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.”
Americans are fortunate when it comes to camping in that there are so many different sites that are perfect for traveling. From hiking in the Adirondacks to horseback riding on the Great Plains, there are plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy. As it turns out, camping in Michigan is no different. Michigan campgrounds feature plenty of space for all campers, and they also have attractions made for hiking, fishing, swimming, and other outdoor fun whether you stay up by the Great Lakes or go deep into the state’s forests.
Are you thinking about visiting Michigan campgrounds with your family? Keep these three factors in mind before you book your next camping trip:
Consider the type of camping you want to do.
When most people think about camping, tent camping is typically what comes to mind. This is the preferred way of camping for around 86% of all campers surveyed. However, there are other ways to go camping, and some of these accommodations are far more luxurious than others. One-third of campers stayed in cabins, 26% chose drive-up campsites, and 24% traveled and stayed in RVs. However, there are other ways to camp. Three out of ten campers like going backpacking and staying in the wilderness, and 2% preferred more unique accommodations, like sleeping in a yurt.
Choose the right time of year.
Because Michigan is so far north, the entire state is fortunate enough to see all four seasons. If winter camping is a bit too frigid for you, it may be best to wait until the thaw of spring or choose a cabin rental or other accommodations for the summer. Keep in mind, though, that this is peak season for camping, so book your cabin early! With the fall camping season already here, autumn at some campgrounds can feature a number of outdoor activities, from corn mazes to fall foliage tours.
Find the best campground locations for your trip.
The type of camping you prefer — from tent camping to RV or cabin camping — will depend largely upon your personal preferences. As such, it’s important to find Michigan campgrounds that offer the appropriate spaces for you and your family. The way you choose to camp may also influence how long you stay on your camping trip. Almost 70% of tent campers stay out for just one or two nights. RV campers, on the other hand, tend to have longer outings; of those surveyed, 28% stayed five or more nights on their camping trips. Cabin rentals can also extend your stay by giving you and your family the right amount of comfort and shelter in between spending time outdoors.
The key to going camping anywhere is to plan well in advance. Make sure you do your research before you go camping, so you know exactly what to expect — no matter which campgrounds you choose.
Contrary to what some parts of the country believe, New York State is a lot more than an extension of New York City. New York is home to some of the most beautiful wilderness in the country, which makes it the perfect spot for the state’s family camping resorts.
Why should you consider camping in New York? Here are three wonderful reasons to try it if you haven’t already.
- Camp out on all kinds of terrain in New York State. Whether you enjoy the mountains or want to stay near the water, there are all kinds of different parts of the state to enjoy. Most campers (about 87%) prefer to participate in more than one activity when they go camping, with hiking being the most popular for 92% of campers surveyed. New York’s mountain ranges make the state ideal for those who enjoy the challenges of hiking, backpacking, and climbing.
- See one-of-a-kind sights at New York’s camping resorts. Some parts of New York are like no other state when it comes to their unique landscapes. From the tranquility of the Finger Lakes to the gorgeous gorges in Ithaca, or from the Catskills to the Adirondacks, there is sure to be something that everyone will love when they visit the state. Campgrounds in New York also feature a number of other attractions, from hiking trails to water parks and more.
- Experience all four seasons of the year at campgrounds in New York. One of the things that really stands out about New York is that it’s got weather like no other state. You can camp out in the heat of the summertime or bundle up for some winter camping. Spring and autumn also offer more temperate camping weather for those who love the outdoors. Fall camping in New York is especially popular because of the changes seen in the foliage during this time of year.
Whether you choose tent camping in New York, which 70% of tent campers choose for just a day or two, or you decide to rent a cabin at one of the state’s campground locations, you have plenty of options throughout New York State. Get in touch with us to find out more about our New York campgrounds.
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.
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.
Being prepared for anything (rain, snow, or shine) is a necessary part of camping around wintertime in any part of North America. Enjoy your family adventures in camping by being safe!
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.