Gaining Confidence Camping with Two Kids in Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park

Gaining Confidence Camping with Two Kids in Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park

The Trip Report series features real stories from real families adventuring with their kids and babies. Have a story you want to share? Email us at hello@morrisonoutdoors.com.

For the past three years our little family has gone to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada each winter. We live in Salt Lake City, Utah and it is the perfect place to get away from the cold and snow when we are missing the warmth and sunshine in the middle of the winter.

This state park is perfect for kids too: 

  1. There is so much sand for them to play with. My son would have spent hours playing in it if we had let him. 
  2. Most of the hikes are around a mile or less so our toddler was able to do a majority of the hiking himself. 
  3. There are so many fun rocks to climb on and in. 

Valley of Fire is the best. 

Child exploring Valley of Fire

Baby exploring Valley of Fire

This year we decided we were going to camp with our 2.5 year old and 6 month old. This would be our first camping trip as a family of four.

We were excited; but as the natural worrier that I am, I had some concerns:

  1. Would they be warm enough? Temperatures were going to get down to 40 degree fahrenheit. 
  2. Would they be able to fall asleep? Or would they be so hyped from the new fun experience that it would take them forever to finally crash? 
  3. Would they sleep through the night or would one of them wake up screaming in the middle of the night and wake up the entire campground?  

I decided to set my expectations super low and realize that the only way we would ever camp with our family is if we just started doing it. Worst case scenario if things went south we could pack the kids up and drive to my in-laws who live an hour away from the park and then come back the next day to get our tent and gear. 

Luckily for us things went way better than expected, probably because I was expecting the worst.

They were warm enough thanks to the Little Mo sleeping bag. The baby did have a hard time falling asleep and was crying a lot, but I took her into our car and rocked her asleep in there so she wouldn’t disturb the neighbors. And even though our 6 month old woke up several times during the night, I don’t think we woke up the entire campground. 

The author with her baby in a baby sleeping bag


This camping trip gave us the confidence to go again a few weeks later. My biggest concern once again was them waking up our neighbors (I really try and be considerate of other people, especially those that are camping to get away from the noise and chaos of the world.)

As we drove around the campgrounds we soon realized that we would not be getting a campsite because they were all full. We drove to some dispersed land not too far away and ended up camping there. This turned out to be amazing, because no one was close to us. No, we did not have a toilet or running water but I didn’t have to worry about my loud kids at all. 

If there is something that you want to do, but aren’t because you are waiting until your kids are older, let me give you the push to give it a try!

What’s the worst that could happen?!

Seriously, think about the worst thing that could happen: your kid is up all night while you camp? Lots of screaming and whining during a long car ride? Crying baby on a flight? It might happen, but you will never know unless you try. And even if it’s terrible, the terrible moment won’t last forever, you will get through it. You’ve got this!

Family hiking through Valley of Fire

 


The Norton Family

Hi! My name is Erika Norton. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. I love to adventure with my husband Erik, 2.5 year old son Mads Forest and 8 month old daughter Harper Wilde. We love hiking, camping and road tripping to National and State parks, exploring small nature spots in our city and finding new playgrounds. You can check us out on instagram @HeyErikaNorton