Camping with a Toddler and Baby: Our Trip to Balsam, North Carolina

We just got back from our first camping trip as a family of 4.  I was apprehensive about camping with a baby and a toddler, but boy I am so happy we did!  IMG_8503Drew grew up camping with his family and Boy Scout troop and finds it important that we raise our boys loving the outdoors.  I am more of a “city girl” when it comes to the outdoors, but figure that since camping is so important to my husband I could either “join em” or be left out.IMG_7157IMG_6829For our inaugural camping trip with Walker (we went camping with Reid when he was 15 months old), we went to a wonderful campsite about 3 miles from my in-laws house.  Having a back up plan and knowing that their house was less than 10 minutes away was extremely comforting.IMG_0621It was about a 3 and half hour drive through beautiful, rural north Georgia and North Carolina.  We arrived a little before sunset and quickly set up camp.  It literally started raining as soon as we finished putting the tent up–I learned my lesson, IMMEDIATELY set up your tent when you get to camp on the off chance of bad weather!IMG_4359The first night, we did have some lightening and thunder so we spent a little bit of time in the cars to be extra cautious.  After the storm passed, we warmed up with an amazing soup prepared by my mother-in-law for dinner.IMG_6801We brought a pack and play for Walker and originally thought that Reid would sleep with my in-laws, but it turned out that our little family of 4 all ended up on our double inflatable mattress.  While it wasn’t the most comfortable in the world, it was super sweet getting to cuddle with my little family! I know the boys won’t be this little for long and we will not all fit on our bed for much longer, so even though I was a little sleep deprived (not the best sleep) I enjoyed it!IMG_6636On Saturday, Drew and I went on a 3 mile run with Scout while the boys and my in-laws went to the local playground.  Following play time, we drove to a wonderful brewery in Sylva for lunch and beer by the water. We were fortunate, it rained while we were under cover at the brewery and we stayed dry!IMG_6545IMG_2281IMG_8953IMG_7151After lunch, we went back to the campsite where we explored the area with the boys.  The camp owner had a cute little basket of free suckers, which the boys loved! We were able to enjoy a campfire and roasted hot dogs.  After putting the boys to sleep (again on the blow up mattress), we enjoyed some conversation before heading to bed.IMG_5245IMG_7511IMG_7606Sunday, we packed up and went on a little hike around the campground.  Before heading out, we stopped at my in-laws favorite brewery for a quick bite before heading to HOTLANTA (seriously it went from 70 to 97 on our drive home)!IMG_2681IMG_3018IMG_9251 2We could not have asked for better tempertures in the mountains and I am so thankful for my in-laws’ help to make this camping trip a success.

Tips for camping with a Toddler and Baby:

  • Bring a pack and play, but understand that they may end up in your bed (Reid did the same thing when he was a baby!)
  • Bring in-laws or someone else for an extra set of hands, without my in-laws it would not have been nearly as enjoyable
  • Prepare as much food as possible beforehand, on the off chance of bad weather or fussy/hungry children–its a lot easier if you are prepared ahead of time
  • Pack extra water shoes for kids–we brought both Keens and Natives for the each of the boys and we were so happy to be able to switch between the two when one pair needed to dry
  • Have a carefree attitude–mindset/attitude is everything, for me it helped having a back up plan on the off chance we needed it (knowing where a local hotel is or having an alternative plan is definitely comforting!)
  • Unplug–I mean you are camping in the woods, do not check your phone, enjoy these moments being present with your family, emails can always wait!
  • Have fun making these special memories with your family–I know the boys will continue to love going camping for years to come, it is such a great time to disconnect from the world and just enjoy each others’ company

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