Americans spent a whopping 534.9 million days on camping in 2011 alone. Family camping vacations rank among one of the most popular vacation choices for families of all types and sizes. Whether you’re new or old to camping, it can be hard to find family camping vacation spots that will please everyone. But it doesn’t have to. Here’s a quick and easy round-up of 5 of the best family camping vacation spots the U.S. has to offer:
- Yellowstone National Park
We can’t help but start our list of the top family camping vacation spots in the U.S. with the nation’s very first national park. If your family includes wildlife enthusiasts, you can’t do better than a family vacation to Yellowstone. You’re likely to encounter all manner of wild animals from bald eagles to bison and even wolves or bears. And of course there’s Old Faithful and all the other geysers to amaze even if the wildlife chooses to stay in hiding.
- Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island, WA
Surrounded by three stunning lakes, Lakedale Resort has every sleeping arrangement a modern camper could want: log cabins, canvas tents, even a camping trailer situated just off the lake are all up for the grabbing. Or, rather, up for the reserving. Naturally there are the standard tent sites as well, complete with fire pits and picnic tables, for you to pitch your own shelter, but we’re kind of fond of the canvas tents with full-sized beds inside. Thanks to its lakeside campgrounds, the venue offers all manner of water sports as well. Dad can go trout fishing while the kids try out stand-up paddle boarding and Mom takes a canoe out for some much-deserved quiet time. Everyone walks away with memories and more at Lakedale Resort thanks to their t-shirt tie-dying and wide variety of family-centric activities.
- Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
Just outside the other Washington (Washington D.C., that is), Shenandoah National Park offers several campgrounds, cabins, and lodges. Don’t miss out on the Appalachian Trail or Skyline Drive, both of which bisect the park. The latter offers 75 overlooks along its 105 mile drive. You’ll be captivated by the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, GA
Looking for family camping vacation spots for toddlers? Fort Yargo State Park has got you covered. One of 13 Georgia state parks participating in its Three-year-old First-Time Camper Program, Fort Yargo State Park has everything an up and coming camper needs to have the best possible introduction to family camping vacations. From Camping 101 lessons provided by park staff to having an expert help them set up their campsite like a pro, your little ones will love all there is to learn at this educational park. Don’t worry, there are more than just classes: the park also has a lake for kayaking and plenty of hiking (even guided hikes). If you want a bit of time sans children yourself, sign the kids up for a 3-day Junior Ranger Camp to get them well on their way to being camping pros.
- Jellystone Park in Larkspur, CO
Located between Denver and Colorado Springs, this Yogi Bear-themed campsite can’t help but win the hearts of every member of your family. It’s not just about sleeping in a tent at Jellystone Park; there are countless family friendly activities to enjoy at the park. From guided hikes to archery classes and fossil digging excursions, Jellystone Park is one of the best family camping vacation spots around. (P.S. They also offer more than just tent sites. If you’re feeling less rugged, opt for one of their cottages with private bathrooms. If you’re feeling wild, reserve a yurt or teepee instead. Your kids will never forget your trip if you do.)
Having trouble deciding which of these amazing family camping vacation spots is right for you? Choose them all! No really. A full two-thirds of campers plan three or four camping trips each year. The overwhelming majority will take an average of 4.9 camping trips each year. Once your family has gotten a taste of family camping trips with these family camping vacation spots, you’ll surely be planning quarterly camping trips, too.