Family Vacation: Camping With a Toddler

Camping Ava - Rollins Pond

Three-week-ago, myself, my husband and our newly 2-year-old daughter took our first family camping trip.

“You are doing what?,” is the question I kept getting asked when telling people we were taking a short camping trip with our toddler. It really irritated me. Why do people always feel like doing anything with a toddler is impossible? I raise my daughter everyday and I think I know what she can handle. I am also a firm believer that almost any vacation is doable with some modification and simple pre-planning.

We traveled to the Adirondacks in upstate New York where we used to camp before becoming parent. The campground, Rollins Pond is simply beautiful. We like seclusion and don’t want to be sitting on our neighbours which is why we chose this campground. Our campsite had enough privacy with lots of tree while having a beautiful waterfront view at the same time. I like that big motorized boats are not allowed on the pond, so things are much quieter. People mostly use kayaks and small canoes.

Camping Ava - Rollins Pond

The campground has flushable toliets and a central shower area. I can’t imagine visiting a campground without showers with a kid! She smelled so bad after one day! A small store called the Trading Post is also located outside the campground. It’s probably about a 15 minute ride because you must drive through Fish Creek (another campground) before exiting out on the main road.  The store was essentially a small grocer with camping essentials. The owners even makes fresh pizza, subs and other small fast food items.

My daughter, Ava is used to traveling as we have traveled to Europe and to the Dominican Republic, but this was a different type of vacation. I prepared for her to get dirty! I brought her more clothes than us – from summer clothes to sweaters and jogging pants. I also made sure to bring new toys and a sticker book to get her excited. To make her feel like a big girl we bought her a mini camping chair. Although, I brought a small picnic blanket for her to lounge on while playing.

Ava loved her new adventure. It was nice to get away from the big city and let her experience nature for the first time. Her favorite animal is a duck, so to say the least she had a ball seeing mama and baby ducks. We started to feed the ducks, but we soon realized that was a mistake. We seriously had ducks coming every couple of hours to feed. Not very fun and ducks that stick around like to poop! Next time, we will refrain from feeding ducks. We have learned out lesson!

To be honest, having a toddler with us while camping was not that hard. She is not the type to run off. Ava is somewhat timid and likes to stay close to mama and dada. Obviously, we still had to keep an eye on her at all times. I liked that we had to go down a small hill to get to the water area, so it kept her from going close.

My best suggestion to camping with a toddler is to go prepared with essentials (diapers, wipes), more clothes than you think you will need and lots of small toys or things that your toddler likes. Also, include your toddler in putting up the camping stuff. Toddlers love being little helpers.

Most importantly, be relaxed, but aware and you should be fine.