A four day family camping trip may not seem like a lot of time. To pack for such a trip would be a no-brainer, right?  A selection of t-shirts, shorts, swimsuits and sandals should do it. But modern campgrounds have many more unexpected activities to plan for than they did back when we were kids.


Photo:  Jeff Dow

Photo: Jeff Dow

The Herkimer Diamond KOA (Kampgrounds of America ) campgrounds near Herkimer, in upstate New York, has many educational science-based activities that are fun for kids and parents.

The most original activities include prospecting for diamond quartz crystals, dissecting frogs, racing model solar cars, digging for fossils and exploding a volcano.   A selection of more creative activities like tie-dyeing, jewelry making and making homemade ice cream are also available but do not fear they still have the staples that campers expect like a pool, playground, fire pits, bikes, tubing and fishing. There is even a cabin with a telescope for serious stargazing.

Other KOA campgrounds also have unusual accommodations like yurts, tree houses and in some states train lovers can sleep in a restored historic caboose.



ProductReviewCamp Packing List

Camping (OK, in this case you may call it glamping) doesn’t have to involve bringing lots of bags and gear and to prove it I made my family commit to bring only one lightweight carry-on bag with them.

Photo: Angela Tiffin, History Buff Traveling Mom

Photo: Angela Tiffin, History Buff Traveling Mom

With Herkimer Diamond campground’s deluxe cabin accommodations families do not need need to pack sheets, bath towels, shampoo, conditioner or dishes, which will definitely lighten your packing load.

Extra old t-shirts are a must for the array of activities that involve messes like tie-dyeing and explosions.

Sneakers and hats are recommended for prospecting and fossil exploration.

The 21 inch Ricardo Elite Roxbury 2.0 suitcase was just the right size for camping as it is for more elegant travel. The characteristics that make it great for camping include its hard outer shell (made from Makrolon Polycarbonate) that prevents moisture from wet bathing suits, spills and sports gear from seeping into your bag. It is lightweight with two handles and four wheels for easy transport from car to cabin.  It also expands an extra two inches to accommodate for the clothes toiletries that you inevitably forget and have to buy while you are there!