Camping is one of the most popular pastimes for American families, most likely due to the relative cheapness of it and the quality time spent away from screens and distractions. In 2011, American families spent an astounding total of 534 million camping days together. There are as many different ways to camp as there are places to camp and structures to camp in, but the most popular is tent camping — in a survey, 86% of people said they preferred this type of camping vacation.
While the word camping tends to draw up visions of wooded forests and leaf-carpeted ground, many people opt for something a little more off the beaten path — the beach. Many find the sounds of water a more peaceful background than the sounds of the woods, and bug populations are much, much lower there.
However, making your campgrounds on the beach requires a little bit more planning, and a slightly different approach. Some tips and tricks for camping on the beach —
- About 70% of camping is done on public campgrounds, and you should never ever just go set up your tent in a strange environment, especially if you don’t know if you are trespassing or not. Make sure you are authorized to be there. You’re better off choosing public campgrounds on the beach than striking off on your own.
- If you are near the ocean, make sure you are set up well above the high tide line so your belongings don’t get flooded.
- Stay away from dunes. They are a fragile part of a marine ecosystem and you can easily damage the vegetation, in addition to being hurt if the sand and rocks slide down on you.
- Invest in sand stakes, which are designed to stay down in loose material.
- Bring extra water, water purification methods, and extra water on top of that. Don’t trust any water directly from nature.
- Bring shelter from the hot sun, even if you have sunscreen.
- It gets cold and foggy on the beach at night. Bring supplies to keep you warm and to keep your belongings dry.
Camping is one of the most popular family pastimes in America. In 2010, a reported 40 million people went on a camping trip. In 2011, this number was up to 42.5 million. Tent camping is the most popular form of camping, with 86% of people who camp identifying this as their preference. However, tent camping is the most labor intensive form of camping, with the most moving pieces and parts. The big elements, like the tent, cooler, and grill are the easiest to remember, but often lots of little things are forgotten in the preparation process. Here is a list of the most frequently forgotten items at campsites:
Some campsites forbid you from bringing in outside wood, while others forbid you from foraging around the campground for wood. Know the policies ahead of time and either way, don’t get caught in the cold and dark with no fuel for the fire!
You got your lanterns and flashlights, but what’s your back up plan if one of them dies? Make sure you have some spare batteries on hand.
- Wet Wipes
These little powerhouses have dozens of uses on a camping trip that you won’t realize until you’re looking for one. Don’t miss them!
- Duct Tape
From fixing tent tears to holding down table cloths on a windy day, you do not want to forget this multipurpose tape.
So you packed all your food in the cooler to bring to the campsite, but did you remember to get ice to keep it fresh? Remembering this essential could be the difference between fresh food and granola bars your whole trip.
- Trash bags
Most campgrounds are carry in/ carry out, and carrying all the waste from your trip out by hand would be a real drag! This item is essential to a clean, tidy, campsite.
- Hatchet or hammer
Often overlooked, this tool is usually needed to chop more wood and can double as a hammer when driving the spikes for your tent.
We fell in love with the Great Smoky Mountain Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at check-in. A hospitable camp worker named Whitney got us settled in and told us about the campground’s activities, amenities, and its very own hiking trails. Then she handed us off to Adam and Mark Landry, two of the owners and “Park Rangers” at the campground, who escorted us to our streamside site and backed us in with precision and style. Getting off the road and setting up at a new campground can be a bit stressful, especially with three energetic boys in the back seat. But Whitney, Adam, and Mark immediately made us feel like we were camping with family.
As we set up camp we could hear the water rushing over the rocks behind our site, and we could hear our boys laughing as they explored the stream. As soon as camp chores were done, we kicked off our shoes and joined them. We quickly realized that our site and the sites around us were simply magical. The stream was crystal clear and heavily shaded by trees, but the sunlight that made its way through made the water sparkle and shine. Can you say, best campsite ever? The fire pit also overlooked the stream for long, peaceful campfires after the kids are put to bed.
We spent a fair amount of time just relaxing at our site. Our six year-old twin boys both love playing checkers and they beat their dad on a regular basis. One afternoon they decided that if they beat him he would have to dunk himself in the stream. He agreed. He spent a lot of time in the stream that day.
So the sites are amazing, but how about the rest of the campground? Close to perfect. It is a small and cozy campground but it packs in the action and amenities of a much larger resort-type property. There is a movie every evening at 6:30 for the kids in the covered outdoor “Jellystone Theatre,” free mini golf, gem mining, horseshoes, basketball, corn-hole, and a full slate of events at the Yogi Bear Pavilion. They even had a puppet and clown show one night.
They call the upstairs game room a “clubhouse” and rightfully so. It had air hockey, pool, arcade games, and Yogi building blocks. It was a spacious and comfortable place to spend a rainy day.
Lucky for us, we had great weather during our stay near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and were able to hike almost every morning and then head back to the campground for a refreshing dip in the afternoon. Our boys loved the heated pool at this Jellystone Park, and they usually asked to go swimming after dinner as well.
In addition to some of the most beautiful streamside sites ever, this campground also has the most beautiful ice cream parlor we have ever seen at a campground.
Our boys loved, Loved, LOVED heading into the ice cream shop every night and pulling up a chair at the counter for a scoop of rocky road or chocolate chip mint. I recommend the Mountain Mud dish. It comes complete with crushed Oreo crumbs, hot fudge, and gummy worms. If you can, ask Mark to fix it up for you. He goes generous with the mud.
The Landry’s sure know how to run a great family campground. We talked to so many guests who come back year after year, and we look forward to joining their ranks.
The amazing beauty of America’s most visited National Park and the excitement of Dollywood and Gatlinburg surround the Great Smoky Mountain Jellystone Park Camp-Resort. Stay tuned for our next post about activities near the campground.
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.
It seems a little silly.. Christmas in July? Well believe it or not, we are over half-way to Christmas! It’s crazy to think about winter in the middle of summer but Christmas in July is a fun way to cool down during the hot months. Here are some great ideas to help bring the atmosphere of Christmas!
- Summer “Snowball” Fight (via rebeccamealey)
– Make your own “snowballs”! Fill up white balloons with water and let the kids have a water balloon fight. It’ll bring the spirit even in the hot weather.
- Candy Cane Pool Noodles (via poolgear)
– These noodles are much more fun to swim in the pool with than regular noodles. Find out how to make them for your Christmas in July celebration!
- Santa Strawberries (via tislstyle)
-What’s better than refreshing fruit on a hot, summer day? Santa inspired strawberries!
- S’more Snowman (via thepartyanimal-blog)
– There’s nothing better than s’mores around a campfire. Spice up your s’more for Christmas in July with these snowmen!
- Twig Reindeer (via happyhooligans)
– This one is a fun decoration for the kids to make while camping! Have them go search for twigs and make them into cute reindeer to decorate your campsite!
- Melted Snowman (via hwtm)
– A simple and fun party favor that will keep everyone hydrated, too!
- Green Grinch (via babble)
– An ice cream soda, Grinch style!
- Watermelon Christmas Trees (via eatingvibrantly)
– A summery twist on a Christmas tree!
Oh, technology — smartphones, tablets, mp3 players — all those visual Kool-Aid devices that keep kids tranquilized and quiet while parents try to steal some peaceful personal time! It’s amazing, but at the same time it can be scary when your kids get that glassy-eyed robot look to them. Encouraging kids to be active is harder and harder with all of the sedentary distractions available — you can take something away but there’s always something else to sit and watch. What’s a parent to do?
Camping is a great way to keep your children engaged with the world outside of an LCD screen, and is by far the most popular choice for American families. In 2011, Americans spent a total of 534 million days on camping vacations. The average camper goes on about five trips a year and travels an estimated 190 miles from home to camp ground. You would think traveling so far would minimize the ability to get a cell or wifi signal, but the tech revolution should not be underestimated — tons of places have wifi signals now, including camp grounds.
Here are some ideas for family camping trips that never fail to have the kids sliding their screens away and smiling.
- Put your own phone away. There’s nothing kids learn from faster than a bad example.
- Have some fun with water. Squirt guns, creeks, water balloons, pool time — all of these things will force everyone to secure their electronics far away from what you’re doing.
- Go hiking. This is by far the most popular camp ground activity — over 90% of campers go hiking. Bonus points for bringing disposable cameras the kids can use to document all the cool things they find in an album when you get home.
- Get them dirty. The great outdoors is for exploring! Bring nature guides, dig in the dirt for worms, identify plants, have a scavenger hunt, do arts and crafts. If the kids are engaged they won’t even miss their devices, and if they’re too dirty to touch them it helps deter the urge to sit down with a game of solitaire.
Anything we missed? Leave a comment!
In honor of Canada Day, we wanted to take some time to recognize our Canadian Jellystone Parks! All 4 of these locations will provide you with a fun camping trip filled with a lot of activities and amenities.
- Woodstock, New Brunswick
– This park offers a ton of great amenities to make your camping experience enjoyable. From daily hay rides, movies and cartoons, storytime with yogi to summertime swim sessions and water slides, you will be entertained all day! Check out their website and book a trip there today to see other fun activities that they offer.
- Kingston, Nova Scotia
– If you enjoy bumper boats, beach volleyball, mini golf, swimming, daily planned activities and more, then this park should be the next place you go! With RV sites, tent sites, cabins, and trailers, you can stay for a weekend and get to enjoy all Kingston Jellystone Park™ has to offer.
- Toronto, Ontario
– What could be better than spending your summer days swimming, hayrides, playing sand volleyball and mini golf? The answer is nothing. If you are looking for all of that and more, Toronto Jellystone can offer you just that! Visit their website and book a site today!
- Niagara Falls, Ontario
– Just 3.5 miles away, this Jellystone Park™ is the closest campground to the falls. As if that wasn’t enough reason to visit, they have activities and amenities that will want you coming back every week! Water slides, pedal wagons, jumping pillow, mini golf and an arcade are just among the few amenities you can look forward to when you visit this park. Call and book today.
4th of July is just a few days away and who doesn’t love to get a little festive at this time to celebrate U.S.A? Here are snack ideas that are guaranteed to bring a little festivity to your table:
- 4th of July Toast (via tasteandtellblog)
– Want to start your morning off right? Then this patriotic toast is a must-have for 4th of July morning! Healthy and appetizing, your whole family will be gathered around the breakfast table.
- Celebration Pretzel Sticks (via ladybehindthecurtain)
– If your kids love pretzels as a snack, then they’re going to love these colorful pretzel sticks. They can even help you make them too! All you’ll need are pretzel rods, sprinkles, and candy melts.
- Patriotic Fruit Kabobs (via 100daysofrealfood)
– Want to keep it healthy this holiday? There are festive options for that! These fruit kabobs are healthy, fun, and delicious. It will be a refreshing treat on a hot, summer day.
- Ice Cream Sandwich (via athriftymom)
– Need a last minute party favor? Don’t worry, this treat will satisfy both the taste buds and the eyes. And won’t take longer than 5 minutes to assemble!
- Rice Krispy Treat Pops (via bakingbeauty)
– Just as tasty as your original rice krispy treats, these American flag colored treat pops are sure to be a hit.
- Red, White and Blue Finger Jello (via recipegirl)
– Quick, easy, and guaranteed to make the kids happy!
- 4th of July Strawberries (via thesisterscafe)
– Not only are these fun to make, they’re also fun to eat. This will make your holiday party a little more festive.
Here’s a heartwarming fact to share for Father’s Day — studies show that dads are by far the most likely person to take someone on their first camping trip. Hopefully, even if that bit of trivia causes flashbacks to disastrous camping trips filled with burnt hot dogs, poison ivy, and mosquito bites, we hope it also brings a smile to your face.
In addition to quality time with your dad, trips to family campsites have another important side effect: teaching kids that it is in fact still possible to have fun even if you aren’t staring blankly at a glowing rectangular screen.
So if you need any more inspiration for Father’s Day 2015, here are some fast facts about family campsites:
- In 2011, Americans spent a total of more than 534 million days camping, which works out to an average of 12.6 days per person.
- Also in 2011, a total of 42.5 million Americans went camping in the great outdoors.
- Although young people have a reputation for being the most tech-obsessed generation of all time, 25.7% of camping participants are under the age of 17, and 14.9% are between the ages of six and 12.
- According to a survey by the Outdoor Foundation, 67% of Americans said they were most likely to stay at public family campsites.
- Many modern family campsites include water attractions to help pry youngsters away from their smartphones. Popular water features include lakes, pools, and even water parks.
- Health experts recommend that young people receive 60 minutes of exercise or active play every day, and fortunately hiking is the most popular activity while camping.
As Father’s Day and the summer camping season officially arrives this June, many families will book fun family vacations at family campsites around the country. For some, that means cabin camping at family campgrounds, for others it means “glamping,” so-called glamour camping at family camping resorts. No matter what kind of family campsite you choose, we would recommend choosing a location without cell reception.
It’s a question many of us have undoubtedly thought about for hours on end. In a rap battle between a traditional tent camping enthusiast and a more modern “glamper,” who would come out victorious?
That very question is answered in a new YouTube video, aptly titled “Rap Battle: Camper vs. Glamper.”
According to the Inquisitr, the video begins with the humble camper sitting alone in the woods, peacefully watching the birds as they fly by. Soon, however, a group of unruly glampers arrives with unhappy children in tow, disturbing the peace and flaring tensions.
The glamper invites the camper to dinner, since he is so obviously unprepared; the camper retorts that the glamper is overprepared. Before long, camper and glamper stand toe-to-toe, eye-to-eye, each convinced that his way of going camping is superior to the other’s.
“Call me king of the woods, lord of the lake,” the camper begins to rap — and the rest is history. Each camper boasts about how superior his preferred method of camping is over the other’s.
In recent years, with camping on the rise, the art of glamping, or glamorous camping, has become much more popular. Of the 42.5 million people who go camping each year, a significant portion choose to go glamping by staying at luxury camping resorts.
Statistically speaking, at least, tent camping is still the most popular choice among the millions of people who flock to the nation’s campgrounds each year, with 86% of campers regularly camping in tents. Meanwhile, 33% of campers go camping in cabins, 24% choose to go camping in an RV and a mere 2% go camping in a yurt — one of the most popular glamping choices.
With Americans spending an amazing 516.6 million days camping in 2013 alone, it’s clear there are plenty of camping and glamping opportunities available for all of us.
Did you watch this video? What were your thoughts? Share any comments and questions you have about tent camping resorts and campsites by leaving a comment below.
Camping in Colorado is about to get a whole lot fishier.
This weekend, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be allowing residents and visitors alike to discover the joys of fishing during the state’s yearly free fishing weekend. Anglers of all ages will be able to fish without a license at any of the state’s camping sites, rivers and lakes, the Denver Post reports.
And Coloradans have plenty of places to drop their lures. The state boasts a wealth of waterways, with more than 2,500 lakes and reservoirs and another 10,000 miles of fishable streams and rivers. It’s no surprise that fishing is the fourth most-popular outdoor activity among Colorado residents, with Coloradans spending a combined 26.4 million days angling for a catch in 2012 alone.
What better way to incorporate the popularity of fishing with the popularity of camping? American families spent a cumulative 516.6 million days camping in 2013, 70% of which was done at public camping sites. When 87% of campers will perform more than one outdoor activity during their camping trips, camping offers the perfect opportunity to go on a fishing excursion with the family.
“Family and the community play an important role when it comes to outdoor experiences,” said CPW director Bob Broscheid. “Fishing is one of the many ways the whole family can enjoy the outdoors together.”
Not only will free fishing weekend allow Coloradans to strengthen their knowledge of sport fishing — it will also give many of them the chance to spend some much-needed bonding time with their families. This is especially a great opportunity to encourage kids to develop a love for the outdoors; in 2012, only 63% of children and teens regularly partook in an outdoor activity.
This weekend, free fishing weekend is the perfect thing for any Colorado family to enjoy.
What are some of your favorite activities to do during your family camping adventures? Share your best ideas for passing the time at camping sites by leaving a comment below!