Entertain the Family on the Cheap: Go Camping
Sometimes it is difficult to find good entertainment for families of our size. Even something as simple as movie tickets becomes very expensive very quickly when you are buying for so many people.
But there are still affordable ways to have fun as a family. One activity our family especially enjoys is camping.
I realize that the great outdoors isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but camping offers such a variety of activities that it’s possible to make nearly everyone happy for at least part of the time.
Many parks also offer a good variety of places to sleep. You can rough it as much or as little as you like. But do keep in mind that the cushier the accommodations, the pricier they get.
Tent camping is the most affordable of the choices. Some families love the experience of camping in a tent. If you don’t own one, you probably know someone you can borrow one or a few tents from. Older kids like the freedom of sleeping in their own tents.
If you plan to tent camp regularly, I recommend investing in a good air mattress like this one (unless you really enjoy roughing it!).
Many (not all) state parks offer camper cabins. They book far in advance, so it is especially hard to get one for a weekend unless you are a great planner.
We like camper cabins because they come with beds (often 2 sets of bunk beds) and many have a/c and heat. Some have small extras like small TVs or coffee pots. They do not offer private bathrooms.
The main perk is that for a little more than the price of a tent spot, you don’t have to set up a tent, you have a sturdier structure in case of rain, and you get a bed to sleep on. You still get the experiences of cooking your meals over the campfire ring and hanging out as a family in the great outdoors.
RV Rental Many state parks are also beginning to offer RV rentals. Rather than buying and hauling your own RV to the park, you just come and stay in one that is already there.
Cushy cabins Some state parks offer “resorts” where you can rent a nice cabin with all of the perks (private bathrooms, big screen TVs, etc.). You might call this one “glamping” rather than camping. If you don’t mind spending more of your budget on accommodations and you aren’t the kind to rough it, this might be your choice.
Another reason to love camping is that you can just spend your usual grocery budget to feed the family while you are roughing it.
Some of our favorites are foil dinners, kabobs, grilled corn on the cob, roasted canned biscuits (using a dowel rod and roasted over the open flame), hot dogs on a stick, and (of course!) s’mores.
If those ideas aren’t enough to get your creative juices flowing, Pinterest abounds with creative ideas for good camp food.
When you plan out your trip, you’ll want to come up with some activities to keep everyone busy. Camping doesn’t usually involve a lot of TV watching.
There are the obvious things like fishing and hiking. But many state parks or KOAs offer extra things such as:
- miniature golf
- Frisbee golf
- paddle boats
- and more!
Beyond that, our family really enjoys playing card games together. The bigger kids enjoy preparing food while we’re camping, too.
Give camping a try!
You might find that your family thrives when they pitch in and help to make your camping experience an enjoyable time. Our kids love being in the outdoors so much that they forget to beg for screen time.
Does your family have any fun camping traditions? Or is camping definitely NOT your idea of entertainment?