Top 5 Reasons to Camp with Jellystone this Fall

September 29, 2015

Even though the kids are back to school, the fun has not stopped at Jellystone Parks. In fact, with all of the exciting campground activities, fall is one of the most popular times to camp with Yogi Bear. If you haven’t already booked a 2015 fall camping weekend, here are 5 reasons why you should do it now!

Activities for Every Age

If you want seriously spooky stuff this time of the year, Jellystone has you covered. Many campgrounds offer haunted houses, hikes, and wagon rides. Listen to ghost stories around a campfire or attend a witch’s bonfire. If your little ones like to stay away from the scary stuff, there are plenty of fun activities for them as well.  Pumpkin decorating, glow stick wagon rides, and candy bar bingo are fun ways to celebrate the season without the thrills and chills.

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Get the most out of that Halloween costume

We all know our kids want to wear their costumes from the moment they pick it out. Trick-or-treating at a Jellystone Park lets them trot out that superhero cape or princess tiara before the official big day.  They won’t believe their good luck when they double their Halloween candy stash!

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Celebrate the best foods of the season.

Many Jellystone Parks get into the spirit of the fall harvest by hosting apple pie contests and chili cook offs. You will also find potluck Thanksgiving dinners and hot apple cider served around the campfire. If you are all about the pumpkins, apples, and donuts this time of year make your way to a Jellystone Fall Festival.

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Help Put Yogi Bear to Sleep

Our boys have grown seriously attached to Yogi Bear over the years that we have been visiting him at Jellystone Parks. Many campgrounds have hibernation celebrations where kids get to wish Yogi Bear sweet dreams as they send him off for his winter slumber. What a great way to end the family camping season!


Stock up on Club Yogi Rewards Points

Squeeze in one last weekend camping trip this fall and stash away some points to use next spring when we once again kick off another great campground season!

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Watch the video below or visit here to learn more about themed fall weekends!


Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi are the founders of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast and blog. They spend over 40 nights a year in their RV traveling with their three young sons, sharing their experiences as they explore the new golden age of RVing.


How to Build an Amazing Bonfire When Camping

September 20, 2015

Did you know that the most popular type of camping is tent camping, with 86% of survey respondents saying that’s the sort of camping they preferred? What’s more, 33% of participants said that they prefer cabin camping, while 30% preferred back country/backpacking. About 26% chose drive-up campsites, and 24% liked RV camping. Only 11% went camping in a backyard, and 8% slept right under the stars. Also, 2% slept in a yurt, according to the survey.

No matter what type of campgrounds you prefer, there are some things you’re probably going to want to do. After all, about 92% of survey participants said they hiked, while 87% of campers said they participate in multiple outdoor activities.

One thing that you’re more than likely going to do, though, is build a fire. Camp fires are, after all, one of the very best parts of camping. Please make sure all fires are put out properly, allowing the embers to be completely dowsed. With that in mind, here’s a few simple steps to enjoy a great fire.

Getting It Set Up.

First things first, you’re going to want to put some tinder in the center of your fire pit. These are the small twigs, sticks, and leaves you’re going to use to start the start the fire. The easier your tinder burns, the easier it’ll be to build your fire. Stack a few sticks so that they’re in the form of a tepee. It works best if you use three or four, and build a sort of pyramid shape. Put some leaves and other tinder in the center of the tepee.

Building the Fire.

Technically, you’re now able to start a fire, but hang on. It’s a good idea to plan how you’re going to build the little flame into a proper bonfire. Basically, you have two options. First, you can stack progressively larger sticks around the fire in a log cabin fashion, which is great for heat. Second, you can continue trying the tepee method, which is easier for building into a big fire, because you can simply continue laying on bigger and bigger pieces of wood.

Lighting the Fire.

Now, you’re ready to light a fire. Get your matches, and set your tinder on fire in a few different places, so that it spreads more quickly. It’s also a good idea to blow on the embers, which will feed it oxygen. You’re also going to need to continue adding tinder until the tepee actually catches. Once it does, add progressively larger and larger sticks, until you can add actual logs to it.

4 Great Activities Near Jellystone Park in Marion, NC

August 18, 2015

Jellystone Marion is an action-packed family campground that keeps the kids busy from morning to night. Whether you are sliding down the Super Duper Triple Looper for the fiftieth time or just canoeing on the lake, it is pretty much impossible to be bored there. Once you set up camp you really don’t need to leave. But the area around Marion is beautiful and has many options for good food and adventure. Here are our top recommendations for hiking, driving, eating and rainy day fun!


Tom’s Creek Falls

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Tom’s Creek Falls is a relatively short and easy one mile roundtrip hike to an 80 foot waterfall. It is located about 15 minutes from the campground in Pisgah National Forest. Pack a picnic lunch and relax at the bottom of the falls where your kids can splash and play. Watch out for swallowtails and black snakes! Looking for a more challenging hike? Ask Mama Bear or Running Bear back at the campground. They have this area wired.


The Blue Ridge Parkway

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The Blue Ridge Parkway is a classic American drive that stretches for 469 miles from Southern Virginia to Western North Carolina. It is easily accessed near Jellystone Marion and its hiking trails, wildflowers, and stunning mountain vistas are well worth a long, relaxing drive. Bring comfortable shoes and consider a short hike to stretch your legs.


The Little Switzerland Inn

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After a long afternoon exploring the Blue Ridge Parkway there is no better place for dinner than the Little Switzerland Inn. The views of the mountains are stunning and the prime rib is the best we have ever had. The upscale dining room does not look family friendly, but the entire staff made us feel welcome. Save room for desert. You won’t regret it.


KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum

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We had one rainy day while we were camping at Jellystone Marion, so we headed over to KidSenses in charming downtown Rutherfordton. This children’s museum was awesome and it kept our boys busy for hours. They loved the kid-sized grocery store and television studios along with the big climber and creation station. There’s a good coffee shop around the corner—so grab a cup and relax while your kids play. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Jellystone Marion, and we spent most of it at the campground having fun. But we also loved this gorgeous and quiet part of Western North Carolina. We think you will too.


Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi are the founders of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast and blog. They spend over 40 nights a year in their RV traveling with their three young sons, sharing their experiences as they explore the new golden age of RVing.

Tent Camping vs Cabin Rental: Which is Better?

August 18, 2015

Camping vacations are one of the most popular choices for family vacations in the United States. A 2011 report showed that 42.5 million U.S. people went camping, spending a total of 534.9 million days on a campground. A recent study shows that the most popular form of camping is by tent, with 86% of people who responded stating they used a tent when camping. Cabin camping immediately follows this with 33% of participants. But what is the difference? If you’re looking to go camping for your next family vacation, here are a few tips on how to choose between pitching a tent and renting a cabin.

Tent Camping

When you think about camping, you almost always imagine a tent in the woods. Tent campsites are the most widely used form of camping, and many campers think tent camping is the best way to experience the outdoors. Camping in a tent gives you the feeling of being in the middle of nature, allowing you and your family to get away from all the stress of modern life. However, being in nature also makes you susceptible to bugs, animals, and inclement weather. Due to the variable nature of tent camping sites, it’s best to plan shorter stays. Tent camping is great for a quick getaway weekend trip!

Cabin Rentals

Cabin rentals offer many of the modern conveniences American families have grown accustomed to. This includes a bed, electricity, running water, and even heating and cooling systems. Many cabins have multiple bedrooms, so the kids can have their own room. Cabins also provide you with extra security from any bugs, animals, or harsh weather conditions. However, many argue that cabin rentals are not the ‘real’ camping experience. Cabin rentals are best for longer trips, or for a large family. Take a week off of work and get some quality time with your family!

National S'mores Day!

August 10, 2015

It’s National S’mores Day! We have decided to put some of our favorite s’more recipes together so that next time you are around a bonfire (hopefully tonight when you’re celebrating), you have some tasty treats to try out!

  1. Chocolate Covered Strawberry S’mores
    – These are perfect for a summer night! It’s your classic s’more with a twist- strawberries!
  2. Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores
    – Toss out the graham crackers for your next bonfire and use chocolate chip cookies instead. You won’t regret it!
  3. S’mores Campfire Cones
    – A fun twist that’s super easy to make and easy to eat!
  4. Cinnamon Caramel S’more 
    – The combination of these flavors will make it hard to stop eating!
  5. Reese’s S’more
    – Ditch the Hershey’s chocolate and spice it up with Reese’s peanut butter cups. Regular s’mores will not be as exciting once you try these.
  6. Chocolate Lovers S’more
    – Love chocolate? This s’more might be the one for you! You can never have too much chocolate.


Try out these delicious s’more recipes and let us know what you think! Are you more traditional or like to switch it up?


Why Millennials Might Just Be the Greatest Generation to Go Camping

July 30, 2015

Summertime is prime camping season, with endless opportunities for hiking, fishing, swimming and much more.

And across the country, a growing number of campgrounds are beginning to notice an interesting trend: the millennial generation is quickly becoming the greatest camping generation.

According to a July 5 Provo Daily Herald article, a recent study has found that an amazing 60% of young adults born between 1980 and 2000 plan to spend more time enjoying the great outdoors this year. That’s compared to just 40% of the Baby Boomer generation.

This is because camping isn’t just a fantastic way to stay active by partaking in unique outdoor activities — many millennials love to go camping for its social aspects, as well. In fact, today’s campers will bring friends along about 70% of the time, making it a great opportunity for groups of friends to spend time together.

And when an unbelievable 42.5 million Americans went camping in 2011, it’s clear that any campground is a fantastic place to meet new people with similar interests, as well.

With millennials flocking to camping sites across the country, the very concept of camping is beginning to evolve, as well. With about 70% of camping taking place at public campgrounds, a growing number of people are looking for ways to avoid the disappointment of arriving at a camping ground that’s already filled to capacity.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, this has given rise to something called “dispersed camping,” which can essentially be translated to “roughing it.” Dispersed camping is camping at a location where there are no cabins, picnic tables, fire pits or even drinkable water. Campers must rely on their own survival skills and literally live off the land. With the right skills and equipment, dispersed camping can be easier than you think — and it’s how many millennials are bypassing the disappointment of being unable to find a spot at a camping ground.

Knowing all this, it might be safe to say that the millennial generation has taken America’s love for camping to a whole new level — and are worthy of being called the greatest camping generation.

5 Things You Have to Do When Camping Near Nashville

July 30, 2015

Camping has long been a favorite type of vacation for American families. In 2011, they spent a total of 534.9million days camping together. Often, those family camping adventures involve plenty of outdoor time. Hiking is enjoyed by about 92% of campers, and 87% of campers say they like to participate in more than one outdoor activity. But camping vacations don’t have to be all about the great outdoors. There are campgrounds quite near to some of the United States’ greatest cities — meaning you can see all a city has to offer while still returning to a comfortable, relaxing camp resort when you’re tired of the hustle and bustle.


Tennessee campgrounds are one great example of this opportunity. In fact, there are Tennessee campgrounds just outside of Nashville. Here are a few ideas of what you could do in Music City besides enjoying the amenities of your camp:


  1. The Country Music Hall of Fame
    It doesn’t get more Nashville than the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s been around since 1961, but in 2001 moved to a stunning new building a few block outside downtown. Plus, the exhibits are always changing, so there will be something new to see even if you’ve been in the past. The attraction also offers tasty dining options and retail space, so it’s a good place to spend the day and pick up your souvenirs.
  2. Grand Ole Opry
    This legendary radio and stage show has hosted some of the greatest stars of country music over the more than 90 years it’s been around. Its stars still perform several nights a week, and often bring in guest artists. Be sure to arrange for tickets and tours in advance.

  3. Music Row
    Music Row is a country music history buff’s dream. RCA Studio B is where Elvis recorded more than 200 songs — and Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins and more have also recorded nearby. You can grab a tour starting from the Hall of Fame.

  4. General Jackson Showboat
    General Jackson is a riverboat that offers cruisers the experience of 18th-century showboats. Country music is typically featured (no surprises there), but you might also get a variety of musicals or gospel music. There are normally two cruises each day.

  5. The Parthenon
    The world’s only full-scale reproduction of the ancient Greek Parthenon is situated in Nashville’s Centennial Park. You may have seen pictures, but you have to visit in person to fully grasp the scale of Athena Parthenos, the sculpture by Alan LeQuire that dominates the interior. In fact, she is 42 feet tall, making her the tallest indoor sculpture in the West. There’s also an art gallery and museum to enjoy.

Camping Is Literally Good For You: 3 Health Benefits of Going Camping

July 30, 2015

Every year, millions of people go camping. According to the most recent report from the Outdoor Foundation, 40.1 million Americans camped in 2013; 39.7 million Americans camped in 2012; 42.5 million people camped in 2011, and 40 million people went camping in 2010 — and for good reason, too. There are some pretty amazing benefits of camping.


Here are just a few.


It’s Literally Good For You.


Believe it or not, getting away from it all and having a nice stay in nature is actually good for you. A recent study suggests that the increasing prevalence of conditions like obesity, attention disorders, and depression is partly caused by a decrease of time being spent in nature. Researchers even noted that nature can help relieve stress, restore mental faculties, and improve mood. What’s more, since camping can increase a person’s oxygen intake, it can also increase Serotonin levels, making a person feel happier.


It Gets You Active.


When you camp, you get active. A recent poll showed that hiking is the most popular activity among campers, as 92% of campers reported that they like to go hiking when they camp. Plus, you’re also going to set up the tent, haul your gear, gather wood, and maybe fish or swim, too. Best of all, you’ll be having too much fun to think about the fact that you’re exercising.


It Helps You Eat Healthier.


As much as people might try to eat healthier, McDonald’s is just so alluring. Luckily, going camping removes that temptation, and limits your meal options to healthier, more natural ones, thereby allowing you to possibly jumpstart a diet, or at least take a break from less healthy foods.


Camping doesn’t have to be intense, either. Who said you had to find camping grounds out in the wilderness? If you want to camp, but don’t want the most intense of outdoor experiences, then you’ll be happy to know that there are vacation cabin rentals available, which are pretty easy camping experiences. Other vacation cabins provide rustic accommodations so that you don’t have to worry about hassling with setting up a tent or figuring out how to cook over an open fire. You can just show up, and begin enjoying nature as soon as you get situated.

7 Tips for Camping on the Beach

July 23, 2015

Camping is one of the most popular pastimes for American families, most likely due to the relative cheapness of it and the quality time spent away from screens and distractions. In 2011, American families spent an astounding total of 534 million camping days together. There are as many different ways to camp as there are places to camp and structures to camp in, but the most popular is tent camping — in a survey, 86% of people said they preferred this type of camping vacation.

While the word camping tends to draw up visions of wooded forests and leaf-carpeted ground, many people opt for something a little more off the beaten path — the beach. Many find the sounds of water a more peaceful background than the sounds of the woods, and bug populations are much, much lower there.

However, making your campgrounds on the beach requires a little bit more planning, and a slightly different approach. Some tips and tricks for camping on the beach —


  • About 70% of camping is done on public campgrounds, and you should never ever just go set up your tent in a strange environment, especially if you don’t know if you are trespassing or not. Make sure you are authorized to be there. You’re better off choosing public campgrounds on the beach than striking off on your own.


  • If you are near the ocean, make sure you are set up well above the high tide line so your belongings don’t get flooded.


  • Stay away from dunes. They are a fragile part of a marine ecosystem and you can easily damage the vegetation, in addition to being hurt if the sand and rocks slide down on you.


  • Invest in sand stakes, which are designed to stay down in loose material.


  • Bring extra water, water purification methods, and extra water on top of that. Don’t trust any water directly from nature.


  • Bring shelter from the hot sun, even if you have sunscreen.


  • It gets cold and foggy on the beach at night. Bring supplies to keep you warm and to keep your belongings dry.


Activities Galore at the Jellystone Marion, NC

July 21, 2015

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After our peaceful and lovely stay at the Great Smoky Mountain Jellystone in Tennessee we headed back into North Carolina to visit Jellystone Marion. We were greeted at the Ranger Station by two of the funniest and wackiest camp workers that we have ever met. “Barracuda” and “Tinker Bell” run the camp store like it’s a wacky Yogi Bear Improv Comedy show.

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All of the staff members at Jellystone Marion have campground handles like these and it gives you a sense of how fun and friendly these folks are. The owners are known as “Chief,” “Mama Bear,” and “Running Bear.” The family has a background in the hotel industry and it shows. The customer service at this campground is off the hook awesome.

The family friendly amenities are also terrific. There is a large pool, kiddie pool, Super Duper Triple Looper Waterslide, Yogi Bear Lake for canoeing and fishing, shuffleboard, mini-golf, gem mining, playground, Ga Ga Ball Pit, and so much more. Your kids just won’t get bored at this campground. It’s not possible. Purchase of a V.I.P. bracelet will give you unlimited access to the slide, mini golf, and canoes.

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So what amenity did our boys love best? The Ga Ga Ball pit won the day! When we first arrived I had to beg them to hop in and give it a try during a scheduled game led by a staff member named “Nitro. ” By the second day of our stay the boys could not be ripped away from the pit. They were teaching other kids to play and chanting “GET NITRO!”

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The morning game of Ga Ga Ball was just one of the seemingly endless number of activities that Jellystone Marion provides on a daily basis. We enjoyed making spin art frisbees, coloring with Boo Boo, making tie dye shirts, and participating in relay races.

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But the single best activity that we participated in at Jellystone Marion was their Tuck in Tales with Yogi Bear. It was possibly the single coolest campground activity that we ever have participated in. At around dusk one evening “Mama Bear” loaded the kids up on a tractor ride that took us high up in the hills above the campground. We stopped near a beautifully crafted tree house where a campfire, and Yogi Bear, were waiting for us.

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Yogi also happened to have cookies and milk waiting for all of the kids. Then we gathered around the fire and “Mama Bear” led us through a wild, wacky improvised story about Yogi Bear and the Jellyopolis 500. The kids were encouraged to add parts to the story while they munched away on their cookies. After the story Mama asked each child what they were thankful for and then the kids walked Yogi up into the tree house and put him to bed. What a night! “Chief,’ “Mama Bear,” and “Running Bear” have won awards for their activities and it is easy to understand why.

It was sad to say goodbye to our new friends at Jellystone Marion, but we hope to see them again. We squeezed in one more game of Ga Ga Ball before we hitched up and headed out. Our boys asked if we could build a Ga Ga pit in our backyard at home. I told them no, but promised them we would camp with Yogi Bear again real soon.


Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi are the founders of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast and blog. They spend over 40 nights a year in their RV traveling with their three young sons, sharing their experiences as they explore the new golden age of RVing.