When traveling in Europe, most people look for charming bed and breakfasts or well-run hotels. An overlooked option involves renting an RV and staying in a campground to get the full back-to-nature experience. Europeans love to camp. This means campgrounds are available in even the smallest communities. Families camping can prepare their own meals, sleep in the same bed night after night and not have to worry about disturbing hotel guests if a toddler throws a tantrum.

Camping at Campingplatz Klausenhorn

Electric Bikes are the best!

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

Just as every hotel has a few distinct features, each campground in Europe also has its own unique personality. On the whole, campgrounds welcome families and provide an inexpensive way to have quality, outdoor-oriented family time. Campingplatz Klausenhorn is a premier campground directly on Lake Constance in Germany, with a variety of activities for all family members. As a consultant to the RV industry, I’ve visited over 300 campgrounds in the US. Campingplatz Klausenhorn ranks right up in the Top Ten! Keep in mind that European campgrounds generally provide less space between each RV or tent. In some cases you are very close to your new next door neighbors. If it works for the Europeans, just go along with the flow!

Free-range Kids Everywhere!

While many helicopter parents in the US never let their children out of sight, kids at this campground roamed to their hearts content. When campers arrive, they find their designated site and then take the car that pulled their trailer or carried the tent to an outside area parking lot. This allowed children to ride bikes and scooters throughout the campground, since traffic was at a minimum. And ride they did. I loved watching groups of kids as young as four explore the campground with nary an adult in sight. The adults were all too happy to relax with a book or sit with a group of friends and have a beer. It’s just assumed kids are free to go to the playground, snack bar and bike paths unsupervised. An on-site professional Clown School teaches classes in juggling and circus skills to kids throughout the week. Twice a week, kids get to show off their skills at a special evening performance. Don’t think kids aimlessly roam the campground just having fun. Parents send youngsters to the communal kitchen after meals. I enjoyed watching kids as young as nine-years-old carrying a bucket with dirty dishes. Then that same child dutifully scrubbed the family dishes while chatting with a friend. Just try that at home!

No RV? Sleep in a Barrel!

In the middle ages, people often slept in old wine barrels when overnight accommodations weren’t available. (There weren’t too many

Our amazing barrel sleeping cabin!

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

Holiday Inns during that time period!) Campingplatz Klausenhorn has three adapted wine barrels for guests to rent. I say ‘adapted’ because barrels in the Middle Ages were without comfy beds and a pull-out table. We enjoyed two nights in our cozy barrel and gave several “tours” as curious campers came by to see the inside. We were the envy of the tenting crowd when a thunderstorm hit one night and we stayed high and dry in our wooden barrel. We enjoyed meeting our neighboring “Barrelers” as we sat around the picnic table in the center of the three barrels.

Campground Shopping

Go camping in the states and you’ll wake up to the smell of frying bacon and kids clamoring for pancakes. Go camping in Germany and you’ll wake up to the sound of people chatting while waiting in line to buy warm bread from the mobile bakery. Every morning, the bread truck arrives to offer warm rolls, baguettes and an assortment of pastry. Throughout the week, mobile markets arrive to sell assorted clothing and fruits and vegetables. Who needs to leave the campground when everything you need comes to you?

As Michelle Obama says, “Let’s Move!”

It’s easy to stay active while camping at Campingplatz Klausenhorn. Since the campground is ideally located on Lake Constance, within sight of the Alps, families can easily access the lake to swim or go boating. The lake was filled with families in kayaks and inflatable boats when we visited. One boat had trouble staying inflated, which added to the family’s fun as they tried to paddle the

Children are assigned dishwashing duties

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

floppy boat back to shore. That’s what camping is all about! A designated, traffic-free bike trail lets you ride as far around the lake as you like. We rented an E-bike and I discovered the joys of battery assisted bike riding! While pedaling up a hill my husband said, “It’s like an angel is behind me, gently pushing me up the hill.” Families looking for a few adventurous hikes can take day trips to Switzerland, Austria and the Principality of Liechtenstein. You can actually visit all those countries in one day and then return to your campsite in Germany at night.

Smiling Staff

As with any attraction, staff affect your perception of how well you liked your stay. The staff at Campingplatz Klausenhorn went out of their way to make all guests feel welcome. Ingrid, at the front desk, told me, “I really try to make sure every person coming here has a memorable time.” And she said it in perfect English! All the staff responded in a friendly way to guests. Check-in is quick and easy, so people with limited German skills don’t need to feel intimidated.

Lake Constance is one of my favorite European destinations. What’s not to love about Chalets decorated with overflowing flower boxes, magnificent mountain views and scrumptious pastry?