Living fairly busy lives, we are always looking for ways to reconnect as a family. Two weekends ago, we packed the van and headed the slightly over one hour west to uniontown for our first ever trip to a koa kampground. Every one of us was super excited! We had been counting down the days to this little mini vacation for months, and while we knew very little about the campground itself, we were happy to get away and spend some much needed quality time together, camping with the kids.
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Camping wasn’t an activity my family ever partook in. It’s not that I was ever opposed to it, it just wasn’t something we did as a family. A couple of years ago, our oldest son begged to go camping for his birthday, and we did. We had a blast, and were hooked. The weather was gorgeous, the location was incredible, and the tent was so much fun for the kids. We added it to the list of ways to reconnect as a family, and quickly ran out and bought a very large tent (and we LOOOVE it!! It’s big enough to fit us all and has a screened in area). We started planning the following year’s camping trips immediately.
Unfortunately, the next 3 camping trips, while fun, were all cut short by rain. In the morning, we were woken up by rain pouring on our heads, and were forced to rush around grabbing our stuff, that is ALL OVER the campsite, and quickly shove every last muddy piece of it into the van. Take it all home, and pull it all out, completely unorganized and disgusting, and try to create some order and clean it all. To be honest, it was a little bit heartbreaking.
We had found the perfect, cost effective way for our family to getaway for a weekend, and it was just not working out the way I had dreamed. I really had lost any interest in camping in a tent with four kids– or at the very least planning a trip too far in advance to anticipate the weather, and risking the it turning on us, and purchasing a camper wasn’t really hitting the number one spot in our budget. The kids were in love with camping, and Brent and I weren’t ready to throw in the towel. (ETA: there may come a point when tent camping because more feasible for us, especially since we have learned several tricks of the trade now)
12 ways to reconnect as a
Before I begin, I just want to say, I received no compensation for the review of this koa in any way, and all of the opinions are my own, and nothing but the truth!
1. Reserve a stay at a campground
The uniontown koa campground was a blast!! We stayed in a cabin– with air conditioning, a kitchenette, and a bathroom! It was the perfect solution for us- glamping! It was a beautiful, family friendly campground with loads to do. If you have never been to a koa, or haven’t heard of them, they’re a fantastic choice for an adventurous family like ours. There are planned activities for kids every day (most of which are free for campers!), There is a convenience store on site, a pool, themed weeks, bonfires, playgrounds, fishing, dog parks, so much to do! While not every koa is the same most of these things are offered at all koas. There are 485 koa locations across north america, and I will tell you, we left uniontown with a book we plan to mark all over, noting the places we want to visit, along with the ones we have already.
2. go rafting.
For the last couple of years, it has been on my “bucket list” to take the kids rafting down a river. Unfortunately, the waters are a little too rough to attempt this with a 1 year old, and a 4 year old around here. I checked with the people in the “yellow shirts” (the staff at the koa) and they assured me it was a very lazy ride down the river, and I was sold!!
Saturday morning, we packed a picnic lunch and a completely useless (once drenched) towel in a far from waterproof bag (we learned our lesson and before the next camping trip we snagged this waterproof bag and it’s awesome and CHEAP!) , and off we went– shoeless into a very rocky river. We’re learning… those rocks may be smooth, but there was a reason the men that drove us the 3 miles up river were laughing at us… we made it.
I can now cross that off of my list. The youngest of the bunch may never remember it, but I have the video to prove we did it. Also, the oldest one is a little closer to having a clue how to row a boat, or a raft, or whatever, and we know if we ever do it again to buy river shoes like these.
3. go on a treasure hunt
After we got back from our adventure down the river, the campground had a pirate scavenger hunt for the kids. Everyone met at the pavillion, which is the central gathering point for most of the activities. All of the kids were given bandanas (which were actually the morning craft, but we missed it because we were on the river), and treasure maps, and they followed the captain around the campground searching for treasure. Such a cute activity for the little ones, and the big guy was sweet, and played along.
After the scavenger hunt, we strolled around the campground…
5. play arcade games
6. eat ice cream from an ice cream shoppe (because it tastes better when it comes from a shoppe)
7. hang out at a playground
8. get disgustingly dirty
9. chill for a little…
10. build a fire, roast marshmallows and attempt to make jiffy pop
Then the littles went to bed, and brent tried for the 4,982 time to cook jiffy pop (which, by the way, you can get online here…I only know after searching the stores for it!) over the fire.
Fail. I am told this is the closest he has ever gotten.
11. go fishing
Only one fish, and a stick were caught. We are certainly not fisherman, but they had fun!
12. go swimming.
(edit to add: lots of emails have come in asking for suggestions on taking pictures in the summer. here is a post all about that!)
We had such an awesome time camping with kids, and we literally did not get in the car once!! We got there, parked our car, and never left (except to be driven in the shuttle up the river). We bought bait, river shoes for wild thing #4, graham crackers (oops!! i forgot!).
We went in blindly, having never been to a koa, and left refreshed and thrilled with our experience!! We are headed to another koa in july, we are even more excited now!! (update: we had just as much fun at the myrtle beach koa and camping in the fall!)
do you follow me?? if not, come on!!! it’ll be fun!
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