I've never been a big fan of camping. The idea of paying to sleep in the dirt, and "interacting" with other "happy campers" has always been a huge turn off for me. For somebody like me ( ADHD/Bipolar ), "social aspect" of camping is probably #1 reason why I hate camping so much.
But recently, I had to force myself to check into one of America's most popular campgrounds - KOA ...and, to my surprise, I had a great time !
My kid has been talking about the whole "camping experience" ( tent+fun+s'mores ) for quite some time, and I really wanted his first time "in the wild" to be memorable. To do that, I had to make sure that he would be comfortable , and it'd be fun.
To make it comfortable, I was thinking of staying either at a cabin or a yurt. And to make it fun, I had to come up with a location with enough things to do to keep him busy for a day and a half. Staring at the map of Washington, I couldn't think of a better location than Leavenworth !
KOA is located just 5 minutes away from downtown Leavenworth. I figured if there would be nothing to do at the camp, at least, I could always rely on my favorite adventure town.
But lucky for me, I didn't have to worry about things to do at KOA!
Upon our arrival we were blessed with warm sunny weather, and as soon as my son saw a swimming pool, I knew we would kill at least half of the day :)
Being very ( XHyperActive )(like farther, like son) swimming wasn't enough for him. The campground has a few awesome bikes for rent, and though, you can only ride around the territory, 45 minutes of uphill/downhiill biking wore him out a bit, and really whetted his appetite.
A quick ride to downtown, and after a bratwurst and some chocolate fudge, he was ready for more fun.
Waterfront Park is the place to take your kids no matter what time of the year it is. The trails are flat and wind along the Wenatchee River and through quiet riverbank forests. Throughout the park there are small beach inlets that are perfect for kids to play and for the parents to sit down and relax.
Back to the camp, and it was still early for camp fire. The Wenatchee River curves along the campground, and was just a short hike from our cabin. Its rocky beach became his next playground until it got dark.
Campfire and s'mores (!) became the highlight of his camping experience. Running around the camp with a flashlight looking for monsters was another...
Though, he was absolutely stoked to sleep in his own bunk-bed, he couldn't figure out why there was no bedding or pillows.
NOTE: Either bring your own bedding, or, at least, a sleeping bag and a camp pillow. There is a heater inside, so you'll be warm and comfortable.
Also, there is NO toilet in the cabins (so, you'll be lucky if your cabin is close to the public restroom like ours was).
All in all, we had an unbelievable experience. I just hope that next time, tent camping won't be a huge disappointment for him, and camping in general will become a big part of his childhood.