Our First Time Tenting with Children

What a weekend! A trifecta of massive issues swirled collectively over the previous few days over right here: Tenting with the boys for the primary time, Ryder’s fifth birthday and Father’s Day. I faceplanted in mattress at 9 p.m. final night time and slept onerous however I’m awake and sipping my espresso now and feeling able to let you know about every thing.

Our First Time Tenting with Children

Just a few months in the past, I had the concept to go tenting over Ryder’s birthday and Father’s Day weekend since they each fell on the identical Sunday this 12 months. Ryan was all-in on the concept so I booked us a campsite at Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, North Carolina.

(The boys’ ocean animals pajamas are Janie & Jack and have been a present from my mother! We LOVE their pajamas as a result of they’ve them in sizes that permit all three boys to match and the standard passes the hand-me-down take a look at.)

After our first visit to Dan Nicholas Park in 2021, Ryan and I agreed it will be the proper spot to aim tenting with our boys at some point for a myriad of causes. Reality discuss: We mainly we chosen this location as a result of it’s solely an hour from our home so it will be straightforward sufficient to pack up and head house if we have been all depressing… however we additionally chosen it as a result of there may be SO a lot to do at this little gem of a park. (If you happen to’re native and haven’t been, add it to your “should go to” checklist!)

If you happen to camp on the weekends on the park you’re required to ebook two nights however the websites are solely $30 to order so we booked Friday and Saturday night time however opted to solely keep one night time. This was an important resolution for our household as first-time campers as a result of we arrived at our campsite after Chase’s swim meet on Saturday morning feeling rested, energetic and excited concerning the day and night time forward!

Ryan and I checked out our first tenting journey as one huge roll of the cube since we arrived at our campsite with some issues we had by no means used earlier than together with our tent, the sleeping luggage and chairs for the boys I discovered at ALDI on Thursday for $12, our air mattress and a pop-up griddle. I actually was dreading placing up our tent as a result of I’ve vivid recollections of assembling our household’s tent with my mother and father as a child and bear in mind the method being L-O-N-G. (All of us crack up about these tenting recollections now! Actually tenting with my mother, dad and sister are a few of my very best recollections as a child and one of many causes I actually, actually hoped our boys would love tenting as a household, too.)

Nicely, I’m unsure if it was my childhood mind dramatizing the method of tent setup or if tents have come a good distance in three many years or what however Ryan and I had our tent up in lower than 10 minutes. Actually! My thoughts was blown and I instantly texted an image of our tent to my mother and father and sister as a result of I didn’t understand it was attainable to erect a tent in lower than two hours.

Ryan will get ALL the credit score for choosing this slam dunk of a tent for our household and we each stated we give it an 11/10 score. (This is the exact tent Ryan purchased on tremendous sale on Black Friday final 12 months however this one is less expensive and appears to be the very same tent however in a inexperienced coloration.) The tent is BIG which was vital as a result of we would like it to develop with us as the children get larger but it surely additionally labored very well for us now as a household with younger youngsters. It has two zip-down dividers inside that permit the within of the tent to be divided into three sections which was vastly useful as a result of it allow us to put Rhett to mattress on one facet after which keep up later with the massive youngsters. (Ryan and I slept within the center part.) We simply made positive to pack a noise machine to drown out extra noise and Rhett was exhausted sufficient from skipping his nap on Saturday that he went proper to sleep in his pack ‘n’ play. Right here’s a glimpse at his setup:

However backing up a bit to our arrival on the campground…

As soon as our tent and chairs have been all arrange, the boys have been itching to get out and about and discover. Previous to tenting, we had by no means visited the other facet of the lake at Dan Nicholas Park the place all of the campsites are positioned. We liked strolling across the lake and spent a variety of time fishing, in search of turtles, freaking out over all of the little ducklings and catching and releasing frogs and toads. Our creature-loving boys have been in heaven!

We liked the truth that Dan Nicholas Park’s campsites are canine pleasant so Pepper may be a part of our gang however this made a few of the actions inside the park somewhat difficult to get pleasure from as a household since a variety of them don’t permit canines. That is completely comprehensible (and good) and Ryan and I made it work by swapping “Pepper responsibility.” Pepper joined us everywhere in the park however stayed with Ryan whereas I rode the small practice with the boys and stayed with me whereas Ryan did the carousel with the boys.

Costs at Dan Nicholas Park are like a stroll again in time and every thing from tickets to experience the practice and carousel to tickets to Rowan Wild, the small nature facility positioned inside the park, are solely $.50-$1.00.

The gem mining at Dan Nicholas Park is at all times a significant spotlight for our boys and we sprung for the massive bucket (this isn’t $1.00 — haha!) and sifted by means of plenty of sand to seek out huge gems, a big shark tooth and different surprises.

After gem mining, we spent a while on the playground earlier than strolling again to our campsite to make an early dinner.

We packed all of the fixings for warm canines and brats on our griddle and dug in!

As soon as we have been good and full, we made our manner again to the lake to catch and launch tadpoles and fish somewhat bit extra earlier than the boys requested a visit to the splash pad!

The boys stated the splash pad water was freeeeezing however that didn’t cease them from working by means of the streams of water again and again. We packed pajamas to vary into after they have been executed splashing round and commenced the stroll again to our campsite.

Chase and Ryder seen lots of people strolling round with ICEES and after one man heard them speaking concerning the ICEES they noticed he yelled out, “Over there! Go get you one!” and directed us to the brand new concession stand positioned on the high of a big hill. Our boys are shave ice-obsessed however ICEES have been a brand new factor for them and let’s simply say they have been an enormous hit. I additionally forgot how good a cherry ICEE tastes on a scorching day and it was a pleasant little deal with to get pleasure from on the stroll again to our campsite.

By the point we made it again to the campsite, the boys have been all amped up on ICEE sugar and the considered making a giant hearth in our hearth pit. As Ryan obtained the blaze going, the massive youngsters seen the campsite that backed as much as our web site was nonetheless vacant and obtained the concept to construct their very own “brother hearth” (no grown ups allowed) a couple of ft away.

camping with kids for the first time

They have been so pleased with themselves however got here again over to our hearth as soon as they noticed we had all of the provides for s’mores.

(Our s’mores roasting sticks have been Christmas present to Ryan a couple of years in the past and a customized order from this Etsy shop.)

Everybody loaded up on s’mores and we may inform Rhett was fading quick so we bushed our tooth and all headed into the tent to faux it was bedtime for everybody whereas we tucked Rhett into his pack ‘n’ play and stated goodnight. He was out inside a few minutes!

As soon as the solar went down, the nighttime tenting enjoyable started! We caught fireflies with the massive youngsters and Chase’s spotlight from the tenting journey occurred close to the shore of the lake at night time when he used Pepper to assist him find numerous toads to catch and launch by the sunshine of his flashlight.

We then cuddled up by the fireplace and instructed tales till Ryder and I may barely maintain our eyes open anymore.

As soon as we made our manner into the tent, the boys snuggled into their sleeping luggage and I learn all of 1 chapter in my ebook on my Kindle earlier than we have been all asleep.

Sleeping by means of the night time didn’t occur for anybody however our first night time tent tenting went fairly effectively all issues thought-about. We have been all awake a couple of instances due to a hooting owl that made Pepper bark, Rhett crying out as soon as, Chase needing to make use of the lavatory and Ryder getting snarled in his sleeping and needing assist to get settled again in. I awoke on Sunday feeling removed from rested however would nonetheless completely chalk up our first in a single day tenting journey as successful.

Plus, Ryder obtained to get up in a tent as a FIVE 12 months previous!

We frolicked on the campsite, the lake and the playground at Dan Nicholas Park for a lot of the morning on Sunday.

As we made the drive again house, the boys talked again and again about how a lot enjoyable that they had throughout our tenting journey. Nobody slept notably effectively however nobody actually appeared to care about that in any respect when in comparison with the general expertise of tenting with our crew. Chase and Ryder are already asking after we can go tenting once more (Rhett simply needs to experience the practice once more) and we’re already eyeing dates for a fall tenting journey!