Some campgrounds will advertise themselves as being family-friendly but some don’t because they don’t want to alienate campers without kids. However, if you are going to be camping with your kids it’s important that you choose a family-friendly campground because you don’t want to end up at a campsite next to a frustrated person or couple that hates kids when yours are going to be running around playing and making noise.
If you’re not sure if a campground is family-friendly or not look for a few of these ten telltale signs. If a campsite has three or more of these signs, then you and your kids will probably have a lot of fun there:
1. The campground hosts kids’ activities. If you see signs at the campground or information on the website about junior rangers programs for kids, or arts and crafts classes in the community center, or junior hiking programs and so on, then the campground obviously welcomes families enough to provide classes and diversions for the kids.
Some campgrounds will charge for these kids’ activities so if you think your children would be interested in taking part you should find out ahead of time if there is a fee for them to participate.
2. There’s a pool. Anytime there is a pool you can pretty much assume there will be families there. But you should always check whether or not lifeguards are on duty all the time. Some campgrounds have lifeguards on duty only during specially designated family swims and some don’t have any at all, leaving parents to be responsible for their kids’ water safety.
3. There’s a playground/swing set. If you see kid-friendly swings and playground equipment in the brochure or on the website, or if the person you talk with mentions that they have a playground then you can assume that the campground is kid-friendly.
4. Nearby family dining. It can be a nice break in the camping routine to go to a nice restaurant nearby that the children will like. If the campground website or promotional brochures mention family restaurants or activities nearby then it’s a family friendly campground. If the campground isn’t interested in having families stay there, then the places they recommend will all be adult oriented so if you see a recommendation on the website or in the brochure to have dinner at “Logan’s Home Style Family Restaurant,” then you know you’re going to be staying at a family-friendly place.
5. The location of all facilities like water, community center, playground, bathrooms, and showers are in central locations that are easily accessible from any campsite. If the distances between the campsites and the attractions are short, then they are most likely going to be no problem for children.
6. There are kids or families in the photos on the website or in the promotional brochures. Do you really look at the promotional photos that are on websites and in promotional brochures? You should, because those photos can tell you a lot about a place. If you’re looking at the website you should also look closely at the photos in the “gallery” section if there is one. Those photos usually are of the campsites and the grounds and if you see a lot of campsites that have families camping on them, then you’ll know that you and your kids will have fun there.
7. The trail maps have trails that are marked for kids. Lots of campgrounds will put their brochures and trail maps online in a .PDF format so that you can download them and look through them. When you’re looking at the local hiking trails if you see some easy, flat trails that are marked as kid trails or if there is a notation that says a trail is appropriate for certain ages then you know the campground is family friendly.
8. Your friends with children recommend it. Anytime you have a recommendation from a friend that has kids you can trust that the campground that has been recommended is family friendly. Personal recommendations are the best way to find family friendly campgrounds.
9. The community center has kid-friendly DVDs and video games. Most of the time if a campground has a community center they will list on their website what types of activities are offered there like video games or DVDs. If the website doesn’t specifically mention what DVDs and video games are available you should call and ask someone at the campground. If the titles are kid-appropriate then you and your family should be fine camping there. You might want to also pack your own DVDs and games, just make sure they are clearly labeled with your name.
10. One of the amenities listed by the campground is a ball field or soccer field. If the campground is advertising the fact that it has large, open field of mowed grass, suitable for pick up ball games or other activities, chances are good that campground is a pretty family friendly place.
When it comes to finding a great campground that is family friendly you should also trust your gut. As a parent, you will have a pretty good sense of which campgrounds are a good place for families and which ones are more adult-oriented.