Camping Tips for Newbies, Family Activities, Save Money

Cheap activities for family camping trips: 10 tips

When we started going on camping trips to places that did not have fishing or crabbing available, my wife would ask “What are we going to do on our camping trip?” Below are my suggestions for cheap activities for family camping trips: 10 tips. Note, they are in no particular order.

1. Walks and exploring (free)

We typically will take walks after a meal to explore the campground, check out other campsites, check out campground amenities, enjoy nature, etc. Sometimes the walks will be along the roads of the campgrounds, other times the campground will have walking trails. We sometimes see wildlife like deer and the kids get really excited about it. You can also bring binoculars if you’d like to do some bird watching. Walking is great exercise too!

2. Sports and games (free)

My wife will usually pack various outdoors games she’s purchased. I will typically bring baseball glove and ball, frisbee, kite, etc. Kids usually enjoy doing some type of physical activity every day. My son enjoys playing with his remote control monster truck too.

3. National and state parks (small fee)

National and state parks are typically a great resource, whether or not you’re camping at the park. You can buy a day pass to enter the park if you’re not camping at the park and use its amenities. Parks usually have walking trails, access to rivers/beaches, and free activities for the kids. For example, parks usually have a junior ranger programs where kids will learn about nature, do small craft projects and interact with other kids under the supervision of the park’s rangers.

4. Local tourist attractions (free or small fee)

Some campgrounds are located in areas that also have tourist attractions. A good example of this is The Mystery Spot near Santa Cruz, California. The Mystery Spot is a gravitational anomaly located in the redwoods outside of Santa Cruz.

5. Swimming (free)

Some campgrounds have swimming pools and others have access to rivers or lakes that allow swimming. Either way, kids love swimming. And, it’s typically free. You can also bring a raft or canoe (and life jackets) if allowed by the campground if you’re interested in exploring the lake.

6. Campground activities (free or small fee)

Some campgrounds have organized kids activities, a club house (with activities like pool tables), ping pong tables, basket ball hoop, children’s play structure, sand lot, etc. You’ll just want to confirm what’s available ahead of time.

7. Museums (free or small fee)

Some campgrounds are located in areas that have museums. Most museums have small entrance fees and some are free. If the museum doesn’t charge a fee, I’ll usually buy something in the museum gift shop to support the museum. Many museums have interactive exhibits and tours. We’ve seen museums that also offer free craft activities for kids. Best way to locate is do a Google search for “kids activities, city, state.”

8. Campfires and star gazing (free)

At night, our kids have always enjoyed building a campfire, roasting marshmellows, sipping hot chocolate and telling stories/singing songs. And, at some campgrounds, you can view a night sky that is crowded with stars.

9. Outdoor cooking (free)

Our kids usually like to help prepare meals if they don’t have friends that have come with us on the camping trip. If they have friends there, then they are usually playing with them.

I remember reading somewhere that when adults were asked about their most fond childhood memories, majority of them said cooking with parents or grandparents. So, why not create the cooking memories while camping. We usually cook outdoors, so there is less worry about the kids making a mess.

10. Friends and family (free)

We often invite friends or family to go camping with us or come out for the day to visit. The kids really enjoy playing and exploring with friends and family.

I hope you’ve learned something new from my cheap activities for family camping trips: 10 tips article. Happy camping!

Check out my other articles about camping:

5 types of camping, which is the best for your family?

3 types of campsites you’ll find at campgrounds.

12 tent camping equipment essentials for new campers

Campground Reviews

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