Plan ahead and bring extra food to make your camping adventure a success. Photograph by Christina Selby. 

CHOOSE WISELY. If it’s your first time out, start close to home, advise expert family campers Matt and Karen Holmes of the Southwest Family Adventures blog. “Staying closer to home gives you the chance to test out your gear and your setup without a major commitment,” says Matt.  

Work up to more remote locations. Choose more developed campgrounds that match your children’s interests, whether they like active adventures such as rock climbing or a quiet stroll through the woods.  

Make it comfortable. “If you need to bring your pillows and comforter off your bed at home in order to have a great night’s sleep, do it,” says Matt. “A good camping experience isn’t about learning to like suffering through roughing it.”  

Plan ahead. “We knew exactly what we were going to eat and cook for each meal during our trip,” writes ABQ Mom blogger and newbie family camper Andrea Scarberry. “It made for smooth sailing come mealtime.”  

Pack some extra fun. Bringing along an adventure pack filled with fun outdoor gear can create a welcome diversion for kids who cry boredom. For siblings, make sure each has their own pack with exactly the same stuff. Consider materials for simple projects like bark or stone rubbings and add binoculars, pencils, a notebook, a multitool, and a hiking stick. 

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