Three people gathered around a campfire.

Many of us still have fond memories from the early days of camping with our parents. In many cases, all it takes is the smell of campfire to take us back to those good times. There’s something that’s inherently special about camping with loved ones, whether it’s the detachment from daily routine or the inspired sense to explore new places that often comes with a family camping trip. Make unforgettable camping memories by allowing room for spontaneity and fun.

Undoubtedly our parents didn’t strive to create unforgettable camping memories that would last in our minds. They probably simply wanted to get us outside and share their passion for nature and adventure with their children. In some cases, maybe they just needed a break from dealing with things around the house.

But they inspired unforgettable camping memories nonetheless. So we’re going to use this article to examine a few ways that we might be able to have unforgettable camping memories from the trips we take with our children!

A kid stands in front of a large tent.

Get a Mammoth Tent That’s Complicated to Set Up!

There’s nothing more frustrating and comical than getting the whole family together to attempt to set up a massive tent. If you want to make it even more of a challenge, “accidentally” forget the directions at home so you’re left to figure it out on the fly.

Tent setup is one of those family tasks that can easily lead to arguing and head shaking. But it’s also one of those activities that leaves you feeling immensely accomplished when the tent is finally standing on its own. And the best part about getting a mammoth tent is that the mystery of how much space there really will be inside once it’s set up is often just the motivation you need to keep efforts rolling towards your collective goal.

An open travel trailer storage space.

Travel trailer cabinets.

Get Everyone Involved In The Packing Process!

The process of packing for a camping trip raises everyone’s anticipation. We all get to play a role in the “Tetris-process” of seeing just how well we can fit all of our supplies into the back of the car. And getting everyone involved in packing helps them start to think through just what they’ll need, or want, on your trip.

Kids will start to ask if they can bring this or that and you’ll have the opportunity to teach sound packing principles. Plus, if you end up over packed and there’s hardly any room for the kids in the back of the car, their discomfort during the entire drive to get to your camping location will only heighten their feelings of freedom and excitement when you arrive!

A family in front of a motorhome.

Family Camping

Don’t Plan Every Waking Moment!

Many of us make this mistake when planning a camping trip. We fail to plan for “unstructured playtime” because we think that we should have a plan to maximize every minute of every day for the benefit of everyone involved. But a camping trip should, in many ways, be a departure from the structured aspects of your daily life. Find a campground with lots of great options and explore the possibilities.

Allowing for spontaneous exploration and adventure on a camping trip is imperative to creating lasting memories. It is often the unexpected surprise that leaves the largest and most lasting imprint on our brains. Plus, it’s always good to give the kids some say in what they’d like to do during the day on your camping trip. This allows them to exercise their creativity and, for the parents, it’s often a great exercise to step out of the driver’s seat on occasion.

A placid lake reflecting tree-lined shoes.

Lakeside camping is great for families.

Find A Campsite Near a Lake Or River

Water is always bound to spice things up on a camping trip. Whether it’s an impromptu splash fight or an afternoon mud bathing on the clay-laden shores of a warm lake, water just has a way of improving a camping trip. So look for a campsite within walking distance of a nice lake or calm river. This is also a great way to encourage your kids to “bathe” every day if the site doesn’t have a shower facility. Just make sure to bring biodegradable soap!

Make sure to bring a few water toys along so that you have some options. Squirt guns, floating rafts, and beach chairs are great inclusions for your lake or river time on a camping trip. It’s hard to know just how that time spent lounging at the water’s edge will turn into some unforgettable memories, but you also never know when the whole family will receive an impromptu invite to hop on someone’s powerboat for some tubing fun!

Two kids navigate a kayak on a lake.

Kayaking fun on the lake.

Document It!

We live in an age where documenting our camping trips is easy. Most of us are carrying a cell phone in our pockets 90% of the time, which makes it easy to pull it out and snap pictures as spontaneous activities arise. But part of the reason why you’re heading out for a camping trip is, hopefully, to get away from your phones, televisions, computers, and tablets for a few healthy days.

If you want to accomplish the latter goal while still capturing photos during your trip, look into getting a few disposable waterproof cameras. Or you can also look into buying an old-fashioned Polaroid camera that prints photos on the spot. This will be a novelty for the kids and fun for the adults too. Many of them even come with a photo album so you can immediately start storing your printed Polaroids in a safe place.

 What Is Your Most Unforgettable Camping Memory?

 Is it that time you thought a raccoon had gotten into your tent? Or how about the summer when you forgot to pack a tent on your family’s annual camping trip?

Many of us have unforgettable camping memories that stick out above all the rest. There’s no exact science as to why those memories stay lounged in our minds, but they’re a great conversation starter around the campfire!

We’d love to hear about your most unforgettable camping memory and what made it so! Drop a comment below this article or send us a message to share your unforgettable story with fellow Good Sam members!