One of America’s best and most popular family-friendly traditions is camping in the great outdoors.. However, with rising fuel costs across the nation and peak rates for lodging, many families will have to tighten their travel budget. Fortunately, there are thousands of affordable campgrounds to consider in America. However, if you hope to camp this summer, you should make reservations as soon as possible.
Ashland-White Mountains Jellystone Park
35 Jellystone Park
New Hampton, NH 032562
The popular cartoon the Yogi Bear Show ended its television run way back in 1962. Nevertheless, the legacy of this popular cartoon character lives on at many Jellystone Park Camp Resorts. This includes the Yogi Bear-branded campgrounds in the White Mountains. As with any other family friendly location, the Ashland-White Mountains Jellystone Park is extremely kid friendly with several great amenities. For instance, there are two heated pools and a kiddie pool and ping pong tables. Additional family friendly things to do can be found all around the White Mountains. For example, Newfound Lake is just a short drive from the campgrounds. Not only is Newfound Lake a great spot for kayaking and hiking, it’s a great spot to extend your trip. If you are traveling a bit further, consider visiting the historic Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods. Also nearby is the family friendly Cog Railway.
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Big Basin Redwoods State Park
21600 Big Basin Way
Boulder Creek, CA 95006
Nestled within the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Big Basin State Park is California’s oldest state park. Founded in 1902, Big Basin covers over 18,000 acres and with 2,500 years old redwoods. The main attractions are old growth redwoods and the Skyline to the Sea trail. However, you don’t have to hike all the way to the coastline on an outing. Instead, there are over 80 miles of trails with varying lengths. Although you might have plenty of things to do in Big Basin, you can explore other local attractions. For instance, it’s an easy drive Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the popular admission free seaside park. Roaring Camp Railroads is even closer to Big Basin in Felton.
Note: After being closed for nearly two years for renovations, Big Basin State Park is reopening this summer. In fact, day use parking will be available by reservation on July 22. In addition, a temporary visitor center that day, as well as temporary restrooms and some hiking trails. Please check the Big Basin website for the latest, up-to-date information.
Door County Jellystone Park
3677 May Road
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
www.doorcountyjellystone.comAnother exceptional Jellystone-branded campground can be found in beautiful Door County. Camping options include standard, hook-up and premium campsites. In addition, rates include two adults and up to three dependent children. What’s more are cabin and trailer rentals. Door County Jellystone Park offers several family friendly amenities. In detail, two heated pools, kiddie pool and 18-hole miniature golf course. Even if you just have a Coleman sundome, Jellystone is a great spot for family friendly camping. While you’re in Door County, you should visit some of the popular attractions. For instance, you can see the goats that relax on the rooftop of Al Johnson’s restaurant in Sister Bay. Lastly, stop by Wilson’s Ice Cream Parlor in Ephraim for some classic treats. For instance, you can order a banana split, chocolate sundae and Wilson’s own root beer floats.
Glimmerglass State Park
1527 County Highway 31
Cooperstown, NY 13326
Ask any kid where he wants to go this summer and the answer is oftentimes a major amusement park like Disneyland. But another popular destination, is Cooperstown, the beloved home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame . For campers, one of the best spots in the in the area is Glimmerglass State Park, located along the shores of Otsego Lake just eight miles from downtown Cooperstown. Open year round, Glimmerglass State Park is popular for summertime activities like biking, hiking and fishing. Among popular winter activities are ice skating, cross-country skiing and ice fishing. Although you will have plenty of fun things to do at the campgrounds, make sure to visit Cooperstown. In addition to the Hall of Fame, Cooperstown has a beautiful downtown area filled with boutique stores.
Half Dome Village
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Formerly known as Curry Village, Half Dome Village offers heated and unheated tents, along with cabins with private bathrooms. In all, there are 481 guest accommodations, including 14 cabins with a central bath, 46 cabins with private baths and 403 canvas tent cabins for upscale camping. As the largest lodging facility in Yosemite National Park, the Village also features a gift shop and an outdoor swimming pool. A free shuttle service operates year round from 7 am to 10 pm.
Note: Reservations are required to enter Yosemite National Park, whether you’re camping or not. In other words, due to its enormous popularity, camp reservations may already be sold out for the summer. If that’s the case, you will have to plan much earlier the next chance you have for a reservation.
Olympic Peninsula/Port Angeles KOA
80 O’Brien Road
Port Angeles, WA 98362
As the world’s largest system of privately held family friendly camping, Kampgrounds of America (KOA) has long been a reliable and reputable place to stay, especially for families with children. Among the best with a prime location is the Olympic Peninsula/Port Angeles KOA, filled with an assortment of amenities and activities and just a short drive from the enormous Olympic National Park. Another KOA you might like is the Winthrop/North Cascades National Park. At Olympic Peninsula KOA, you can enjoy all sorts of activities and special events. For example the swimming pool is open during the summer and bike rentals are available. The KOA also hosts fun events like wagon rides and Saturday Night Ice Cream Social.
Peaks Of Otter Campground
10454 Peaks Road
Bedford, VA 24523
The Blue Ridge Parkway often surprises travelers with its natural beauty filled with breathtaking waterfalls and scenic hiking trails. But what may surprise even more visitors is that it’s the second most visited park within the National Park System and has been for most of the past 70 years. Extending nearly 470 across the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway features eight developed campgrounds from May through late October and one of the best is Peaks of Otter, located about 26 miles northeast of Roanoke, Virginia. Of course, the city of Roanoke is also worth visit, if you have the time. For instance, the top attractions are the Taubman Museum, Mill Mountain Zoo and Hotel Roanoke. In addition, the Roanoke Star atop Mill Mountain is another worthwhile attraction. In fact, the Roanoke Star is the largest of its kind in the world. To enjoy these attractions, one of the best family friendly camping spots is the Peaks of Otter.
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About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.