In November the Casey family, along with some of my husband's co-workers, went camping in an RV for the first time. We drove up to Grand Canyon, Arizona on a Friday and drove back to San Diego the Sunday after. This was the first time that we had ever gone RV camping, let alone the first time that we took our 1 1/2-year-old son camping.
I wanted to share some advice and overall information on what worked for us, what I could change for next time, and what we did while at the Grand Canyon with a toddler and a pregnant mama.
WHERE WE STAYED:
Trailer Village RV Park at the Grand Canyon, Arizona. I would like to preface this section with, this is the first time that we have gone RV-ing. But I can report that the RV park we stayed at was good! It got the job done and there was a clean restroom (a necessary factor for me) within walking distance from our RV. Another part of the RV park that I liked, we had a shuttle stop within a 5-10 minute walk from our RV and that made it easy for us to make our way to the Grand Canyon. A shuttle ran every 10 minutes and we were easily able to move around the park. Just one stop away from Trailer Village RV Park was a General Store which carried everything that you may have forgotten at home! We picked up hot cocoa and beef jerky for the trip home the next day there. Overall, if we were to RV at the Grand Canyon again we would stay there!
WHAT WE BROUGHT:
Knowing what to bring on an RV camping trip, with an 18-month-old, is difficult. It's easy to think about the everyday things that he uses, but trying to streamline that list to fit into an RV is tough! Unless you own your own RV, everything you pack on needs to be taken off!
- hiking backpack (this one) - We bought this specifically for our RV trip, and I'm so glad we did. It was really useful and practical for our needs
- clothes to layer
- glow sticks (this one) - These were actually a purchase that I never intended to make, but I'm glad I did! They have a flashlight at one end (for trekking to the bathroom) and a colored light at the other (to occupy interested kiddos)
- warm sheets
- white noise app (on iPhone) - This is the one I like. It was especially useful since my son goes to bed before us and I didn't want us talking and eating outside to wake him up.
- child's favorite items - Books, puzzles, favorite blankies, nothing is a bother to bring if it brings the babes comfort.
- board games for a big crew
- easy light charcoal - So, SO important! Especially for our novice crew!
Wish we would have brought:
-- headlamp for cooking/cutting
-- items for Ender to fidget with while driving: I didn't remember to bring things for my toddler to mess with while we were driving all the way to Arizona, not a #momboss moment. Next time I will!
WHAT TO DO:
Since I was 26 weeks pregnant at the time of our camping trip, I felt that it was the perfect time to go as I wasn't as tired as I am in the home stretch of the third trimester. We didn't hike down into the canyon, but we made an effort to do a lot around the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I should also mention, our son had a good time as well being carried in the hiking backpack and walking around when he could.
- With small children at the south rim: there is a cute cafeteria that serves amazing ice cream, an art studio called Kolb Studio, and overall people watching! If your little one is into dogs and animals like mine is, he had the best time looking at peoples dogs as they walked them along the top, and looking at the donkeys used for the tours.
TIPS/TRICKS FOR RV CAMPING:
- let it go: In general, it is really hard for me to relax and take things in stride, I like to either be the planner or stick to a plan someone else has made for us. I made myself let go and just allow the time to explore and let my son have fun walking around and taking his picture while he ran around. Taking the time to enjoy the time you are spending with your family was the best part of the trip for me.
- concentrate on what you are going to do OUTSIDE of the RV: It's easy to worry about when to leave the RV, when to come back, when to go to bed (especially with a little one), and when to do this that and the other. I recommend making more of an effort in making sure that you are going to do and see all of the things that you want while OUT of the RV, rather than planning everything around what you are going to be doing on your downtime.
- plan what you are going to do the night before: Plan your next day, the day before. We didn't do this, instead we planned our day the morning of - but looking back I would have rather paid attention to our busy day the night before so that the morning could have felt calmer and put together.
AFTER THE TRIP:
- unpack bags: Taking care of your bags and bags of things right after you get home from your trip will make winding down that much easier.
- detox (clay) face mask: Even if you have been sticking to a routine while camping, though it is difficult, doing a clay face mask the evening you get home feels awesome!
- have sheets on bed freshly made: Change your sheets or wash your sheets before you leave. Your bed will feel even more relaxing and comfy by doing this. I highly recommend it!
SOME MORE PICTURES FROM OUR TRIP
Do you have any great tips for camping with your family in an RV?
Thanks for reading!