How to Go Camping with a Toddler

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Going camping with a toddler can be a daunting task, but it is definitely doable with some planning and preparation.

Here are some helpful tips to make your camping trip with your toddler as smooth as possible.

1. Choose the Right Campsite

When looking for a campsite, be sure to find one that has plenty of activities for toddlers. A playground or swimming area is always a bonus. If you are unsure of what kind of amenities will be available at the campsite, call ahead and ask.

2. Bring Along Plenty of Snacks and Drinks

Toddlers tend to get hangry (hungry + angry) quickly, so it is important to have snacks on hand at all times. Pack salty, sweet, and savory snacks, as well as drinks like water, juice, and milk. And don’t forget to pack plates, cups, and utensils!

3. Bring Along Some Toys and Books

Camping can be boring for toddlers if they don’t have anything to do. Be sure to pack some of their favorite toys and books so they will have something to entertain themselves with while you are setting up camp or taking a break.

4. Make Sure You Have All the Essentials

In addition to the obvious items like tents and sleeping bags, don’t forget items like bug spray, sunscreen, first-aid supplies, and wet wipes. These items will come in handy and help make your trip more comfortable for everyone involved.

5. Know Your Limits

It is important to know how much your toddler can handle when it comes to activities like hiking and swimming. If you push them too hard, they will quickly become cranky and frustrated.

Start out with short hikes and gradually increase the distance as they get used to being outdoors. The same goes for swimming – start with wading in shallow water and work your way up from there.

6. Take Breaks Often

As much as you might want to explore the great outdoors all day long, chances are your toddler will not be able to keep up that pace.

Plan on taking plenty of breaks throughout the day so everyone can rest and recharge their batteries. During these breaks, you can snack on some of the food you packed or read one of the books you brought along.

7. Be Flexible with Your Plans

Things will not always go according to plan when you have a toddler in tow! Be prepared for tantrums, naps that don’t happen when you want them to, and meals that end up being later than planned.

If you go on the trip with a flexible attitude, it will make things much easier for everyone involved.

8. Make Sure Everyone Gets Enough Sleep

This is arguably the most important tip for camping with a toddler! A tired toddler is a cranky toddler, so be sure everyone gets enough sleep by going to bed at a reasonable hour each night.

This might mean missing out on some quality time around the campfire, but it is worth it in the long run.

9. Pack Light

The less stuff you have to bring, the better. This includes both physical items like clothing and gear, but also mental items like expectations.

Try not to over plan your trip or pack too many activities into each day. Remember that part of the appeal of camping is relaxing and enjoying nature, so don’t try to cram too much into each day.

10. Have Fun

This might seem like an obvious tip, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. Camping with a toddler can be challenging at times, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.

Seeing your child experience nature for the first time is an unforgettable experience, so just relax and enjoy it!


Camping with a toddler doesn’t have to be stressful – just use these tips as a guide, plan ahead, and go into it with a flexible attitude. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!

Allen Joe

Allen Joe

Allen Joe is a writer for camping and outdoor site He loves spending time outdoors, especially when he's camping or hiking. Allen also enjoys playing guitar and spending time with his wife and dog.

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