Monday, July 20, 2020

First Family Camping Trip

At the end of May, we decided to take the kids camping! The girls have gone once before, about 5 years ago, and the boys have never been. So this was really the first time we've all gone together and the first very memorable trip for both girls. 
We have a large 10 person tent, that ends up not feeling very large when you add an air mattress and 4 sleeping bags! So we were "roughing" it (although I don't consider it that rough when there's an air mattress involved.) We thought we had an outlet in the back of our van, so we brought an extension cord to plug into and inflate the air mattress (which has the built in blower thing). It turns out it was our old van that had the outlet so I had a moment of panic thinking about sleeping just on the ground, but my husband carried the mattress over to a site that had electric and asked if he could blow it up, then carried it back over his head once it was hero. 
The campground we stayed at was about an hour from our house and is a Jellystone camp, which are all franchises so all a little different, but family friendly. There is a lake for fishing, swimming, boating and has this very cool inflatable jumping/obstacle course thing, a river and you can go tubing, a beach that our campsite was right next to, pool, and playgrounds. There are activities a few times a day, movie night Friday nights, hay ride Saturday nights, etc. Well I had called the week before to ask if things were all open back up post isolation and the lady on the phone told me yes. Turns out, nothing really was. So we couldn't do the lake, pool or obstacle course, playgrounds were roped off, and most of the activities weren't actually happening. It ended up being fine because it was not really water weather (high was around 70) and the kids had enough fun just exploring and playing on the sand at the "beach" (which had a large drop off right into a river, so we couldn't really wade out into the water or anything). 
We got there Friday late afternoon and set up our campsite while the kids played on the beach. I tried to do a lot of food prep ahead of time, and be strategic about what we brought to eat. After we got the camp set up, we made walking tacos on my husband's griddle over the fire. The kids played a ton around the campsite and beach that evening. We brought walkie talkies so our older kids could explore a little on their own if they wanted to, so my oldest took those and wandered a bit, and we generally just relaxed the evening away. 

We got in our tent around 9:30 once it was fully dark, but it was probably 11 before everyone around us got quite and we could all get to sleep. The kids did so great! I was worried about how they would sleep on the ground, when they would wake up with the sun coming in, etc. The lows got down into the 40s, so even though we brought warm pajamas, sleeping bags and extra blankets, I still wasn't sure if they'd all wake up freezing, but they did well! Everyone stayed pretty bundled up and I think I'd rather be cold then hot and sticky at night (due to the midwest humidity). 
Saturday the kids actually slept in later than I expected! I cracked all the eggs at home and diced up some veggies, so that was an easy breakfast we just had to cook up. We also surprised the kids with hammocks, so those went up first thing in the morning again (we had hung them later in the evening Friday) and were a huge hit! 

We spent most of the day Saturday at the beach and exploring the grounds. They set up laser tag at one point and tons of kids came from down where the RVs are for that. My oldest had fun doing that. We also attempted fishing, but had no luck. My middle daughter and youngest son spent just about the entire weekend at the beach....I felt like we would go hours without seeing them because they were just over there digging and burying and playing (we could see them from our campsite). Saturday lunch we made grilled cheese and dinner we let the kids roast hot dogs and brats over the fire. 

Even though we had planned on it being a lot more activities, it ended up being a really nice and relaxing weekend away. The kids did so well sleeping in the tent. I don't know that I would want to go for much longer than 2 days just because of the logistics of packing things for a family our size, but I think 2-3 nights is totally doable for us and everyone had a lot of fun! 
On Sunday, we were going to maybe try to do peddle boats, but we were all kind of ready to get going home by mid-morning. I had made muffins at home, so we had those for breakfast, and the kids were able to go to a craft time while my husband started breaking down the camp. Then, they played at the beach for awhile longer while we took down the tent and packed everything up.

 Camping is definitely a ton of work, but I think prepping so much in advance made it a lot easier for me to just unplug, relax and enjoy the weekend with my family! I'm hoping we can go again for one more weekend in the fall once it cools down a bit! 

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