There are things we do for our family, memories we work hard to create. The annual beach trip, for instance, where we pack up nearly our entire house and move it to a rental near the ocean. We’re still doing daily life like grocery shopping, cooking meals and picking up after the kids – only with a better view. Taking our family camping can feel just as daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Late Summer and Early Fall is one of the best times to go camping in the Carolinas. My husband’s favorite campground is Linville Falls. He loves to fish for trout in the stream that runs behind the campground. It’s his go-to place for fishing and camping with his buddies and had become our family’s go-to spot as well, until now.
This year, we decided to switch it up and we’re glad we did. We took our 6-year-old to the new (opened in May) Camp Jellystone in Bostic, NC (Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ Camp-Resort). It’s an hour and a half drive from Charlotte, located between Shelby and Marion in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Formerly, a girl scout camp, the 600+ acres has been transformed into the family-friendly franchise Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resorts.
If you’re unsure about tent camping, lack the equipment or don’t own an RV, this is the place to dip your toes into camping experience. There are luxury cabins and lodges, full hook-up RV sites, lakeside Glamping Tents and regular Tent Camping sites. Golf Carts are available to rent to trek your family to various onsite activities like: Canoeing/Kayaking/Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Fishing, Tennis, Pickleball, Basketball, Laser Tag, Water Park, Swimming Pool, Playground, Inflatable Jump Pad, Arts and Crafts, Gem Mining and 18-hole Mini Golf.
Now that the kids are covered, did I mention there are two hot tubs near the swimming pool? Or that you can have one delivered to your cabin? There is also a bar adjacent to the camp store. The Blue Ridge Tavern offers beer, cocktails, and wine. When you’re exhausted and don’t feel like cooking, order a wood-fired pizza from the Creekside Cafe. They offer a variety of menu items like burgers, fries, chicken tenders, ice cream, and ICEE. The Lodge also offers a pancake breakfast a few mornings a week. There are a laundry station and the most well-stocked camp store I’ve ever seen. If you’ve forgotten something, I’m sure they’ll have it. An enclosed dog park will be completed soon. Wi-Fi is also available at the camp store, cafe and water park (but don’t tell the kids).
Our family tent-camped for 3 nights. At Camp Jellystone, I was pleased with the tent-sites which were equipped with their own electrical outlet (think inflatable mattress and phone charging), a water spout, campfire ring, and picnic table. The tent site restrooms and showers took me by complete surprise. The cabin-like building a short walk from our tent had a screen-in porch with a dishwashing station, drying racks and three privately enclosed restrooms each with their own toilet, sink, and shower. Soap and toilet paper were provided and the restrooms were cleaned regularly.
While the facilities were fantastic, and the people were friendly, the endless activities on site allowed us to relax and enjoy time together. Our daughter enjoyed the waterpark for hours on end, arts and crafts, fishing, gem mining, playing on the playground and jump pad and making s’mores. We played mini-golf each night except for the last night when we were pelted in a thunderstorm. Rain tends to dampen most camping experiences, but we ate ice cream from the cafe and sat in rocking chairs on the covered patio at the camp store and watched the lightning in the distance. When we returned to our campsite, my husband was impressed that I had covered our campfire pit with plastic trash bags and we were able to enjoy a fire after our daughter went to sleep.
If you haven’t ventured into the family camping world or just looking to try something different Camp Jellystone Golden Valley will certainly delight.
182 Jellystone Pkwy
Bostic, NC 28018