Camping With Teenagers: Making Camping Fun

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Camping can be a ton of fun or it can be a real drag. Who wouldn’t love to go camping? Your teenage children that’s who! Getting them to actually appreciate the forest isn’t going to be easy.

Getting out into the great outdoors, no phones, computers, only fresh air and quality time, with the family! You may be better off telling your teen that you’re locking them in a closet for a week.

No phones service, and having to “hang out” with their family isn’t how most teenagers want to spend their weekends! Even though they might think it’s the end of the world it doesn’t have to be that way. By following these tips you should make your trip just a little more bearable.

Camping With Teens Doesn’t Have to Be Torture

Finding a way to spend quality time together is definitely a struggle. Once kids hit puberty they want to branch out away from their parents, and that’s a good thing. Wait until they head off for college, they’ll probably find their way back home.

Planning Your Trip

When planning a family vacation you’re never going to get everybody to agree on a location. Even though I’d love to afford monthly trips to the Bahamas that’s just not going to happen.

A fun weekend getaway to a nearby campground is a little bit closer to my budget. That’s probably the last place your teenager is going to want to go. Some kids might embrace the outdoors and jump at the idea, but for the rest of us we need to figure out a few ground rules.

Is Going Without Phones and Internet Smart?

Let’s face it we’re all pretty much dependent on our phones, tablets and computers. Even though we want to get away from it all that’s just not going to happen. Telling your kids to give up their phones for the weekend goes over worse than waterboarding.

Having phone service everywhere and internet when we need it is just the way of the world. You don’t have to fight your kids and force them to give up their phones. Find fun ways to distract them so they decide to put their phones away.

Just do yourself a favor and plan your trip around swimming. The campground needs to either have a natural lake or pool to take a dip in. This will force them to leave their phones and actually have a good time.

What if There’s an Emergency

Just face the facts, you’re not Davy Crocket out on the wild frontier. If there’s an emergency your family needs to be able to call for help. Even experienced hikers get lost or injured on the trail.

You might think it’s a great idea to leave your phones in the car, but it’s actually pretty wreckless.

Go To A Campground With Wifi

More and more campgrounds have Wi-Fi these days, but even if they don’t you’ve probably got cell service. That being said, you still want to limit the use of your phones, and internet, so that you can enjoy your vacation.

It doesn’t make sense to be on your phone the whole trip, but there’s going to be downtime. Sending out a few pics/messages to friends is going to make everything a little more bearable.

Plus you can never tell how the weathers going to be. Trapping teenagers in a small tent with nothing to do isn’t my idea of a good time. At least with a cell phone it’s going to be somewhat bearable.

Just remember to bring along a few ways to charge your phones. I bought this solar charger a few years ago and it’s worth it’s weight in gold. It has dual USB ports for charging and has a built in LED flashlight so it has multiple uses.

Where Should You Go Camping?

Now that we got that out of the way, where do you go camping? Do yourself a favor and make it a family decision. That way you aren’t the sole bad guy when the mood inevitably turns.

You have already said we’re going camp, now where is the real question. Do you want to truly “rough it” in a tent, and backpack in to your camping spot? Or you could rent a cabin, trailer or motorhome.

You’re the only one that knows what’s best for your family. Either way can be fun, but truly roughing it isn’t for everybody. Convincing my teenage daughter to go without a bathroom and showers for a week just isn’t going to happen.

Take Everyones Input to Heart

Don’t be afraid to approach your family and talk about this vacation. They’ll probably bitch and moan, but eventually they might even get excited about the idea.

Make sure you take their input to heart and don’t force something that not everybody is comfortable with. Just because I like backpacking and hiking doesn’t mean everyone should.

Come Up With Fun Activites

Embrace them, and make note of the different places you can go. If they like swimming, pick a place with a beach/lake or a pool(you can’t go wrong swimming).

Do they like to fish? Look for fishing holes nearby, as well as boat rentals. This might just be the perfect time to rent a few jet skis. Camping doesn’t have to be about wilderness survival. It should be fun for everyone.

Maybe you’ll want to bring a few four-wheelers or dirt bikes to go trail riding. Mountain bikes could even add a little variety to your trip.

Prep Work is Key

So you’ve picked a place, where do you go from there? Planning a great family trip all comes down to prep work. Having a few tricks up your sleeve is what makes camping trips fun.

Before you go make lists of all the things your family likes to do, both together and alone. Think of fun easy meals that you can prepare over the fire.

Bring along a big cast iron skillet so you can fry up some tasty grub. Hobo Pies are also a campfire treat that I can’t go without. Get yourself a Cast Iron Pie Maker and go to town with all kinds of crazy ingredients. Pizza and dessert pies are a must.

Bring Comforts From Home

Don’t forget your favorite pillows, blankets ETC anything that will make you a little more comfortable. Simply speaking, sleeping on the ground sucks. If you don’t want to bring a full sized air mattress at least buy a couple sleeping pads. (this is the one I use)

Don’t Forget The Music

I don’t care how well you plan the trip teenagers will eventually get bored. Make sure you have a radio to fill those awkward silences. You could either bring along a radio, or bluetooth speakers.

It’s the perfect time to use that free trial of amazon music unlimited. They have just about every song you can think of.

Campfires Are a Must

Honestly, who would ever go camping without a campfire? I get that forest fires are a big deal, but come on now. Just don’t be a idiot and you should be fine.

Sit around and enjoy the warmth of the fire and get in some quality family time. Perfect time for adults to have a few beers and for everyone to unwind. Get a little loose and tell a few stories of your wild days. Trust me, teenagers love hearing that you weren’t always the perfect upstanding citizen.

Don’t Forget The Little Things

I doubt you’ll forget the tent and bedding, but it can be easy to forget the little things. Start getting your gear ready a few weeks before the trip and come up with a checklist of everything you need. Stick it to the fridge and encourage everyone to participate.

Nothing kills a great vacation like forgetting sunscreen or bug spray. Keep an eye on the weather and plan on bringing along some basic rain gear. If the weather looks bad don’t be afraid to push the trip back a week.

That’s not possible if you’re taking time off work, but if it’s just a small deposit holding you back don’t be stupid. Sunny weather is always going to beat cold and rainy.

Bring a First Aid Kit

For the price of a good first aid kit it’s stupid not to just buy one specifically designed for camping. I’ve been carrying around this Swiss Safe kit for years and it’s always had everything I need.

Plan Fun Meals

Everyone likes to eat, right? Pack all your kids favorites, and yours too. Forget the diet this week, have fun! Look up recipes that you can try over a campfire.

Smores are always a family favorite, that you can’t help but love eating. Look for anything that you can roast over the fire. Hot dogs, shish-kabobs, corn and bake potatoes all come to mind.

Invest in a few pie irons and make some “hobo pies” or “pudgy Pies” depends where your from. Somewhat like a waffle iron, or omelet cooker, but made for campfires.

Bring along all kinds of different ingredients to try out. All you really need is some kind of bread, butter, and fillings. Make sure you butter the bread before putting it into the iron so it doesn’t stick and burn.

Fill with whatever ingredients you want, and heat it up over the fire. Pop it out,let cool a little, then enjoy.

Camping is Definitely Worth a Try

Doesn’t matter how old your kids are, they can have fun on a camping trip. So, don’t be afraid to say, We’re going camping, and hope for the best. Not every trip will be perfect, but it’s those imperfect trips that we remember.

Embrace it, enjoy it, and have a great time in the great outdoors. Show your kids how much fun it is to be out there with nature. You will create memories that last, and even if your teens don’t admit it, they’ll be happy you went.

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