National Parks

Camping with Kids

A night in a tent under the stars is the highlight of many kids' trips to a national park. Making sure it's a pleasant experience, however, takes some preparation. While a camping novice may know to bring along the essentials of sunscreen, drinking water, and insect repellant, one seasoned camper suggests some things you may not have thought about.

A Cub Scouts pack leader and mother of three boys advises that you check the weather forecast-and your tent-before you go. "We actually had a family who brought a brand-new tent, that hadn't even been taken out of the box until they got to the campground, only to discover while trying to assemble it that the door was defective so it didn't zip closed. Imagine the mosquito bites they had in the morning!" She also suggests that you choose your tent site and companions carefully. "Trust me," she says, "you don't want to pitch your tent next to someone who snores all night!"

She says one essential you "gotta have" when venturing out into the world of tents and campfires is your own toilet paper (no explanation necessary). "And, of course," she adds, "don't forget the marshmallows!"

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