If you have fond memories of camping as a kid, chances are you are trying to recreate that experience for your own children. In an Internet-based, screen-centric world, however, you have your work cut out for you. Here are some family campgrounds that promise a truly memorable experience in the great outdoors.
Where the wonders of nature trump technology
If you can get your kids to spend a few nights in a truly spectacular natural environment, they likely won’t even miss their smartphones and tablets. Jump in your car and take your family to a campground that is located on the ocean, in the mountains, or in a rainforest. An ideal car for the trip would be a Jeep Renegade or similarly equipped vehicle. Each setting provides its own unique set of activities, sights and sounds. If your children have never been to the ocean, try a spot like the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, North Carolina. They can hunt for clams, go surfing and whale watching. At Big Bear Lake in Southern California, your kids can try rock climbing for real. This site also offers mountain bike riding, hiking and horseback riding through the mountains. In Washington’s Olympic National Park, the young botanist in your group will be impressed by the massive ferns of the rainforest and the tidal pools of the Pacific Coast.
Focus on the kids
There are many options available for campgrounds that cater to children. Jellystone Park in Larkspur, Colorado features a Yogi-Bear theme. Kids can go geocaching, dig for fossils and learn to shoot a bow-and-arrow. The Herkimer Diamond KOA in New York State offers stargazers a room with a view. You can still park a camper or pitch a tent here, but the Sky Catcher cabin features an observatory with a high-powered telescope. If you are new to the camping experience (and maybe wanting to try before you buy) Fort Yargo State Park is one of a dozen parks to offer the First Time Camper Program. The park also offers 3-day Junior Ranger Camps.
Not sure you’re the camping type?
If lying on an air bed on the ground isn’t your idea of a good night’s sleep, there are plenty of other options available. Blue Bell Campground in South Dakota is one of dozens that also offer cabins for rent. Some of them are even air conditioned. At Ventura Ranch KOA in Santa Paula, California, your family can sleep in a replica Sioux teepee. At Lake George Escape in Diamond Point, New York, you can experience sleeping in a log cabin after tubing with the kids down the Schroon River. If you are bringing your own RV on this trip, the Bend-Sunriver RV Campground in Oregon has an on-site activities coordinator to keep families busy all day long.
You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to make incredible memories and bonding moments for your family. The great outdoors in all its glory is just sitting there waiting to be discovered in real life.