Camping with Teenagers

Camping with Teenagers

Camping with teenagers is honestly not as bad as it sounds. We took our niece, nephew, and son on a camping trip this spring to part of the Olympic National Park. Here is what we learned:

Foggy Ruby Beach along the Olympic Coast

Make the camp site fun

Bring some games to play. Teenagers can rub two sticks together and find Wi-Fi even in the middle of nowhere, especially if you don’t have anything else for them to do. Teenagers are hilarious and will keep you laughing. Best memories of this camping trip was in the evenings playing games and making jokes, bonding through laughter.

Do a bit of research of where you are going and what there is to do. We chose a campsite by Kalaloch Beach. My Nephew spent most of his time in the ocean. Not by the ocean- IN THE OCEAN. We also had some hiking trails right by the area we were camping at. 

Campfire. Duh right? Well in Washington state you will find that most years in August there is a fire ban. We try to do our camping when there is no ban – May through July. If we camp in August we have a propane fire ring that is allowed in most areas. 

Give them their own area. We have a large tent that we set up away from our tent to give them their own space. They did disappear into that tent a few times to take naps and to probably talk about how lame we are. 🙂

Our amazing teenagers at the entrance of the Hoh Rainforest. Olympic National Park

Take the time to prep before your camping trip

Over pack and double check their packing. Yes, I said overpack. This is something I would never recommend otherwise. Socks, stocking caps for nighttime, toothbrushes….all those things they won’t think about. Check their bags, unless you want to have to go into town for new shoes. Yes, that happened, and brings me to my next point.

Bring an extra pair of shoes for everyone because teenagers don’t always make the best decisions. Our nephew waded into the ocean in his shoes making them impossible to hike in the next day. Thankfully Forks, WA had a store that had a decent selection of shoes. I know we all want our kids to be able to pack their own bags and do a good job. However, this is not the place to use Love and Logic because you will be the one suffering. Help them and it will make the trip much better!

I precut most of our veggies and fruits. I didn’t want to spend my time cooking and prepping food when camping.  Packing things in the order that I use them cuts out what could be a lot of wasted time searching through bags. 

“Tree of Life” Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park Coast

Food, food and more food.

This should be so obvious that writing it out seems silly. However, food, food, food. If you end up having leftovers awesome, that’s lunch next week. This is also the only time I buy Hostess cupcakes, Pop Tarts and treats. So here is an adult tip: If your body isn’t use to junk food, please pace yourself. I did make my stomach hurt by indulging. Getting ill in the middle of a hike isn’t fun but it does make the teenagers laugh though. Big meanies. 

Viewing the beach from Kalaloch Camp Ground

Don’t plan to do what you thought you would do.

Be flexible. We had a few hikes planned and so much I wanted to show them. They wanted to spend most the time at camp and the beach. That is okay. This trip was for them to have fun. We didn’t check off my list of “things to do” and I knew that going into it.

Let go of any idea that you are in control. Teenagers like to trick us into believing we are the adults and have the say so. Remember when we were teenagers? Yup! It is a trick. Don’t fall for it. 

Our biggest surprise was that we never had to tell them to go to bed. They were so active that they were in bed before we were. One night they all slept 11 hours! 

On the Hoh Rainforest trail. Olympic National Park
On the Hoh Rainforest trail. Olympic National Park

Will we be taking these wild kids camping again? Absolutely. We can’t wait! They are getting older and we don’t have much time left before they are away at college and have their own busy lives. We are going to make as many memories as possible. 

Our niece on the trail to Kalaloch Beach

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