Firstly, a little disclaimer… This list isn’t extensive so the post is going to be short and sweet.
Also, I’m factoring that you have already chosen the caravan park you want to stay at and this is purely to help you choose which site within the park is going to suit you best.
Short and sweet aside, I wanted to pop it up here as such a little bit of info went a long way in changing up my experience of camping with kids at caravan parks, all for the better, and I figured that had to be worth sharing 🙂
I have spent years avoiding caravan parks, partly as I wanted to avoid kids and partly as I just prefer to get off the beaten track sometimes.
Now we have two kids of our own, it’s impossible to avoid them and I tell you what, sometimes a giant jumping pillow and a water play area is the most fantastic thing.
Sometimes you want to get off the beaten track, sometimes you just want to get your kids off your back for a bit!
It turns out that there are a a couple of things you can do to make your life a bit easier, or at least a little more relaxing when you are choosing/booking a site.
None of this occurred to me at all in the beginning and I managed to get some doozies where I spent the whole time keeping the kids off the road or trying to stop them from falling into the fast flowing river on our doorstep.
I recently went on a road trip with a friend who has been there done that (she has two boys a bit older than our two) and she mentioned a few things to think about before we booked.
So, now that we parents are all flocking like seagulls to the places we probably used to avoid, how do you go about nabbing the most kid friendly site at the park?
Think about asking some of these questions when you are booking –
Is it possible to be within sight of the playground? (You might actually get the chance to kick back with a cool drink in hand while they play 🙂 )
Can we be close to the bathrooms? (There is nothing quite as annoying as lugging or dragging kids back and forth between the camp and the loos for the length of your stay, especially when it’s a 5km walk away!)
Are there any busy/major roads alongside the sites and if so, can we avoid being too close to them them?
Is there a cliff, river or some other hazard right next to sites, can we have some distance between our site and the hazard? (I know, ideally you want to be right on the view! But, if the kids are too young to have any self preservation instinct going on then maybe it’s best to avoid it for now…)
Position yourself at the far end of the park rather than up near the front gate so you don’t have every car that comes in go right past your campsite. This is especially handy when the kids have scooters or bikes and you want to try and keep them away from traffic as much as possible.
You can get the answers to most of these questions by pulling up the map on the park’s website and then requesting the sites that you think will suit.
In saying that, I’ve found that the staff are generally happy to help out and can answer the questions for you a lot quicker than you can look them up.
Granted, you’re probably not going to be able to tick all of these boxes but you might be able to get a few of them sorted, it’s always worth asking.
Decide which are the big ticket items for your family, what will suit your kids best, and go from there.
Also, for any parents out there doing a solo camping trip, the playground thing is huge.
Being able to let the kids play while you set up or pack up while still being able to have them in sight is absolute gold.
No doubt you have already experienced the pain that is herding small children while setting up without another back up adult. Unpleasant is an understatement!
And finally, this is going to sound wacky I know, but magpies.
If you’re camping in Spring take some pipe cleaners or cable ties and bike helmets to ward off cranky nesting maggies.
And ask the park staff if there are any nesting in the park and in which tree so that you can avoid them. I dunno if they’ll tell you that but it’s worth asking!
There’s nothing like having a bunch of kids too scared to leave the tent/van/camper for fear of being clocked over the head by an angry bird.
We got a site recently right under a tree with a nesting magpie and it was a bloody nightmare. The kids were under attack the whole time and they were too freaked out to play around camp.
If you are armed with pipe cleaners or cable ties and head protection you’ll be fine, but if they really freak you out then you can use the Magpie Alert site to try and avoid the little suckers. There is also a tutorial on there to show you how to use the cable ties and a bike helmet to keep them at bay.
PS, this is not a magpie, but it is a bird which was sort of in keeping with the story so I popped it in. You won’t need to arm yourselves against lorikeets 😉
Well, there you go, short and sweet and hopefully a little useful. Have fun!
For some ideas on how to keep the kids off your case while you set up camp, check out jobs for the kids when you’re camping.
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