We love to camp:

girl watches a bison from the window of a car
Watching the wildlife in Yellowstone National Park 2021

→ tent camping

→ camping in our pull-trailer

→ in the mountains

→ on the beach

→ out on the prairie

boondocking off the grid miles and miles away from a single soul

→ in an RV park with lots of fellow campers, amenities, and utility hook-ups

We enjoy it all. 

A few years ago, when we were moving from one state to another, we decided to take some extra time and see the sites as we drove. We had done lots of tent camping in the past, but for this adventure, we bought a pull-trailer.

We spent six weeks (or 40 days and 40 nights, as my husband loves to say) camping across America with three kids and two dogs and making our way to our new house, one National Park and campground at a time. We loved the experience, and so did our kids.

mom and 3 little kids at Mesa Verde
Exploring Mesa Verde National Park 2013

Those six weeks really gave us a glimpse of the full-time RV or camping life, which is something we were considering for retirement. But after that trip, we realized long camping adventures are definitely possible with children, not just for the empty-nesters.

It doesn’t suit every family to pack up and camp for multiple nights or drive through several states, but it certainly fits ours. We spent two weeks in Wyoming this summer, and we would have stayed longer if we could. Our kids were not ready to come home!

We also realized there are many tips and tricks for long-term RVing.

Many full-time travelers we have met have shared their knowledge with us. We have crossed paths with people at all ages and stages of life, including families who homeschool as they camp year-round. There’s also a wealth of information through blogs and websites on how to maximize your camping experience.

Here are a couple things we learned as a military family who loves camping:

close up of military national park pass
My brand new pass!

The Interagency Annual Military Pass is a must-have for military families. It is available to current US military members (including National Guard and Reserve members) and their dependents, veterans, and Gold Star families. This covers the entrance fees at national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and grasslands. It does not cover campground fees or other costs.

Many military bases and facilities have campgrounds.

We have found several great campsites through the Army MWR website including the Air Force campgrounds in Colorado Springs. We also learned that many non-military campgrounds offer military discounts – you just have to ask! And almost all are very flexible with changing our reservations or providing refunds if our plans are effected by my husband’s schedule.

family standing at overlook of Garden of the Gods
Enjoying the Garden of the Gods 2020

We plan to join the full-time RV community someday, and I think we will fit right in.

Many people we have met over the years while camping are retired military service members. The flags proudly flown outside their camper door are usually the give-away. And we love that. It’s wonderful to have a connection with campground neighbors as well as share stories about traveling across the country.

Are you a family of campers? How do you like to camp?