We went camping for the first time to Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, VA. It’s only a half an hour drive from our house and we only stayed one night. We went along with a cool, adventurous family with kids similar in age, which made it a lot more fun.
For starters, we were exhausted once we arrived to the camp site because it took a LOT of time and energy to plan, pack and load the vehicle leading up to that day. We overpacked some things, and forgot other important things, like my daughter’s special blanket she sleeps with…and instead she used a towel as her new “special camping blanket.”
Pack a play yard – this one would have been great! We were running around like chickens with our heads cut off once we arrived to the site. My nearly one-year old was eating the small pebbles on the ground, and my daughter was making a run for the creek without us a few times. It would have been a lot easier if we had something like this while we were getting set-up.
Cots – My thirty-something body doesn’t handle sleeping on the ground the way I once was able. I recently tried out a cot from Cabela’s and it was amazingly comfortable. Better yet, get an RV. Ha!
Stay longer than one night. It takes so much effort to pack at home, unpack at the site, pack at the site, and unpack at home…might as well stay longer and enjoy it more without worrying about the next thing on the packing to-do list.
Pack Light – Just one toy per kid is all you need in the play yard or car. Healthy snacks equates to greater happiness than toys. Massive tents are not needed, because the kids will end up sleeping all over you no matter what! Pack an easy cold brew coffee and breakfast in case it rains in the morning (which happened to us) and we couldn’t start a fire.
Enjoy! My kids had so much fun being outside and doing something different. It’s amazing how a little escape into nature can have such an impact. My two-year old daughter continues to talk about the experience and wants to go back. Eek!