Camping advice: How to pick the perfect campsite
Don't risk missing out on the campsite you want for your family adventures - follow our advice to find exactly the right campsite for your needs. Here, you'll find some top tips and advice from the Camping team.
1. Water is just about essential for a successful camping trip with kids. Whether it’s the sea, a lake, river, swimming pool, pond or even just a stream, a good kids’ campsite will almost inevitably have water on or near the campsite.
2. A good kids’ campsite doesn’t need to have a formal children’s playground, but make sure it has lots of space to play ball games and ride bikes, or natural play areas like woods to hide in or rocks to scramble over.
3. Check out whether the campsite has any no ball games or no bikes/scooters policies. Many do, particularly if tents share the campsite with a lot of expensive caravans and motorhomes, although there might be a separate play field to go and kick a ball around.
4. No camping trip is complete without toasted marshmallows, so it’s a real plus if you can find a campsite that allows a campfire to sit round.
5. Younger kids will enjoy seeing neighbouring sheep, cows and horses, or having free-range chickens and ducks wandering around their tent, so a campsite on a working farm is always a good bet.
6. Some campsites have a families-only, or families and couples-only, policy and many have a quiet time starting from around 10.30pm. Check whether you like the sound of any lights-out policy – or lack of one.
7. If you’re planning to eat out, a family-friendly pub within walking distance will come in handy.
8. One sign of a good kids’ campsite is that you won’t be able to drag them off it! But if you are planning to explore the surrounding area, check out what children’s activities are nearby.
9. Find out whether there are rainy day options within a reasonable distance – a local cinema, museum or even an indoor games room on the campsite. A campsite that has activities organised on site, such as water sports or a climbing wall, will give the kids the chance to try something new.
10. If you are camping with a baby or toddler, you might want to add a family bathroom or even disabled facilities that double up as a baby-change area, to your checklist.
11. For a weekend trip, try a local campsite – you don’t want hours of listening to, “Are we there yet?” from the back!
12. If you’re planning on bringing the family pooch, make sure the campsite allows dogs.
13. A campsite well away from the road means you won’t be worrying about traffic. Some campsites even have a no-car policy – with wheelbarrows supplied to cart your gear to your pitch.
14. Finally, something for the adults. As the saying goes: ‘If the kids are happy, we’re all happy’ – but treat yourself and pick a campsite with a lovely view for you to enjoy.
15. Obviously if kids are involved you’ll be restricted to the school holidays and weekends and the laws of demand and supply mean these are the most expensive times.
Get the whole family involved in choosing the site so everyone is happy with what's on offer. Recommendations from friends can be helpful, too.
Read about more great camping tips and much more in every issue of Camping magazine - available to buy here in our digital store.