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 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
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.
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.