For a fun family camping adventure, look no further than your own backyard. Little ones won’t have to travel far for the bathroom, plus you can quickly jet inside in the event of inclement weather.
But for those looking for a more authentic campground experience, there are plenty of places worth venturing to:
Burke Lake Park
Bull Run Regional Park
Harpers Ferry Adventure Center
Lake Fairfax Park
Leeslyvania State Park
Pohick Bay Regional Park
Prince William Forest Park
Sky Meadows State Park
Watermelon Park Campground
What to know before you go tent camping
The Dyrt, a website and app, is a catalog of over 30,000 campgrounds throughout the nation. Each campground listing is complete with a detailed summary, images and verified user reviews. Currently, the site lists over 60 campgrounds in the Metro-D.C. area.
Kristen Byrne, The Dyrt’s marketing director, grew up in Falls Church. She shares, “Campgrounds are rated on a five-star scale, but that’s just scratching the surface. Many campers leave detailed written reviews, which will also include photos and videos of the campground—giving prospective campers a 360-view of how their future campsite looks.”
What to know about cooking over an open fire
Great food is essential for the ultimate family camping experience, and being outdoors is the perfect time to be an innovative chef and make meals you wouldn’t normally concoct at home. Foil packets of meat and vegetables make an easy and well-balanced camp meal, and the combinations are endless. For dessert, don’t forget the s’mores.
“I also love the idea of a s’more-off competition with the family,” suggests Byrne. “You can include sliced strawberries to make a chocolate covered strawberry s’more, or ditch the chocolate and graham crackers and substitute Nutella and pretzels.”
What to do during your camping trip
During the day, keep camping activities exciting and active. Many campgrounds are already connected to hiking trails or offer opportunities such as swimming, tubing, boating and playgrounds. Some parks such as Bull Run Regional Park, Lake Fairfax and Pohick Bay even boast highly rated seasonal water parks. Connect with nature by going on a scavenger hunt or by trying your hand at geocaching. At night, play a game of flashlight tag or enjoy songs and stories around the campfire, wearing the kids out before a peaceful sleep beneath the stars.