Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

Camping for Every Family

Camping means different things to different families.  To some it is rustic wooded areas with no amenities.  To others it is a plush RV hooked to electricity and water.  Here in Iowa your camping experience can be as rough or as pampered as you like.

A Camping Experience for Every Family

Tent Camping

Camping with kids

The fun of camping!

Tent camping is “entry level” for most families as you don’t really need much.  A tent, sleeping bags, something to eat from, and you’re set.  (It’s likely you know someone who can loan you these items for your first camping experience, making it even more affordable!)

Tent camping can be remote and rustic hike-in areas, or it can be a plot in a campground with or without water and electricity.  Rates for basic campsites can be under $10 per night, making this an affordable family getaway!

Tent camping can be done with young children, though you may want to refrain from hike-in sites until they are old enough to help carry things!

RV/ Travel Trailer

Class C RV

Class C RV from Road Trip RV Adventures in Polk City, Iowa (click image to go to their Facebook page)

For a more comfortable camping experience, many families opt for the luxury of RVs or travel trailers.  These miniature “homes on wheels” can range from a small pop-up to a luxurious 60 foot “bus” with every amenity.

The obvious upside of this type of camping is having beds!  Though it may feel ‘less authentic’ to some, this type of camping can be less stressful for families as you don’t have to wrestle with setting up a tent (or taking it down!)

Campground rates for RVs tend to be higher as they include electricity and water, but can still be found for under $20 a night at some state and county campgrounds.

Yurt and Cabin Rentals

If you want to getaway but don’t want to camp, a really fun option is renting a yurt or cabin.  Depending on where you go, these can be very basic structures with beds and a small kitchen area, or have all the comforts of home.

When renting cabins, be sure to read what is or is not included.  Often you will need to supply your own bed linens and towels.

Renting a cabin is often a fun and affordable first camping option for families with basic structures available for as little as $30 per night.

When booking any camping trip, remember that popular weekends and holidays can book up to a year in advance. Book early for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day or any community festival.  Also note, many state and county parks require a minimum of 2 days advance reservation.

Camping Checklist:

My complete camping checklist can be found at Family Rambling.  A few of my must have items, no matter how we are camping are:

  • Spare clothing and long sleeve shirts, jeans, and socks for hiking through the woods
  • Rubbermaid-type totes to pack clothing & food in
  • Baby wipes (these are the best. thing. ever.)

Iowa Camping Resources:

Iowa State Parks website  Booking via the online reservations system

Iowa KOA locations  Booking via the online reservations system

County parks can be found by searching the county website.  Booking options vary by county.

Do you take your family camping?  Where is your favorite spot?  My family enjoys Pammel Park near Winterset.

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2 Responses to Camping for Every Family

  1. Andie April 10, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    I just wrote a post on MOnday about camping at the New Orleans Moms Blog! We love it in our family- we have an RV, honestly, because it’s just easier… but I think a lot of people have a misconception that there is no running water or electricity if tent camping- you can get a spot with both and still camp in a tent!

    I find that camping is great for family bonding and it is great to unplug and spend time appreciating all of nature. 🙂

  2. Jodi April 11, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    I so want a camper someday! We grew up going camping for all our vacations. I think the beauty of living here is that we are so close to amazing camping spots like saylorville! My parents have an RV and they love to camp there. And y boys love to visit them! Maybe I should start a camper fund! I just love the idea of it being a family time away together.

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