Family Camping is Quality Family Time with the Right Campsite

I didn’t grow up in an ‘outdoorsy’ familia. As a parent today, I didn’t have any camping experience to reflect on when it came time to take my own family camping. So, claro, things can go wrong. Pero, ever since my life-changing expedition with the National Park Foundation, camping is the only vacation that I ever want to plan for mi familia. Camping means connecting to the outdoors, embracing nature, and exploring the wilderness. My husband and my boys don’t always feel the same but they always thank me after it’s all said and done.

KOA in Colorado

Last summer, we planned an epic great outdoors vacation. My brother had recently moved to Colorado so, we took a long road trip from Texas to Colorado. Even though we grew up in the same house, my brother ended up being super outdoorsy. Hence, the move to Colorado. We went river rafting, outdoor camping in Pike National Forest, and visited the Rocky Mountains National Park. My husband and my brother even squeezed in tee time for a day. It was a little piece of heaven.

Sunset at KOA in Colorado

However, things didn’t start out quite as planned. We had reserved a campsite at one campground but we drove to the wrong one. When we realized this, we knew that we had to act fast because we risked losing too much daylight if we drove to the correct campground. We called around to find a nearby campsite and luckily, Buena Vista KOA (Kampgrounds of America) had one available for us.

Games at KOA in Colorado

Our First KOA Experience

This unplanned stop at KOA would turn out to be a huge blessing. Once we arrived, we were pleased to learn about all the amenities such as showers, clean restrooms, a laundry center, a well-stocked general store, and even a playground. Although we were fully prepared for primitive camping (camping without running water), we sure were glad to have these amenities for our first night.

Exploring KOA in Colorado

There were six of us. My husband, my two boys, my brother, my mom who drove with us from Texas, and me. Mi hermano y yo were the ones most excited about primitive camping in the forest. Everyone else was more concerned about when and where they were going to shower and go to the bathroom. So, the showers and clean restrooms at KOA were a huge bonus the next morning.

Camping at KOA in Colorado

We arrived at Buena Vista KOA with enough time to set up our tents and start a fire to cook dinner. There was still plenty of daylight left for a quick hike to explore the scenic campgrounds. ¡Esta hermoso! As a first-timer at a KOA campground, the biggest surprise for me was that every kind of camper could be found there. Campers were set up in cabins, RVs, tents, and even a beautiful teepee.

Playground at KOA

Mis chiquitos most enjoyed the playground. We had plenty of games for the kids to play at the campsite but a jungle gym can’t ever be turned down. For our next camping adventure, I can see us reserving a spot at any KOA campground since we all enjoyed this one so much. Next time, we’ll arrive much earlier to enjoy all the other amenities such as basketball, horseshoes, volleyball, 4-Square, ping pong, bike rentals, and a Cook Shack for breakfast. And, I’m sure a few of us (looking at you mom and husband) wouldn’t mind giving the cabins a try.

Campfire at KOA in Colorado

At the end of that day (and really at the end of our entire Colorado vacation), camping in Colorado was a pleasant adventure because the common thread was our familia. Sure, we still used our phones to take photos of the amazing scenery around us and to check Instagram when we had a signal, but the majority of the time was spent talking to each other, playing games, and exploring the great outdoors juntos. The majority of the time was quality family time. We didn’t know that we were driving to the wrong campsite but I’m glad we did. Our first night at KOA set the tone for our fun great outdoors vacation.

Queridos, tell me, why do you love to go camping? Would you do it for quality family time?

Melanie Mendez-Gonzales

Original content creator for ¿Qué Means What? Texas Latina mom blogger celebrating culture in education, entertainment and family life.

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8 Responses

  1. We make it a must to go camping at least twice a year. You create very special moments that only come with camping .

  2. Kim Munoz says:

    Girl!!! Your beach camping story had me all pumped. Convinced the boys it would be fun and headed to the beach. I put the tent up the same way I have done many times before (in the back yard lol) and it was so windy the tent was crooked. Took it down and wanted to give up. Tried it one more time and with the rain fly and that was the game changer. There was sand EVERYWHERE! My firewood wouldnt burn and Im pretty sure David didnt sleep a wink. But the boys are. Still talking about swimming in the ocean and grandma and grandpa camping out with us. So much that we are going to do it again. YAY!

    • Melanie Mendez-Gonzales says:

      KIM!!! This makes my heart so happy! I’m so glad that you go out there and didn’t give up! <3 And at the end of the day, you have great stories to tell. So happy!!!

  3. Danay says:

    I also didn’t grow up in an outdoorsy family, but the minute I got a taste of camping, we decided to make it a lifestyle! I love being outdoors, hiking, fishing, water sports, snow sports, basically anything where I’m enjoying nature. I wish I would have done it as a kid but better late than never. 🙂

  4. I’m not an outdoor girl, but the KOA campsite would be acceptable to me 😉 lol
    I’ve always thought camping is a wonderful way to spend some quality time with the family but is it really a cheap vacation alternative? I recently read another post where the mom blogger said camping was not as cheap as she thought it would be.

    • Melanie Mendez-Gonzales says:

      For us, it definitely was a less expensive vacation. It depends what you want to accomplish for your vacation. It can get expensive if you don’t already have equipment but then again, you could find an affordable location like KOA. And, we spent more time simply enjoying the outdoors. That didn’t cost much. 🙂

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