What to Expect When Cabin Camping

April 28, 2016

To most, cabin camping sounds more luxurious and relaxing than tent camping, but the truth is that the two are very similar. In fact, it might even help you to think about cabin camping as roughing it in a hard-shelled tent. Cabin camping is a great introduction to camping for beginners, and for more seasoned adventurers, it can be a welcome change of pace. You get all the benefits of a traditional camping experience, but without the trouble of setting up and taking down a tent, or worrying much about the weather.

No matter, it is still important to come prepared in mind and body. Here’s what you should expect from your cabin camping experience:

Campgrounds with cabins can have accommodations that range in size and quality from basic, four-walled structures with cots and bunks, to deluxe accommodations including kitchen appliances and air conditions. But, most often, cabins lack private bathrooms — chances are you’ll have to use the public bathroom accommodations provided by your campground. Come equipped with a shower caddy, a couple of gallons of clean water, and toilet paper, just in case!

There is good news! Most cabin sites, like tent sites, will come with a picnic table and a fire pit. These two ingredients are often all you need to have a great time at the campsite in between outdoor adventures — 87% of campers participated in multiple outdoor activities during their stay, which is why it’s a great idea to have a comfy campsite ready to go.

Bedding will be just as important in the cabin as without for all family vacations — it can get chilly at night, even in the summer! Make sure you know what the accommodations are in the cabin — if they provide mattresses, then only sleeping bag and pillows will be necessary whereas inflatable sleeping pads will be needed if there’re only empty frames!

One thing you now have room for in your cabin, as opposed to the old tent, is full sized towels! They will be a luxury after a day on the lake, or after a big rain.

Speaking of rain — now that you have a dry area to enjoy for those rainy days, come prepared with games for a family vacation like cards and board games to occupy the time until the sun shines again.

Of course, all the standard camping amenities should not be forsaken — coolers, warm clothes, fire starting gear, cooking and cleaning gear, and food are a given!

Camping is well loved. In 2010 alone, approximately 40 million people went camping for a total of 515 million outings, and American families, in particular, spent 534.9 million days camping altogether in 2011, but make sure you come prepared for your vacation cabins!

3 Reasons to Plan Your Shakedown Trip Today!

April 15, 2016

Unless you are lucky enough to live in a year-round RVing climate, you are probably opening up the RV for camping season this month. While many experts recommend a “shakedown” trip if you purchase a new RV, we strongly suggest that you make this a yearly tradition, even if you are a camping veteran.

What is a Shake Down Trip?

A shake down trip refers to a short, close to home, excursion with your RV for the purpose of testing out the systems and stocking up on necessary supplies.  We used to be so excited about dewinterizing our travel trailer and hitting the road that we skipped this tradition for years. Then we ended up on a 10-day vacation in Myrtle Beach without any running water. A problem that could have been easily fixed at home became a lot more complicated on the road.

Now we visit a favorite nearby campground where we enjoy a shake down weekend every spring. Something we avoided has become a favorite family tradition, an event we look forward to that marks the opening of our official camping season.

 

3 Reasons You Should Plan a Yearly Shake Down Trip

  1. Identify any maintenance issues before embarking on longer trips.

We take very good care of our RV, and most of the time it opens up without any issues at all. However, fuses do blow out and squirrels do sometimes chew on propane lines.  When you set aside a weekend at the campground to tend to these basic maintenance issues, you can take care of your chores in a beautiful and relaxing environment.

 

  1. Practice working all your systems in a low stress environment.

When you are on an RV vacation, you don’t want to worry about anything except enjoying your precious time at the campground. The last thing you want to do is figure out how to get your hot water heater working. Take care of this ahead of time on a shake down trip, and you will coast through your RV set up for the rest of the season.

 

  1. Make sure your RV is properly packed.

Pack up your RV and then head out for your shake down trip. Once settled at the campground, you will inevitably discover items you forgot. No worries…your home is nearby and you can pack that tire pressure gage as soon as you return.  You might also discover a few items that you don’t really need. You can ditch that clutter before your next big trip.

 

Our yearly shake down trip has turned into a fun, relaxing way to celebrate the beginning of camping season. And other RVers seem to feel the same. This year we will be joined at the campground by many other camping friends, eager to test out those tanks and then share s’mores around the fire.

 

See you at the campground!

 

Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi are the co hosts of the weekly RV Family Travel Atlas and Campground of the Week podcasts, as well as the creators of the RVFTA Podcast Network. They are also the authors of The Idiots Guide to RV Vacations and the Acadia National Park Adventure Guide. After buying their very first pop up camper six years ago, Jeremy and Stephanie caught the RV bug in a big way, and now spend over 70 nights a year in their travel trailer with their three sons, Theo, Max, and Wes, and sweet Maggie the pup. You can follow along on their adventures (and misadventures) at rvfamilytravelatlas.com.

What to Bring on a Cabin Camping Trip

April 13, 2016

CampingTo some, family vacation means staying at a resort, with many amenities and luxuries at your fingertips. To others, it means roughing it in a tent or a cabin in the woods. Indeed, in 2013, 40.1 million Americans (that’s 14% of the U.S. population) camped. It’s no wonder why, with so many amenities and activities our camp-resorts have that being in the great outdoors, getting off the grid, far away from the office, and leaving material items behind, is just one of the many reasons to go camping!

In the realm of camping, there are many possibilities — you could strap a tent on your back and enjoy a hiking and camping adventure, or you could opt for the more convenient campsite, which is often a better choice for families. You could also rent a cabin as a home base while you discover the state or national park or forest you want to explore. Cabin camping is also comfortable when the weather gets chilly at night or if your party is comprised of too many people to make a couple of tents feasible. One in 10 campers between the ages of 18 and 34 enjoy cabin camping and many times, it’s the best way to stay comfortable and have the amenities of home with you.

While cabin camping offers many more modern amenities, it is still important to be prepared and bring some of the essentials. Your park store may also carry many of these items.

    • Fire starters, including lighters, matches, kindling, and lighter fluid. Remember to read up on wildfire prevention and fire safety — a cabin is made up of much more flammable materials than a tent.

 

    • Flashlights and extra batteries — headlamps are particularly recommended for after-dark grilling and late night walks to the bathroom. Not to mention, easy reading if you can’t fall asleep after the sun goes down.

 

    • Camping saw or small axe — unless you plan on buying wood, it is often handy to have the tools to forage for it yourself. Make sure to check with the park or site you are staying at to make sure that foraging for wood is allowed first!

 

    • Plastic bags — from impromptu rain jackets to garbage disposal and leftover storage, plastic bags are an essential and underrated part of the cabin camping experience.
    • Camping stove: Some family cabin rentals won’t come with a kitchen, so make sure to bring your own! Mess kits, camping stoves, spices (store them in empty Tic-Tac containers for easy transportation), and cooking oils should be the recipe for yummy camping food for days.

Remember, family cabin camping can be a great way to spend quality time with the whole family. Don’t be afraid to spend some time out of doors either — sleeping up the stars is magical, especially when you can go inside anytime you want. About 82% of cabin campers spent up to two nights outdoors.

Enjoy vacation cabins as the happy medium between camping outside and staying in a hotel and can be more affordable.

Stressed Out? A Family Camping Trip Could Help!

April 13, 2016

This world is filled with many stresses. You and the husband or wife could be stressed out with work and possibly each other. Your kids can get stressed out with school and other activities as well. You could certainly stressed out because of your kids and everything else going on in the world. If this is true, then it’s time to do something to create family ties once again. A family camping vacation could be the solution to regaining some family peace!

Campgrounds with a pool and other amenities can be exactly what you need. Your kids will enjoy the pool for a good amount of time that you spend camping, so that means they will be out of your hair! Just kidding (kind of).

When the kids are spending time in the pool, however, you and your husband or wife can enjoy all the other features that camping has to offer to relieve some of that stress.

Family camping trips have been on the rise over the last few years. In 2011, camping was one of the most popular recreational activities for families, spending about 534.9 million days camping. Two years later in 2013, the American Camper Report shows that more than 40 million Americans over the age of six went camping.

There are not too many other things out there that offer complete fun and relaxation for you and the whole family. Family camping is fun, relaxing and remember, campgrounds with a pool is a bonus.

Sure, the kids will want to spend most of the time in the water, but just because your family goes to campgrounds with a pool doesn’t mean that’s all you have to do. On average, about 87% of all campers participate in multiple outdoor activities.

The best way to completely relax and get rid of those awful stresses that life throws at you is to do one thing for certain: Leave the cell phones and computers at home. A family camping vacation where everyone is on their phones is not a vacation. It’ll benefit the entire family if everyone takes a break from technology and enjoys the wonderful outdoors.

Remember to keep an open mind and allow yourself to have some quality fun time with your family and you can have the vacation of a lifetime.

Discover Genius Camping Tips for Your Next Trip

April 13, 2016

For a total of 515 million outings, more than 40 million people went camping in 2010 alone. People go for summer camping trips for many reasons — 13% of adults went camping to spend quality time with their families while some campers do it for the chance do some extreme hiking. Camping is more than just an American past-time — it is a chance for people to reconnect with roots, trees, and the great outdoors. It’s a chance to unplug and relax, get some fresh air, and sleep under the stars.

However amazing camping sounds, and often is, there are certainly some nitty, gritty details that need some attention. Whether you want to go tent camping or cabin camping check out these camping tips for some innovative camping ideas.

    • Point a headlamp into a gallon jug of water — it’ll create an instant lantern.
    • Re-purpose an old coffee can to protect your toilet paper — just cut a slit in the side and feed the paper through. The camp resort may not have great toiletries or amenities.
    • Use empty Tic-Tac containers to store spices for camping cooking — no more carting around bulky spice containers.
    • For single-use toothpaste packets, cut up a straw, fill with paste, and seal the ends with a lighter. Also, make single use soap leaves by peeling a bar of soap with a vegetable peeler.
    • Do some meal prep — make pancake mix with shortening and dry milk, and store in a jar for instant pancakes (just add an egg and some water)
    • Frighteningly, but conveniently, Doritos make amazing fire-starters if you don’t have any of your own.
    • Add bundles of sage and rosemary to the campfire to keep mosquitoes at bay.
    • Invest in microfiber towels — they are super absorbent and lightweight
    • Freeze gallon jugs or empty juice containers to keep your cooler cool and food fresh.
    • Bring glow sticks — they will help you see your kids at night (and kids love glow sticks). Sunny campgrounds in the day can turn pitch black at night. If you have a dog, put one around his neck too. Color coding things with glow sticks at night can also help you stay completely organized.

Remember, to enjoy your family and friends and see how these tips might make your next camping adventure even better!

 

Stock that Storage Bin: 5 Gear Recommendations for the New RV Owner

April 6, 2016

These 5 inexpensive products should be among your first purchases when stocking your brand new RV.

As exciting as it is to prep a new RV for your first camping trip, it can also be a bit overwhelming. There is a fine line between being prepared and over packing, and you just might find yourself asking, do I really need this?

There are thousands of camping gadgets and gizmos that you might never actually use. But here are 5 pieces of gear that every newbie RVer should purchase before heading out to the campground.

  1. Tire Pressure Gauge

RV safety experts recommend checking your tire pressure on every single traveling day, but many RVers don’t do this until they experience a tire blow out. Adopt this simple but important safety habit from day one. Tire pressure gauges are inexpensive, so you don’t have to bust the budget to stay safe. Our own gauge cost under $20 and has been working well for years.

  1. Extra Water Hose

We were shocked the first time we showed up at a campground and couldn’t reach the water hookup with one hose. We were even more shocked at the price we had to pay to purchase an extra hose in the camp store.  Although this doesn’t happen regularly, experienced RVers know to always have an extra hose for those campgrounds that have the water hookup across the campsite from the sewer. Go figure.

  1. Water Pressure Regulator

You don’t want to figure out the hard way that there is a water pressure problem at a campground. This rather inexpensive product can save you a tremendous amount of money by protecting your RV plumbing. It can also save you a lot of aggravation from uneven water pressure. The fancy ones come with a gauge and will run you about $50 or so. But if you are on a tight budget, get one of the simple ones for under $10. It will do the job.

  1. Firewood Splitter

While you won’t be cutting down any trees at the campground, you will be buying your fair share of firewood at camp stores. A small splitter can be a lifesaver when the firewood is just too big to burn properly. Don’t let a bum campfire get you down. Be prepared to do a little chopping. As an added benefit, you will feel way more outdoorsy.

  1. Fire Starters

You may have finely tuned Scout abilities, but most people don’t want to rub two sticks together until a campfire sparks. Keep it simple by always stocking a box of fire starters in your storage bin. You can buy them commercially, or make your own using one of the many ‘recipes’ found on the Internet. Our favorite DIY method is to buy candles at the dollar store, break them into one-inch pieces, and wrap the candles in wax paper.  Place one in your fire ring, and watch the magic happen.

 

These five inexpensive items will help keep you safe, keep your RV working, and get your campfire roaring. Because at the end of the day, that is why we RV– to make wonderful memories with our loved ones at the campground.

 

See you there.

 

 

Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi are the co hosts of the weekly RV Family Travel Atlas and Campground of the Week podcasts, as well as the creators of the RVFTA Podcast Network. They are also the authors of The Idiots Guide to RV Vacations and the Acadia National Park Adventure Guide. After buying their very first pop up camper six years ago, Jeremy and Stephanie caught the RV bug in a big way, and now spend over 70 nights a year in their travel trailer with their three sons, Theo, Max, and Wes, and sweet Maggie the pup. You can follow along on their adventures (and misadventures) at rvfamilytravelatlas.com.

 

 

Here's How Family Camping Trips Can Provide You with the Vacation Experience of a Lifetime

April 1, 2016

When most people think of going on a family vacation, they imagine flying to a tropical destination. In most cases, the grown-ups will indulge in adult activities while the kids run around a hotel and order room service well into the night.

While this type of vacation may be enjoyable for some, it has one crucial and glaring flaw; it’s not really a family vacation. If you want a real family vacation that brings loved ones together, you should consider family camping vacations.

Family camping is truly the essence of a great vacation because it encompasses so many different things. From packing up the RV to telling stories around the campfire, the entire family camping process will allow you to learn more about your loved ones while enjoying their company. Here are three of the many reasons to consider family camping vacations for the experience of a lifetime:

 

    • Explore new places. Cabins in Texas, campgrounds in New York, RV camping in Illinois…the list goes on and on. When it comes to camping, there truly is no limit to the places you can discover. Most camping — about 70% — is done in public campgrounds. However, there are also incredible camping destinations with furnished cabins, as well as enormous RV camps that almost feel like a small village.

 

    • Weather the great outdoors together. The word “weather” may be a bit strong considering your family will likely be staying in a furnished campground, but you never know how loved ones will react to the outdoors until you’re in the moment. Hiking is the most popular activity among campers (about 92% said they hiked,) allowing you to see what your loved ones are really made of. It’s a fun and harmless way to push each other to your physical limits, which is something most people rarely get to do at their work desk.

 

    • Put down the smartphones. Teenagers certainly do their fair share of texting, but most adults would also admit that they spend a bit too much time on their smartphones. On a family camping trip, you’ll be having too much fun to think about your phone. An estimated 87% of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities, and you’ll quickly realize that there’s no time for texting when you have a full day of excitement ahead of you.

 

If you love spending time with your family and want something new to try, you should strongly consider a group camping trip. It’s the perfect blend of excitement and serenity, and one of the best ways to reconnect with loved ones.

Plan on Camping in North Carolina? Check Out One of These 3 Incredible Campgrounds

April 1, 2016

Regardless of where you choose to visit, camping with family is truly a special experience. An estimated 40 million people went camping in 2010 for a total of 515 million outings, and that number continues to grow with every passing year.

While you really cannot go wrong when selecting a place to bring your family, you should strongly consider camping in North Carolina. Between its beautiful year-round weather and eclectic mix of camp resort destinations, it’s no surprise that camping in North Carolina is one of the most popular options for vacationing families.

Campgrounds in NC are full of families just like yours who could use a nice retreat away from the smartphones and tablets that currently dominate our free time. You can bring your RV or even take advantage of cabin rentals to indulge in a more luxurious camping experience. The list is quite long, but here are just a few places you should consider when camping in North Carolina:

 

    • Marion. Located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, your family will enjoy one of the most breathtaking views in the country at this incredible campground. Marion is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities, particularly camping. Hiking is the most popular activity among campers (about 92% said they hiked,) and the Blue Ridge Mountains are full of exciting trails to discover.

 

    • Cherokee. Deep in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina is Cherokee, a unique campground in which your family can opt for cabins, RVs, or tent camping. Nearly 70% of tent campers have one to two-night outings, but your family can camp in a tent for much longer in Cherokee because of its great weather and wide range of amenities.

 

    • Asheboro. If you’re not planning on camping in North Carolina until the spring or summer, you absolutely need to reserve a spot in the Asheboro campground. This new site is scheduled to be ready for rental in the spring, which will be just in time for most families’ vacations. There will even be Wi-Fi in this new campground for those who just can’t afford to go a few days without the Internet.

 

North Carolina has dozens of unique campgrounds just like these, so you really can’t go wrong regardless of which one you choose. Check out any of these great places for camping in North Carolina and experience everything the Tar Heel State has to offer.

If You've Never Vacationed at Campgrounds in Texas, You Don't Know What You're Missing

April 1, 2016
They say that “everything is bigger in Texas,” and vacations are no exception. There are tons of fantastic family camping vacation destinations all over the country, but none of them combine the eclectic mix of fun and relaxation quite like The Lone Star State.

If your family has never vacationed at campgrounds in Texas, you truly don’t know what you’ve been missing. From touring the Texas Wine Country to playing horseshoes at Canyon Lake, there is no limit to the ways your family can have the experience of a lifetime at campgrounds in Texas.

Perhaps the best part about campgrounds in Texas is that there is something for everybody. Parents can relax with a glass of the best wine in the country while kids play around in a fun-filled Splash Park. No matter what you’re looking for in a vacation, you can find it in Texas. Here are three of the best campgrounds in Texas to consider for your next vacation:

    • The Texas Wine Country. There is nothing that can quite compare to camping with your family, but if you’re headed to the Texas Wine Country, you should also bring some friends along. Campers include friends on their trips 70% of the time, and the Texas Wine Country is ideal for those busy professionals who need a weekend to unwind with their pals. Plus, while you’re enjoying delicious wines with your friends, the kids can stay entertained in the campground pool or clubhouse.
    • Guadalupe River. Drinking wine is great, but you should also try to get the full outdoor experience during your camping vacation. About 87% of campers participate in multiple outdoor activities, and the Guadalupe River campground is the perfect place to spread your wings in the great outdoors. It features some of the best fishing spots in the country, and beautiful deer are always grazing in plain sight for a photo op.
    • Canyon Lake. Most camping (about 70%) is done in public campgrounds, and the best campgrounds are full of exciting amenities. If luxury and amenities are more your speed, you will absolutely love Canyon Lake. Located right outside of San Antonio, this campground features a sand volleyball court, half-court basketball, horseshoe pits, a playground, arcade games, karaoke, and so much more. You can rent a cabin, bring your RV, or rough it in a tent depending on what you prefer.

You’re strongly encouraged to take family camping vacations no matter where you live, but there really is no place that can compare to Texas. Check out any of these amazing campgrounds in Texas and see why everything is bigger in The Lone Star State!

 

3 Unique Ways to Enjoy Family Vacation Campgrounds All Over the Country

March 24, 2016

As is the case with most things in life, there is no one “right way” to have fun on family vacations, unless your having a family vacation at our campgrounds! The activities and amenities at your family disposal are truly endless, and it is up to you to decide where you want to stay on these exciting vacations.

Generally speaking, the three most common ways to enjoy your family vacation is through tent camping, RV camping, and or renting a cabin. The most popular form of camping is by tent, as 86% of people who responded to a survey saying that they prefer to “rough it.” About 33% said they prefer cabin camping, and another 24% of families bring their RV along for the ride. Each of these options has its own benefits, and we suggest you try each of them before choosing one as your favorite.

While more “experienced” campers may opt for a tent, cabin camping could be best for your family if you’re not ready to rough it in the great outdoors. Whichever one you choose, your family is guaranteed to have the experience of a lifetime. Here’s a quick overview of the three most common places to stay on family vacation campgrounds:

    • “Roughing it” in a tent. If your family just wants a brief escape from life to recharge your batteries, you should consider the simplistic experience of tent camping. Nearly 70% of tent campers have one to two-night outings, so it’s perfect for those quaint weekend getaways. Tent camping also makes it easier to enjoy classic camping activities such as hiking, fishing, and hunting.
    • RV camping resorts. RV campers tend to have the longest outings, with 28% spending five or more nights on a trip. This is likely because families can bring all of their personal belongings on the RV and feel more comfortable on their trip. If your family is new to camping, look into RV rentals and embark on a road trip to one of the many amazing campgrounds in the United States.
    • Vacation camping rentals. Family vacation cabins are absolutely ideal for those who are used to more luxurious vacations. These days, family vacation campgrounds are much different than decades ago. Now, our campgrounds have tons of exciting amenities near the cabin rentals, including splashparks, playgrounds, and even party events with DJs and music. So you will enjoy no matter how you choose to camp with us!

Whether you want to “rough it” in the woods or wake up in a cozy cabin, there is no limit to the ways that your family can customize your camping experience. Check out any of our great family vacation campgrounds around the country and start a fun new tradition with your loved ones.

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