The Case For Camping In The Winter

Winter is coming (and it’s probably only a matter of weeks before people tire of advertisements and gimmicks using George R.R. Martin’s famous tagline). That does not necessarily mean that it is time to pack up your camping gear for the year and call it quits. Camping in the winter months can offer unique opportunities that you will be unable to replicate any other time of year. Here are just a few.

True Solitude

Family camping is a great retreat and break from the daily grind at any time of the year. Whether you choose cabin camping, RV camping, tent camping, or yurt camping, all kinds of camping teach children about nature and help them foster a greater respect for it, too. Camping in the winter months can provide an experience unlike any other. Americans and their families do not have to worry about other campers as much in winter. Campgrounds are quieter, more peaceful, and — because there are fewer people camping — rates are much cheaper in the winter months.

Enjoy The Outdoors, Without The Mosquitoes And Bugs

Even if you choose cabin camping, everyone knows that cooking over the campfire is a must. It can be a lot of fun for children, too, as long as a responsible adult is around to watch them! In the winter, you don’t have to worry about bugs. You don’t have to worry about bears. With bugs and animals as less of a concern (or even a completely obsolete concern), it may be the perfect time to camp with children.

You Might Learn Something New

Winter is the perfect time to work on new skills. Learn to snowshoe. Pick up cross country skiing. Even learn a thing or two about the stars, which you are likely to see — given the general lack of people and leafless trees.

Winter can be the best time for camping. Go on a one-of-a-kind retreat with the family. Enjoy the outdoors without the bugs, and seize the opportunity to pick up new, winter-specific activities.

Jellystone Parks Celebrate Snowbirds!

With Yogi Bear™ and his friends in hibernation, winter visitors to year-round Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resorts will find a more adult crowd for socializing. Two parks recently announced that they are creating a host of new programs focusing on snowbirds and other winter guests who will be traveling without children.

At the 170-site Tabor City, North Carolina, Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resort, Assistant Manager Rebecca Murphy says a new activities schedule will be introduced after Thanksgiving weekend.

“Our winter activities include crafting and knitting classes as well as bingo games and potlucks,” Rebecca explains. “We are developing golf outings and well as museum and art gallery tours for our winter visitors. Additional winter activities will include senior fitness classes, horseshoes, bag toss, ladies lunch outings, trivia games and holiday socials.”

And at the North Texas Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resort in Burleson, the staff aims to please their “Winter Texans” with adult-oriented activities like live country music performances. “Winter Texans” are, of course, visitors who are hoping to avoid hibernating in the frozen north.

We’re shifting gears,” says Park Manager Steve Stafford. “We’re developing a growing array of activities and special

special events to keep our Winter Texans and other winter visitors entertained.”

New for the 2014-2015 winter season will be live country music performances on Nov. 7-8 and 14-15, and Christmas parties on Dec. 18-19 with food, live music and hay rides through Christmas lights in the park.

Steve’s team is also organizing a murder mystery weekend and a Civil War re-enactment weekend, as well as a craft beer weekend and chili and steak cook-off weekends.

Find out more at each park’s websites: and

Thrills and Chills Fill October at Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resorts

Crisp leaves crunch under eager feet; a spooky howl echoes just beneath the wind; eerie shadows lurk just beyond your view at twilight. Halloween is officially here, and ghosts and ghouls of all ages are celebrating. If you’re a frequent Jellystone Park™ guest, you know Halloween just might be our favorite holiday of the year, a

nd our parks pull out all the scary stops to offer a camping weekend that will become a family legend. If you’ve never visited us during this special season, don’t let another year go by! There’s still plenty of time to get in on the frightful fun, with many of our campgrounds offering Halloween Weekends through the rest of the month. A spooky sample:

Kansas City/Lawrence, KS

Throughout the entire month of October, bring your little monsters to Kansas City Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resort! The Haunted Barn is open 8-10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night in October, and the park’s famous Corn Maze opens at 6 p.m. The whole family will love glow hay rides, Halloween arts and crafts, a Halloween dance (don’t forget your costume), face painting, contests for Best Costume, Best-Decorated Campsite, and more.

Mammoth Caves/Cave City, KY

Yogi Bear™ & Boo Boo™ Halloween Weekends

The Haunted Forest opens its gates every weekend in October (through November 2) with more new attractions than ever. Each cabin/campsite will get two free admission passes to the Forest. Halloween campers are known for competitive decorating, outdoor cooking and having a good time. Arts and crafts, color your Yogi Bear™ Halloween tote bag for candy collecting ($),plus trick or treating on Saturdays! Pumpkin carving, costume, and site/cabin decorating contests with prizes to the winners.

Lancaster South/Quarryville, PA

Halloween Weekends throughout October

Crafts, pumpkin carving competitions, a costume contest and daytime “Trick-or-Treating” around the park. Non-scary hayride at 4 p.m.; Haunted Hayride after dark. Monster Mash Dance Party on Saturday nights and site decorating contest. Book 2 weekends in a row and get the onsite storage at no charge! Add a 3rd night – $25 for campers and 1/2 price for the 3rd night in cabins. Available for all Halloween weekends!

Columbia/Swansea, SC

Halloween Spooktacular Weekends in October

Haunted hey ride – kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Crafts, pumpkin painting, costume contests, trick or treating, Halloween Haunt in the recreation center, site decorating contest.

Emporia, VA

October 24-25

Join us on Friday for a wagon ride with Yogi Bear™ followed by a campfire of smore’s and ghost stories. Saturday: Crafts, games, trick or treating, costume contest, HAUNTED HAYRIDE!! Decorate your site, prizes will be awarded!

You’ll find our state-by-state list of Halloween happenings here.

Camp Year-Round With These Simple Tricks

Temperatures are dropping. The first frost is quickly approaching. Soon, it may not seem warm enough to camp at all. More Americans, however, are realizing that camping can be a great family vacation and/or a relaxing getaway year-round. What are the best ways to keep camping feasible and fun in the chilly fall months — and even during the winter, too?

Pack And Plan Accordingly

Seventy-four percent of campers try something they were initially afraid to do — and sometimes that can include fall or winter camping. Seasonal camping does not have to be a daunting prospect, however — especially if you are well-prepared. Pack snow boots, hats, gloves, and scarves along with head and feet warmers and some thick, wool blankets.

What Are The Best Fall-Themed Campfire Foods?

Sitting around the campfire at family campgrounds may seem even more inviting in the chilly fall or winter weather. Similarly, toasty campfire foods are just the thing to keep you warm on a cold, winter morning. Heat up some soup in a pot over the fire, create a stew-like, hobo meal (throw some vegetables and meat into some tin foil), or even indulge in one of Antarctic explorer Sebastian Copeland’s favorite treats, a cranberry and bacon grease spread. Copeland recommends eating it on a bagel with a slice of cheese, or even topping off cereal with the cranberry spread, for a flavorful treat high in healthy fats and rich in antioxidants.

Forget About Roughing It

The best thing about fall and winter camping, however, is that it can allow you to enjoy the great outdoors and take in the beauty of fall foliage or snow-capped pine trees without roughing it. Skip tent camping in favor of cozy cabins or even RV camping resorts. RV camping resorts give you the best of both worlds, inviting you to enjoy nature, a toasty campfire, and several luxury amenities, like a heated lodge, heated showers and bathrooms, indoor recreation, and sometimes even on-site laundry.

Are you packing up your tents and camping equipment? Not so fast! You can continue enjoying camping year-round, whether it’s in a tent with extra warm sleeping bags and several wool blankets or in a cozy RV camping resort.

New Activities Learned from Camping


Camping1Check out Camp Jellystone’s new infographic on their blog!

More Baby Boomers Are Buying RVs

Just about everyone dreams about retiring and traveling the world — and a growing number of Baby Boomers are making it happen, thanks to RV rentals and sometimes even luxury RVs. In fact, “approximately 7.2 million RVs are on the nation’s roads,” according to and a study by the University of Michigan. What’s the appeal? Why is RV traveling and living still going strong?

Relaxed And Low-Key Or Luxurious And Indulgent?

There are all kinds of RV camping resorts in the U.S., giving retiring Baby Boomers the option to camp in the woods, on a lake, on top of a mountain, or even right on the beach, just feet away from the water. Traditional camping can be a great reprieve from hectic schedules and others’ expectations, even during retirement. Camp sites are quiet — and often in the midst of nature.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Retirees and seniors don’t necessarily have to choose traditional camping every time — or at all. A growing number of RV camping resorts are departing from the notion of roughing it — and offering patrons all kinds of amenities, including spas and golf courses, tennis courts, heated swimming pools, and recreation centers.

It’s Easy To Take Someone Along For The Trip

Grandparents who want to take pets or kids along on most trips are going to have a rough time. Paying for plane fare is no small task, and pets may need special accommodations if they are too large to fit on your lap or in an extra seat.

RVs are the perfect solution. You can easily accommodate for grandkids or pets, without paying for airfare or a hotel. Camping is a great way to bond with young children, and most will be entertained by low-cost, age-old traditions, like cooking dinner or roasting s’mores over the fire.

RVs are all the rage in the Baby Boomer community — and with good reason. RVs give seniors the option to literally travel just about anywhere, and they are a cost-effective option when bringing pets, kids, and family along.

Interesting Facts about Camping


Interestingcamping1Take a look at our new infographic up on our blog!

Do’s and Don’ts of Camping with Kids

When it comes to camping with kids, there is a right way to do it and there is a wrong way. Over the next few days, several Americans will demonstrate the wrong way — camping out (and yes, sometimes as a family!) in front of The Apple Store to secure their place in line to ultimately purchase the iPhone 6. As tech-savvy as kids can be these days and as eager as they may be to get their hands on tablets and smartphones, spending the night out in the cold in front of a retail store still does not constitute family camping. Here are some quick Dos and Don’ts for best possible experience while camping with kids.

Do: Teach Kids Outdoor Survival Skills

Seventy-four percent of Americans of all ages have tried at least one new activity while camping — and most of these activities entailed something they were previously afraid to do. You don’t necessarily have to start out sleeping out under the stars or swimming in a lake, however. Parents can slowly introduce kids to camping and outdoor survival skills, while enjoying the comforts of RV or cabin camping. That way, you can get kids accustomed to things like building a fire, identifying plants, or hiking — without getting too overwhelmed.

Don’t: Expect Your Kids To Eat Cold Beans Out Of The Can For Several Days Straight

Some survival skills are fun — even for young children. Some are not. Even the most enthusiastic adults will tire of eating cold beans out of a can for days on end. That’s not what you want your child to associate camping with, especially if you want to make a second trip.

Do: Roast Marshmallows And Tell Ghost Stories

There are some stereotypical — but well-liked and even loved — camping traditions you don’t want kids to miss out on. Roast marshmallows. Make s’mores. Tell stories around a campfire. Pick up a camping press, and let your young children help you prepare peanut butter and jelly to cook and into gooey perfection over the campfire.

You know — in fact, we all know — camping outside of The Apple Store is not a proper family vacation. Help your kids make life-long memories with a legitimate and exciting camping experience.

Camping in the U.S.


Campinginus1Check out Camp Jellystone’s new infographic.

12 Great Reasons for Camping in Virginia at Jellystone Luray

Yogi at Luray Virginia Jellystone

Guest bloggers:  Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi blog about camping and traveling with their three young children at and The Jayco Journal.

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:

Yogi at Luray Virginia Jellystone


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.
Spacious RV sites Jellystone Luray


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.

Crafts at Jellystone Luray


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.

Two Large Pools Jellystone Luray


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.

Yogi Bear's Water Zone Jellystone Luray


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.

Waterslide Jellystone Luray
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.

Playground Jellystone Luray VA
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.

Jumping Pillow Jellystone Luray VA

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.

Mountains Jellystone Luray VA

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?

Room to roam at Jellystone Luray

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.

Pancakes with Yogi Jellystone Luray VA

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.

tractor rides Jellystone Luray VA

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!