My family of 5 went camping in Maine. Having a kid-friendly campsite made things easier.

    The author stayed in a canvas tent with her three kids in Southern Maine.

    Courtesy of the author

    My kids are 6, 4, and 4, and we’ve been talking about going camping as a family. We decided to start with a pre-set-up camp with a shower and bathroom to get them used to it. Everyone had so much fun, we are starting to plan another camping trip together. 

    I’ll admit I’m not the most outdoorsy person. I love the beach and can lay on the hot sand for hours on end, but sleeping in a tent and fending off bugs is not my idea of fun.

    That said, my husband and I moved our family from Brooklyn to Maine to spend more time outside. Our kids love getting dirty and playing outdoors regardless of the season. We had been talking about taking them camping — something I hadn’t done in nine years but that my husband loves doing — but hadn’t come around to actually planning a trip yet.

    We spent a long weekend at a camping ground in southern Maine, and the kids absolutely loved it. They are already asking to go camping again, and I’m wondering why we didn’t do this earlier in their lives.

    We went with the easy option

    Because our kids are little — they are 6, 4, and 4 — we felt like maybe a good start would be a camping ground that had already been set up. We found a company called Huttopia, which has a location near us. It was close enough to home that the kids wouldn’t be stuck in the car for hours on end, and we could also abort the plan if we were all miserable.

    There are different kinds of huts, from rustic to more modern, which include a private bathroom and shower. We went with the rustic option, which was a canvas tent with two rooms — one with a bunk bed that fit all three kids and one with a queen bed — as well as a small kitchenette, dining table, and bathroom. 

    While some might say this is not technically camping, we still had to zip up our canvas windows at night, and we chased plenty of bugs out of the tent.

    It was so family-friendly

    I was surprised at how many families were there and how many activities were planned for kids.

    The night we arrived, there was a movie night for kids. The next night, there was a concert for the whole family, and on our last night, there was a puppet show. This made navigating going from dinner time at the camp to bedtime easy, because kids had something to do to get their willies out. All these activities happened near the restaurant, where pizzas and smoothies were offered for purchase.

    The author says there were lots of kid-friendly activities at Huttopia Maine.

    Courtesy of the author

    The campground also had tons of activities. There was a huge playset for little kids and all kinds of games, such as ping pong, foosball, and petanque.

    There was also a pool and a pond for everyone to enjoy. We went in late May, which is still low season for Maine, and the pond was packed with people. The pool, on the other hand, was practically empty during our entire stay.

    The campgrounds are also dog-friendly, although they have strict rules, which initially annoyed me but I came to appreciate during our stay. You can never leave your dogs unattended at your camp, and they are allowed everywhere except for the pool. Our two dogs had a blast walking around the grounds and snoozing at the pond.

    We were also close to other towns, so when we needed a break from the campgrounds, we explored new beaches and restaurants.

    I’m ready to do it again

    This experience was so positive that I’m ready to do it again — as long as I have a shower and bathroom to myself.

    That said, if staying again at Huttopia, I would ask to stay in a tent further away from the main reception, where the playground is. Because our kids are little, they went to bed before the “quiet time,” which started at 10 p.m. Because of that, we could still hear older kids playing and yelling in the game zone area. Also, because we were so close to the reception and main parking spots, we got woken up several times when people were either checking in late or coming back from an adventure. I felt like not all guests followed the dog rules, and I encountered several tents left with dogs alone barking throughout the day. Thankfully, none of those were near ours.

    The camp where the author went is dog-friendly, which made traveling easier.

    Courtesy of the author

    My kids enjoyed collecting pinecones for our fire pit and building s’mores after dinner. They especially loved spending so much time outside in nature, away from distractions like television and toys. They made up games and played together, and it was truly memorable.

    Read the original article on Business Insider


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