This blog post is dedicated to Ariana. I met Ariana Gillette when she joined the Dwellus Group. She is an exceptional Realtor with every connection you could possibly need (cleaners, contractors, specialty vendors). Ariana asked me to write a blog post about camping with kids. Here goes…
I have never gone camping with kids. I also have no memories of camping as a child. One time in college I camped with the Class of 2002 Trustees. I actually have a photo of the excursion but honest to gosh remember nothing from that trip.
I have imagined camping before. I really enjoyed Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” but her experience was not necessarily the G-rated version of an outdoor adventure I would envision for my family of four. I love shopping so I really enjoyed the part where she goes to REI and buys a lot of cool gear to take with her.
My children do not like itchy grass or mosquitoes. They do like sleeping bags and sleepovers. They both love staring at the moon and stars at night and I can imagine they would love the idea of reading their bedtime stories with a flashlight. My youngest daughter loves baked beans so she could survive if her life ever spiraled out of control and she had to live like Natty Gann and John Cusack on a 2,000 mile journey to find her dad. But maybe I’m romanticizing the whole camping experience.
After a bit of research, I’ve compiled the following sites that I would wholeheartedly consider if I was to embark on a camping trip with my kids in tow…
• The Mathews Arm campground in Shenandoah National Park is off Skyline Drive at mile marker 22—making it the park’s closest campground to DC. The spot provides easy access to great hiking trails, including one of our favorites, which leads to a view of 93-foot Overall Run Falls, the park’s tallest waterfall. Each of the 164 campsites has a fire ring and a picnic table. While there are no showers, the bathhouse does have flush toilets. A general store is nearby, though being close to the park’s northern entrance makes it possible to pop into the town of Front Royal to visit restaurants, shops, and wineries. (Washingtonian 6/10/16)
• Assateague Island. Assateague is home to sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays. Home to the wild horses, you can enjoy their beauty from a distance (i.e. feeding and/or petting them is detrimental to both visitors and horses). Camping options abound at Assateague – with oceanside drive-in, oceanside walk-in, bayside drive-in and group camping options available. (Our-kids.com)
• Nestled in the Alleghany Mountains, Douthat State Park provides visitors with plenty of activities and a scenic mountain backdrop. The park’s 50-acre lake offers swimming, boating, and fishing, and there are more than 40 miles of wooded hiking trails encircling the park. The campgrounds have bathhouses with showers and toilets, and the sites are pet-friendly. Grill at the site’s fire pits and enjoy an evening meal at the picnic tables. Straddling Bath and Alleghany counties, Douthat State Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the original six Virginia State Parks. History buffs find plenty to do all within an hours’ drive of the park. Visit Bath County to experience the famous Warm Springs Baths or travel to Natural Bridge in nearby Lexington, which has a rich Civil War history. The campsite is also close to Virginia’s oldest standing covered bridge, Humpback Bridge, on Route 60, west of Covington. (Blog.virginia.org)
• Watermelon Park. The slow-running Shenandoah that runs through Watermelon Park is never more than three feet deep – and the current is nice and easy. They even have special tubes with bottoms – so the little kiddos in your group won’t fall out. Choose Either: 5 River Tubes or 4 River Tubes and a floating cooler. (most tubes have cupholders). No reservations required. Weather permitting. (Certifikid)
Maybe I should go camping. After looking at the pictures on all of these sites, my colleagues can’t shut me up about planning a camping trip. Blog post to follow with first hand experience.