When I was young we didn’t go camping, it just wasn’t something we did. I never felt like I missed out on it, but wanted to try it one day with my kids to see what all the fuss was about.
My kids LOVED it. We only booked two nights at a local Ontario Park to try it out and ended up leaving the second evening due to a thunder storm rolling in, but the kids can’t wait to do it again! They are already planning next year’s trip – which they wanted to be for the whole summer. (sorry kids, Momma has to work so she can afford these little trips!)
Can’t help but imagine how I could have one, maybe two more kids with us next year!
Here are some things I have learned from our first camping trip that I will bring forward to next year’s trip:
Adult / Child Ratio
Next time, I am going to book camping along with another family, or at least drag one other Adult along. I heard camping was supposed to be relaxing but I don’t think I was able to sit down for more than 3 minutes at a time. I had taken a book with me hoping to get in some quality reading time… nope! Did not open it once! Between the kids and the puppy, I had my hands full. All of the families we saw there had at least two adults (they knew what they were doing!).
Make More Checklists
I am a checklist person. I love to plan things out and usually search Pinterest for checklist templates… but this was a quick decision due to me having an unexpected day off work for the long weekend. Monday is a “Civic” Holiday here, not a Statutory Holiday, so not everyone has it as a day off. My work did not plan to give us Monday off, but earlier in the week they decided to give us Friday off so we could have a long weekend (I think the Boss already had plans to be at his cottage Friday anyway… which worked out for me, so no complaints!). I decided to take advantage since our next long weekend isn’t until the weekend before school starts. I made some lists, but since this was my first time planning camping trip I really didn’t know what I really needed and what I didn’t. A little more research and meal planning would have been a good idea. Things went okay… but not really planned out like I like.
Book in Advance… actually, Plan it more in Advance
Having it as a last minute trip and coming up on a long weekend most of the sites at the camp ground we went to were booked. I booked the one that looked the best out of the ones that were left, but I had never been there, so I really wasn’t sure. The site itself was nice and big and was right beside the water supply, so that was great. Also washrooms were just across the road which was convenient… but also meant more people walking past our site. This resulted in our puppy barking more than usual. Next time I will book more in advance to get a great site location.
Also, next time I will plan well in advance so I can pick up supplies we might need over a period of weeks instead of going to Walmart and spending a crazy amount all in one go. Although, I bought a lot of stuff I won’t have to buy next time so it won’t be as bad (I had to buy a tent!)
Research the Dog Friendliness of the Camp Ground and Beach
The Park we went to was great, they welcomed pets, had a Dog Beach. However, the Dog Beach was at the very end of the park… which ended up being a 13 minute drive away from our site! We couldn’t walk to the beach, which was disappointing. There were 11 beach access points along the park we went to. Our camp site was directly across from Beach Access #3… the Dog Beach was #11. That was the only beach that dogs could go to, so it limited us. However, if there was another family or adult with us we could have worked it out so we visited the closest beach for the kids to play while others stayed at the camp with the puppy and then just went to the Dog Beach as a treat for the pup, just not as often.
When Applying Sunscreen to the Kids… put some on myself too!
I’m burnt. Lesson learned. Hopefully I remember next time. Sheesh.
Those are the main things I will remember next year, but there are a lot of little things regarding supplies, food options, etc. that I also took away from this trip.
Next year… maybe a whole week, and with the addition of our foster child(ren)!