How to choose the ideal family campsite
For most people, January, February and March are the quiet months for camping and time to plan trips for the rest of the year.
The first thing to do is decide where you want to visit. It sounds obvious, but narrowing down to one region or area makes it a lot easier to search for a campsite. Have a look at the thousands of campsites on our online Campsite Finder to pick somewhere that you fancy.
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. Bank holidays are especially popular so if that’s when you want to go, get on to it quickly. Likewise, the peak summer months are incredibly popular too.
Book now rather than risk not getting the campsite and dates you want. Look out for early bird offers as well – some campsites will give you a discount if you book your pitch a few months in advance.
14 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN YOUR LOOKING FOR A FAMILY CAMPSITE
1 Water is just about essential for every 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 motor homes, although there might be a separate play field to go and kick a ball around
4 No camping trip is fully 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 campsite, such as water sports, 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 to cart your gear to your pitch supplied
14 And 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.