Over the last five years we have spent more than 120 nights camping at dozens of campgrounds with our three young boys Max, Theo, and Wes. Well, after four days camping in Virginia at Jellystone Park in Luray, our boys have proclaimed it to be their Favorite. Campground. Ever.
On our first day there we realized it would be possible to have an amazing family getaway without ever leaving the campground. The packed schedule of activities, wonderful amenities, and energetic staff kept our whole family happy from breakfast to bedtime.
Here are our top 12 reasons why your family should choose Jellystone Park in Luray, Virginia for your next family camping adventure:
1. Spacious Campsites: Easy to back into, our site was roomy enough for the boys to run and stretch their legs. We also enjoyed the added benefit of being directly across from the playground. This meant that we could relax in our zero gravity chairs while watching them climb and play.
2. Fun and Friendly Staff: Throughout our entire stay, we were incredibly impressed by the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. The Rangers were willing to give directions and tips on where to eat. The camp store was well-stocked and run efficiently. The young activities coordinators, such as Ryan Cubbage (pictured above), were warm and welcoming. The staff made our boys feel special from the time we arrived to the time we departed.
3. Cute Crafts and Terrific Tie-Dyes: Everyday this campground offers an opportunity for the kids (and adults!) to get creative. There is always a free craft available during craft time such as the medals we made for Wacky Olympics Week. You can also pay to paint ceramics or color a pillowcase or bag. The prices were very reasonable, so we didn’t have to blink when our boys wanted to try painting the $2 dinosaurs. We have made a lot of campground tie dyes, but the staff at Jellystone Luray helped our boys make their best shirts yet.
4. Two Large Pools: The two large pools gave our kids plenty of room to splash, jump, and dive for rings. Our boys are not yet confident swimmers, so we loved the large, shallow kids’ pool with the fun water fountain feature.
5. Yogi Bear’s Water Zone: The colorful and exciting water zone had plenty of opportunity for imaginative play. Our five year olds loved the slides, and our one year old hung out around the edges, happy to watch the water show in front of him. Next year he will definitely be excited to plunge in.
6. Wonderful Water Slide: This is a pretty amazing water slide for a campground. Its fast and ridiculously fun for the adults as well as the kids. The best part is there are no long lines for the slide—even on a weekend. Although all of the kids rushed in when it opened in the mornings, for the most part you could walk right up and slide right down.
7. Perfect Playground: There are a few separate sections to this playground, so many kids of all different ages can enjoy the equipment without it feeling crowded. We particularly appreciated the smaller enclosed play set, perfect for our 16 month old. Our boys walked across the moving steps (pictured above) dozens of times each day.
8. Two Jumping Pillows: Max and Theo wanted to visit the jumping pillows both before and after any scheduled activity with Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, and Cindy Bear. We probably stopped between 6-8 times a day for a brief but intense aerobic workout. Two pillows meant there was always room for all the kids to comfortably jump. In the late afternoon or evening, you might even get the pillow all to yourself.
9. Peaceful Mountain Setting: Even though this Jellystone Park was an action packed place for the kids, it was also a deeply relaxing setting for us, since we had panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains no matter where we were on the property. From the morning mountain mist to the evening sunsets, we truly enjoyed the beauty of this campground’s Shenandoah Valley location.
10. Room to Roam: We love it when a campground has a large, grassy common area, and Jellystone Luray delivered on this in spades. Over the course of our stay we saw games of frisbee and catch, families picnicking, and people napping on the grass in front of their cabins. This wide-open field invites families to relax and play together…and isn’t that what vacation is all about?
11. Pancakes with Yogi Bear: On Sunday morning the Cartoon Cafe serves up a fun Pancake Breakfast, attended by Yogi Bear himself. You can order the Yogi (three pancakes) or the Boo Boo (two pancakes) depending on how big of an appetite you worked up during your pre-breakfast jumping pillow session.
12. Tractor Rides: Our boys have been on many tractor rides over the last five camping seasons. This was by far the most fun for them. Yogi Bear and Boo Boo both took turns on the tractor (yes, we went on two rides), but perhaps the best part was the sing along. Both parents and children enjoyed clapping and singing standards such as Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Yankee Doodle, and the Wheels on the Bus.
Jellystone Park Luray offered more activities and amenities than we could possibly experience over one long weekend. We didn’t even get to the Laser Tag building, and we couldn’t fit Story Time with Boo Boo into our packed schedule. There is always next time.
So what are your family’s favorite things about Jellystone Luray? Let us know what you would add to our list!