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Tent Camping with Children and My Favorite Michigan Campgrounds

Campfires, smores, beaches, hikes, and outdoor cooking is exactly why I enjoy camping with my family.  Being from the Northwest, camping is a big deal in the summer months.  Campgrounds fill with luxury motor homes, popup campers, and tents.  At night you hear laughter and enjoy the smell of outdoor BBQ's. It's the simple life and some of the best childhood memories for most of us.

The Great Lakes of Michigan offer some of the most beautiful camping experiences.  Michigan residents flock north in the summer and vacancy at campgrounds quickly fill up.  It's truly a summertime favorite.

Recently we tent camped as a family.  We were shocked at how rare it was to see tent camping.  It was as if everyone had a camper!  We truly loved the tenting experience and my young children did awesome! I highly recommend it!

As I prepare for our next tent camping experience I thought it would be helpful to share tips with my tent camping friends as I reflect on our last trip.

Let Go of Bedtime Schedules and Routines
Our children are 2 and 4 so we were a little worried about the night time experience.  Our tent is big and fits our entire family.  With little children it is important to stay in one tent.  The first night our kids were wired!  They thought it was funny to sleep in a tent and had the bedtime sillies.  Instead of our regular bedtime routine, we hung out with flashlights and had story telling time.  Eventually the entire family fell asleep.  The second night the kids crashed a little after dark and we were able to hang out by the fire.  We played hard all day without naps so when it was time to sleep, they were out in minutes. This was a win for us since we got some quiet adult time by the fire.

Bring a small space heater for tent
It cooled off to the 50's at night and I only packed sleeping bags.  Having a small heater made the tent sleeping experience comfortable.

Protect from Bed Wetting
Have younger kids that are potty trained wear pull ups just in case they have an accident.  Trust me, we learned the hard way.  Having a wet sleeping bag in the middle of night is not fun.

Air Mattress is a Must! 
It was hilarious!  I woke up to my husband on the ground since one of our air mattresses had a leak. We headed out to the store and bought one the very next day. We spent a long time looking at air mattresses and had a hard time picking one out.  Since I've become aware of this thorough review of air mattresses.   It provides depth detail on the different kinds of air mattresses to choose from and will help you decide on one that will make tent camping comfortable. 

I found that I prefer to sleep with my sleeping bag unzipped.  I forgot to pack sheets and wished I would have.  It would have made things a little more comfortable.  Pack extra sheets and bedding.  Camping involves a lot of work and the last thing you want is to be tired and grumpy because you had a poor nights sleep.

Must Haves for Tent Camping

  • Space Heater
  • Air Mattress (Click here for reviews)
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Fitted Sheets for Air Mattress
  • Pillows
  • Flash Lights
  • Rug for Shoes
  • Dust Pan and Broom
  • Dog Beds (if bringing pets)

Favorite Michigan Camp Grounds

Happy Camping!

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