The Do’s and Don’ts of Camping

My dad is one of 14 kids (yes 14!) and his parents – my grandparents – didn’t have money to go out-of-state for family vacations. They made their fun, family memories by going camping throughout Michigan.

My grandpa said that for every family camping trip, either he or my grandma spent at least one day at that town’s doctor because someone was injured. Having nine rambunctious boys in a row, it was hard to keep all of them out of trouble and harms way.

There are things you can do to make your camping vacation a safe, fun and memorable one.


  1. Do reserve your campsite a head of time
  2. Do check the weather ahead of time
  3. Do bring extra clothes and warm clothes for night
  4. Do bring extra matches
  5. Do keep garbage and debris away from the campfire diameter at least 10’
  6. Do make sure ashes are cool before leaving a campfire unattended
  7. Do have water available to extinguish a fire if needed
  8. Do be aware of noise levels (kids, animals and talking at night)
  9. Do keep your dog on a leash and away from beach areas (most prohibit animals at the beach)


  1. Don’t set up your tent in the dark
  2. Don’t leave your campfire unattended
  3. Don’t forget your first aid kit
  4. Don’t let your kids run around other campsites
  5. Don’t ignore campground rules
  6. Don’t leave your garbage out at night
  7. Don’t bring firewood in from another location

Write it Out

Making a list is as important for me when I go on vacation as it is to make the reservation. It helps keep me organized so I can better plan my time. The following is a checklist primarily for tent camping. If you camp with a pop up or RV, you can store these items and replenish each time you camp. This list is similar to what I use to prepare before heading into the wilderness:

  • Air Mattress
  • Air Pump, preferably  rechargeable
  • Camera
  • Lantern
  • Flashlight (one per person)
  • Extra batteries
  • Extra propane (for stove and lantern)
  • Can opener
  • Coffee Pot
  • Cooler
  • Dish Soap
  • Dish Towels
  • Dishes
  • Extra Blankets
  • Fishing Equipment (rods,tackle)
  • Folding Chairs (one per person)
  • Hammer
  • Hatchet
  • Insect Repellent
  • Napkins
  • Paper Towels
  • Pillows
  • Plastic Utensils
  • Pocket Knife
  • Ponchos (one per person)
  • Pots and Pans
  • Rope
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Stove
  • Swim Suits
  • Sunscreen
  • Tablecloth
  • Tarps (one for under and one for over the tent)
  • Tent
  • Toilet Paper
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Swim Floaties
  • Beach umbrella
  • Radio and music
  • Stroller

Family Fun

If you are camping with kids, it is important to have a variety of activities to keep them active and occupied. These  ideas for games and sporting equipment can be fun for all ages, and can provide a great opportunity to get some activity and bond as a family.

  • Bikes
  • Frisbee
  • Corn Hole
  • Ladder Toss
  • Hacky Sack
  • Beach toys
  • Volleyball
  • Baseballs/Softballs, gloves and bats
  • Soccer ball
  • Basketball
  • Playing cards
  • Board games

My husband and I have a love for camping and have been to many campsites throughout our time together. This is a family tradition we hope to share with our kids growing up and make wonderful memories.

Where is your favorite place to camp in Michigan?

Photo credit: warmsunnydays Sources:, DNR

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Read 3 Comments

  1. You’ve got great rules and you’ve added a great list of stuff. How long have you been camping and where do you like to camp most? I really enjoy your article.
    Keep it up.
    Thank You!

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