If you loved camping B.C. (before children), take heart: You don't have to trade your sleeping bag for a stroller. Turns out, camping is a great family activity. And reconnection is a fantastic byproduct of sharing personal space with loved ones in the great outdoors.
Before you pack up your gear, it pays to choose a brilliant site -- and this decision starts long before you ever hit the road. Talk to friends who camp with their kids, check online message boards and peruse camping guidebooks written especially for outdoorsy families. Look for specifics that pertain to your children's wish list. For example, if they'll want to splash in the water, be sure your lakeside campground has a roped-off swimmer's beach. Don't like sand squishing between your toes? Suss out a campground with a swimming pool (they're out there!). Often, a campground will let you reserve your spot ahead of time, which is a good idea if you're arriving during the busy season.
And, especially if you're tent camping, give it a go in the backyard before embarking on your trip. Not only will you learn how to assemble your tent, but you'll also discover all the things you forgot to pack. Luckily, fresh supplies will be as close as your back door.
When it comes to camping gear, where do you start? Unless you take a strictly minimalist approach, camping with kids seems to require everything but the kitchen sink. Our pared down lists offer a great way to get started -- without renting a team of pack mules to share the load. Whatever the gear on your must-have list, the fun's in the process, so get the kids involved. It's time to go camping!