How to Camp . . . with Kids

When I was a kid, summer was all about road trips and camping with our aunts, uncles and cousins. All the kids loved the fact that we could run around and get as dirty as we wanted — and sleeping under the stars was the best.

When I became a mom, I couldn't wait to share this experience with my son. Little did I know that camping when you are a grownup is a LOT of work!

Even though I thought I knew what I was doing, I wanted to brush up on my camping skills. The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping With Kids is now my go-to guide for anything to do being in the great outdoors with kids. This book breaks all the essentials into easy-to-use checklists, from gear to grub. An added bonus are the author's tales of whoa — changing diapers on a backpacking trip and winter camping with an infant — that make you realize even seasoned camping veterans make mistakes.

I grew up in Wisconsin, so I wasn't sure just where to go for our first camping outing because I wanted to stay in Illinois — and closer to home. Thankfully I found The Best in Tent Camping, Illinois. This series breaks down tent campgrounds by region of the state and "Best for," such as "Best for Families with Kids" and gives a brief overview of each campground including a map, season the area is open, site and park fees, and any restrictions.

Kids who have never been camping, and even those who have, will love a visit to Camp Rex! Humorous illustrations combine with practical tips on the ins and outs of camping, even if it's only in your own backyard.

Hope to see you out there, and don't forget the s'mores!

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