Do you want to try special needs tent camping with your kids? Guest blogger Trish Shaeffer shares tips her family uses to take their kids who use wheelchairs tent camping.

Special needs tent camping may sound impossible, but guest blogger Trish Shaeffer encourages families to give it a try. Today, she shares her 6 best special needs tent camping tips with Different Dream readers.

Summer is here, and I often get asked if having special needs kids keeps us from going on vacation. My answer?

Absolutely not!

We still do family vacations regardless of our twins with special needs. Even camping! And I’m not talking RV camping. I’m talking tent camping, which is a great way to save money and have a fun and memorable family vacation. In fact, a camping trip was our first-ever family vacation, and it was a dry run for an actual big vacation. So how did we do it?

Special Needs Tent Camping Tip 1: Make a Trial Run

We stayed at the camp site for a weekend to try it out: it went well and the kids loved it. The only thing we overdid was packing too much stuff. But now I know exactly what to bring next time.

Special Needs Tent Camping Tip 2: Consider Your Child’s Needs

We keep our sons’ needs in mind when planning a vacation and choosing a camping spot. For example, for places with larger crowds we bring along noise-cancelling headphones or take a break during the day away from noise and people. We also keep in mind how long we are out and about on vacation.

Special Needs Tent Camping Tip 3: Bring Necessary Equipment

When we go camping, we need a tent site with electricity for Alex’s nebulizer and other medical equipment. He also sleeps on a cozy air mattress because of his cerebral palsy.

Special Needs Tent Camping Tip 4: Find the Perfect Campground

For great family-friendly camping spots, check online through the your state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website. It should have information on accessibility. At the Pennsylvania website, we located a camping spot that was handicap-friendly, and it didn’t cost any extra. We were even fairly close to the lake front.

Special Needs Tent Camping Tip 5: Look for Accessible Activities

Having a kid in a wheelchair makes going on vacation a real planning deal because we have to make sure travel destinations are handicap accessible. Luckily, many places do offer handicap accessible actives. Even beaches have handicap ramps down to the ocean.

One of the things you have to remember when planning a family vacation is simply to ask if you are not sure. Most people are understanding and friendly and will help you with accommodations. Some restaurants even offer a menu for people with food allergies.

Special Needs Tent Camping Tip 6: Be Creative

There are many other details to keep in mind–from keeping your kids in their tents and not going astray, to how to take your special needs child fishing in a wheelchair. All you need to do is be creative with your planning and brave enough to try a family adventure somewhere you have always wanted to go. Be adventurous and have fun!

Your Special Needs Tent Camping Tips?

Have you gone camping with kids who have special needs? What tips did you discover along the way? Leave them in the comment box if you like!

Trish Shaeffer mom of 3 active boys, a 9-year-old and 5-year-old twins who were born 2 months early and have special needs. She’s a peer supporter for Parent to Parent and volunteers with the United Cerebral Palsy Network, Special Olympics, and the United Way. She’s also an equine volunteer at Leg Up Farm. She’s married to her best friend and biggest supporter, Chris Schaeffer.



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Do you want to try special needs tent camping with your kids? Guest blogger Trish Shaeffer shares tips her family uses to take their kids who use wheelchairs tent camping.