Many of us RVers brave the winter in our rigs, and there are plenty of Jellystone Parks open throughout the chilly season to accommodate us, but for many more, winter means putting the ol’ rigs into storage. But, it’s not as simple as just parking them in the garage. When it comes to our RVs, we need to properly prepare them for winter storage so we don’t have any issues come springtime. When we’re ready to dust them off and take them out for another season of warm weather fun, we want them to be ready to go with minimal maintenance and preparation. Here are some steps to follow to get your rigs ready for a safe winter hibernation:
If your RV isn’t a tow-behind and has an engine, you’ll want to change the oil, top off all the fluids, and fill up the gas tank with some fuel stabilizer. Make sure to idle it for a few minutes after adding the stabilizer to distribute it through the fuel system.
Cleaning your RV is a very important step. First, you’ll want to make sure to get any trash, food particles, and food items out of the inside to reduce the chance of destructive pests making a home in your rig throughout the winter. Second, use your time cleaning the outside to inspect all the seals and roof seams for cracks or deterioration. Water damage is extremely costly, so it’s best to prevent it from happening in the first place. Making any necessary repairs before winter storage will save you a ton of money and time in the future.
The next thing you’ll want to do is check all of your electrical and gas appliances to make sure they’re working properly. You’ll always want to examine the propane lines for leaks before and after a long storage period. If you smell or suspect a leak, a simple way to find it is to use a spray bottle with soapy water. After you ensure the lines are all in order, fill up your tank and close all of the valves. If your tank isn’t removable, cover it to prevent rusting.
Now it’s time to winterize the water system. This usually involves draining and cleaning your holding tanks, flushing out all of your plumbing, and then pumping antifreeze into your pipes to protect them from frost damage. For this process it’s best to refer to your owner’s manual because it varies widely depending on your make, model, and amenities, but this guide can definitely help.
The last thing you’ll do is charge and unhook your batteries (negative charge first.) Clean off any corrosion with a solution of baking soda and water, and consider removing it and storing it indoors if it will get too cold throughout the winter.
As always, when it comes to expensive investments, always check your owner’s manual for any additional recommendations, and also print up this storage preparation checklist to make the process easy and pain-free.
Boats and PWCs
If you haul a boat or personal watercraft behind your rig, you’ll want to prepare it for winter storage as well. This will always start with a thorough cleaning. Prepping your engine for winter storage will vary widely depending on your type of watercraft and the type of engine it has, but at the very least it will involve cleaning the engine with soap and water (especially important for any outboard engines,) changing oil and oil filters, topping off fluids, and either unhooking your fuel line and running it until it shuts down or filling up the tank with a fuel additive. Almost all marine engines will need fogging oil sprayed in the cylinders and on all the fittings. As with any motorized vehicle, if it’s not going to be started and ran every month or so, you’ll want to charge and unhook the battery. Here is another maintenance preparation checklist you can print off to have on hand while getting your marine machines ready to stow away.
Exploring Camp Jellystone’s vast menagerie of amazing parks is fun no matter how you do it. For those of us who enjoy them with our RVs, we want to be able to come back year after year, so make sure to prep them well for winter so there won’t be any problems when it’s time to spend another summer season romping around our amazing continent!
AJ Earley is a travel junkie, freelance writer, and root beer float enthusiast from Boise, Idaho.
Summer may be over and some parks may be closed for the season, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop at Jellystone Park! We have 27 locations that are open year round and quite a few that are open through November as well! Whether you’re looking for a weekend of fun and planned activities or looking to relax and sit around a campfire, you can find it at Jellystone. Here is a list of campgrounds open in November and December and their list of activities. Come join us for a weekend of camping! Please note: not all parks schedule activities during the off season.
Elberta, AL: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Cobb Mtn, CA: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Larkspur, CO: Enjoy Illumination Light Shows every weekend in November and every day after Thanksgiving! Also, enjoy making holiday memories with Cozy Christmas, happening the first 3 weekends in December.
Montrose, CO: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Madison, FL: Nov. 6-8: 25% off veteran’s reservations for Veteran’s celebration. Nov. 26-29: Thanksgiving celebration with a full Thanksgiving lunch. Dec. 30- Jan. 1: Winterfest-Enjoy fireworks, snow, hayrides and more! Buy 5 nights get the next 2 free!
Bremen, GA: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Millbrook, IL: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Portage, IN: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Scottsburg, IN: There are no scheduled activities. This campground is open until Nov. 30.
Lawrence, KS: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Cave City, KY: Veterans may camp free one night from Friday, Nov. 6 through Wednesday, Nov. 11! This park is open all year.
Robert, LA: Nov. 6-9: Celebrate Ranger’s Birthday with cake and ice cream! There will also be outdoor fun and safety training. Nov. 13-15: Inviting all veterans and all current military to camp at Jellystone Park for free this weekend. Campsites and cabins are 40% off this weekend. Nov. 20-22: Social Media Friends Weekend! For those who stay connected, enjoy 60% off campsites and cabins! Nov. 25-29: Thanksgiving, Christmas celebration, and Anniversary party finale! Holiday activities Wednesday-Sunday. Annual Potluck Thanksgiving on Thursday. Santa visit on Saturday night, then the bears go into hibernation until March 2016!
Sturbridge, MA: Dec. 5: Annual Toys for Tots and Teens Dinner! Everyone is invited for a free spaghetti dinner. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy for each person in your party to donate. Must RSVP.
Hagerstown, MD: There are no scheduled activities. This campground is open until Nov. 29.
Frankenmuth, MI: There are no scheduled activities. This campground is open until Dec. 31.
Forsyth, MO: There are no scheduled activities. This campground is open until Nov. 15.
Pelahatchie, MS: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Tabor City, NC: Nov. 6-8: To honor veterans, we will be making cards to mail to a veterans hospital. There will also be lazer tag, crafts, a scavenger hunt, and more. Nov. 27-29: Thanksgiving & Hibernate the Bears Weekend. We will celebrate with Thanksgiving themed events. Join us Saturday as we tuck the bears into bed for a long winter! Dec. 26- Jan. 1: Five for Three Event!= Camp with us for 5 nights and only pay for 3.
Marion, NC: Nov. 2-8: Turkey Trot week. Trot through the nature trail in the morning then unleash your creative talents and transform a pumpkin into a colorful turkey as part of the weekend activities. Nov. 9-15: Time to tuck in Yogi Bear and Boo Boo for a long winters nap.
Mill Run, PA: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Milton, PA: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Swansea, SC: Nov. 6-8: Bedtime for the Bears! Enjoy crafts, scavenger hunt, pajama party, and more! Nov. 27- 29: Thanksgiving in the Park! Carolina vs. Clemson game. Dec.31- Jan 2: New Years Celebration! This park is open all year.
Gatlinburg, TN: Nov. 7-8: Last chance: Non-Scary Halloween! Enjoy hay rides, dressing up, pumpkin carving contests, site decorating, and more! Nov. 26: Celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast! Bring a side dish and enjoy the meal. All leftovers will be donated to a food kitchen.Nov. 28- Nov 29: Join us for Thanksgiving crafts along with fun and games. This park closes on Nov. 30.
Memphis, TN: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Burleson, TX: Nov. 6-29: Gobblin’ Good Times Weekends- enjoy activities during weekends in November! Nov. 30- Dec. 25: Decembear to Remembear! Ring in the Christmas season with planting magic Christmas trees, holiday crafts, and festival of lights fire truck ride! Dec. 26- Jan. 1: Celebrate the new year with Yogi Bear and Boo Boo. There will be activities, laser tag, hey rides, and more! Adult party included too!
Canyon Lake, TX: Nov. 6-8: Veteran’s Day Weekend. If you have served, you get a free night on us! You also get to eat for free at our pancake breakfast on Sunday! Nov. 13-15: Bear Fest Weekend Nov. 20-22: Renaissance Weekend Nov. 23-29: Park-wide pot-luck! Dec. 4-6: Winter Wonderland Weekend Dec. 10-13: Christmas Special BOGOPO- Pay for 1 night and stay for 3 nights! Dec. 14-20: Christmas Around the World- Make crafts and learn about how different cultures celebrate the holidays.
Fredricksburg, TX: Nov. 6-8: Veterans Day Weekend- Help us honor our veterans and fallen soldiers. Tons of fun activities planned. Discounts for Veterans and Active Military! Nov. 13-15: Hibernate the Bears Nov. 20-22: Renaissance Weekend Nov. 26-29: Pot Luck dinner for Thanksgiving! Dec. 4-6: Wine Weekend- Join for a weekend full of wine tasting, family activities, and fun! Dec 11-13: Decorating weekend Dec. 18-20: Merry Christmas!- Celebrate with us at Jellystone! Dec. 25- 27: Happy New Year! Help us celebrate with fun activities!
Tyler, TX: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Waller, TX: Nov. 26-29: Celebrate Thanksgiving with train rides, planned activities, and photos with the bears. Dec. 4-6, Dec 11-13, Dec. 18-20: Christmas weekends- Special holiday events, photos with Yogi Bear and Santa Claus, cookie decorating, Christmas games, and more!
Wichita Falls, TX: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Emporia, VA: There are no scheduled activities, but the campground is open all year.
Gloucester Point, VA: Nov. 6-8: Miscellaneous Mischief Nov. 13-15: Early Thanksgiving and Hibernation Celebration
Many grandparents envision RVing with their grandkids as an ideal way to spend quality time together. But how do you handle teens who are glued to their mobile devices? What do you do with younger children who don’t like hiking or eating semi-charred hotdogs over an open fire? Get all the tips and creative ideas you need from the just-released eBook, RVing With Grandkids.
This free resource helps grandparents, (or any adult RVing with kids!) have all the resources they need to create wonderful, outdoorsy memories. Going camping for the first time? Wondering if you should take the family pet? Want some ideas on keeping kids engaged while hiking? Need help with indoor activities if it rains? No worries! RVing With Grandkids is your one-stop resource for anything RV-related. There are even suggestions on what to do if you don’t own an RV.
Silvana Clark, a frequent speaker at RV conferences across the country, states, “RV camping with children is the ideal way to expose them to the great outdoors. They still have the comforts of a cozy bed and indoor plumbing while being able to attend Jr. Ranger programs and explore creeks and trails.”
Tent camping at area campgrounds may be preferred by 86% of campers, but for some people, camping in tents can get a little old. Tents might be ideal for backpackers in the middle of nowhere, but for those looking for family camping adventures, they can be difficult to set up and sleep in when little ones are in tow. Tent camping also offers few amenities. Those who are fans of “roughing it” might love it, but those who want to enjoy nature without braving the elements may find themselves dismayed by the lack of creature comforts found out in the wilderness.
Choosing from cabin rentals at a favorite camp resort, however, can be a better option for those who need to keep themselves and their children happy. Cabin rentals are the preferred camping accommodations for one-third of all campers, beating out camping at a drive-up campsite (26%), in an RV (24%) or in a yurt (2%). Here are three things that families are sure to love about renting a cabin at your favorite camping resorts:
- Cabins give you access to vital utilities: Most campers get by with a few lanterns and a campfire once the sun goes down, but that’s not always convenient for family activities. Today’s cabins are more than bare-bones structures. They often come equipped with electricity, heating, water, and more, so you can have all the comforts of home away from home. Having those amenities might also help you get to enjoy your camping trip longer. A typical tent camping trip only lasts for about one or two days for 70% of those campers; the more comfortable you and your family are, the more you’ll want to stay on your camping trip.
- Renting a cabin is easy when staying in a family-friendly resort: Some campers prefer to stay in more basic cabins in the middle of nowhere, and they usually have to purchase and maintain these properties themselves. Those who want more short-term accommodations without the hassle can rent a cabin instead at their favorite campgrounds. Families can also choose to stay at resorts that offer plenty of family-friendly activities, including anything from hiking and swimming to fun at a water park. With 87% of campers participating in more than one activity while camping, these resorts offer plenty of fun for campers of all ages.
- Luxury cabins make camping trips special: Are you more of a fan of “glamping,” or glamorous camping? If your idea of communing with nature means having a WiFi hotspot or a gourmet kitchen, then it may be time to take your camping rentals to the next level. These cabins also come with enough space for the whole family, so everyone can spread out in his or her own bedroom.
Don’t let your family camping trip be more difficult than it should be. Choose cabin rentals at your favorite campground locations to make your vacation comfortable and one of a kind.
Campers in the United States have plenty of camp sites to choose from, and each state has its own benefits in terms of outdoor offerings. Those who live on the East Coast or near it may want to head to Virginia for a fun and family-friendly camping trip. Largely considered to be the nation’s birthplace, Virginia is known for its coasts, mountains, and other geological features, all of which allow visitors to experience the beauty of nature.
Are you thinking of visiting one of the many Virginia campgrounds this season or perhaps in the future? Here are the four C’s to remember before choosing to camp out in the Commonwealth of Virginia:
- Consider the season. Virginia is a state that is lucky enough to see all four seasons of the year, so seasonal camping doesn’t have to end at any particular time. Although it can be considerably warmer than visiting a fall or winter campground in Canada, for instance, you are still likely to see snow during the winter. Additionally, the summers are going to be hot, so you’ll need to hydrate and dress appropriately for camping in Virginia from June to August.
- Contemplate your accommodations. Are you interested in roughing it, or do you like the luxury of camping in style? No matter what you and your family prefer, there’s something for everyone in the nation’s campgrounds. Most Americans prefer camping in a tent; in fact, 86% of people surveyed say that these were their accommodations. However, one-third of respondents (33%) opted to stay in a cabin. Around 30% of campers backpacked, 26% chose drive-up campsites, 24% stayed in RVs, and 2% were unconventional and chose yurts. Location also mattered. Eight percent of those surveyed said they slept under the stars, and 11% didn’t even leave home and camped out in the backyard. The campsite you choose is up to you. Just make sure that you’ll be comfortable wherever you stay.
- Choose travel companions. In general, most campers like to travel with family or friends, especially when they go camping. Family camping trips are actually one of the most popular choices for vacations, with Americans spending roughly 534.9 million days camping in total per year. The trick to harmony? Make sure you have plenty to do!
- Create an itinerary. Finally, don’t just stick to your cabin or tent when you go camping in Virginia. There are plenty of natural wonders to see when you choose campgrounds in the state. In the U.S., 87% of campers surveyed participated in multiple outdoor activities, with 92% choosing hiking and making that the most popular activity. Figure out what’s in season at your Virginia campgrounds and get moving!
No matter which campground locations you want to choose, and no matter which state you live in, there’s plenty to do at Campjellystone.com resorts. Thinking of heading to Virginia campgrounds soon? Discover what makes our campgrounds so unique.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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!
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry S’mores
– These are perfect for a summer night! It’s your classic s’more with a twist- strawberries!
- 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!
- S’mores Campfire Cones
– A fun twist that’s super easy to make and easy to eat!
- Cinnamon Caramel S’more
– The combination of these flavors will make it hard to stop eating!
- 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.
- 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?
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.