The average family is constantly connected. We’ve got phones and tablets and laptops and portable this and that to keep us connected to friends, family, and work even when we are supposed to be on vacation. I love technology, but sometimes it’s good to disconnect from the world and take the time to reconnect with family. A camping adventure is a great way to rediscover the fun of simply being with the people you love.
Our family camps 3-4 times a year, usually in the New Hampshire White Mountains because they’re only about an hour north of home. Sometimes we camp in a tent and sometimes we choose a cabin if the weather is questionable. We’ve been trying to convince my brother-in-law to join us with his family, but they aren’t campers and they don’t have all the equipment they think they need. Truth be told, you don’t really need all that much, but I think I finally have a solution.
Summer is the Right Time to #GoRVing
The cabins we usually stay in are minimalist with very thin mattresses on spare wood frame beds. There is also electricity, but nothing else. They’re good for those who want a little more protection than a tent, but they aren’t even close to as grand as an RV.
We’ve always wanted to try RVing and finally had the chance at the Mystic KOA in Mystic, Connecticut. No matter where we camp, we choose KOA Campgrounds because we’ve found them to be consistently clean, friendly, and fun. This location lived up to our expectations, with friendly staff, clean facilities, and plenty of activities for the kids.
They told us we were staying in a cabin, but what we didn’t know was that this what they call a Park Model and it’s a permanently parked RV. It includes a bathroom, two bunk beds, a pull-out couch, a separate bedroom with a queen bed, a kitchen, and air conditioning! There’s also a full-size fridge, stove, sink, table, and even a Keurig coffee machine with several coffee pods. You can cook inside, or choose to use the gas grill or even build a fire in the fire ring out front to cook the old-fashioned way.
Camping or Glamping?
We packed the way we usually do — with sleeping bags, pillows, and towels — but we didn’t need any of those things. The cabin came with it all. For people who have never camped, this is an easy way to get a taste of the great outdoors with less prep. My family decided these fancy cabins were the very definition of “glamping,” or glamorous camping.
There was also a traditional RV courtesy of Go RVing. It was the kind of RV you see on the highway everyday and it sat open for us to explore. It was even more beautiful than the cabins and by the end of the weekend my family was pretty much ready to sell the house, buy an RV, and travel the country. Sadly, that whole pesky work and school thing comes first so I’m still a homeowner. A large RV may not come until we retire, but a smaller RV is looking more and more like a possibility.
If you are an RV newbie, GoRVing.com helps you find the perfect campground, RV rental agents or dealers, along with offering packing tips, sample itineraries and even campfire recipes.
Campfire Cooking Means Good Eats
But we didn’t need recipes since dinner that night was provided by Omaha Steaks. I’ve always been curious about the company’s food and was excited for a meat feast after a long day’s drive. We had steak, burgers, hot dogs, and even warm fruit tarts for dessert. It was all delicious, but we left a little room so we could enjoy s’mores by the campfire.
In the morning, the hubby and kids spent time exploring the campground and playing. One of the great joys of camping is in simply spending time together without the usual distractions. My 13- and 11-year-old girls played on the swings and slides, laughed, and had a great time like they were little kids again. I’m not crying, there’s just something in my eye.
Adventure Beyond the Campground
We tend to use campgrounds as our base of operations and for winding down in the evening. So, after a morning of playing, we headed out to explore Mystic and wanted to find places off the beaten path. It started with breakfast at Kitchen Little which is right on the water. We enjoyed a hearty meal as we watched the boats go by on the water.
Our next stop turned out to be something of a hidden gem that randomly came up in a Google search and grabbed my family’s attention. Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center is home to beautiful birds that have suffered injuries too severe to allow them back in the wild. The nature center cares for these birds and uses them as a part of an educational outreach program. There are also lovely trails that cover the property. We saw a wee tiny turtle crawling through the mud and a whole family of turkeys wandering through a meadow.
Relaxing by a Warm Fire
The weather turned by the end of the day and sunny skies turned cloudy. You might think rain would ruin the night, but it made everything more fun. We put on raincoats and backed up our Jeep Cherokee to use as a makeshift kitchen for prepping s’mores. The tailgate was our shelter as we spread out marshmallows and chocolate and graham crackers and had a soggy and ridiculously fun family moment.
And that right there is why we camp – family. It’s about wandering through a field and following a bunch of turkeys. It’s about standing in the rain, determined to light a fire so you can all make a mess eating s’mores. It’s about giggling and laughing and goofing around on a playground with your kids.