Tips & Tricks for Camping with Toddlers


Parents often reminisce on their childhood adventures, like eating s’mores and singing songs around a campfire as a family. Trying to recreate those memories for your kids can be both fun and challenging – especially as they grow up in the digital age. Camping with kids is a great way to get them out of the city and enjoying the great outdoors – just like you used to do as a child. Here are a few tips and tricks for making camping with toddlers a huge success.

Ditch the Tent

Many campers prefer to rough it in a tent and sleep under the stars. The thing is, RV camping is much easier for kids to adjust to than a tent. Solid walls give added security, reduce the amount of ambient noise and are way more comfy, helping ensure a great night’s sleep for all. 

If you don’t have an RV of your own, no worries – Cruise America has various RV rental options available, with different sizes and amenities designed to fit your family’s needs. A popular option for families with toddlers is our C25, our standard RV rental model. The dinette folds down into a bed, ensuring your kiddos have a comfy place to sleep that’s not far off the ground. 

Start ‘em Young

A lot of families put off camping with kids until they’re a lot older. We recommend starting to travel with your kids when they’re young. Not only will this give them prize memories to cherish as they grow up, but it can also help them learn to be patient, unplug from digital devices and adjust to new situations. 

Go with the Flow

As parents of toddlers, you tend to stick to strict schedules in hopes of keeping your tiny bosses as happy as possible. While you can still do your best to keep them in their usual routine, don’t panic if things don’t go perfectly. Naptime may be an hour later than normal because your morning hike ran long – and that’s ok. Try not to stress the little details. Camping with toddlers can be fun if you’re willing to give a little on the rules.

Plan Ahead

At some point, your kids are bound to get bored. This often results in cries of, “mom, he hit me!” or “dad, she won’t stop touching my things!”. To ensure that you always have something for your kids to do, plan your daily activities in advance. You can do simple things like looking up hiking trails that are suitable for young kids or finding a lake or river the family can play in one afternoon to cool off. Also, don’t forget to bring plenty of card games, books and board games that everyone can enjoy.
Insider Tip: Just remember what we mentioned above – go with the flow. If you end up doing something off-script because the kids found a cool rock formation to play on, just run with it.

Choose a Campsite with the Right Amenities

If your kids are going camping for the first time, it is important to choose a campsite with amenities that best fit your family’s needs. For a first-time camper, an RV resort with planned activities and conveniences, like a pool, game room or boat rentals, can help pass the time. These non-tech amenities will keep the whole family busy while still escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As your kids adjust to the RV camping life, you can try more secluded areas and take on new adventures.

Embrace the Dirt

If you are obsessed about keeping your toddler clean, kiss that notion goodbye. Half the fun of camping with kids is getting dirty. If there’s a mud puddle, they’re sure to find it. If there’s a creek nearby, they’re bound to fall in. Just keep a close watch and soak in the joy of watching your little ones experience the great outdoors.

Insider Tip: It’s okay to overpack for your toddler. When camping with kids, there’s just no telling how many outfit changes will be needed in a day. You can save space in other ways by following our ultimate RV packing list.

Adventure Is Out There

There’s a whole world of adventure out there, just waiting to be explored. Camping with toddlers is a great way to introduce them to this exciting, outdoor world. Get started on your family RV trip by checking out this blog with our top destinations for families traveling with children