The summer after our editorial director (Ethan) turned 13, his parents announced that they would pile into their orange Volkswagen bus to drive across the U.S. and back. Because they were on a budget, they would camp the whole way — two adults and three kids in a big, heavy, canvas cube that hung from fat aluminum poles.
For Ethan, the trip was a revelation. Already a passionate map-reader, he was the trip navigator. As part of charting the route, he also helped scout out campgrounds, a responsibility that was both fun and empowering. His family stayed in national parks, state parks, private parks and, in a few cases, remote places that they decided were park enough, even if they weren’t so designated.
Though Ethan’s trip was long, his family camping experiences are pretty much the same as those of hundreds of thousands of other families. After all, family travel and camping go together like summer and vacation!