Camping with toddlers and babies: Yes or No?


I did not grow up camping. My family always stayed at hotels or family’s and friend’s homes when we were on vacation. My first time camping was in college on a bike trip. I thought it was so much fun. So, when I met my husband and learned he comes from a family of avid campers, I was pumped!

Camping with toddlers and babies: Yes or No? | Rochester MN Moms Blog

Now that we have two little ones, we still want to enjoy the outdoors. So, I proposed a family camping trip with our little family, my sisters family and my cousins family. Total we have 5 kids, ranging from 6 months to 2 years old. Crazy, right? The week leading up to camping, I, as the “organizer”, received many texts from my sister and cousin with concerns about the weather (thank you, 10-day forecast). Despite a few concerns about the cold (the low was predicted to be around 38 degrees), we all decided to brave the outdoors. And guess what? We had a blast.

Camping with toddlers and babies: Yes or No? | Rochester MN Moms Blog

With so many amazing places to camp in Minnesota, we had plenty of options. Staying close to Rochester was important to us, in case there was an emergency; Whitewater State Park was the perfect fit. We got a group site, so it was large enough for all our tents while still having plenty of space for our toddlers to run around. We also were far away from other groups, so we felt like we had privacy. During the day we went on a beautiful hike to Chimney Rock and sang songs around the campfire. In the evening we put the kids to bed and enjoyed time talking around the fire.

Camping with toddlers and babies: Yes or No? | Rochester MN Moms Blog

If you are thinking about camping with toddlers or babies, take these five tips, and just go for it! It may be out of your comfort zone, but your kids will grow to love the great outdoors.

  1. If you plan to camp in cold weather, like we did, bring LOTS of warm clothes. This means onesies to go under pajamas, blankets, warm socks, stocking caps and mittens.
  2. Bring a stroller. You probably won’t be able to push your little ones around on rocky paths, but it’s handy to have a safe place to put your kids by the fire (while still keeping a close eye on them).
  3. Bring a small tent to play in. We set up a small tent previously used at the beach as a sun shade. It was perfect for the toddlers to use as their own special tent, and it was also a small place the babies could crawl or sit.
  4. Be careful when you venture out on hiking trails. We did okay on our hike, but make sure you know what kind of terrain you will be trekking on, especially if you are using baby carriers.
  5. Let your kids explore. The toddlers on our trip had a blast running around the campsite, picking up leaves & branches and spotting animals.

So, should you go camping with your babies and toddlers? YES. Camping was a great adventure for our family. It was a ton of work and certainly nothing like camping pre-children, but I would recommend it. It’s an awesome opportunity to spend an extended amount of time outside with your children. If you are looking to camp in the Rochester area, check out Whitewater State Park or one of the many other Minnesota State Parks.

Camping with toddlers and babies: Yes or No? | Rochester MN Moms Blog

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Hannah has a passion for adventure and is curious about the world. She developed this passion while growing up in five different states; Minnesota, Florida, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Illinois. After all that moving around, Hannah went to college in Minnesota and fell in love with the state and a wonderful guy who also loves Minnesota. After living in the Twin Cities for a few years, Hannah’s awesome teacher husband got a job in Rochester and now Hannah and her family hope to call Rochester (actually Byron) home for a long time. After a few years working in marketing and public relations, a tiny little baby girl named Lilly (’12) entered the picture. Ten months later when her husband finished graduate school Hannah became a stay-at-home mom. Just under a year later another tiny baby girl entered the picture, Dahlia (’14), and she was a game-changer. Now, Hannah is at home with a one-year-old and a two-year-old and spends the majority of her day playing referee for the two tots. Besides her family, Hannah is passionate about God and her church. She is a complete nerd who loves history, travel, Ecuador, coffee with friends, cooking and following current events. On the weekends, you may run into Hannah and her family exploring Byron, Rochester and Southern Minnesota. Follow along with Hannah on her blog, Dreams of Adventure.


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