Expert Advice

RVing with Grandchildren

Experienced RVer Jeanne Gaffney shares how RVing has changed her relationship with her grandchildren and offers her tips so you can do it too.

In 2006, we bought a Lazy Daze Class C motorhome to see our beautiful country.  Little did we know at the time what an impact it would have on our relationship with our grandchildren.  Very soon after purchasing our RV, our grandchildren (cousins, ages 3 and 5) asked us if they could join us on an RV trip.  We were a little trepidatious thinking they might get hurt while camping or want to go home in the middle of the night. We thought we might need to spend all our time trying to entertain them or trying to find fun things for them to do.  We were so wrong! They loved everything about the outdoors and camping from gathering firewood, making s’mores, catching fireflies, and counting the stars.  If your have been thinking about taking your grandchildren on an RV trip, here are the things you need to know.

Camp Somewhere That Has a Lot of Activities

If your grandchildren are younger, choose a campground close to home that has lots to offer such as a lake where they can fish and swim or places to ride bikes.  Both of our grandchildren learned to ride their bikes at the campground. Take in the nature around you and bring your bird books and binoculars to help the kids identify the local bird species. And always keep cash in your pocket for that trip to the camp store to buy ice cream.

Encourage the Kids to Help with Trip Planning

As your grandchildren grow older, you can venture out to other locations. When our grandkids were 10 and 12 years old, we took our first summer trip was to Washington D.C. from Alabama and we purposely planned short travel days. Let the grandchildren help with the trip planning by reading travel books together and choosing specific places that they would like to visit. For example, the most important place our grandchildren wanted to see was “the place where they make money,” the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. 

Document the Memories

One of the best things we did was to purchase a Passport to your National Parks book for each child.  They loved collecting as many stamps as possible and we have taken our grandchildren as far as Yellowstone National Park, Disney World, and Grand Canyon National Park.  If they are old enough to read and write, get a journal for each child and have them write about their experiences every evening. 

Give Them Some Responsibility

Take their backpacks on the trip to make them responsible for their own items such as money, snacks and souvenirs. Give them a specific place inside the RV to store these items so they won’t be lost and encourage them to pack their own backpacks every evening so they are ready for the next day.

Cooking and Meal Planning

Children are always hungry.  Stock up on snacks to take on your day trips and plan for quick simple meals in the evening. Children also love cooking over the campfire.  


Have Games and Activities on Hand 

Make sure you have games, craft materials and videos available for evenings and rainy days.

 Use a Car to Get Around

If you are in a motorhome and aren’t towing a car, try renting one.  We found it much easier and more convenient for day trips.

Every year, we wonder if our grandchildren are outgrowing us and the trips, but soon after we return, they always ask where we will be going next. They are now 16 and 18 and we are headed to the Florida Keys for this year’s trip.

Our last bit of advice is to plan your trip to include some down days. Relax the rules.  Keep in mind that you are grandparenting, not parenting, and always remember what happens at the campground stays at the campground. 

Jeanne Gaffney


Jeanne Gaffney has been an avid RVer since 2006. While she bought the RV to spend more time traveling and seeing her grandchildren, she had no idea at the time that it would change her life so much and strengthen her relationship her grandchildren all the way through their teenage years. Jeanne encourages all grandparents to take epic adventures with your grandchildren when they are young because it builds such a strong foundation for lasting memories and relationships.