Relaxing at the campsite is great, but exploring a new area is even better. Depending on the region you're in, there are a number of camping activities you can take advantage of. Check with the campground beforehand so you can head out prepared for a weekend of adventures.
Trail Hiking-- Whether you're climbing rocks, wandering along a coastal path, or hiking a rigorous mountain slope, most campgrounds have scenic trails nearby. It's best to head out in the morning, but be sure to check distance and difficulty before embarking on any trek.
Shoreline Horseback Riding-- Horseback riding can be a peaceful experience, but combine that with the gentle rhythm of ocean waves and you have a match made in heaven. Not all campgrounds will offer this activity, but be sure to take advantage of the ones that do.
Bike Riding-- What better way to explore the region you're camping in than on a bike ride? Strap on your pedaling shoes, and head out for a day of cycling. Whether you prefer mountain biking or street biking, most campgrounds support both camping activities. Don't forget to ask about bike-specific mountain trails or recreational bike paths.
Plant Identification-- Though you might not notice at first, the plants at your campground may be very different from those where you live. Instead of hiking just to hike, spend your day IDing plants in the local forest. This not only gives you the chance to explore and stay active, but to learn something new, as well.
Bird Watching-- You wake up to their songs in the morning, but do you know what those beautiful songbirds look like? Be sure to bring a bird identification book, and head out to discover who those singers are.
S'mores Contest-- Some may argue that s'mores are the best part of any camping trip. So, why not put your skills to the test? This camping activity is great for all ages, and it's a win-win for everyone participating—and tasting.
Boating-- If your campground is situated on a body of water, there's no better way to spend your day than splashing around. Most water-friendly campgrounds will offer kayak, canoe and paddle boat rentals making it easy to get out and come back in time for dinner over the fire.
Volleyball-- A friendly game of volleyball is the one of the best group camping activities. If you don't have enough people for a game, take this chance to meet your neighbors and invite them to join in the fun. Call the campground to find out if they have a net or if you have to bring your own.
Spelunking-- This is a unique experience if you can partake in it. Spelunking is the act of exploring caves, and can be enjoyed by most age groups. If you're camping near caves, ask your local ranger if they are safe to explore before going in and poking around.
Fishing-- Of all the camping activities you can partake in, fishing might be the most relaxing. Grab your poles and head out with your family to catch dinner for the night, or simply enjoy the recreation of it.
Source: By Jessica Sanders
Before you and your kids hit the trails, make sure you know (and follow!) these hiking safety tips.
Before you go, let someone know your plans.---Whether you're planning a 10-mile hike in a remote forest or a 2-mile jaunt around the local park, let someone know where you are going and what time you anticipate returning. When your hike is over, send a quick text to check in. If you're lost or overdue, your point person can alert authorities and help search and rescue teams by sharing your last known location. If your older kids are hiking alone, make sure they share this information with you before they go.
Carry the 10 Essentials.---Prepared hikers know you should never venture into the woods without the 10 Essentials. Even when hiking as a family, if kids are old enough to wander away on their own, they should carry their own backpack with these items.
-----Navigation: a map and a compass (and know how to use both!) =====Sun protection: sunglasses and/or sunscreen =====Insulation: warm and dry clothing and an emergency blanket =====First-aid supplies ====Fire: a lighter or waterproof matches =====Repair kit and tools ======Food ======Water =====Headlamp or flashlight =====Emergency shelter
Make sure your children know what's in their backpacks and how to use each essential.
Remember sunscreen and bug spray. Apply sunscreen before you leave on your hike and bring it along in your backpack with you as well. Wiping sweat away with a shirt sleeve can remove sunscreen, so it's best to reapply periodically. If you and your kids are hiking during mosquito season, make sure to apply and carry bug spray, too. Additionally, hiking clothes can be treated with permethrin in advance to repel insects and ticks.
Check for ticks. Ticks are a hard-to-avoid hazard of the outdoors. Prevalent in grassy and wooded areas, a bite from a tick has the potential to transmit illnesses, like Lyme disease, to humans. Long hiking pants and hats can help keep ticks from finding a warm place on the body to draw blood. After your hike, do a thorough tick check while showering. Some ticks can be as small as a speck of dirt, so keep your eyes peeled for the slightest inconsistency.
Teach your kids about trail hazards.
Whether it's wild animals, poison ivy or a river with a swift current, talk to your children about hazards they might encounter on the trail (and how to deal with them) before stepping foot in the woods. Each hike you embark on may pose its own set of potential hazards, so have a safety talk with your kids at each new trailhead.
by Kim Dinan
With summer here, many of us eagerly await that first weekend under the stars, sharing our favorite campfire meals with special friends. Sometimes, however, it’s the uninvited guests that we have to worry about.
When it comes to marauding critters in camp, we as campers are our own worst enemy. We’re the ones that bring the food into an environment where the quest for same is an instinctive part of each animal’s struggle for existence.
Frequenting popular camping spots, such as in designated campgrounds, we have conditioned animals into knowing that this area produces food whenever those weird upright creatures are around. They leave their food out, smeared on their clothing, and spread about the grounds like the leaves of autumn. We have educated many animals into knowing right where the food will be as we set up camp.
Keep Camp, Self Clean
Camp kitchen etiquette typically demands that your kitchen and food prep area be kept clean and at least 50 yards from your site. Utensils, prep area, extra food — everything involved in meal prep’ — should be thoroughly cleaned before being put away. You might think that tiny smudge of food on the thigh of your jeans is nothing, but with animals whose smelling is 100 times better than ours, you might as well be grilling a juicy steak over a bed of mesquite coals!
Children repeatedly wipe their hands on their clothing. Those items should be stored in odor-proof containers. Tossing them in the dirty clothes pile in the corner of your tent invites a late night visit.
Bear barrels and other bear-proof containers are a good idea, especially when used in conjunction with other clean camp practices. Hanging your food in a bag high above the forest floor may make you look and feel like a backwoods Jock, but in reality they are not that effective. Bears know what’s in the bag from too many prior experiences. They can push over trees, rip off branches to which the rope is applied, even untie knots in some cases (more a point of poor knot tying than clever bears I would guess).
Use common sense and keep your campsite tidy — after all it’s you who is the guest in the woods.
Source Excerpts: guide.sportsmansguide.com/tips/camping-101-is-your-camp-critter-secure/
by Tom Watson