Our First Family Camping Trip
We were so excited about our new RV, we couldn’t wait to get it on the road and start exploring. There was just one thing holding us back – the weather. It has still been below freezing every time in our little slice of the Alberta foothills.
We decided to go for a spin on Easter long weekend to start the season. The day we pulled out of the driveway, there was literally snow on the truck. I don’t think anyone would wonder why we were seeking warmer climes. We found what we were looking for in Salmon Arm, BC – a weather forecast of +16c. We packed the kids and dog into the truck and took a long drive to what we hoped would be warmth.
Shuswap Lake didn’t disappoint.
Our Family Camping Trip: What We Learnt
- 7 hours of straight driving is not possible with 2 kids & a dog = 12 hour day
It is possible to scrimp it down to 9 hours if you don’t stop as much and can stand listening to whining. We originally had thought our typical weekend distance would be within 3-4 hours of our home and this reaffirmed our thesis.
- Pack snacks, more snacks and a bag full of distractions
We don’t have an iPad, or DVD player. We managed to distract our busy Mr J with a bag full of busy activities and snacks. When things got a little hairy, we stopped for a nature break and did a local trail and got out to stretch our legs.
- Campfire cooking while cool will not feed hungry campers quickly
The kids were pretty adaptable to it with hors d’ouvers (veggies and dip) but it won’t work every night.
- Adapting to sleeping in the RV was simple!
We were worried about this one because we weren’t sure how it would go, but they were so tired at the end of the day it was no issue.
- No plan = spontaneous fun
We spent so much time making real food to camp with and packing all the essentials into the trailer, we didn’t have much time to learn what was amazing and great in the area. Instead when we arrived, we relied on our favourite geocaching website and just looking around to find fun things to do. It worked out.
- Ask more questions about campground
We didn’t ask much about the campground because it was a) open all year around & b) had full hook-ups. It was a great place to stay, but it was a tight maneuver for newbie 30′ RVers. More experienced RVers with 26-27′ trailers had no problem. They had lovely little cabins & tent pads too.
- Follow directions to campground from their website – but look them up!
We hauled our RV up a dirt logging road following the directions. This wasn’t the best way to come – although it was the fastest, and it did have terrific views.
- Brush up on your board games
Mr D and I sat down to play Triominos and had to get out the instructions. An hour later, we couldn’t figure out why anyone hadn’t won. We weren’t scoring properly. But we had a great time talking to each other and playing anyway. Maybe next time we’ll blow the dust off an easier game.
- Just playing in the campground can be fun too.
We found a small trail just from the campsites front door. There was a river rushing through the campground a little distance away that was fun to throw sticks into, and Shuswap Lake was great for throwing & skipping rocks. We also brought our bin full of outdoor toys. “Gotcha” with the net was a popular choice. The campground itself had a little sandbox with a hammock and trucks that Mr J loved.
Any trip that I get to go on with my family is a great one! It was so nice to get back to camping and one strike off our bucket list!
a passionate recreation coordinator by day, crazy farm mama of two by night. i live outdoors: growing my own food, camping and hiking with my border collie with two active kids in tow. when I’m not writing, I’m experimenting with recipes, and crafts – or anything else that might keep the monkeys entertained.