Family Vacation Campgrounds are the Best Option for Summer Fun!

February 2, 2016

Family vacation campingIt’s good to dream up amazing vacations, but some families can get a bit too creative when it comes to planning their next holiday. Like most things in life, it’s best to stick with the basics. Family vacation campgrounds have been helping to give families the time of their lives for decades, and remain the premier option for family fun in the summer.

Family camping adventures allow the whole gang to try new things while enjoying the company of one another. These days, kids (and parents) are usually too focused on their smartphones and tablets to actually have a conversation. At family vacation campgrounds, such as Camp Jellystone parks you’ll find that it’s never been easier to bond with your loved ones.

You also may run into other families during your trip as well, which makes the experience even more exciting. You never know what to expect in family vacation campgrounds, which is probably why millions of people spend time there every single year.

That’s not all, though. Here are just three of the many reasons to consider family vacation campgrounds for your next getaway:

    • Spend time with loved ones. Camping is still one of the most popular activities for families, because it brings loved ones together unlike anything else. In fact, family camping vacations are one of the most popular choices for Americans, and they spent about 534.9 million days camping altogether in 2011. If you feel as if your relationship with your family has suffered since technology became so prominent, you need to check out some family vacation campgrounds.


    • Meet new people. In 2010 alone, approximately 40 million people went camping for a total of 515 million outings. As you might expect, this staggering number means that you’ll probably run in to some other like-minded families during your camping adventure. Meeting new people is perhaps the best part of family vacation campgrounds, and these random run-ins often lead to families becoming lifelong friends.


    • Experience different regions and environments. There are campgrounds all over the nation, and each and every single one offers a unique and distinct experience. There are campgrounds in Wisconsin, campgrounds in Texas, and even campgrounds in New York. Each of these family vacation hot-spots offers something totally different, yet all of them are supremely entertaining.

Most camping — about 70% — is done in public campgrounds, and your family will be convinced to make this a yearly event after they experience family vacation campgrounds. Check out some campgrounds near you and start a new family tradition this year!

Camping in the Northeast? Consider These 3 Incredible Destinations

February 2, 2016

There’s nothing quite like spending some quality time with family on vacation, and camping is the ultimate way to enjoy the company of loved ones in the great outdoors. When planning your next vacation, consider camping in the Northeast at one of the many popular destinations in the region.

The West Coast might be a beloved vacation destination because of its weather, but camping in the Northeast is an experience unlike any other. Americans went camping for a total of 516.6 million days in 2013, and many of these families took advantage of the incredible campgrounds near New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario.

Most campers went on five camping trips that year, traveling an average of 191 miles from their home to the campground. If you live anywhere in the Northeast, you’re already within driving distance to some of the most amazing camping destinations in the country. In fact, you can see all of these places in one weekend if you plan your trip just right.

Here are a few of the best places to check out when camping in the Northeast:


    • Camping in New York. New York is generally known for its skyscrapers and snow, but hardcore campers know that it’s arguably the best state in the country for some quality camping. Upstate New York is full of unique campgrounds where families from all over the country gather to have the time of their lives. Most camping (about 70%) is done in public campgrounds, and you can find some resort-style campgrounds in NY if you know where to look.


    • Camping in Pennsylvania. Drive just a few hours south from your campground in New York and you’ll land in beautiful Pennsylvania, also known as The Keystone State. Pennsylvania is known for having some of the friendliest people in the country. When you reach your campground, you’ll find plenty of other families who can show you the best places to hike, fish, hunt, and enjoy other activities.


    • Camping in Ontario. If you choose to head north after you leave your New York campground, you’ll find yourself in gorgeous Ontario. Americans may not see Canada as the spot to vacation, but the entire country is a well-kept secret for savvy American campers. Ontario is a city with deep roots in the great outdoors where you’ll find world-class ice fishing spots as soon as you cross the border.


Camping in the Northeast is full of possibilities, and each of the places mentioned above are among the greatest places in the country to spend time with family. Consider camping in these areas for your next family vacation and enjoy the unique serenity of the Northeast.

Camping Etiquette: What You Might Not Know

December 16, 2015

Every year, millions of people going camping. Research shows that in 2011, 42.5 million people went camping. Many of the times, these outdoorsy folk bring their friends and family along, too. In fact, campers include their friends on their trips 70% of the time, and in 2011, 534.9 million days were spent on family camping trips.


Whether you’re an experienced camper taking your loved ones out on a trip or you’re about to go on your first camping trip, there are certain etiquette rules that you should follow. Many campgrounds often post their rules and regulations, making it clear to all what can and cannot be done, but there are also some unspoken rules, too.


Here are a few suggestions on important camping etiquette to take with you on your next trip.


Leave No Trace.


One of the most well-known (yet unspoken) rules of camping is to leave no trace. Whatever you take to a campgrounds should leave with you, including your trash. It’s rude to leave anything that might detract from the outdoors experience of those who come to the campgrounds after you. Once you’re all packed up and ready to leave, take 10 minutes to police your campsite, and go through your checklist to make sure you have everything with you.


Clean Up the Campsite.


Leaving a campsite as you found it is generally expected, but it’s also nice to try to leave it even better than how you found it. It’s not the most necessary thing, but it’s always nice when people police the grounds and try to find old pieces of trash and other debris so that they can throw it all away. If you have kids, pay them a penny or a nickel a piece for each piece of trash they find. For just a couple bucks, the campgrounds will be spotless.


Be Careful of Your Firewood.


Firewood can be a touchy subject with some campers. Firstly, don’t bring your own firewood. You may have some that have been seasoning for a while, but it’s best to leave it at home, because you may inadvertently bring insects and other diseases with you that could harm the ecosystem. Secondly, leave some firewood for the next campers. Finding firewood is hard to do in the dark, so when the next campers arrive and are all set up, it’s nice to have firewood already there.


Remember, these rules are largely unspoken. Breaking them won’t get you kicked out of a park, but it will likely upset others. So if you just remember to be kind and take care of the campgrounds, you’ll be fine.

First Timer Tips: How to Get Ready For Your First Cabin Camping Trip

December 16, 2015

In 2013, Americans went camping for a total of 516.6 million days, and brought their friends and family with them about 70% of the time, many of whom likely had never even gone camping before.


If you’re one of those friends and family who’s about to tag along to the campgrounds for the first time, don’t worry. Winter camping is a lot of fun, and since it’s starting to get pretty cold out, you’ll likely go cabin camping, which is one of the easiest forms of camping.


That being said, you do have to pack well. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your first cabin camping trip.


Keep Your Activities in Mind.


Research shows that 87% of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities. In other words, you’ll likely go hiking, play sports, catch fish, and more, so you need to be prepared. Pack boots, sneakers, sweats, jeans, and every sort of clothing you think you’ll need. It’s better to over-pack than it is to under-pack, after all.


Find Out What the Cooking Arrangements Are.


You’d also be wise to find out what the cooking arrangements are. If the cabin has a full or partial kitchen, you shouldn’t have as hard of a time with your menu. Check to see if it has a fridge, otherwise you’ll have to bring a cooler and keep your meats and things cold that way. If there is no kitchen, you’ll need to be able to prepare your food over a campfire.


Ask If the Park or Facility Has Family Activities.


Some campgrounds have all sorts of fun family camping activities available for their campers. They might have educational hikes, scavenger hunts, nature centers, and more. It’d be a shame if you found out about these activities late and lost the chance to check them out.


Cabin camping is a lot of fun. Just be sure that you plan accordingly.

The Line Awakens: What You Can Learn About Camping From Star Wars Fans

December 11, 2015

Camping is one of the most popular activities in the United States. In 2010, 40 million people went camping for a total of 515 million outings. The following year, 42.5 million people went camping — 2.5 million more — for a total of 534.9 million days, 19.9 million more days or 54,520.5 years more than the previous year.

Typically, people find campgrounds near their homes to enjoy, but there are some out there who have recently chosen less-than-traditional campsites. These folks aren’t just camping for the fun of it. They’re on a mission!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to open soon, and fans are already lining up. In fact, many started camping out in front of theaters a staggering 10 days before the movie premieres. Consider how tough it must be to camp out on hard pavement, there are a few things we can learn about camping from their mission.


    • Lesson 1: Make sure you’re comfortable. The hard, cold ground is tough enough to sleep on. Imagine trying to get a restful night’s sleep on pavement. In order to get comfy on the sidewalk, many fans have likely invested in a good sleeping pad and/or mattress, as well as a good sleeping bag. Having thick layers of comfortable material to lie on may not make up for your bed, but they’re definitely comfortable enough to rest on.


    • Lesson 2: Eat well. You need to keep your strength up when you camp, which is why it’s important to have plenty of food with you. Those waiting in line for Star Wars can probably take turns going out to grab meals at fast food chains or grocery stores, but only if someone stays behind. In order to keep hunger at bay when camping, it’s a good idea to have food you don’t have to worry about cooking. Things like fruit, peanut butter, cold cuts, bean salads, and pastas can all make hardy meals that need little prep.


    • Lesson 3: Stay warm. It’s December. It might be a rather mild December so far, but it’s still cold out, and there’s nothing that can make a wait even more unbearable than the cold. When you go camping, be sure to bring plenty of layers. That way, you can dress to your comfort level. A t-shirt, sweater, pullover, and coat do wonders to keep the cold out.

Camping out is certainly fun, and while many might not consider Star Wars worth the hassle, it certainly adds a fun element to the experience. After all, who doesn’t want there to be a prize waiting at the end?

Getting in the Holiday Spirit at Jellystone Park!

December 7, 2015

Christmas season is upon us and what better way to get in the spirit than heading to a light show at some of your favorite campgrounds? Experience thousands of lights at four of our Jellystone Park locations during the holiday season! See what each has to offer and plan a trip before it’s too late!


Nashville, TN: The Dancing Lights of Christmas will be at Nashville Jellystone Park until January 3rd. Drive thru the park and listen to music that dances with the lights. With new displays added this year, there will be hundreds of thousands Christmas lights to enjoy! Bring the whole family for $25/car and get in the holiday spirit!





Caledonia, WI:  With more than 1.5 million lights, Wisconsin’s Christmas Carnival of Lights will be a show that you won’t want to miss! Enjoy the comfort of your own car as you drive around Caledonia, WI Jellystone Park and enjoy time with your loved ones. The light display closes on December 31 so make sure you plan your trip before it’s over!





Eureka, MO: This light show is open every day from November 13 to January 3, so there are plenty of opportunities to make sure you visit at least once! Shimmering lights, animated scenes and a tunnel of dancing lights are just a few things you can expect from Santa’s Magical Kingdom at Eureka, MO Jellystone Park.  At just $20/car, the whole family can come along!

falling elves



Larkspur, CO: Featuring 250,000 lights, Jellystone Park in Larkspur, CO brings a lot of hype to a small town during the holiday season. Stay warm inside your car as you drive through a 100 ft tunnel, candy land, and more! Illumination Light Show is open daily until January 3rd, and open weekends through January 24. Don’t miss out on starting a tradition and bonding with your family! This light show will not disappoint.



How to Find the Perfect Campgrounds

December 4, 2015

So you want to go family camping, but aren’t sure what sort of camp grounds you should be looking for. On the one hand, you want the real experience, but on the other hand, that might be a bit much for your kids. It’s totally understandable. You want to rough it, but not too roughly.

To help you find the right campgrounds for your next trip, consider the following.


    • What sort of camping do you want to do? Do you want to go tent camping, cabin camping, RV camping, or some other type of camping? Whichever one you feel compelled towards, start your search there. Some camp grounds offer all three choices, while others may only offer one type of camping. For example, if you want to go RV camping, you should consider looking for RV camp grounds.


    • Ask your friends where they go like to go camping (if they do like to go camping). There’s nothing better than a word of mouth recommendation, because they’ve been there. They’ve seen it. They’ve done it. They know what it’s like, and they can give you the inside scoop on whether or not to there.


    • Consider whether or not you want camp grounds extras and if they’re available. After all, if you plan on camping with children, you’re going to want to have plenty of things for the kids to do. After all, almost 70% of tent campers have one to two-night outings, which means they’re going to need plenty to do, and while 87% of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities, kids may not quite enjoy the same things as more adult campers. Fortunately, there are camp grounds with playgrounds, fire pits, electricity, restrooms and all the other amenities that kids may go crazy without.

There’s a reason why family camping vacations are one of the most popular ways Americans relax, as evidenced by the fact that in 2011, they spent 534.9 million days camping altogether. It’s because they’re one of the most fun ways to bond and spend time together as a family.

What People Don't Understand About Winter Camping

December 4, 2015

It’s understandable why some don’t “get” winter camping. After all, the most popular parts of camping don’t seem to be too conducive to winter.

Consider the fact that the most popular type of camping is by tent, as 86% of survey respondents said, while 33% said they preferred cabin camping; 30% backcountry/backpacking; 26% drive-up campsites; 24% RV; 11% camped in a backyard; and 8% slept under the stars. What’s more, about 70% of tent campers — the majority of the majority — have one to two-night outings. Plus, 92% of people say that hiking is their favorite camping activity.

All that being said, wintertime family camping is a whole different experience in and of itself, and that’s what people don’t get about winter camping. Of course winter camping can also be done in milder temperatures as well but there is something to be said about camping in crisp clean wonderful air.

Everything is still and everything is quiet during the winter. There’s not the usual background, woodland chatter you might hear during the summer, and if you are camping in the snow, this beautiful blanket quiets the area.  Camping in the winter can be an incredibly peaceful, tranquil, and quiet experience — even more so than nature usually is.

Going wintertime family camping is also like taking an adventure to a whole new world with your favorite people. Sure, you’ve probably gone camping before, or at least been in the woods, but in the winter, the snow changes everything. It looks like an entirely different place once it’s been frosted with snow.

Most importantly, there are some camping activities you can only do in the winter, like build a snowman, have a snowball fight, go snow shoeing, try ice climbing, or even ice fish. If you don’t go winter family camping, you may never get as good of a chance to take advantage of the icy weather.

If you’ve never gone wintertime family camping before, do yourself a favor and go. Granted, these colder months may not seem too conducive to the outdoor experience, but once you go, you and your family may experience a new and wonderful experience together.

What Music Festivals Can Teach You About Heading to Your Favorite Camping Sites

December 4, 2015

Summertime usually means festival season, especially for music fans. In addition to featuring the hottest headlining acts and letting guests rub elbows with rich and famous attendees, music festivals are also the prime time for camping, and they have plenty to teach campers of all types.

No matter which camping sites you choose, whether they’re public campgrounds, where 70% of campers converge, or family camping resorts with cabin rentals, you can use these common sense tips for festivalgoers, too:

    • Dress appropriately. Sure, you’ll need your cutest flower crowns and most boho chic outfits if you’re headed to Coachella, but it’s probably not necessary if you’re going hiking and fishing instead. A survey of campers found that 87% of them participate in more than one outdoor activity on their excursions, with hiking as the most popular, according to 92% of respondents.

      Make sure that you and your family members have appropriate outerwear for the outdoors, no matter which season you choose to go camping. That means breathable cotton and comfortable hiking boots for the summer and heavier clothing for the winter.


    • Figure out how you’ll be getting clean. Whether you’re camping out at Lollapalooza or going backpacking at your favorite state park, you’re sure to get sweaty, muddy, and just all around dirty on your trip. While that may not be a problem for you if you’re surrounded by other unclean concertgoers, it might be uncomfortable after a long day of hiking.

      Before you go camping, figure out what resources you’ll have to get clean during your stay. Some camping sites will have showers available either in a central location or in your very own rental cabins. In some cases, however, you might be washing up in a nearby lake or stream. Either way, stock up on some deodorant and dry shampoo and find ways to keep cool.


  • Don’t be afraid to explore your “glamping” options. Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival announced its lineup at the end of November, and with it, they also gave music fans the chance to sign up for some exclusive glamping options. Glamping, or glamorous camping, involves staying in anything from RVs to cabins and sometimes even hotels, all while still allowing you to enjoy the outdoors as much (or as little) as you would like.

    When you plan your next trip, figure out just what your family will need to stay comfortable. Many camping sites offer cabin rentals, which have ample room for the whole family. You can also drive up or rent an RV for the weekend, which can offer creature comforts like cable and WiFi, too.

Above all, plan your trip in advance! The more work you do ahead of time the more you can enjoy relaxing and/or roughing it on your next camping trip.

How to Prepare Your RV for Winter Storage

November 24, 2015

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.


Happy Hibernating!

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.