We wanted to end our epic three-week road trip through the Midwest on a high note, and we wanted to see Yogi, Cindy, Boo-Boo, and Ranger Smith one more time before the summer ended. So after spending 11 days exploring the coastline of Lake Michigan we checked in to the Barton Lake Jellystone in Northern Indiana and enjoy their resort amenities and four glorious days of near perfect weather.
When we pulled into the campground we were immediately charmed by the cute and courteous signage: a stop sign with Yogi waving hello, a caution sign with Boo Boo that reminded us that children were playing, and a 5 and a ½ mile per hour speed limit sign reminding us to “bearly move.” You can tell a lot about a campground by its signs and Barton Lake’s made us feel welcome and safe. As we drove by the waterpark and pool complex for the first time, our boys’ jaws dropped. Time to get on bathing suits and go for a swim before it gets too dark!
But which pool to choose from when there are four of them? Why not sample them all!?! We started in the heated indoor pool, but it was a lovely evening with a sherbet-colored sky, so we ended up shooting hoops in one of the trilogy of outdoor pools. After camping deep in the woods in Michigan we were thrilled to be back at a Yogi. We wanted to relax, swim and enjoy the good life. And that’s just what we did.
Each morning started with a cup of coffee for mom and dad and a walk to the sports field to meet Yogi and Cindy for morning hugs and photos followed by organized games of kickball with Barton Lake’s friendly and energetic recreation staff.
Then it was off to the pools or down to the lake for kayaking and fishing. There was a boat launch and fishing area right across from our site and we enjoyed the clear, warm water of the lake just about every day. While the pool area had a full-on resort feel, the area down by the lake felt quiet and cozy. We took turns on the kayaks and caught plenty of fish right at the edge of the water. We even got our Australian Cattle Dog, Maggie out for her first kayak ride.
Barton Lake is also a great campground for a late afternoon or after dinner stroll. There are so many little nooks and crannies to explore, including playgrounds around every corner, a sandy beach on the lake, and fun little rope bridge that crossed the water from the main part of the campground to the “peninsula” area where there are many waterfront sites with great views. We often found ourselves chatting with other campers or dipping our feet in the water on the beach.
If you take a long stroll after dinner at Barton Lake we recommend that you find your way up to the Ranger Station for hand dipped ice cream. They have over 20 flavors and all of the ones we tasted were so yummy!
The Barton Lake Jellystone Park was named Camp Resort of the Year in 1999, 2006, and 2013 and it was so easy to see why. The facilities were amazing and the staff was friendly and provided concierge level service. If you go, grab a site down by the lake just like we did, and get ready to relax and spend some quality time with your kids in a delightful setting.
We made so many great family memories camping with Yogi Bear and his crew this summer and we are hoping to camp with them again for a great Halloween themed weekend this fall. Time to pack those warm blankets and hooded sweatshirts into the RV and make reservations at another Jellystone Park for the fall! The pools might be closed, but the campfires will be crackling and the memories made will be just as sweet.