It seems like there is no shortage of great place in Arizona to camp and whether you’re a first time camper or seasoned outdoors-man, camping with little ones is a whole different experience. I have three children under 4 and they taught me some lessons about what to do and what not to do in the outdoors with young children.
Stick to what you know
We only camp with our littles in places with which we are familiar. I recommend camping in places that are near a hospital, even if it is for piece of mind. We don’t necessarily stay in the same campground every time, but we like to stick to general areas that we’re familiar with since it also makes reaching last minute necessities easier as well.
Sometimes, it’s smart to pack light. This is not one of those times. Pack extra clothes, food, toiletries, diapers, and bedding. It’s better to be safe than sorry and I’ve never been sad that I overpacked, but I was super sad when I didn’t have an extra blanket on a chilly night or more applesauce packets that my kids can’t get enough of.
Go for amenities
Personally, my husband and I like camping in a tent and we don’t have any other option that we own, but I know many people that camp in a camper or RV with their little ones. Consequently, its almost like they have transported their home to the forest. Of course, I am totally jealous since they usually have a shower and a toilet. Indoor plumbing is amazing
However, if you’re like my family and enjoy tent camping, I recommend finding a campground with showers and toilets. There are a lot around Arizona. I have personally tried the KOA in Flagstaff and Lo Lo Mai Springs in Cornville. Both are full of amenities like toilets/showers, playgrounds and clubhouses and having amenities make it easier for the kids to have a routine and find things to do to wear them out.
Get some Zzzs
The biggest challenge with camping with littles is the sleeping arrangement. Everyone is in a weird place in a weird environment. This makes it hard for everyone to get quality sleep. I pack air mattresses and pads to make everyone more comfortable. I also find routine is vital to getting a good night’s sleep. Beforehand, I pack books, favorite blankies, snacks and go through the kids’ normal routine. The routine and a comfy place to rest, along with being exhausted from a fun and busy day, helps everyone get the rest they need.
Remember the whole purpose of camping is to spend time together and have fun. If everyone is miserable, figure out how to fix the problem. Most often, its an attitude adjustment. Sometimes you can’t plan for things like weather or sickness and it’s best to call it a trip and head home. The most important part is that memories were made with your kids which last a lifetime.