**This post is sponsored by Camp Luray.**
I’ve never been a fan of camping.
My parents took my camping more times than I care to remember as a child and, for a host of reasons, I quickly came to the conclusion that it’s not my jam.
I hate sleeping in tents, I despise insects, snakes, and other creepy crawlies. I don’t like being hot, I hate being wet or cold. Public bathrooms make me gag and the sheer thought of having to relieve myself in the forest in a hole dug with my own two hands makes me want to sob uncontrollably.
I also don’t enjoy rising with the sun or staying up late while people talk for hours around a campfire. In fact, I’m not even a fan of campfires!
I swore off camping when I was about 16, but mom guilt started to eat at me when the dudes began to show an interest a few years ago.
Never wanting to deprive them of an experience, DudeDad and I packed them into our car with a freshly purchased 5-person family tent and took them up to some mountain campground so they could have the authentic outdoor, nature experience I was told they needed.
A snake fell onto our 5-man tent not 10 minutes after it was erected, our dog barked for 12 hours straight nearly getting us evicted from the campground, one of my kids barfed directly on top of another one of kids after also stepping on his face while he was sleeping, my parents (who had gone with us to teach us the ways of the campground) got four flat tires, and after hours frying in the sun by the river we didn’t even catch a single fish.
When we finally made it home in one filthy, remarkably still breathing piece with our marriage and our limbs intact, we swore to never do it again.
I know, I know. I’m one of those people and, while I used to be ashamed of my life of luxury (and by luxury I mean central air and indoor plumbing), I’ve reached a point in my life where I am cool with embracing who I am, and who I am is a person who does one type of camping: the kind where there is a cabin involved.
It’s the perfect balance for our family -I get a bathroom and a bed and electricity and air conditioning, they get to run around outdoors for hours on end and not shower for days without me complaining to them about it.
We have stayed in several cabins over the last few summers because it has come to be one of our favorite, most affordable, and unilaterally fun vacations of all time.
This summer, we were invited to go camping in Virginia at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Luray, for a 3 night complimentary adventure at the campground.
Located in Luray, Virginia, Jellystone is like the Cadillac of campgrounds. With tons of amenities and things to do for families of all ages, it is the perfect vacation destination for a fun summer getaway for an active semi-outdoorsy family.
Anyone who enjoys water parks will love having a mini-one right on the grounds of Camp Luray. Watch this video of The Dudes conquering it and then read on to learn more about our adventure camping in Virginia.
I can’t say enough about how much fun we had on our adventure at Jellystone Camp Luray, but I can tell you every single reason I think you should check it out if you’re looking for someplace to go camping in Virginia with your family.
Camping in Virginia: 13 Things to Love About Jellystone Camp Luray
They have cabins.
So no one has to sleep in a tent. As previously mentioned, tent camping is for 20 year olds finding themselves in Europe and zombie apocalypses. Barring either of those, I need running water, a bed, and preferably an A/C unit to enjoy a campground. Thank camping gods, Camp Luray has plenty of cabins.
There are several ways to stay at Camp Luray.
From primitive units that don’t have much more than a roof and some walls, to luxury, suite like cabins where your family can enjoy all of the comforts of home. Depending on your family size, needs, and budget, every family should be able to find a cabin that suits their needs. For those who enjoy tent camping, they have that too. They also have RV hookups for you ballers who bring your home with you when you travel.
We had plenty of room to spread out.
The worst part about family vacations with a large family is finding roomy accommodations that won’t keep us on top of each other the entire time. My kids are at the I-need-privacy phase of life and it’s always uncomfortable and stressful when we are crammed into a small space together for hours on end. Plus, they like to invite friends and Mimi along when we travel. We were able to stay in a deluxe comfort cabin that had a separate room and plenty of sleeping space for everyone to have a comfortable place to relax at night. It had heat and AC, a full bathroom, and a mini kitchen with a cooktop, a microwave, a sink, and a fridge. It had a large indoor dining area with a table and chairs and plenty of additional space to hang out. This really came in handy when we were stuck inside on a super rainy day playing games and telling scary stories.
The water slides are amazing.
According to my kids anyway. They probably surfed down them over 100 times combined so I feel like they’re the experts in this particular department.
And, with three new additions to the park, the Dudes spent tons of time testing them out. They give them a 10.
Really, the entire swim complex is pretty great.
They have a splash play area, a play pool with a basketball hoop (yes, they spent most of their time here), a regular pool (they called it the warm pool), and a family pool with a shallow area that had a fountain for younger kids to hang in.
Even if swimming isn’t your jam, there are so many things to do.
Mini golf, gem mining, paddle boats, basketball, an arcade, Gaga Ball, a jumping pillow, laser tag, outdoor movies. Plus, the campground has daily activities for kids and families to enjoy with other campers. They even had a dance while we were there.
There are several playgrounds.
In fact, there was one right outside of our cabin that Dude 3 enjoyed every morning while he waited for his lazy older brothers to get up.
You can rent a golfcart.
The campground is big so you’ll appreciate having it to get around more quickly. And, even if you don’t mind walking, having the cart to cruise around on is part of the fun. My Dudes were all too young to get behind the steering wheel themselves, but they were also all more than willing to jump on the back and take tours of the area with me every morning.
They also have a café on-site.
Seriously came in handy for ordering fries and burgers and ice cream when they were too busy having fun to wander back to the cabin for lunch.
It’s located near Luray Caverns.
Naturally we took a day trip over to the caverns to explore them. We all enjoyed seeing the famous destination up close and learning about its origins and the science behind caves.
It’s also near Wal-mart and tons of other shopping and food.
That way, if you are just tired of eating boiled hot dogs because it’s been raining too hard for hours to cook on the grill, you can just jump in your car, drive about ten minutes, and be happily sitting inside of a Pizza Hut waiting on a hot pie to fill your belly with.
But, you don’t have to even leave the campground for necessities (or niceties).
They have a pretty amazing general store right on-site where you can buy everything from those little sticks you use to roast marshmallows, to essentials like sunscreen and bug spray.
It’s an affordable way to vacation with your family.
The nightly rates for their cabins are less than most hotels of the same caliber (especially if you are a family of five and need a suite or two hotel rooms when you travel). And you can provide your own food so you don’t have the cost of eating out for every meal. Plus, most of the fun activities are included (laser tag and gem mining cost extra). You can save with one of their special offers too.
Need some camping tips? Whether you’re going camping in Virginia or elsewhere, these first time camper tips will come in handy.