Photo: Getty Images A family of four fish on a lakeside.

Family fishing trips will get everyone together for some good old-fashioned fun, right? It might seem that way initially, but that’s until everyone starts disagreeing about where to go and what to fish for.

What if your family isn’t entirely into fishing to begin with? Since you’re planning a family fishing vacation, you would think that fishing needs to be the main focus of the trip. But that’s not always true. You can plan a trip around fishing and find plenty of other things to do on your vacation while you’re there.

A father and son fish from a canoe.

Photo: Getty Images

If your head is spinning trying to plan a vacation the whole family can enjoy, check out some of our best tips for family fishing trips.

Where Are You Going?

It sounds somewhat obvious, but you want to choose your destination carefully. While you might enjoy spending eight hours out on the boat, your kids might think differently. You need to pick somewhere that appeals to the whole family and has plenty of amenities for everyone.

A father and daughter standing in front of an RV.

Photo: Getty Images

One idea is to make a road trip out of the entire vacation. Instead of hitting one spot and coming home, why not rent an RV and fish spots up and down the coast? Our extensive listings of beautiful RV resorts and campgrounds appeal to all types of families. We have some in every state, so you’re sure to find plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery.

If road trips aren’t your thing, you could settle for a solo destination but you want to make sure to choose a place that has plenty to offer once you get there. Consider picking a spot that provides a delicate balance between city and country. Ask your family what they think and then plan your fishing trip with their recommendations in mind.

What Kind of Fish Are You Targeting?

For those serious about fishing, know what you’re looking to reel in and do your homework on how to achieve that goal. You’ll have to build your gear around the fish in the area, and if you’re unfamiliar with the waters, you may end up biting off more than you can chew (no pun intended).

A father and son go ocean fishing.

Photo: Constance Woods/Pixabay

For example, if you’re planning an inshore fishing trip in South Carolina and you live in Pennsylvania, you’ll want to think about the differences in species compared to what you’re used to back home. Fishing for sea bass, for example, is a lot different than fishing for panfish and rock bass. Being prepared will make all the difference.

Consider reaching out to some fishing associations or even charter companies in the areas where you plan on going. If all else fails, turn to Google and start browsing. You’ll be able to find information about the most popular catches in whatever destination you’re traveling to.

A view from the opposite bank of an RV park nestled on the shores of a lake.

Photo: Getty Images

What’s Your Budget?

It might not be the most popular subject, but talking about your budget is essential. Make sure you don’t get in over your head by going somewhere that you can’t afford. Good Sam has a wide variety of recommended parks that offer various amenities, not to mention discounts to help save you money on your trip. Instead of staying in an expensive hotel, why not camp in a tent, a cabin or an RV to save some money?

You want to keep your destination in mind, too, because some locations are much more expensive than others. Planning a fishing trip to a popular tourist area might cost a lot more than looking for a nice vacation that’s a little more out of the way.

Silhouette of families on boat fishing.

Photo: Jet Owen

Is Everyone On Board?

Since you’re trying to plan a family fishing vacation, we can’t forget the family. Is everyone on board with what you’re trying to do? Even if it’s your vacation, make sure you talk to your partner, kids and whoever else is going on the trip. Everyone wants to enjoy the vacation so you want to make sure you do the best you can to provide the greatest trip for everyone in the group.

We recommend having a sit-down and talking about these things together as family and friends. That’s the best way to make sure that everyone is on the same page about where you’re going, what you need to bring, and what you plan on doing when you get there. This way, no one will be disappointed when things aren’t going as they thought.

Photo: Getty Images

Do You Have the Right Gear?

Pulling you back to fishing again, let’s talk about the gear. We don’t know where you’re planning on heading, but you want to ensure you have the right gear for when you get there. If you have never been on a fishing vacation before, you’ll want to lay in some supplies.

Here are some essentials for the trip:

  • Fishing rods and reels
  • Fishing line
  • Hooks
  • Bait
  • Lures
  • Bobbers
  • Weights
  • Tackle box
  • Gloves
  • Net
  • Cooler (for live bait, not to mention all the fish you’re going to catch!)

If you don’t have a lot of experience fishing, it might seem like a daunting task to choose the right fishing rod for everyone. Read plenty of guides and informational pieces to learn more about picking rods for adults and kids. There are many variables to consider to ensure that your whole family gets what they need.

A family fishing silhouetted on a lake.

Photo: Adam Sherez

In addition to all the fishing gear, you also want to think about your attire. Are you traveling somewhere that might be cold, or is it going to be extremely hot? Do you plan on getting down into the water? In that case, you would want to invest in a couple sets of waders. In any case, you can never be too prepared for a fishing vacation, so don’t be afraid to pack accordingly.

What’s Planned When You Get There?

We’ve talked about this quite a bit, but you want to ensure that you have things figured out for when you arrive at your destination. We recommend planning a fishing charter through They have a ton of different charters organized in an easy-to-digest way. You can quickly go on their site and find a local charter for wherever you plan your trip.

We suggest doing a charter early on in your trip because you can soak up so much information from the people working on the boat. Having all that valuable knowledge from the pros will allow you to plan the rest of your trip with confidence.

If you’re more about planning things ahead of time, look into local news websites and travel associations. They’ll usually have long lists of things to do when you’re in their neck of the woods.

Start Now!

Now, there is nothing left for you to know, so get out there and plan your fishing vacation. Fishing is a great way to bond with family and friends and share a common goal. If you live a busy life like most people, your family will appreciate some time to slow down and spend time with you. Utilize the tips in this article to ensure that you and your family have a great time!