Monday, June 29, 2015

Family Vacation: Camping in an RV

Our cabin - and the car that got us there
Growing up with 3 siblings, a stay-at-home mother and a father who didn’t make much money, camping was what we often did for vacation. We had a pop-up trailer that we used for a couple of cross country trips and my summer camp had cabins, but we took overnight hikes with tents.

But the RV experience was totally new to me. For those who have no experience with RVs, is a great website for all-things-camping with tips on what to bring, when to go and even road-trip games for the kids.

The kitchen in our park model RV
My family got to try a ‘park model’ RV, a cabin that theoretically could move, since it was on wheels, at the Mystic KOA in Stonington, Connecticut. But it looked like a cabin, with a wooden porch, and porch swing, a patio with Adirondack chairs and a tricked out interior with a full kitchen, plumbing, air conditioning and flat screen TV.

Bunk beds!
OK, so the Wi-Fi was spotty. But this was nothing like the camping I did as a child, with a thin sleeping bag and a shovel for a bathroom.

Yet it still was a great way to celebrate the outdoors. Some may deride this as camping light, but I prefer to think of this as inclusive camping. Sure, you can stay in a tent if you want (and plenty of people do -  it is cheaper) but if you like having a hot shower, a comfortable bed and AC, you are welcome too.

Best perk of an RV - an actual toilet!
The park models sleep six, with a pull out couch, bunk beds, and bedroom - with a door - for the parents. I was supposed by how comfortable the queen sized bed was and how quiet it was in the woods. I am a city girl, used to sleeping with sirens, cars honking and people screaming. Here, all I heard was crickets. Ah, serenity.

The cabins are fully equipped with sheets, towels, dishes - even a Keurig coffee maker. No one makes your bed, and you only get fresh towels and linens once a week - but really, do you need fresh sheets daily? I am happy when a hotel lets me opt out of daily changes so I can conserve water, so I felt particularly virtuous about this greener way to vacation.

Breakfast - artisanal granola
We met a large family group that included some staying in cabins, some staying in tents, and some staying in RVs - but all having a great time.

For those who like to bring their pets on vacation, camping has another perk - dogs are welcome. The dog friendly campground had a special dog park where dogs could romp, and my dog loved walking from campsite to campsite, meeting other dogs and sniffing around the picnic tables where somebody just had to have dropped a morsel of meat.

Camping is so dog friendly that Karat got a welcome gift
We had a huge barbecue where everyone but my family chowed down on Omaha Steaks burgers, T-bones and ribs - but I have to say, the veggie burgers, also by Omaha Steaks, were delicious. Unlike many veggie burgers, these were able to stand up to the grill and they had a satisfying crunch (I thought it was quinoa, but it turned out to be sunflower seeds and brown rice). My husband also had a juicy salmon burger.

We ate and drank well throughout the weekend - Happy Camper Wine provided the appropriately named vino and Cabin Fever Whiskey a maple infused bourbon. We also had delicious granola from Henry Hudson Bakery

Nearby hiking trails - don't forget the tick medicine
The KOA campground, just outside Mystic, CT, is ideal for families. You can hop on 95 and tour Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport during the day. We opted to hike from a trailhead right near the Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Veggie burger and kale salad - not your average camping fare
But you don’t even have to leave the campground to have fun. There are organized activities daily during the season, and the young, enthusiastic staff, much like camp counselors, were both personable and helpful. One noticed us trying to start a fire with inadequate kindling and ran off to bring some. There are outdoor movies on a giant screen, campfires with s’mores and wagon rides.

There is also a large pool, mini golf and bike rentals. We are already planning out next family camping trip.

Note: this is a sponsored post. Opinions expressed and family fun are my own.