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5 Reasons Why Every L.A. Kid Needs To Go Camping

{After building tents in our living room for years, it was pretty awesome for the kids to help set-up a real one.}

Annie’s Note: I’ve shared before about my distaste for camping – I’ve only been twice in my life, and the first time (as a kid) I asked the park ranger where the room service menu was. I KNOW, I’m AWFUL. But my bestie Barbara King makes a pretty good case for taking kids camping in her piece below. And since I pretty much want to model all of my (future) parenting choices on whatever she does, maybe I will one day be convinced to take my kids camping, too…

Even though I grew-up in Central PA, swimming in muddy lakes and camping with my grandparents, I don’t consider myself an outdoorsy type. In fact, after living in NYC and LA for many years, my idea of “rural” now means no Sephora within a half hour drive, and my idea of a “good hike” is navigating through a Costco on a Sunday afternoon.

Ever since I had kids, my cousin had been strongly hinting that we should join her and her fiancé on a family camping trip, (she subtly gave us a tent for Christmas and sleeping bags for our birthdays.) But I couldn’t imagine being outside in the wilderness with two children, no beds, no TV, no A/C, no flushing toilets and lots of little crawling thingies. Earlier this year, I finally gave in, and took the whole family camping.

Not only did we survive, we LOVED it. And when we returned to the real world of L.A. we immediately booked another camping trip for a few months later.

5 Reasons Why Every L.A. Kid Needs To Go Camping

{Campfire + camping chairs = total relaxation.}

Here is what I love best about camping:

The fresh air. Of the top ten most busy and congested freeways in our ENTIRE country, guess how many are in Los Angeles. SEVEN. Does anyone else feel sick just imagining what polluted grossness is floating around in the L.A. city air? The bad air quality isn’t something I notice daily, but I breathe differently when I’m camping. And there is something magically cathartic about your kids spending entire days AND nights outside. It is rejuvenating, both for kids AND exhausted parents. But most importantly – children sleep much, much better outside!

5 Reasons Why Every L.A. Kid Needs To Go Camping

{Who needs 600-thread count Egyptian cotton when you can have sleeping bags and an air mattress?! Riiiight?}

The bugs and the critters. When I first moved to L.A. I was tutoring a young girl and she could NOT deal with a few nearby ants. I made a mental note at that time to make sure that despite being city kids, my future children would have some country inside them. Kids are so influenced by what we do as parents, so even though I may gag at the thought of picking up a worm or lizard, I strongly encourage my kids to get a little dirt on their hands.

5 Reasons Why Every L.A. Kid Needs To Go Camping

{On camping trips a little dirt is encouraged!}

The stars. Kids haven’t really seen the stars until they get far away from the city lights. You guys, there are So. Many. Stars. The sky can be as entertaining as the television. Just look up into the deep black sky, peppered with glowing specks and you will no doubt see more than one shooting star. My friend just showed me some photographs of the starry sky that she took while camping with her daughter and they were breathtaking. I also think that the night sky is a beautiful chance to talk not only about astronomy and science, but also about history and mythology.

5 Reasons To Take L.A. Kids Camping

{My friend’s super talented boyfriend, Adrian Lomas @ClimbingAdrian, snapped this pic of the Milky Way during their recent family camping trip near Big Bear.}

The easy hard work. One thing I love about camping is that you can put the kids to work and they don’t even realize it! Putting up a tent, gathering firewood, preparing meals, and hiking to a waterfall is all fun and games for kids. At home, my mindset tends to be, “out of the kitchen,” whereas at the campground it is, “come into the kitchen and help.” Somehow the vibe of camping makes it easier for me to feel relaxed, even with a campfire blazing nearby. And who cares about a few spills or crumbs on the ground?

5 Reasons Why Every L.A. Kid Needs To Go Camping

{Our campfire kitchen – only slightly messier than my kitchen at home.}

The escape. I think my favorite part of camping with my family is embracing the simplicity of life. This past camping trip we didn’t have cell or internet access for three days. I went on craze the day before we left, frantically emailing my agents and texting friends and family so they wouldn’t worry if I didn’t immediately respond to a message.  And as I watched the little bars on my phone disappear as we wound through the state park, I put my phone away and didn’t miss it for one second. Instead of posting about our experiences, I actually just…experienced them. Weird, huh? I got to really, truly be a mom, and it felt amazing.

5 Reasons Why Every L.A. Kid Needs To Go Camping

{Daddy and son out on a hike.}

How many other moms out there have gone camping with their kiddos? Please share if you have a favorite campground near L.A….or far away – who knows where these camping adventures will take us!

Barbara King-Wilson is an actress and writer living with her family in Los Angeles. Follow her @TheBarbaraKing and visit her at!

More from Barbara:

Open Letter Apology To Televisions Everywhere

Books That Kept Me Sane While Pregnant

Why Can’t L.A. Moms Let Their Kids Be Bored?

The Secret To What Men Actually Want For Father’s Day

How To Raise The Future Female President of America

Dear Cool Mom At The Park…

So, Preschool Graduations Are A Thing Now

How I Didn’t (But Really Did) Find The Perfect School

10 Things That Cost The Same As Private School In L.A.

Three Schools You Can Only Find In L.A.

26 Questions To Ask On A School Tour

How I (Almost) Lost My Mind Applying to My Kid’s Elementary Schools

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

3 Signs You’re Ready To Be A Mom

Mommy Choices

2016 Resolutions Reality Check

My Minor Obsession with the PERFECT Holiday Photo

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