Even if you think that you may not really enjoy the outdoors, you may find that camping in controlled settings is something that you can enjoy with your family. Camping provides something for everyone. People who want to lounge can sit out at the campfire and think or read or just watch other campers. More active types can swim or bike at many parks. The children can play around outside in a somewhat-structured environment. If you plan to start taking your family camping, then you can begin to make some of the preparations now.
For starters, you will need to begin researching places you may want to go because that will determine in part how long you will be gone and how much gear you will need. Check out the KOA website for more information on their sites. KOA campgrounds have some pros and cons. They tend to be very clean and have plenty of room, but they are less wilderness than most people want. State and national parks are another good spot for beginning campers because these campgrounds have people who patrol them often and typically have a large number of people around. You may want to avoid less populated camping areas until you are more familiar with the hobby.
You will need to decide whether or not you want to camp in a tent. Some people grab a sleeping bag and lie under the stars, but in most controlled campgrounds, you will find people who are more interested in the idea of the experience. They all will have tents, many of them pop-ups, and they will have air mattresses as well. If you keep your eye out, you can find a decent-sized tent for about $100. These tents usually will hold three to four people depending on their size. A queen-sized air mattress will run about $30, and you will want a pump to go with it. They are about $15-20, depending on the quality you get.
After those basics, you really will just get items based on how much you plan to do. When my family goes camping, we see other families that do not eat at their campsites at all. They go out for every meal. We, on the other hand, may go out once the night we get there, but we tend to cook over the fire and eat while we are there. You will want to get a small propane stove if you will be cooking veggies. You can boil corn, green beans, and other basics on the stove. The one to two-burner stoves should work for you. A griddle also is a great addition to camping gear as you will be able to make bacon or sausage and eggs for breakfast, and you can even make toast on a griddle if you watch it closely.
Other than those basics, you should be able to cook meat over the fire and wrap other foods so that you can put them on the fire to roast them. Some people get dishes specifically for camping, but we, like many other modern campers, opted not to do that. I would rather purchase disposable plates, cups, and utensils than spend all of my time washing dishes. The goal of camping should be relaxation, and washing tons of dishes does not sound appealing to me.
You also should think about inclement weather when you are look at barebones gear. You will want to get something to cover your table in case you have food out when a rain comes by. You can purchase table tents to cover everything, or you can get a large tarp. You may want to get rain ponchos for your family. You can find them for $1 or less at discount stores, and you will be glad you have them if you get caught in a downpour. Other than that, you should be set to go. A radio is the only other thing that I would suggest all campers get. Not only can you bring your own music, but you can listen to any weather broadcasts should the need arise.
Once you have the basic in your camping supplies, you will be able to add things every year so that you can make camping even more enjoyable.