the right balance of space, sleeping capacity and amenities to keep the whole family comfortable on the road.
Essential RV Camping Gear for Kids
The right gear makes family camping trips much easier and more enjoyable. Stock up on kid-friendly necessities including:
- Soft linens, blankets and pillows
- Noise-canceling headphones
- Portable fans
- Games, books, tablets
- Walkie talkies
- Portable speakers
- Craft supplies
- Outdoor toys like bubbles, kites and balls
- Flashlights, glow sticks and lanterns
- Child locator devices
- Walkie talkies for groups
- Fire extinguisher
- First aid kit
- Sunscreen and hats
- Whistles and compasses
- Bear spray if needed
Take inventory before each trip and get the kids involved in picking toys and entertainment. Having the right gear elevates every outdoor adventure.
Planning Your RV Camping Trip
Proper advance preparation is crucial to ensure a smooth and enjoyable RV camping trip with kids. Work through these planning steps in detail before departure:
Choosing a Kid-Friendly Campsite
It’s important to select campgrounds that offer amenities and facilities tailored for families. Look for sites with playgrounds and large open green spaces where kids can play group games or sports like tag, Frisbee and soccer. Many family-centered campgrounds offer scheduled nature programs and activities specifically for children, like junior ranger courses.
For entertainment, choose campgrounds with recreation facilities like pools, basketball courts, tennis courts, and rec rooms with games and activities during inclement weather. Access to hiking trails graded easy or moderate provide scenic options for family excursions. Bike paths through or around the campground allow kids to explore independently without having to navigate roads.
Proximity to family-friendly attractions like children’s museums, zoos and amusement parks is a plus. This allows you to take short day trips to supplement camping. State parks, private campground chains like KOA, Jellystone, and independent family-owned campgrounds often provide ideal options. Read reviews online and connect with other families for personal recommendations.
Planning Your Route
Map out your route in advance, pinpointing family-friendly stops and activities to build into the travel itinerary. Schedule overnight stays at amusement parks or water parks so you can take advantage of the attractions. Seek out museums like children’s museums and science museums with interactive exhibits to engage their curiosity.
Identify roadside attractions like giant frying pans, world’s largest dinosaurs, corn palaces and other oddities to break up the monotony of driving. Plan hiking trips to destinations featuring waterfalls, lakes, or majestic mountain viewpoints suited for their age and abilities. Allow time for relaxing picnics and scenic overlooks. Plot out restaurants with outdoor play areas and kids menus to keep them content while eating.
Try to balance long driving days with short 1-2 hour stretches in the RV. This helps keep kids from getting restless. Have directions, distances and mileage goals mapped out ahead of time each day. Build in plenty of activity-filled stops rather than sitting in the RV for extremely long periods.
When RV camping, plan out menus and meals accounting for kids’ food preferences. Pack plenty of kid-friendly portable snacks like applesauce pouches, granola bars, raisins and other grab-and-go items. Stock up on non-perishable lunch items they can assemble like crackers, shelf-stable tuna and chicken, dried fruit, trail mix and nut butter.
Prepare ingredients ahead of time for simple dinners like tin foil packet meals, cold sandwiches, salads and wraps that can be assembled on arrival at the site. Of course, hot dogs and buns are a camping staple for quick cookouts as well. Don’t forget s’mores ingredients like chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers. Also pack long-lasting fresh fruits and vegetables that don’t spoil easily.
Set up an outdoor camp kitchen under the awning with portable burners, plates, utensils and cookware. Having familiar foods from home helps kids feel comfortable easing into camping life away from their daily routine.
Fun RV Camping Activities for Kids
The magic of RV camping is getting to explore nature as a family. Take advantage of the great outdoors with these fun activities:
Outdoor Exploration Activities
- Scavenger hunts searching for pinecones, rocks, mushrooms on hikes
- Identifying plants, animals, birds, bugs, tracks and scat
- Junior ranger programs with badge earning at National and State Parks
- Fishing, canoeing, kayaking depending on ages
- Geocaching adventures to uncover hidden treasure boxes
- Hiking to waterfalls, lakes or viewpoints best suited for their ability
Crafts and Games
- Tie dye shirts and other fabric arts
- Bracelet making from threads, cords and beads
- Nature rubbings from tree bark, leaves, etc using paper and crayon
- Dreamcatcher making using hoops and weaving
- Outdoor board games and corn hole toss
- Reading stories and car camping bingo
- Coloring, mad libs and puzzles under the awning on rainy days
- Campfires with songs, stories, s’mores and skits
- Night hikes with flashlights to spot nocturnal animals
- Wildlife sounds bingo
- Stargazing and identifying constellations
- Movies outdoors on the RV exterior entertainment set up
Getting kids engaged with the outdoors reduces boredom and screens. When they are having fun, camping trips become most memorable.
Teaching Kids RV Camping Etiquette
It’s crucial that kids understand basic campground etiquette and outdoor ethics before embarking on RV camping trips. Parents should take time to teach essential behaviors and responsibilities to children of all ages.
For instance, teach them to conserve electricity and water when hooked up to campground utilities. Show them how to take short “Navy” style showers to avoid draining tanks. Explain that excessive lights at night like bright overhead lights can blind neighboring campers. Encourage using flashlights, lanterns or string lights after dark instead.
Kids should also keep noise levels reasonable during designated quiet hours in the evenings out of respect for other families. Going over the rules of Leave No Trace principles and modeling these behaviors teaches how to minimize impact on hikes, at picnic areas and campsites. Explain the importance of not picking wildflowers or damaging vegetation so as to leave nature undisturbed.
Demonstrate how to properly dispose of trash, waste and debris to keep campgrounds clean. Supervise campfires closely and show them how to fully extinguish fires before leaving the site. Help them identify and steer clear of poison ivy, snakes, biting insects, mushrooms and other potential hazards.
Of course, kids need to follow posted speed limits in campgrounds for safely navigating roads on bikes or scooters. Leashing pets, parking only in designated sites, and obeying any other posted rules should be reinforced as well. Consistently reinforcing these positive etiquette behaviors ensures kids adopt responsible camping practices. Make it interactive by doing scavenger hunts focused on finding examples of Leave No Trace ethics implemented around the campground.
Handling Emergencies While RV Camping
While parents aim to minimize risks, it’s wise to be prepared just in case emergencies arise. Follow these tips to add peace of mind when RV camping with kids:
First Aid Basics
Pack a well-stocked first aid kit that includes:
- Bandages, gauze, wraps, tape
- Antibiotic cream and anti-itch cream
- Oral thermometer and medication dosing charts
- Tweezers, scissors, safety pins
- Electrolyte mixes for dehydration
- Antihistamines and pain/fever relievers
Also bring any medications kids take regularly and copies of prescriptions.
Have a printed list of key contacts:
- Family doctor, dentist, pediatrician
- Nearest ER and urgent care clinics
- Regional poison control number
- Park rangers for your campground locations
- Towing/RV repair companies
- Insurance policy numbers
Make copies so each parent has one. Also program contacts into phones. Being prepared provides security and handles events calmly.
Creating Lasting Memories: RV Camping With Kids
More than simply taking a trip, RV camping with kids is about nurturing meaningful family time in the great outdoors. Away from distractions of daily life, bonds strengthen as you unplug from technology and embrace simplicity.
Kids gain confidence trying new activities and taking on new responsibilities like cooking meals over the campfire or reading maps on a hike. Camping is the perfect time for your children to learn practical life skills. They see parents as role models who pass on knowledge.
Laughing together as you recount funny moments from the day around a campfire creates inside jokes that last a lifetime. The shared wonder of stargazing or spotting wildlife leaves an impression. Kids carry these special memories into adulthood, recalling cherished times spent camping with family.
RV camping with kids opens up a world of adventure and possibilities. With thoughtful preparation and planning, parents can create a lifetime of meaningful moments. The trips become fond recollections your children will one day want to recreate for their own families.
Conclusion of RV Camping With Kids Ideas And Activities
Exploring the outdoors by RV as a family leads to endless memorable moments. Choose the right RV to keep everyone comfortable on the road. Pack essential kid gear and toys to stay entertained. Plan a route mixing travel days with activity-filled stops at kid-friendly locales.
Fill days with outdoor adventures, games, crafts and discoveries. Reinforce camping etiquette and outdoor ethics. Lay the foundations for a lifetime appreciation of nature. An RV trip makes cherished memories through shared experiences. Your kids will carry the magic of camping as a family well into adulthood.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some fun and educational camping activities for kids?
Great camping activities for kids include scavenger hunts to identify plants, animals and tracks, geocaching adventures, junior ranger programs, hiking to lakes or scenic spots, learning outdoor skills like fishing and cooking over a campfire, and playing outdoor games like cornhole and capture the flag.
What are some creative DIY camping activities for families?
Fun DIY camping activities include making nature rubbings by placing paper over tree bark and rubbing with crayon, making s’mores or grilled snacks, putting on skits or having talent shows at the campfire, stargazing and identifying constellations, tie dyeing shirts or bandanas, and building fairy houses from sticks and leaves.
How can you make tent camping more enjoyable for kids?
Make tent camping fun for kids by bringing comfy linens and camp chairs, keeping plenty of snacks on hand, having a variety of games and books, planning short easy hikes, exploring the campground, teaching them camping skills like setting up a tent, and letting them help cook meals over the fire.
What are some fun nighttime camping activities for families?
Good nighttime camping activities include telling stories, singing songs or performing skits at the campfire, playing nighttime hide and seek around the tents using flashlights, going on night hikes to spot nocturnal animals, playing music and dancing under the stars, laying out looking at the starry sky, and having glow stick parties or games.
What are some essential camping gear items for kids?
Must-have camping gear for kids includes kid-sized camp chairs or sleeping pads, headlamps and flashlights, walkie talkies, bug spray and sunscreen, hydration packs, whistles, games and books, durable outdoor toys like balls and kites, and clothing layers for changing weather.
How can you keep campers of all ages entertained during a camping trip?
Keep all ages entertained camping by planning activities for each part of the day – morning hikes, afternoon crafts and games, evenings by the campfire. Let each person pick an activity. Bring lots of variety – books, music, entertainment options. Get kids involved in camp chores and cooking. Share stories and laughs often.