Find free places to camp with your family and great books for camping for kids!
Planning a family camping trip this year?
Or just pitching a tent in the backyard?
Camping with your kids can be tons of fun -- sleeping under the stars, cooking over a campfire and spending some time unplugged to enjoy one another's company.
Not to mention all those great life skills the kids learn -- how to pitch a tent, navigate the trails and entertain themselves without electricity!
Plus marshmallows and flashlights -- always a big hit when you're a kid :)
Spring is a great time for a camping adventure with the cooler weather and longer daylight hours. So I wanted to share a few fun ideas for (FREE!) family-friendly places to pitch a tent along with a great booklist to take along with you.
10 Camping Books for Kids & Free Camping Locations
There are some excellent camp-out opportunities for families each Spring & Summer along with other opportunities for outdoor activites. If this is your first time camping with the kids, one of these events would be a perfect start towards a new family tradition.
Free Campsites Across the US
Not sure which of your local or county parks offers camping for families?
The US National Parks offer free entrance to over 400 parks every year! For 2017, you can visit the National Parks for free on certain days of the year but know that many of them are FREE all year round too!
Whether you choose a day visit or decide to bring a tent to spend the night, it's a wonderful opportunity to explore the outdoors.
During your visit, we highly suggest having the kids do some of the Junior Ranger activities -- we love these free programs and take advantage of them every year!
STATE & LOCAL CAMPSITES
Freecampsites.net is an awesome online resource where you can search for state, local and county parks along with other locations that offer free or paid camping sites. Be sure to call ahead or make a reservation so you know you'll have a spot when you arrive!
IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
The National Wildlife Foundation sponsors The Great American Campout every June!
You can find camping resources and pledge to camp for wildlife by visiting the Great American Campout website.
And if you're not sure you want to head out in the woods for your camping adventure, just pitch a tent in your own backyard! I love this option -- the bathrooms are close by and so are extra blankets if it gets cold ;)
FREE Fishing too!
Another great outdoor adventure you might want to try on your next camp-out is fishing with the kids.
Take Me Fishing has a great list of free fishing days and weekends for all states in the US.
Camping Books for Kids
Take along some of these books for a flashlight reading or a bedtime story around the campfire. We've included affliate links so you can learn more about each of the recommended reads.
Curious George Goes Camping by Margret & H.A. Rey
Get ready for some fun and antics as The Man in the Big Yellow Hat takes George camping! George tries to be helpful but problems arise. Young kids identify with George who is always trying to be helpful, but sometimes it doesn't quite work out.
S Is for S'mores: A Camping Alphabet by Helen Foster James
A fun A to Z exploration of what to pack, where to go and things to do on a campout. The book is a fun read for any family planning a camping trip with many descriptions of fun activities that kids enjoy. Sidebars offer some great historical and science facts for older kids too!
A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee by Chris VanDusen
Mr. Magee and his dog Dee head out for a camping trip that ends up having some disasterous results! How will they get out of this slippery situation? Kids will enjoy the outlandish experiences that Mr. Magee must face on his campout, along with the great illustrations in this book.
Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping by Peggy Parish
Enjoy the hilarious results as Amelia Bedelia sets off on a camping trip! She tries her best to 'pitch' a tent and 'catch' a fish, but can't understand why things are going so wrong. These kids books are a great way to introduce children to popular idioms and the ways that words can be easily misunderstood.
Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night by Cynthia Rylant
Enjoy hiking, campfires and sleeping under the stars with Henry, Mudge and Henry's parents. Early readers will love this Easy Reader adventure book that highlights some of the great experiences of spending some time in a tent.
The Camping Trip that Changed America by Barb Rosenstock
A lesser-known story from American history, this kids book tells how President Theodore Roosevelt and naturalist John Muir take a camping trip to Yosemite in 1903. The result of the trip was the creation of the National Parks system in America. A great book that explains how the National Parks were started and why we should appreciate the opportunities they offer all who visit.
A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements
A 5th grade school class sets off for their week-long campout in the woods. When Mark is accused of breaking a rule by his science teacher, he runs off into the woods, angry that no one will hear his explanation. His teacher sets off to find him and both are forced to survive until they can be found. A great on-the-edge-of-your-chair read for kids who enjoy adventure books!
The Boxcar Children: The Camp-Out Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Henry, Jesse, Violet and Benny are going on a camping trip with Grandfather. When they hear loud music in the middle of the night and their lantern disappears, they realize they have a mystery to solve. One in a series of classic kid-friendly mysteries, this is a great read-aloud for your camping trip.
Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids' Guide by Lynn Brunelle
This book contains everything you need to know before you go camping or pitch a tent in your backyard. Learn how to build a campfire, make some fun food & crafts, explore the night sky and tell spooky stories around the fire! Kids are also reminded of the 'leave no trace' guidelines along with many other useful tips.
Kids Camp!: Activities for the Backyard or Wilderness by Laurie Carlson
A great book to explore before heading on your next camp-out. Kids will enjoy learning about what to pack, crafts and games to do while camping, how to find your way on a hike and other very useful information about nature, camping and fun activities.
More Fun Outdoor Adventures