Themed Campgrounds – A Foolproof Way To Introduce Your Kids To Camping
Almost everyone remembers his or her first camping trip, and it’s not uncommon for that trip to strongly help determine that person’s attitude towards the activity in the future. So if you’re an avid camper with a true love of the great outdoors, how do you help guide your children onto a similar path? While you can certainly attempt to do it all on your own, one of the best, most foolproof ways of making sure your child’s first camping trip is a blast is to take them to a themed campground. If you think your family has missed out on all the fun because summer is over, don’t worry! Fall is a fantastic time to introduce your children to camping, and there are many campground options out there.
What is a ‘Themed Campground’?
For those who have never heard of them before, themed campgrounds include special planned activities for people of all ages, though they are often especially geared towards children. Sometimes these campgrounds are at wilderness resorts, while other times they are really just themed weekends or weeks held at regular campgrounds or authorized parks. Some allow both RVs and tents, while others are just limited to one or the other.
One such example of a themed campground is the Autumn Lakes Family Campground in Ohio. While at its core it functions just like a typical campground, it differs in that it offers a range of activities— like paddle boats and canoeing, corn hole boards, a petting zoo and more. And like many such campgrounds, all trails are specifically marked and easy to follow. Since it is very family oriented, the campground is gated and children campers are all given wristbands. They also offer various weekends with special themes and additional activities. Many campgrounds across the United States operate in a very similar manner.
Themed Campgrounds in the Fall
Some of the greatest campground themes are held in the fall, and Though there are a variety of activities, some of the most popular ones include pumpkin carving, apple picking (and plenty of other “apple themed” happenings), and of course, nature hikes to see brilliant fall colors. Some places, like the Tall Pines Campground in New York, hold contests and give out prizes.
The end of October is an especially good time to get in some fall-themed camping activities. Many campgrounds offer special Halloween-themed weekends at this time, complete with scarecrows, costume contests, and of course plenty of pumpkins. At nighttime, families often gather around campfires and sing songs or tell ghost stories.
Some of these themed weekends are starting early this year. For instance, Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort in Indiana decided to launch its Halloween weekends on September 19 and hold them through November 1. They also have a Halloween dance and plenty of activities geared towards older children and teens. One of their main highlights, however, is their campsite decorating contest, which is a great way to get kids enthused about setting up their family’s campsite and making it their temporary home. Likewise, the Land-O-Pines Family Campground down in Louisiana, where campsite decorating contests are kicked up a notch and turned into haunted house competitions. Meanwhile there’s Four Paws Kingdom over in North Carolina, where a pet costume contest and plenty of other pet-friendly themed activities are offered during the fall camping season.
Themed Campground Resorts
Campground resorts (also just referred to as “camp-resorts”) are a little different from regular themed campgrounds in that they are more developed and have more permanent fixtures. They are also often linked with other camp-resorts. For example, Camp Jellystone in Colorado is actually a series of camp-resorts in multiple towns, each offering amenities like mini-golf courses, playgrounds, hayrides, athletic courts and even indoor facilities like game rooms and dining areas.
Guests do technically go “camping” at these resorts, but the experience is not necessarily focused on the great outdoors. That said, they can still be a great first step towards getting your children into camping. Many also offer even more elaborate Halloween-themed weekends, so if you’re looking to go camping while having a great vacation with plenty of Halloween and fall-themed activities (while meeting plenty of other families), they may be just the thing.
The Bottom Line
Going to a themed campground isn’t necessary to get your children enthused about camping, but again, it is a great idea. They’ll get to ease into camping while meeting other families with children their own age, and they’ll also get to participate in activities designed especially for them. It’s camping with a strong social aspect, and a themed campground weekend is sure to result in some great memories.