The Do's and Don'ts of Camping

| 3 min read

A young family has fun roasting marshmallows while camping.
If you’ve lived here long enough, you know that Michigan winters can really drag on. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of precious Michigan summers while they are here. Camping is one of the best ways to do that.
Whether you’re new to camping or you just need a refresher, don’t start packing and planning until you read this list of do’s and don’ts!


  • Do reserve your campsite a head of time
  • Do check the weather ahead of time
  • Do bring extra clothes and warm clothes for night
  • Do bring extra matches
  • Do keep garbage and debris away from the campfire diameter at least 10’
  • Do make sure ashes are cool before leaving a campfire unattended
  • Do have water available to extinguish a fire if needed
  • Do be aware of noise levels (kids, animals and talking at night)
  • Do keep your dog on a leash and away from beach areas (most prohibit animals at the beach)


  • Don’t set up your tent in the dark
  • Don’t leave your campfire unattended
  • Don’t forget your first aid kit
  • Don’t let your kids run around other campsites
  • Don’t ignore campground rules
  • Don’t leave your garbage out at night
  • Don’t bring firewood in from another location

Write it Out

Making a list is as important for me when I go on vacation as it is to make the reservation. It helps keep me organized so I can better plan my time. The following is a checklist primarily for tent camping. If you camp with a pop up or RV, you can store these items and replenish each time you camp. This list is similar to what I use to prepare before heading into the wilderness:
  • Air Mattress
  • Air Pump, preferably rechargeable
  • Camera
  • Lantern
  • Flashlight (one per person)
  • Extra batteries
  • Extra propane (for stove and lantern)
  • Can opener
  • Coffee Pot
  • Cooler
  • Dish Soap
  • Dish Towels
  • Dishes
  • Extra Blankets
  • Fishing Equipment (rods, tackle)
  • Folding Chairs (one per person)
  • Hammer
  • Hatchet
  • Insect Repellent
  • Napkins
  • Paper Towels
  • Pillows
  • Plastic Utensils
  • Pocket Knife
  • Ponchos (one per person)
  • Pots and Pans
  • Rope
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Stove
  • Swim Suits
  • Sunscreen
  • Tablecloth
  • Tarps (one for under and one for over the tent)
  • Tent
  • Toilet Paper
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Swim Floaties
  • Beach umbrella
  • Radio and music
  • Stroller

Family Fun

If you are camping with kids, it is important to have a variety of activities to keep them active and occupied. These ideas for games and sporting equipment can be fun for all ages, and can provide a great opportunity to get some activity and bond as a family.
  • Bikes
  • Frisbee
  • Corn Hole
  • Ladder Toss
  • Hacky Sack
  • Beach toys
  • Volleyball
  • Baseballs/Softballs, gloves and bats
  • Soccer ball
  • Basketball
  • Playing cards
  • Board games
Tuck this guide away before you head out to your campsite of choice, By the way, where is your favorite place to camp in Michigan?
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Photo credit: Getty Images

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