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Just a few years ago, I was forced – kicking and screaming – to surrender my 85-litre Osprey backpack for a pop-up RV camper. Okay, maybe “forced” is too harsh a word; I was convinced that camping with young children is easier and more enjoyable in an RV than in the backcountry. As much as it pains me to admit it, yes – RV camping is convenient and a whole lot of fun with little ones. Still, though, I had a hard time classifying it as “camping” because, to me, camping must involve at least a tent.
But how about a cabin? At a campground? Can that be thought of as “camping”? And what if such accommodation was a deluxe cabin, equipped with a bathroom, air conditioning, and all the modern comforts of home? As recently as a few months ago, I would have said, “No way!” But Kampgrounds of America (KOA) has revolutionized the camping experience and, in doing so, has also revolutionized what comes to my mind when I think of going camping.
When planning to attend our family’s annual fishing trip in Wisconsin last month, The Working Dad and I thought we could extend our little family trip by a couple of days and visit someplace new. We queried cottages and other rentals but ultimately decided on a deluxe cabin at the KOA in Wisconsin Dells. The availability and location perfectly fit in with our plans. And even though the thought of staying in a cabin at a campground made me twitch a little (as opposed to being in a backcountry tent), what is life if not an adventure, all about trying something new? “Let’s book it,” I said.
Wisconsin Dells is one of the Midwest’s most popular summer vacation spots so the campground was busy when we arrived. Still, our check-in process was smooth and we even received a personal escort to our cabin. I could tell from the outside that the inside was going to be nice, but I didn’t expect it to be SO nice! As we opened the door, I stood motionless, mouth agape, just marveling at the modern kitchen appliances, full-size dining table, and the flat-screen television mounted on the wall. “This is like no other camping I’ve ever done,” I thought.
Lucia couldn’t wait to get through the door and check out the rest of the cabin. She spotted the stairs leading up the sleeping loft and about lost her mind. “I’m sleeping up here!” she exclaimed. I have to admit, that loft made for some cool camping; Lucia totally made it her space and spent a lot of time up there, drawing during the day and gazing at the stars at night before falling asleep.
On the cabin’s main level is a bedroom with a full-size bed and its own climate controls. The bedroom isn’t particularly spacious, but it was big enough for us to set up our baby’s pack-and-play (we just had to slide the bed over a few inches). In the main living area are a sleeper sofa; the kitchen and dining table; and the full bathroom. There also was ample counter and shelf space for us to organize all of our food, snacks, and baby supplies. The mini-fridge was big enough for a quart of milk, lunch meats, condiments, and beverages of all kinds. The outside of the cabin is just as comfortable and inviting as the inside. The porch was the perfect spot to stack our coolers and hang our swimsuits and beach towels to dry. We had our own private patio, complete with table, chairs, and umbrella; a fire ring; and a good ole rocking chair. Seriously, I was in heaven.
As if the cabin itself wasn’t cool enough, we also got to take advantage of all of the campground’s amenities and activities, like the swimming pool and splash pad; bike rentals; and campfire sing-along and s’mores party. Lucia and I enjoyed the pool and splash pad, while The Working Dad and Anthony napped and relaxed inside the cabin. We all had our own space and time to ourselves, which we savored. It truly was a unique “camping” experience and one I’ll consider again in the future. You should consider it, too.
My family and I were guests of KOA for our two-night stay in the deluxe cabin. As always, though, the words and opinions contained herein are completely and entirely my own.