Have you ever considered a family camping vacation to Europe? Many of you probably grew up camping in Europe during your summer holidays with your family, but if you’re like me, your family has never gone camping. So this is a holiday style that wasn’t on my radar.
I had no idea that there were amazing campgrounds and camping resorts all over Europe. They are huge and have the most amazing pool facilities, kids clubs, restaurants, cafes, lakes, forests, playgrounds and endless activities for the whole family to enjoy. These are more like small villages than campsites, and even the British campsites are second to none!
In the UK a campsite is just a field with a toilet block, but in Europe a campsite is something else!
I have now visited several campgrounds around Europe and am determined to book a holiday camp in Europe next year. Because we are confident this will be the best option for our growing family.
Why I want to book a family camping holiday abroad next year
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I recently returned from a family trip to Mallorca and stayed in an all-inclusive family hotel. It was great, but there was one thing missing. It’s space. We had a two-bedroom room in the hotel, but we were still always on top of each other. There wasn’t enough space for the five of us.
What we really want is a resort-like villa with our own space, a small kitchen, living area, separate bedroom, and outdoor space. However, resort facilities and common areas are also needed so that children can make friends and play.
The only problem with hotels like this is that they are very expensive!
I mentioned this on Instagram and a lot of people suggested we should go to a campsite in France!
17 benefits of camping in Europe with your kids
#1. Better weather than camping in the UK!
Well, the first major advantage of camping in Europe is that we have a much better climate than in the UK. Camping in the UK conjures up images of huddled in a sodden tent, shivering around a barbecue under an umbrella while grilling sausages. I love camping in the UK and although we sometimes have great weather, it’s often cold and drizzling and the weather can ruin your camping holiday. If you go to France, like Spain, Belgium, Italy or Croatia, you are guaranteed good weather!
#2. More affordable than hotels and villas
The second benefit of camping in Europe is that it’s a more affordable vacation option for families than staying in a hotel or villa.
Even a budget hotel where the whole family can stay in one small room can be more expensive than camping in Europe.
#3. You can camp or stay in a more luxurious mobile home
Campgrounds in Europe also have the added benefit of having a variety of accommodation options. You can choose a basic campsite where you bring your own tent. This is the most budget-friendly option and a great way to spend your vacation if you already have camping equipment. (We have a Coleman octagonal tent, which is perfect for families because it’s spacious and has a blackout sleeping area, and you can stand up in it).
Or, if you don’t have your own camping equipment, you can choose a more luxurious campsite where electricity and tents are already set up. You can also choose quirky glamping options such as yurts, safari tents, gypsy caravans and treehouses.
Alternatively, you can choose a mobile home or chalet, which can also range from fairly simple to extremely luxurious. Some premium mobile homes are better than hotels and can even be purchased for large groups!
#4. Luxury campsites have so many activities and swimming pool complexes
Now that we have three active kids, we really appreciate staying in a place with lots of activities and pools. When we go abroad, they just want to make friends to swim, splash, ride waterslides, and get in and out of the pool together.
The pool facilities are great when camping in Europe. While the pool alone will keep the kids entertained throughout their vacation, there are plenty of other activities to do as well. Horseback riding, biking, fishing, boating, treetop adventures, zip wires, play parks, bouncy castles and more. Not only that, we also have a kids club and an evening disco where kids can go make friends and be entertained by our professional staff!
#5. It’s an easier option for a family of five or more
If you have three or more kids, you may already be realizing that the holidays can be a little more difficult. Many hotels do not allow more than 4 people in one room, so you often have to book two rooms (which may or may not be adjacent) . That could almost double the cost of your vacation!
This is why camping and staying in a mobile home or chalet can be much cheaper. Many mobile homes have three bedrooms, so kids won’t be huddled together. If you drive, you can save even more because you don’t have to buy as many plane tickets.
#6. You can take your dog!
The final reason to take your family camping in Europe is probably the most important. That means you can bring your dog with you. Your four-legged friends are part of the family and the holidays won’t be the same without them. Many campgrounds in Europe allow dogs, so if you’re driving, you can bring your dog along too. If you usually have to kennel your dog, this can also help you save money on the entire vacation.
My dog, Louie, loves camping trips!
#7. It’s a great chance to try new hobbies
Would you like to try archery or horseback riding, windsurfing or table tennis, volleyball, scuba diving, mini golf, tennis or surfing? There are plenty of opportunities to try new activities and find new hobbies.
#8. Kids have so much freedom to explore
One of my favorite things about camping in Europe, or anywhere really, is that the kids have so much freedom. The campsite is fairly safe, it’s an enclosed space where cars have to go slow, and there’s also a dedicated area for kids to explore. This means you have much more freedom than you would at home. Older children can gain the independence they crave, which is not afforded to them in crowded, built-up neighborhoods.
#9. Kids (and parents) can make friends
It’s hard to go camping in Europe without making friends! Campgrounds are, by nature, communal spaces with lots of places for people to gather. Children will make friends at the kids club, pool facility and playground, and parents will make friends too.
I strongly believe that entertaining more children is the easiest thing to do, so this is always a win for us!
#10. Brings the whole family closer to nature
Whether you stay in a tent or a chalet, you’ll be much closer to nature than any other holiday.
#11. More adventurous and exciting than a hotel
Staying in a huge campground in Europe can be really exciting. There’s so much to see and explore, and it’s much more adventurous than your standard hotel.
#12. Family-friendly restaurants on site
Campgrounds in Europe often have a mini-village feel, with restaurants, shops, cafes, and delis on site. This alone will make eating out with your family so much easier.
#13. You could drive
One of the great benefits of camping in Europe is being able to drive. Yes, it’s an old-fashioned drive, but it’s easier and cheaper, especially if you have more than 4 people and a lot of luggage. And it works even better if you rent a car once you arrive at your destination!
Read more: My travel hacks for driving abroad for the first time
#14. You can move around and try different sites or areas
For our last vacation camping in Europe, we decided to move every 4-5 nights. This allowed us to be more adventurous and try different areas and campsites. Some were by the sea, and some were near beautiful towns. Some locations were deep in the countryside, some were lively and others were quiet. It was a really fun and exciting way to see more of France.
My first French road trip was amazing!
#15. International friendships
Another thing I love about vacationing in European campgrounds is that there are so many different nationalities there. Hotels often have mostly one nationality, which can be good because everyone speaks the same language, but it’s even better if you can meet people from all over Europe. It’s also great for kids to make friends from different nationalities and teach each other a little bit of their language.
#16. You can get a little bit of culture too
If you love visiting old towns, historic cities, and castles, you’re in luck because you’re never far from beautiful places when camping in Europe. When I went camping in France a few years ago, I spent a day at Mont Saint Michel and it was incredible.
#17. Self catering is much easier for young families
If you spend a week taking your young family to restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you’ll agree that it’s easier to cook for yourself. In my experience, most young children are reluctant to try new foods and end up eating the same thing over and over again at hotel buffets. At least if you cook for yourself, you’ll be familiar with most meals and your kids will have a healthy, balanced diet.
Also, if you have a baby or toddler, you can feed them first and then put them to bed, allowing you to enjoy a quiet, relaxing dinner with just the adults.