A hammock next to a river

Expert Advice

The Right Stuff For Multigenerational Camping

Check out these tips and tricks for a fun RV trip with the whole family!

It’s so much fun to have unscheduled down time at a campground with multiple generations of families gathering. Camp life strengthens family ties and is a great way to spend time with children and grandchildren. Here are a few ways to help make sure everyone has a great time during a multigenerational campout:

Choose the right campground.

Family camping involves compromise and if done ahead of time, will make your time together more enjoyable. Some people are going to want state parks and rustic experiences, and some are going to want resort style amenities with lots of activities. Agree ahead of time what the goal is for that weekend and then switch it up the next time. The fun part of owning an RV is that each campout affords you the opportunity to try something new. One weekend can be low-key at a state park with hikes, waterfalls and quiet evenings and the next outing can involve a resort campground with food trucks, water parks and weekend entertainment. There are lots of weekends in a year, so you can choose a different experience for next time. A starting point would be to ask family members to suggest a few destinations and work as a team to get them on your calendar. Planning ahead is essential for the best sites especially when more than one is needed.

Have the right attitude.

Remember what the weekend is about – spending time as a family. You may have to let go of a few things that you normally have control over. In my case, I adjust my usual expectations for cleanliness. I’ll grab a basket and collect the kids’ toys all in one place so they’ll know where to find their belongings later. I’ll let feet be on the couch and wet towels be draped on doors if that allows everyone to have a good time.

Another way to encourage fun for all is to let everyone do as they please. Some will want to get that workout in no matter what and that may involve the rest of the family postponing the group bike ride or nature hike. Coming from a family of nine, my dad’s favorite line was ‘’we’re herding cats.’’ Having a game plan for the day – discussed over breakfast – gives people a general idea of what everyone wants to do and a general time frame so they can plan their personal stuff around it. If they don’t get back in time, leave a note where you are and let them catch up. Be low-key so everyone has personal time for naps, book reading, hikes, or pool time.

Be food flexible.

Looking for advice on feeding a crowd? I usually make a simple breakfast of muffins and fruit and if someone wants a big camp pancake breakfast, they are welcome to make it and clean it up. Lunch can be on your own with each family feeding their own members. Often this is a packed lunch for the pool or trip to town to take in a site. When planning dinner for a weekend you can ask each family to take one evening and feed everyone. This way there is built in R & R when it is your night off and when it is your turn, you get to plan the menu. A few other tips for keeping food simple are:

  • Serve a light appetizer while the food is being prepped to cut down on the number of times you’re asked if dinner is almost ready.
  • If you have food allergies, have a backup plan for your meal, just in case!
  • Another idea for keeping the food as simple as possible is to use a portable outdoor refrigerator to keep drinks and snacks in. This saves your RV fridge from working overtime with people searching for a drink or piece of string cheese.
  • Keep clean up simple with an outdoor wash station. Place two dish basins, a trash can and a clean dish towel at the end of the picnic table so each person can scrape their plate, wash it, rinse it, and dry it.

Keep these tips in mind, and going on an RV trip with multiple generations of a family can be an easygoing, fun-filled adventure!

Janine Pettit

Girl Camper

Janine Pettit is a lifelong lover of camping who took a 25 year sabbatical when she married a “resort” type guy! She discovered that camping was still in the cards for her when she stumbled onto an article about a women’s outdoor adventure group that travels around the country in RVs, meeting new friends, checking off bucket list adventures and doing things she had only dreamed of. Janine has become an Ambassador for the Girl Camping movement and encourages women to go places and do things in her blog and podcast.