Pick the Right Area
You should be a seasoned backpacker before you take the family out into the wilds for backcountry camping. If you are, you know how to select a site that will be safe and comfortable without leaving too large a carbon footprint.
If you're a novice, you should start by staying in a developed campground. But where? The answer depends on what you want from your camping experience.
If camping is the main goal, choose a campground that's reasonably close to home. You'll arrive with plenty of time to set up camp before dark. What's more, you won't have to deal with grumpy, travel-weary family members.
Since you'll be outdoors, choose an area with natural attractions. The beach and mountains are obvious draws, if they are close enough. Lakes and rivers also offer a lot. And for families who are usually in urban or suburban settings, simply being on the edge of a wooded area can be a treat. Unless you're en route to somewhere else and have no choice, avoid a campground that's little better than a glorified parking lot.
If the kids are less than enthusiastic about getting away from it all, find an area where you can take at least one trip to an attraction that will entertain them.
If camping is secondary -- that is, an inexpensive and fun alternative to a hotel while you visit a destination -- the right campground can make camping a real plus, not just a cheaper place to stay. Keep reading for help in finding that campground.