After being in quarantine for three months, we were getting itchy feet… but how to travel with children safely amidst a pandemic? Camping, that’s how! We are taking Covid-19 very seriously, and while businesses are slowly reopening we are choosing to remain socially distant.
We came across Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Luray and knew it was a perfect fit for our first adventure! The staff took great care in health of their guests, and even though some of their bigger amenities were closed (pool/water slides/lazer tag) we had so much to do!
This was our first time staying at a campsite and it was so refreshing to see families bonding and kids playing outside without technology. I highly encourage everyone to take a camping or “glamping” (as we did) trip with their loved ones, it is a breath of fresh air (with the protection of your face mask of course – wink wink).
We have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite! If you have any questions about Jellystone or our trip please shoot us an email!
We stayed in a Premium Loft Cottage (C87 baby!) and it was perfect for our family of four and our dog Stanley! Our daughter enjoyed sleeping in the lofted area, she said it was her secret play area (we did not argue). There was also a set of bunk beds right off the kitchen and a separate bedroom with a queen bed. There was a futon in the living room area as well.
We also had our very own kitchen which was perfect for these socially distant times, and a large screened in porch (Stanley’s favorite spot to people watch). Each campsite has a fire pit which we fully utilized every night to make s’mores and grill up some food!
We really enjoyed our cabin – it gave us the space we felt was needed during this pandemic and our kids asked if we could move there! We also had a golf cart for the duration of our stay which we highly recommend – it provided entertainment for the kids as well as an easy way to zip around the campsite.
Jellystone Park – Let’s be clear – Jellystone has it all. You really have no need to leave the campsite once you arrive, so lets share all of fun (A lot was closed due to phased reopening of Virginia, but I cannot stress enough that even though these areas were closed – we had SO much fun. If it were all open our kids might have never left!):
- Yogi Bear’s Water Zone/ Swimming Pools/ Water Slides – This was closed while we were there because of Virginia’s phased reopening, but it looked ideal for children!
- Outdoor Movie Theater – Whaaaat? YES! They have an awesome setup for an outdoor movie theater, due to social distancing regulations this was closed, but should be open soon!
- Lazer Tag – Not only do they have lazer tag, but it is outdoors and the setup is pretty awesome. Definitely a great place to get your heart pumping!
- Mini Golf – This was open and we loved the course. It had a beautiful view of the mountains and had beautiful flowers throughout. Staff was very safe with face masks and hand sanitizer/wipes when you checked in.
- Jumping Pilllows/ Volleyball Courts/ Basketball Courts/ Playgrounds/ Arcade – Sadly all of these areas were closed while we were there – but oh what fun they will be once reopened!
- Gem Mining – We were so grateful this was open, as it is our kids favorite thing to do! We got gems, fossils, and shark teeth. This was a real highlight for our kids and us parents, is there anything better than seeing pure joy and excitement while on vacation!
- Activity Center – We went to Jellystone during Camping Weekend and they had a series of arts and crafts for pickup to bring back to your campsite. This was so much fun to have scheduled activities throughout the day (Yogi Bear dance party, fireside stories).
Shenandoah National Park – Getting outside and spending time in nature has become so important during this pandemic. Jellystone is just down the road from Shenandoah National Park, where natural beauty is unending. Drive Skyline for beautiful viewpoints or stop and hike up one of the many trails. It is $30 per car to enter.
We chose Hawksbill Summit – the lower trail. With an elevation of 4,050, it is the highest point in the Shenandoah National Park. It was 1.8 miles round trip – all uphill and very rocky. Our five year old did the whole trail herself, and I carried our youngest in the carrier. We brought our dog and he was beyond excited (please keep your dogs leashed – at the summit someone had their dog off leash and ran up to ours which was very dangerous, as there are cliffs).
Luray Caverns – We have been to a lot of caverns, but this one wins! The largest caverns in Eastern US is full of columns, mud flows, stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, and mirrored pools. It truly will leave you with a dropped jaw at the pure beauty. We went three days after it’s reopening and had the caverns pretty much all to ourselves, face masks were worn and it was a self guided tour. Perk – the entire place is accessible with a stroller or wheel chair – no steps!
Your Luray Cavern ticket gets you in to the The Car and Carriage Caravan Museum, Toy Museum, and Luray Valley Museum & Shenandoah Heritage Village – all within walking distance and worth checking out! There is a garden maze there as well which is an additional cost, and quite fun.
We cooked most of our meals in our cabin (they have a full kitchen that has pots/pans/plates/utensils). We did get lunch at Jellystone’s Cafe, Nathan’s Famous – and it was so good! They have your classics – hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and fries with toppings (cheesy bacon fries anyone??). Oh and do yourself a favor – get some ice cream!
The cabins are similar to renting a beach house – you must bring your own linens/towels. We opted for the linen service which made things a lot easier!
You can bring your dog to select cabins – but sure to bring their kennel (it is required). Oh and they have a fun dog park!
Bring your fishing poles – they have a catch and release pond.
Put down your technology and have care free FUN with your family!
Pack a kite/scooters/bikes – so many paths and open spaces.
Until next time….