Filed under: Amusement & Theme Parks, Campgrounds & RV Parks, Destination Camping & RV Resorts, Entertaining Kids at Camp, Family Day Trips, Kid-Friendly Trips, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, RV Campgrounds, State & National Parks, Uncategorized
Family Camping Requires Flexibility
There are so many things to write about in regards to family camping, but today I’d like to talk about the family camping mindset. Is there a family camping mindset? I think so and without a doubt I think the key to that mindset is flexibility. This might seem like a weird recommendation and an odd topic, but a flexible mindset is something that is important to retain when camping with kids. Have you ever noticed that what works one summer doesn’t necessarily work as well the next summer?
I’ve been camping for more than twelve years now. My style has varied considerably over the years. What worked when my children were toddlers doesn’t necessarily work now. Seven years ago, my children would have been happy playing in the sand on the beach while I sat on a log nearby. Now, my children are more adventurous. Hence, they’ve ditched the sand buckets and are heading towards surf boards and adventure trails. They like museums and love kayaks. This, of course, is a good thing, but it definitely impacts where we stay and what we do.
For example, when we visited Yellowstone National Park this summer, I booked our reservations on fairly short notice in March. I managed to get three nights at a campsite in the Madison Campground, which is right in the national park and immediately adjacent to the Madison River. I was lucky to get anything at that point. The location was great for the boys, but the accommodations weren’t so great for my teenage daughter. The campground has no hookups. To make things slightly more difficult, there aren’t even showers in the campground. This, of course, didn’t please my daughter in the least. The boys, on the other hand, were elated because there was a fabulous river and little beach right nearby. Wildlife loomed all around us. We were in bear country again.
When I booked the site over the phone in March, I knew that we would be “roughing it” in the campground even though we were in our travel trailer. After our three nights at Madison, we decided to change our itinerary entirely and stay a few more days in the West Yellowstone area. Hence, I booked a couple nights at the West Yellowstone KOA. Located outside the park, this lovely KOA offers amenities, such as full hookups, a laundry room, a pool, a hot tub, a playground, a store, and Wifi. The hot showers were, of course, a luxury at that point. The pool and bike rentals were nice diversions.
We hadn’t stayed at a KOA in ages, but this KOA was a wonderful reminder that it is important to be flexible in where we stay and how we balance our itinerary. Both places are great. Both places are different. I have learned that it is worth being flexible in where we stay and how long we stay there. If the itinerary looks like it might not work, then we change it. Family camping is a balancing act, don’t you think?