Where did the summer go? It seems like just a few weeks ago, when we were making plans for spring camping and, now, here we are with the kids heading-off to school! For the majority of family campers this, along with the upcoming Labor Day holiday, marks the end of camping for the year. But, you do not have to hunker-down for winter, just yet. There is still a lot of great camping opportunities to be had, particularly since a lot of other families have already rolled-up their sleeping bags, for the year.
There are certainly additional challenges to planning camping trips when the kids are in school, but the one of the best places to start is with your school district’s calendar. In addition to the standard holidays, there are teacher in-service days and school half-days that present great opportunities for getting away for a family camping trip.
Even though the prime camping season is over, it is still important to look at the calendar and make reservations as early as possible. This has the added benefit of setting a definitive date, rather than making a last-minute decisions and rushing to get everything together.
I will be the first to admit that I am a terrible planner, so one of the tactics we use during the school year is family camping trips to county parks and state beaches that are nearby. With the kids home from school at 2:00, they can finish-up any remaining homework from the week, by the time I get home at 4:30. This gives us an hour to get on the road and another hour to get to the campsite, before sundown.
I love week-long camping trips, but these Friday night through Sunday morning trips makes-up the majority of our family camping, throughout the year. It may sound short and rushed, but we find that these quick trips are a great break for everybody. The key to pulling these off is having the camping menu set and everything packed, before Friday.
We are fortunate in that our kids are still young and school sports is not something that we have to deal with, yet. For the rest of you, though, school sports can put a serious damper on any weekend getaways. This is where backyard camping can save the day.
You may not live in a national forest, but a family backyard campout still encompasses the best of family camping – togetherness, bonding, fresh air and a little adventure. Besides, you invested in all that cool camping gear, so why not put it to good use?