Don't Forget These Essentials for Your Winter Camping Trip

October 1, 2015

Whether you’re camping in Texas or cabin camping in Ohio, there are a number of spots you can choose for winter camping. But not all campgrounds locations are created equally. Depending on the weather and the accommodations, you could have a vastly different experience at one campground or another.

For example, much of a camping trip is dependent on the weather. Of campers surveyed, around 70% of those who stayed in tents only stayed out one or two nights — no matter what the weather. By comparison, those who stayed in an RV tended to have the longest trips on average, and 28% of them spent five or more nights camping. Booking cabin rentals can also extend a trip and keep the family better sheltered in all types of weather; this is the preferred method of camping for about 30% of campers.

Being prepared for anything (rain, snow, or shine) is a necessary part of camping around wintertime in any part of North America. How can you make the most of a winter camping trip? Make sure you don’t leave home without these three essentials:


    • Warm bedding and outerwear: At night, especially, temperatures can drop to their lowest point of the day, even during the summer. As a result, you’ll need to find as many ways as you can to stay warm. Don’t forget to pack appropriate clothing, boots, outerwear, hats, and gloves for everyone on the trip, especially children. You’ll also need to make sure you have the appropriate items for sleeping, including insulated sleeping bags and bedding in materials like flannel and fleece. Even if you’re staying in a cabin, you’ll still need to bundle up to keep warm, and this is especially true if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors.


    • Food and cooking supplies: Because temperatures may be below freezing on your trip, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough food and supplies to make warm foods and drinkings. Bring pots and pans to cook over the fire, if you’re staying outdoors; if you’ll be in a cabin, bring warm drinks with you like tea or cocoa. If your winter camping trip will last several days, ration your food so everyone has plenty to eat.


  • Someone else: Finally, whether you’re headed to your favorite camping grounds or planning a trip in the wilderness, make sure that you take someone with you. Surveyed campers indicate that they bring a friend with them 70% of the time, so planning a trip with close friends, a significant other, or family members is the best course of action. Not only can this help you have fun as you participate in outdoor activities, but it’s also safe. Should you get hurt, wind up lost, or have some other kind of emergency, having someone to travel with ensures that help will be there when you need it.

What essentials would you recommend? Let us know in the comments.

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.

Fall Camping: Better Than Summer Camping?

September 1, 2015

Fall may not be quite as warm as the summer, but it’s just as perfect a time to go camping — if not better. Here’s what you should know.


The Foliage.


One of the main reasons it might be better to go camping in the fall is because of the foliage. As nature gears up for winter, the leaves take on bright, vibrant, beautiful colors. It’s simply picturesque. Campgrounds in New England are famous for their foliage, but there are a ton of other places that also have amazing foliage, such as Colorado, North Carolina, Michigan, Washington, and New Mexico. Plus, since almost 70% of tent campers have one to two-night outings, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the amazing scenery.


Tons to Do.


While hiking is the most popular activity amongst campers — with 92% of survey participants saying that they hiked when camping — there’s plenty of other things to do. In fact, about 87% of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities. In the fall, you can do tons of fun things that you wouldn’t be able to do at any other time of the year, such as pick apples, carve pumpkins, check out harvest festivals, and even fish in some derbies.


The Timing.


When you go camping in the summer, you often have to pay a bit more, and have to deal with a ton of bugs. If you go camping in the fall, you won’t have to bother with these problems. Campsites often drop their rates, and stop taking reservations after Labor day, making it way easier, and way more affordable. The chill of fall also chases the bugs away, which means there won’t be as many mosquitoes and gnats to bite you.


Whether you like camping in tents, or prefer cabin camping, fall is the perfect time to go out, and enjoy some time in nature. If you have any questions about checking out some campgrounds this fall, feel free to share in the comments.

Your Fall Camping Checklist: What You Need to Bring

September 1, 2015

There are few things better than taking the family on a camping trip. Just consider what recent years have shown. In 2010, 40 million people went camping for a grand total of 515 million outings. In 2011, families spent 534.9 million days camping altogether.

Then, in 2013, Americans went camping for a total of 516.6 million days.

Autumn camping, in particular, is one of the best things you can do with the family. The crisp, cool breeze blowing. There’s fresh air, the vibrant colors of the foliage, and the wonderful harvests that are coming in.


Before you go family camping this fall though, you’re going to have to pack. Here’s just a few things you should take with you to the campgrounds.


    • Shelter. – To set up camp, you’re going to need your tent, a ground cloth, tarps, extra stakes, rope, a hatchet, a hammer, a mat for the tent’s entrance, a broom, and a dust pan.


    • Bedding. – If you don’t sleep well, you’re not going to have a good time. This is why you need to bring a good sleeping bag, an air mattress or a foam bed pad, sheets, blankets, a good pillow, an air pump (if you take an air mattress or a blow up pad), and a repair kit for said air mattress. If you make a nice little nest, you’ll sleep just fine, no matter how hard or cold the ground is.


    • Clothing. – Though the fall weather can be warm during the day, it can get pretty chilly at night. You need to pack a variety of different clothes, including jeans, sweatpants, t-shirts, sweatshirts, extra underwear, extra socks, a cap, shoes, boots, a jacket, sleeping clothes, rain gear, towels, and a laundry bag to put it all in when it gets dirty.


    • Cooking Gear. – Food cooked over a campfire just seems to taste better, but you’re going to need to remember to bring your cooking stuff with you. Depending on what you plan to make, you’re going to want to bring a water jug, a water bucket, coolers, thermoses, propane stove, a lighter, pans, pots, campfire grill, firestarters, plates, bowls, silverware, garbage bags, measuring cups, aluminum foil, paper towels, dish soap, cooking oil, plastic containers for leftovers, potholders, oven mitts, spatulas, knives, cooking spoons, tongs, skewers, can openers, bottle openers, a folding table, mugs, paper cups, mixing bowls, cutting boards, napkins, dish pans, dish rags, scrubbing pads, and condiments.

So long as you remember to take all this with you to the campgrounds, you’ll undoubtedly have one of the best camping trips of all time. If you have any questions, or know of anything else that should be taken to the campgrounds, feel free to share in the comments.

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.