We made sure to bring my daughter’s American Heritage Girls handbook (similar: Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Trail Life, etc) so that we could do the fire safety section and she could get a badge. She just recently discovered that anything in life worth doing has a badge associated with it.
Of course when you’re camping, you need a few essential items. I refuse to camp without hats and DEET because Lyme Disease is no joke. Camping chairs, firewood, matches, all essential.
Also sleeping bags. PWC Dad may have taken us on our first family camping trip when our kids were 6 months, 3, and 5 and forgotten the sleeping bags. I may have also driven back from Lake Anna with said 6 month old at 2am, and because of that I always double check that the sleeping bags made it in the van.
And, of course, you need S’more fixings. My kids prefer to completely burn the marshmallows and eat the chocolate, although for those of us with a little more patience, a carefully toasted marshmallow is a thing of beauty.
Tin foil (the heavy duty stuff) is also a good idea if you’re going to be using a site-provided campfire grill. Those things don’t get cleaned very often, and I don’t care how hot they get.
I just don’t.
Trash bags- also a good idea, and in our case we kept the cooler in our van so that we wouldn’t attract any little critters. Obviously, a lovely time was had by all.
Want to have your own camping fun? Here are a few site recommendations, both from myself and from readers, in and around Prince William County.
Prince William Forest Park (Dumfries/Triangle) sites start at $20/night or $10 for seniors/passholders. Note that you’ll still apparently need to stop at the Visitors Center and pay the park entry fee ($5/week) on top of that. We assumed it was included in the price, which was apparently wrong, but luckily we have a pass. Tent or RV or Cabin. Showers, bathrooms, activities.
Greenville Family Farm (Haymarket) site prices aren’t listed, but apparently vary based on whether or not you want electricity. Fishing ponds, showers, bathrooms.
Leesylvania State Park only offers group camping.
Burke Lake Park (Fairfax) sites are $28/night and Burke Lake Park offers lots of fun (including a train and carousel). However, sites are first-come, so be sure to plan to arrive early.
Shenandoah National Park (Front Royal-Wayensboro) start at $15/night and include tent and limited RV
Christopher Run Campground (Lake Anna) starts at $32/night cabins, lodges and tent sites available. This is one of my family’s favorite sites when we camp with my parents, who have a boat.
Todd Lake (Stokesville) $16/night for tent camping, showers/bathrooms/drinking water available.
Sherando Lake (Shenandoah) has reserved or first-come camping for tents and RVs.
Out-of-County (Bit of a Drive)
Starlight Camping Resort (Pennsylvania) $42/day for 2 people, $3/day for each additional child or $5/adult.