Grandparents Guide to RVing with Grandkids

RVing with grandkids is, hands down, a totally amazing experience for both them and Grandma and Grandpa! It’s an enthusiastic way to strengthen bonds and relationships between grandparents and their grandchildren. Traveling and exploring new destinations or visiting familiar places with younger generations makes it all the more grand! These are the important times and events where you can enjoy each other, camp outdoors with the grandkids and visit new and exciting places together! 

But, there’s lots of things Grandparents should be aware of before you RV with grandkids.

So, let’s dive right into our Ultimate Grandparents Guide to RVING.

Grandparents Guide to RVing with Grandkids - Always On Liberty

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Grandparents Guide to RVing with Grandkids

What Every Grandparent Should Know Before Hitting the Road in the RV with Grandchildren!

Research kid-friendly RV travel destinations

Grandparents Planning RV Vacation - Always On Liberty
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Your grandkids, no matter what age, want to go to new and exciting places. But, their type of destinations may not be exactly your own forte. Remember, the time you have with your grandkids is all about fortifying your relationship through FUN!

This is the time that you have to kind of let your guard down and do what your grandchildren want to do. It may mean taking your grandkids to an amusement park or a game of mini golf and ice cream.

Hey, for all you know, you may very well have the best time and feel like a kid again yourselves! 

So, as soon as your grandkid’s parents’ give permission, dive into researching cool RV kid-oriented destinations that also are close to kid-friendly RV parks or campgrounds.

Some great east coast family RV destinations are Pigeon Forge, Myrtle Beach and even Outer Banks!

And as anyone with kids in their lives know, Orlando tops the charts as being one of the top favorite RV destinations for kids in Florida. And of course, for older kids, Crystal River never disappoints if they love swimming, snorkeling and paddling!

In Texas, consider RVing with he grandkids to Galveston Island or San Antonio. Both are great places to take kids camping but also, there’s a ton of activities for all ages. One favorite near San Antonio is Natural Bridge Caverns.

On the west coast, there’s plenty of kid-friendly things to do in San Diego. Plan to visit San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Sea World to Legoland and museums that are geared for kids. And California’s Disneyland will put a huge sparkle in their eyes!

The object is to keep your grandkids engaged, entertained and most of all, make fun memories.

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

Occupy and entertain your grandkids while RVing to your next destination with these fun things to keep them from boredom:

Road Trip Activities for Kids & Travel Games to Do in the RV  

Can you take your grandkids across state lines in your RV? (or out of the country?)

RVing with grandkids - Motorhome on the Road - Always On Liberty
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This is more of a personal nature between your grandkid’s parents and you. Hopefully, you have a great relationship where this isn’t an issue.

That said, I would get signed permission from your grand babies’ parents stating they are aware their children are safe in your care. Also, a signed affidavit stating that you are allowed to take them across state borders or out of the country (if applicable).

If your RV adventure takes you crossing into Mexico or Canada, you will need their passport(s), shot record and even a condensed medical record should you need it so far from home.

How to manage with Grandkids medical on the road

It’s a given that every kid endures some sort of booboo when they’re outside. And it never fails, minor injuries, cuts, scrapes, splinters and burns always seem to happen when they’re away from home.

So, make certain you have written and signed statements from your grandkids parent(s) granting you permission to allow them medical care in their absence.

Also, have Mom or Dad make a list of current medical information to present to the doctor or hospital should the need arise:

      • Full name of each grandchild
      • Date of Birth
      • Current medications and supplements
      • Ongoing and current treatments and diagnosis
      • Pediatrician information
      • Pharmacy (Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, etc.)
      • Health insurance card with policy number
      • Billing responsibility info (parent’s name and address)

Also, get a good first aid kit so you’ll be prepared for boo boos, bruises and bug bites.

When our grandson goes RVing with us, I always bring his own hero kit. I also keep a stock of extra camping theme bandaids and instant ice packs. They make everything feel a little better.

And lastly, don’t forget to include important essentials to accommodate your grandkids in your emergency go bag and sightseeing backpack.

Look for kid-friendly places to camp with your grandkids

When you RV with your grandbabies, really think about reserving a site at a campground that doesn’t require a long drive to get to places of interest.

Equally important, research campgrounds and RV parks that are kid-oriented. Skip the 55+ RV parks. Look for family campground chains like Jellystone Parks, Kampgrounds of America (KOA), and Camp Margaritaville. Also, check out Thousand Trails and other family-friendly camping memberships.

Or, you can book a campsite that located inside a theme park.

The best part about kid-friendly campgrounds is you don’t need an RV to stay there! In addition to the RV sites, they also have cabins to rent if their families want to join in on the fun! These family oriented campgrounds have playgrounds, bounce pads, pools and may even offer special activities like arts and crafts or organized events.

So, depending on where your grandchildren live versus the distance you can go RV with your grandkids will dictate the adventure that lies ahead.

All those interesting things you like to do while RVing will fly right out the window. RVing with grandkids is all about them and what they like to do. Make your travel plans for kid friendly venues and they (and you) will have the time of their lives!

And guess what? You’ll feel like a kid again as you experience those wonderful things they like to do!

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

Don’t have an RV but would love to experience camping with your grandkids in an Airstream?

What is AutoCamp? Airstream Glamping Near National Parks!

Pick campsites for your grandkids

Speaking of campgrounds, here’s the deal with kids and grandkids. You want to make it easy for them to have fun AND for you to camp. Ask for an RV campsite close to the pool, bathhouse and game room.

Also, see if there’s a safe place for the kids to burn off steam such a playground, place to ride their bikes and scooters, etc. Because you’ll definitely want to bring their bikes or scooters and their helmets! Trust me on that!

Also, ensure each campground provides regular amenities at each site such as a sturdy picnic table, fire pit and even a grill. This makes it easy so you don’t have to bring all of those things to go RV camping with your grandkids.

Another consideration when picking campgrounds is to read RV Life’s campground reviews. Pay attention to what other parents say about the campground.

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

Taking your Grandkids on an RV vacation but don’t know where to start? Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.

Try the RV LIFE Pro Bundle FREE for 7 days

Consider the age(s) of your grandkids

Elderly Grandparent hand holding child hand - Always On Liberty
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As a grandparent, it’s important to recognize your grandkids’ ages and their personal preferences. You need to know their individual likes and dislikes, special interests, and favorite foods. What you may enjoy doing will differ greatly than what you do outside and in your RV.

For slower-paced, recliner tv watchers, I must warn you, things are going to get wild when you go RVing with your grandkids!

Be prepared to up your level of activity! Typical kids are on the go, go, go! They love to explore new things, visit new places, see, touch, smell, and taste everything under the sun!

Regardless if you’re taking your tot, tween or teen grandchildren with you, think of creative ways to keep them engaged, entertained and enthusiastic during their RV vacation.

Trust me, they don’t want to do or see things you like. So, skip the farmer’s markets, museums, and buffets.

Just research areas you’re going to visit. You can even include them in your travel plans so you all can make it the  ultimate RV adventure!

Where will your grandkids sleep in your RV?

Sleeping Child - Always On Liberty
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This is probably the biggest concession you’re going to have to make when RVing with grandkids. Your particular RV may not have a bonafide bunk room for kids which is great for division and privacy (for you both!)

So, as we say in the military, “improvise, adapt and overcome”.

That said, with a little creativity, there are ways to make them comfortable and give them a restful night’s sleep to prepare for next day’s adventure.

If you’re taking a baby or tiny toddler, a porta-crib is just the ticket as they are quick and easy to set up. And, they’re just as easy to collapse and store.

If your grandbaby is a toddler or small child and is not a nightly wanderer, consider getting a inflatable toddler bed made just for their size. It can be placed on the warm floor (with a rug underneath) or on the converted dinette bed.

For bigger grandkids, if your RV has a bunk room or loft for sleeping, take a look at the ladder. They usually aren’t comfortable for feet to climb on.

So, with a little ingenuity, there’s a few bunk bed ladder hacks that you can make your RV loft safer for the grandkids to climb up into and back down again.

Another important safety consideration is to kid-proof the inside of your RV. Simple magnetic cabinet locks and outlet covers will keep little hands and fingers from exploring things they shouldn’t be.

And velcro straps and bungee cords with closable carabiner hooks work wonders to keep toddlers from opening and falling out of the door.

If they’re sleeping in high loft beds, consider putting a pool noodle or sleeping bed rail barrier on the outside edge to keep them from rolling off.

You may even want to check out our other pool noodle camping hacks for more ideas to keep your campsite and RV safe.

What do your grandkids like to eat?

Three Kids Eating Ice Cream Cones - Always On Liberty
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Oh, we learned this the hard way, so please head our advice on this one.

Especially while they’re young, kids can be picky eaters. But also your grandchildren may have dietary restrictions that may require special nutrition requirements.

So, it’s important to talk to Mom and Dad to discuss your grandkids’ diet, favorite foods and snacks. But also, talk about what foods they prefer them not to eat. I know our grandson’s parents don’t particularly want him to have an overabundance of sugar and foods containing dyes.

So, cotton candy, chocolate and sweet artificial flavor drinks are simply out of the question; for him and for us! Trust us on that one!

That said, the last thing you want when you RV with your grandkids is fighting to get them to eat at specified mealtimes. And you certainly don’t want to take them back home all sugar’d up.

But seriously, kids will be kids. So, accept it by planning simple meals and snack time to make it easy for them and you! Because kids will be more interested in playing and exploring than playing with food they’re simply not going to eat.

So, don’t be a total health conscious fuddy duddy. Skip the kale salads, protein shakes, bean soup and weird food (as they call it). Go ahead and give them their favorite chicken nuggets, hotdogs and macaroni and cheese! Happy kids equal happy life. They’ll live and so will you.

Remember, you and your grandkids want good memories of RVing and camping with you. Surely, fighting over why they didn’t finish their peas isn’t going to be one of them.

Just watch the sugar content in what they eat. While it’s fun to have a midday ice cream treat, snack bag of gummy bears, or Little Debbie snacks, don’t allow them sweet treats so close to bedtime. Or, you’ll have a difficult time getting them to settle down for the night.

Try for more nutritious snacks like peanut butter tortilla rollups, celery and carrots with ranch dressing, and simple finger foods. We stock individual kid-friendly snacks to keep in our RV for easy grabbing where our grandson can grab-and-go:

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

If you’re looking for fun camping meal ideas to make indoors or outside on the campfire, camp stove or grill, these recipes will surely be a home run!

20 Quick & Easy Foil Packet Camping Meals

How to Make Perfect S’mores on Your Camping Trip

15 Best Pie Iron Recipes for Camping & Backyard BBQs

10 Quick & Easy Fall Camping Recipes for Campfires or Grills

15 Dutch Oven Camping Recipes – Campfire One Pot Wonders

15 Cast Iron Skillet Recipes – Cook on Campfires, Stoves or Ovens

Get your grandkids their own RV and camping gear

Kids bring on a whole different perspective to RVing and camping. So, focus on bringing or buying certain items that are not just kid-friendly but also kid sized.

Instead of packing a whole bunch of sheets and blankets, just supply them with their own kids sleeping bag and a small camp pillow.

And, let’s not forget, especially for smaller kids, a kid-size camp chair that’s easy for them to get into and out of without tipping over. Big camp chairs are okay for the teenagers. But for the little campers, they can be a hazard.

Other kid-size camping gear you may want to pick up are a head lamp, camping lantern, walkie talkies, and flashlight

Oh, and don’t forget to keep nontoxic insect repellent and kid friendly sunscreen on hand.

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

Before running out to buy bug spray and sunscreen, check out these important reads! They offer safe protection for your grandkids AND the environment.

Deet-Free Insect Repellents & Bug Sprays 

Why You Should Use Reef Safe Sunscreen!

What are your grandkids interests?

Grandparents riding bikes with grandkids - Always On Liberty
Photo source: Canva

As we’ve learned since becoming grandparents, our interests are a little different than our grandson’s. He’s more in tune with getting into whatever dirt he can find to play with his cars and trucks. Of course, what little boy wouldn’t!? 

And, though our grandson loves to go hiking, he also loves to stop to ask a million questions like “what’s that?”, “how does that grow?” and even “can I take it home with me?”.

Hiking and walking the campground are also the best times to teach them the importance of what pack-in, pack-out means and the leave no trace principles.

So, as grandparents, get interested in what your grandkids love to do. Pay attention to the toys and games they play with.

Ask what are their favorite ice cream flavors. Do they like their marshmallows toasted light brown or burnt for their S’mores? Do they like to cook over a campfire? And don’t be afraid to get down and dirty with them.

If you pay attention and plan around their likes and dislikes, I promise you, they and you will all enjoy this kind of RVing!

Some fun things to do on your RV vacation with kids:

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

A great way to bond with your grandchildren is engage them with nature. Then let them create something cool with their treasures!

12 Fun Nature Crafts for Kids

Leave No Trace Principles - Info Banner - Always On Liberty

Involve them in setting up and taking down the campsite

Two little girls looking outside from RV door - Always On Liberty
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Involve your grandchildren in every facet of the RV lifestyle; including how things work differently than their home. If they see how to do certain things, they’ll more likely understand the importance of taking care of an RV.

Each time you set up or take down your campsite, get them to actively participate in the process. But make it fun.

Maybe get them their own kid-size disposable gloves and their own kid-size safety glasses to help empty the tanks, pick up trash or help grandpa clean and maintain the RV.

Also, teach them safety around the campsite. And, assign each of your grandkids with their own special responsibility to make them feel like a participant.

Perhaps one of your grandkids can be in charge of picking up all of the little things around the site, sweeping off the camp mat, folding and bringing all the camp chairs for grandpa to pack into the basement compartment, etc.

Even if they don’t do it quite as tidy or the way you like, they’re learning that camping isn’t just all fun and games.

For example, getting them to help empty the sewage tanks, they’re going to learn why it’s not a good idea to stuff the toilet with extra toilet paper.

And if you’re camping on limited water, show them why it’s so important to not let the water run while washing their hands or brushing their teeth.

Of course, you could also ask the older kids to look after the younger littles while you take care of the adult parts of RV setups.

What should your grandkids bring for  clothes for RVing and camping

Little Girl Child Picking Out Clothes on Hangars - Always On Liberty
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Your grandkids should bring enough clothes plus a few more pair of undergarments and socks that will hold you over until you can find a laundromat or return them back home.

Also, depending on where and what kind of activities you and your grandkids will be doing together, they will at least need two pair of shoes should one get muddy and wet.

If you are RVing with grandkids in the rainy season, consider having them bring their raincoat and a fun pair of wellies so they can go stomp in puddles and mud without trashing their shoes.

If you’re going to be RVing to the beach, make sure they pack their favorite swim suit and swim shirt, properly fitting water shoes and colorful kid theme beach towel.

Most importantly, if your grandchild is not a good swimmer, it’s a safe bet to bring their own personal floatation life vest.

Make sure they have enough clothes according to weather and temperatures. Of course, they don’t have to bring their entire closet with them. In nearby cities and tourist locations, there’s always stores to buy raincoats, flip flops, hats, sunglasses, extra t-shirts, etc.

So, another RVing with grandkids tip is to avoid bringing big bulky suitcases. They are difficult to store in an RV; especially small RVs, travel trailers and camper vans. A kid-friendly duffle should suffice.

Your grandkids should also bring a size-appropriate comfortable kids-only backpack for them to wear for day hikes and sightseeing. That way, they can carry their own gear.

Some great suggestions for them to carry in their backpack:

Trust me, they’ll definitely need all of those for when you take your grandkids hiking or a day out! Oh, and don’t forget to label their clothing and backpack with their full name and your phone number should you separate during your outing.

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

Attach a disposable tag with your campsite number on the back of your grandchild’s shirt or jacket. That way, if they get lost in the campground, the Camp Host will know which site to get them back to!

Fun things to do with your grandkids on rainy days

Kid in Raincoat Playing in Rain - Always On Liberty
Photo source: Canva

There are going to be times when the weather simply won’t cooperate while you’re RVing with your grandkids. Instead of listening to them whining about the rain, have them put on their rain coats and wellies. Take your grandkids outside to traipse in the puddles and mud.

As long as there’s no lightening or threatening weather, go ahead and stomp in the puddles with them! Have fun with your grandchildren! It’s only water. This is a great time to let them bring their super soakers to squirt each other and you!

On the other hand, on those dark and dismal rainy days, make it a relaxing down day to relax and maybe take naps.

Or, encourage them to read some fun camping books for kids. Load up your digital device to watch the kid-friendly RV movie or camping movies on Amazon Prime.

Or, you can break out some fun board games and play at your dinette! You can incorporate some cool educational yet super fun National Parks Board Games for rainy day fun!

And for quiet time, surprise them with their own toy RV or camper to role play and set up their own campsite quietly up on the floor, in their bunk or at the dinette table.

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

Get your Grandkids excited for their RV vacation with these amazing RV toys and Camping play sets!

40+ Best Camping Theme Toys for Grandkids!

40+ Toy Camper Play Sets for Grandkids

Do fun things they don’t do at home

Grandparents Hiking with Grandchildren - Always On Liberty
Photo source: Canva

Fun outdoor activities are precisely why kids will love camping and RVing with Grandparents. Because we do things differently. And, your grandkids are going to want to do things they don’t normally do at home.

Take them to places that aren’t near them. Scope out the area near the campground for kid-friendly hiking trails, rail trails to ride their bikes, beaches, a fun day on the water and other cool outdoor adventures.

And, it’s totally okay to just play some outdoor games right outside your RV at your campsite, and make s’mores and hobo pies over the campfire!

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

Want to know how to keep your grandkids occupied and entertained at your campsite?

 10 Fun Things to Do Around the Campfire

Keep your grandkids’ schedule

I know as Grandparents ourselves, we want to be the fun Memaw and Fashia to our grandson. Sometimes that means meandering off his typical schedule and staying up late.

That said though, if we want to continue taking him RVing or camping, we still have to honor his parents’ child-rearing schedule. From naps, bedtimes and meals, we just work a bit to keep him on an even keel.

So, if your grandkid’s parent(s) keep them on an afternoon nap schedule, we need to ensure we try to make that happen too. Otherwise, your grandkids will become a raging mess and your patience may fizzle out like rain on the campfire.

So, while we still can have tons of fun RVing with grandkids and taking them on incredible, memory-making adventures, they are not ‘our’ kids. We need to respect their parents wishes so we can take them again!

RVing with grandkids wrap up

RVing with Grandkids - Grandparents and Grandkids with RV - Always On Liberty
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Seriously, camping and RVing with grandkids is not rocket science. You can eliminate the stress and drama by being prepared, knowing what to pack and bring, and knowing your grandchildren’s likes and dislikes, etc.

Put down the phone and turn off the television. Go explore and experience the outdoors together! Take short hikes or walks that allow you both to see, smell and listen to nature.

And yes, enjoy those afternoon ice cream sandwiches from the camp store! Get IN the pool with them! Answer the million questions their spongy minds want to know.

We all have such a small window of time with our grandchildren. Especially as they get older and their interests change. Show an interest in and always be flexible with those changes. In other words, make your RV vacation with family count.

I’m not saying to let your grandchildren walk all over you. But, make RVing with your grandkids a fun and adventurous experience so they’ll look forward to the next time. If you make it ridiculously fun, they’ll brag about their experience for years. The amazing memories you make together with your grandchildren will life long and fortify the ultimate grandparent relationship!

Give your grandchildren a reason to say, “I remember RVing with my grandma and grandpa and we did this!” They’ll grow up with the fond memories and want to pass down the RVing tradition to their children and even their grandchildren!

✰ RVing with Grandkids Tip 

Before  setting out for your great RV adventure with your grandchildren, talk to them about safety while RVing and at your campsite.

RV and Camping Safety Tips for Families

Ultimate Guide to RVing with Grandkids - Always On Liberty

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