I grew up in a family that thought a fancy family vacation meant packing up the tent and going camping. Now that I am raising my own little munchkin here in Utah, I have made it a goal to go camping as a family at least once a year.
Let’s get real though: camping with a toddler is a struggle and I tend to dread the intensive packing and meal planning involved. So before we get to the campsites, let’s tackle that problem with two words: Moonlight App.
Moonlight is a brand-new camping app that alleviates the hassles of trip planning with key features that include collaborative checklists, meal prep planners, packing lists, and optimization tools like “how to” content and safety tips. Basically it is my new secret weapon to stress-free camping.
I’m a list person, so I liked using Moonlight’s checklist functions for packing gear and meal planning. (You can even coordinate meals with family or friends if your camping trip involves more people.)
We also had fun reading some of the kid-appropriate ghost stories the app has and enjoyed trying out their list of camping approved activities. I wish I had had more foresight to try out their campfire colors activity! Next time.
Basically, this app is excellent for those who like to go camping with an itinerary of meals and activities for each day without forgetting any essentials. I’m a big planner, so this app was right up my alley.
If you want to check the app out for yourself you can download it for free here.
Ok, so now you are no longer scared of the pre-camping planning? Good! Now let’s get to the actual campsites.
What makes a good campground for a family? How about shade, nearby trails, water activities, or an easy to reach area that is still scenic? I can’t stand campgrounds right next to busy highways or along dangerous rivers or cliff edges that would attract my adventurous toddler.
In my humble opinion, here are the 6 BEST campgrounds in Utah for families:
- Goblin Valley State Park: What kid doesn’t love the alien scenery of Goblin Valley State Park? We stayed at a tiny camp right inside the park and it was a blast. There are plenty of places for the kids to climb and explore. And of course – the night sky was amazing out there. I also recommend taking the kiddos to the nearby Little Wildhorse Slot Canyon. The best time to visit this amazing place will be spring or fall when the temperatures aren’t as high. For more info on Goblin Valley Campground, click here.
- Mirror Lake Campground: Mirror Lake Campground is very popular with SLC folks, and for good reason. This campground is located in the beautiful Uinta mountains near Kamas, Utah. Stick to the lakefront campsites if possible, and reserve early so you can catch the wildflower season in July and August. Mirror Lake is breathtaking and popular among fishermen or those with canoes or kayaks. There is also a beautiful wooded trail that wraps around the lake. Tip: Even in July, the Uintas get cold at night, so pack for warmth while sleeping. Otherwise, it is very refreshing compared to the soaring temps in the valley. I used the Moonlight App on my recent trip to Mirror Lake with no problems with reception. For more info on Mirror Lake Campground click here.
- Red Cliffs Recreation Area: One of my personal favorite campsites in Southern Utah is Red Cliffs because of the sweet swimming hole and dinosaur tracks trail. As the name suggests, this campground is surrounded by beautiful red cliffs, and is a little less crowded than the national parks in the area. It is a nice little campground if you want to have everything at your fingertips without driving to nearby locations. This campground is first-come first-serve, so avoid holiday weekends when planning. For more info on Red Cliffs Recreation Area go here.
- Rendezvous Beach Bear Lake: I’ve actually never stayed at the campground, but I have been to Bear Lake many times with my family. Bear Lake is known as the Caribbean of the Rockies because of it’s beautiful blue waters. Rent a boat or wave runner and enjoy this gorgeous lake in July or August. Trust me – the water here is cold, and you will want the temps high. Other fun things to do in the area include getting the famous raspberry shakes and going to a Pickleville Theater show. If you are dying to get a hike in, try Bloomington Lake (located about an hour away). For more info on Rendezvous Beach click here.
- Watchman Campground: Watchman Campground is located in Zion National Park and is an excellent choice if you want to hike a lot with the kids. In my opinion, Zion has the most kid-friendly trails out of all our local National Parks. The campground isn’t very remote, but in this case the location is extremely convenient for accessing the shuttle service that Zion offers. Despite the location next to the visitor center, you’ll still get that gorgeous night sky view here, plus the Virgin River for splashing around and plenty of wildlife. For families looking for hikes for multiple ages and easy access to a napping place for kiddos – this is the campsite for you. With so much to do and see in Zion I would definitely recommend planning out your days with the Moonlight App. The best time to visit Zion is Spring or Fall. For more info on Watchman Campground go click here.
- Granite Flats Campground: This campground is located just above Tibble Fork Reservoir in American Fork Canyon. Anything up American Fork Canyon is gorgeous, but Granite Flats seems to be extra popular with the locals. This campground is located near several good trails such as the Timp Caves trail, Scout Falls trail or Silver Lake trail. The trail you choose will depend a lot on the age of your kids (you can look up all of those trails on our page). Granite Flats is a good choice if you want a relatively close campground that packs a punch (assuming you are in the SLC or Utah County area). For more info on Granite Flats Campground click here.
Think we missed one? Let us know in the comments!
To download the free Moonlight App for all your trip planning purposes click here.
This post includes sponsored material, but of course all thoughts and opinions are our own. We only share products we use and enjoy ourselves. Thanks active.com for bringing the Moonlight App to our attention.