How to Keep Camping After School Starts

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.

Quick weekend getaways can be just as rewarding as longer trips

Quick weekend getaways can be just as rewarding as longer trips

School Calendar

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.

Shorter Trips

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.

Frozen pizzas, like these from Trader Joe’s, make quick Friday night meals

Frozen pizzas, like these from Trader Joe’s, make quick Friday night meals

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.

Backyard camping

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?

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8 thoughts on “How to Keep Camping After School Starts

  1. Great to meet you, Roy,

    A friend from A-List said I should come by and say hello. Just getting started digging into your blog, loving it, and wanted to say hello. I’ve been blogging about camping in Upstate NY for about 3 years now.

    You’ve done a beautiful job with this blogsite. Have added you to my Camping Blogs list, subscribed, and will abso’y return.


  2. Just came across this post, but I absolutely agree! Post back-to-school is my favorite time to go camping with the kids, although soccer schedules and scout activities sometimes make finding a free weekend difficult. Those quick getaways to largely empty parks are so worth the trip though, and the weather can’t be beat for sitting around a campfire! Thanks for the tips!

    • Thanks, Melody – we are looking forward to another great beach trip, this month, and I hope we can make it to the Sierras one more time, before winter.

  3. Backyard Camping is always our back-up plan. There are times when our camping trips are postponed due to unavoidable reasons like a minor headache or fever. In times like this, we always reach a compromise and that’s backyard camping. And like you said, these backyard campings we have are the most memorable yet 🙂