A weekly podcast from the writers of rvfamilytravelatlas.com, focusing on topics that relate to RV family travel. We review campgrounds, discuss tips and tricks for traveling with kids, and answer our readers' most common questions. We also chat about food, gear, and those times when everything doesn't quite go as planned.
Luxury Glamping Gear for the Holidays
Reportedly, the word glamping was coined in the United Kingdom circa 2005. Eleven years later, in 2016, it made its debut in the Oxford English Dictionary. The term (and the type of outdoor experience that it describes) has many haters. These purists despise the high thread counts, organic soaps, and expensive bespoke cookware preferred by glampers. They much prefer a simple camping setup and nights spend on the cold, hard ground. But let there be no doubt, glamping is experiencing explosive growth. Glamping is no longer a trend, it is an industry. So there should be no surprise that there is also high interest in glamping gear.
Glamping is Here to Stay
We believe that glamping, and glamping gear is here to stay. Many outdoor enthusiasts are more than willing to spend their hard earned cash on fancy RV resorts, or at places like Under Canvas and Autocamp. They are also willing to lay down serious bucks for hand polished cast iron, deluxe shower heads, stainless steel firepits, and Pendleton blankets.
Here is a list of luxurious glamping gear that we have tested and used extensively. These items range in price from about $55.00 to $1,000. So you can break the bank if you want, or give someone a lux gift at an affordable price. That part is up to you.
To listen to our discussion of luxury glamping gear on The RV Atlas podcast, click on the media player above. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas podcast wherever you get your shows. If you prefer to read about our glamping gear selections simply scroll down and enjoy our top picks. They are all right here in this post.
Barebones Forest Lantern ($79.99)
Barebones Living makes great lighting products for your glampsite. Their products are rugged and durable, and their retro-inspired look feels very authentic. Their products are not cheap knock offs from a bygone era. We have recommended their Railroad Lantern in the past, and now we also want to recommend their Forest Lantern. Where the Railroad Lantern has a more industrial feel, the Forest Lantern is a bit more subtle and chic.
Our glamping tent at Under Canvas Yellowstone was equipped with a Forest Lantern and we will forever associate this charming light with that amazing location. Every time we use the Forest Lantern we feel like we are back in Yellowstone lighting up the wood fired stove to keep warm after the sun slipped below the horizon. So this lantern gives off some serious glamping vibes for us. The lighting is warm and evocative. The aesthetic is on point. And the quality is good. Perfect gear for glamping if you ask us.
Oxygenics Voyage RV ($54.95 to $76.95)
Most shower heads that come standard with modern RV's are bland and boring and deliver mediocre water pressure at best. Smart RV owners have been replacing their cheap shower heads with Oxygenics products for years--and the brand is rapidly growing their product lineup. One of there newest "pure bathing genius" shower head models is the Voyage RV.
This attractive model comes in chrome, brushed nickel, matte black, and white--and is equipped with a wall mount and articulated handle for custom angles. The Voyage RV's pendulum setting impressed us with every use. It oscillates up to 500 times per minute and provides 14" of coverage. In other words, you shower will be completely awesome. This is also a relatively budget-priced piece of glamping gear that will deliver luxurious showers for years to come.
Truma AquaGo Comfort and Comfort Plus (Pricing Available from Certified Dealers)
If you travel with your family, and use your RV a lot, then you have probably had the unpleasant experience of running out of hot water while taking a shower. NOT FUN! Most 6 or 10 gallon RV water heaters just can't keep up with the demand for hot water in most camping families.
Five Great Jellystone Parks to Consider for Your Next Epic Family Adventure
There are 75 Jellystone Park locations across the country, and each one of them is very different. Some of them are quaint and rustic, with lots of activities for kids that harken back to summer camps of old, and others have off-the-hook water zones, gigantic water slides, laser tag courses--and much more. All of them are worth taking a look at for your next family vacation. But don't assume that they all offer the same level of amenities and activities. Know before you go and do your research so you can pick a Jellystone that is right for your family. Here is a hot list of five amazing Jellystone Parks across the country that represent the best the brand has to offer. There are so many other great Jellystone Parks across the country. So after you check out the five parks below, head over to their website to find one near you.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Golden Valley, North Carolina
This gorgeous campground is located along the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Asheville and Charlotte. The property is situated around a beautiful lake that is great for stand-up paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, fishing, and more. The RV sites here are very good, but those without an RV should not despair. This Jellystone's cabins and glamping accommodations are award winning and have appeared in travel magazines and blogs across the country. The Mountain View Treetop Cabins look particularly cozy and charming. At the time of this writing the campground is building a Lookout Tower at the top of Cove Mountain that should make for a great family hike right on the property. Activities like zip-lining across the lake, and laser tag (to name just a few) will keep your kids occupied all week long.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Estes Park, Colorado
This Jellystone Park's location near Rocky Mountain National Park is absolutely stunning. The RV sites here climb up the side of the mountain, and many have sweeping views--so choose wisely based on the size of your rig. There are good hiking trails that are accessible right from the campground, so bring a comfy pair of hiking boots. The heated swimming pool is great for kicking back and relaxing after spending a day in the National Park. Don't feel like cooking? The onsite Pic-a-Nic Basket offers up quick meals at reasonable prices. Combining a great Jellystone Park vacation with a national park adventure is always an epic option for making family memories.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Lakes Region, Milton New Hampshire
The location of this Jellystone in New Hampshire's Lake Region looks absolutely epic. They have two sandy beaches right on Northeast Pond and the swimming is heavenly during the summer months. If the lake water is chilly then try the brand new activity pool with warming tubs. Contrary to popular belief, many Jellystone Parks are actually excellent for teenagers, and this is one of them. The basketball and GaGa ball courts, baseball field, laser tag course, and outdoor ping pong table will keep them occupied for hours. Want a hot tub delivered right to your waterfront RV site or cabin during your stay? Jellystone Park Lakes Region can make that happen. Just make sure you call ahead. The hot tubs (and the waterfront sites) are incredibly popular and sell out on most summer weekends.
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
This is the best camping option near Mammoth Cave National Park--especially for families. Jellystone Park Mammoth Cave has an awesome Wibit on Karst Beach, their own private lake. What is a Wibit? It's an inflatable obstacle course and a wet and wild playground all wrapped into one. No matter how you describe it--it is a whole lot fun. Kentucky can get hot in the summertime, thankfully there are plenty of ways to stay cool at this popular Jellystone Park--playing on the Wibit is just one of t...
Snowbirding at Camping on the Gulf near Destin, Florida
Are you looking to become a snowbird and spend the winter months enjoying the gorgeous white sugar sand beaches and sparkling waters of Florida's Emerald Coast? Or are you just looking for a great place to spend spring break in your RV, or in a cabin or glamping tent? Either way, you should consider Camping on the Gulf (formerly known as Camp Gulf.) It is an excellent choice that is beloved by RVers of all ages. The waterfront location of Camping on the Gulf in Miramar Beach is excellent. Downtown Destin and Henderson Beach State Park are a short drive to the west, and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is a short drive to the east. Whether you want to stroll along quiet beaches, or eat terrific seafood in Destin's bustling downtown, the location of Camping on the Gulf has much to offer.
Let's zoom in and take a closer look at this popular resort-style campground, just minutes from Destin. We think it makes a great choice for most RVer's who want to visit the area. However, those camping on a strict budget should take a look at the state park campgrounds nearby. They cost significantly less.
To listen to our interview with Erik and Jeanne Anderson about their four month stay at Camping on the Gulf, click on the media player above. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite podcasts. Thanks to Erik and Jeanne for providing the photos for this post and for their extensive notes about Camping on the Gulf!
RV Sites at Camping on the Gulf
Camping on the Gulf has 217 sites, 16 of which are directly on the beach. These beachfront sites are a bit narrow, but they are still popular because of the spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico. Water and electric sites are available at these sites, but they do not have sewer hookups. It is also important to note that pets are not allowed on these sites, and they are not allowed on the beach in Walton County without a permit. So If you are camping with a pup, you will need to look for another site at Camping on the Gulf. Thankfully, the other sites are also very nice, and the rest of them have full hook ups.
Some of the sites here have shade, and others get direct sunlight. So depending on the time of year that you visit, you should choose wisely between shade and sun. Most sites are level and paved, with nice picnic tables. Also please note--you will need to bring your own above-ground fire pit if you would like to have a campfire at night.
Cabins and glamping tents are also available for those without RV's. Always check and see what is included with a cabin or glamping tent rental so you don't show up without essential items for your trip.
Amenities at Camping on the Gulf
The amenities at Camping on the Gulf are excellent. Guests love the outdoor pool, and their kids love the large waterslide. During the winter months the domed indoor pool is also very popular--especially on chillier days. The indoor activity center is also a hub of activity when the weather does not cooperate. It has pool tables, foosball, board games, and plenty of room to spread out and relax. If you are are feeling cooped up in your RV, then this is a great place to get some work done or read a book.
Other Facilities at Camping on the Gulf
Camping on the Gulf has many other more practical amenities. Many of them are much appreciated by the snowbirding residents in the park. The bathhouses and laundry room are clean and well maintained, and they even have a nice dog washing station. Erik and Jeanne Anderson travel with their beloved Hershey Pup and he definitely loved getting a nice bath during their stay last winter (see above). You can also have your mail delivered right to the campground during your stay--which saves snowbirds like Erik and Jeanne from having to go to the post office over and over again.
An Epic Adventure to Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio
Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio will have you wondering if you are still in the Midwest. With its waterfalls and unique geological features, it feels more like an exotic location in New Zealand. Yet, it's only 50 miles from Columbus, Ohio, and only 30 miles from Athens, home of Ohio University.
RV Trends and Top Picks from the 2022 Hershey RV Show
The Hersey RV Show is not the best show in the country for spotting RV trends. The big three (Thor, Forest River, and Winnebago) dominate the landscape here. The show is packed with a sea of similar looking travel trailers and fifth wheels. Many of the smaller independent manufacturers are not even present--either by choice, or because they can't get a coveted display spot. We find that the Florida RV SuperShow, which is held in Tampa every January, is a far better place for spotting RV trends.
This is because more of the independent manufacturers are present, and many RV trends start with those indies. But Tampa is also a better show for seeing what is bright and shiny and new because the brand new model year units are there each year. January is a good time to see the latest RVs. The Hershey Show happens in September, and many of the upcoming model year units are just not ready yet. So sometimes the show can feel like it leans towards leftovers. But that can be great for consumers looking for deals.
The Florida RV Show also has more of a carnival-like atmosphere. Tons of RV influencers and YouTubers show up, and there are rallies and events happening at the fairgrounds, with hundreds of people camping right next door to the show.
But don't get us wrong for one second! We love the Hershey RV Show. It is a terrific place for most shoppers to see lots of options and comparison shop. There are also plenty of quirky and creative new rigs to look at, and a handful of exciting 2023 debuts. Here are 8 RVs that really grabbed our attention this year at Hershey. We loved each of these rigs, and found that they fit into some of the major trends happening in the RV industry today.
To listen to Jeremy and Stephanie discuss these eight rigs, and the RV trends that they represent, click on the media player above to listen to The RV Atlas podcast. Or subscribe to The RV Atlas wherever you get your favorite shows!
Baby Fivers are Back: Grand Design Reflection 150 Series 226RK Fifth Wheel (show price $55,995)
UVW (7,241 lbs) / GVWR ( 9,995 ) / Hitch Weight (1,214 lbs) / Exterior Length (26'11") / Fresh, Grey, Black (56,78,39)
When we first started RVing, over a decade ago, it seemed that most manufacturers of fifth wheels had a baby or two in their lineups. By that we mean a baby fifth wheel that clocks in at under 30 feet. We even moved into a baby fiver made by Winnebago (for five days) and reviewed it for a cover story in Trailer Life magazine a few years back. We loved that fifth wheel and gave it a glowing review. Unfortunately, it was discontinued a year or so later. Over the past five years or so, it seems that most manufactures have fallen in love with making MEGA fifth wheels and that the babies had fallen by the wayside. But Grand Design does have a few awesome baby fivers and we loved the Reflection 226RK that we toured at Hershey. It is a comfortable and spacious couple's coach that would work for weekend adventures, or full time travel.
Indy Manufacturers Gain a Foothold: Alliance Paradigm 395DS Fifth Wheel (show price $102,999)
UVW: (13,920 lbs.) / GVWR: ( 16,800) / Hitch Weight (2,904 lbs.) / Exterior Length (42'6") / Fresh, Grey, Black (98, 106, 106)
In recent years a handful of independent RV manufacturers have stormed the scene. And clearly, a few of them are gaining a foothold in the RV industry. Alliance RV had a healthy display at Hershey and certainly did not look like the new kid on the block--not anymore. They looked like an established player. So seeing an independent like Alliance gaining ground is one of the RV trends that is most appealing to us. We think that the success of independent manufacturers is good for the entire industry.
Does Little Arrow Outdoor Resort Live Up to the Hype?
Does Little Arrow RV Resort live up to the hype that it has been receiving these past few years? Sorry to spoil the ending, but we think that it does. This is a beautiful campground in Townsend, Tennessee that is just minutes away from Cades Cove. It is located right next to the Townsend KOA right off of TN-73 in the heart of "the peaceful side of the Smokies." The entire property is beautiful, and all of the accommodations (from tent sites to tiny homes) are excellent in almost every way. And we think they are fairly priced across the board. We loved almost everything about our stay at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort.
To learn more about Little Arrow keep reading, or listen to our complete review on The RV Atlas podcast by clicking on the media player above, or subscribing wherever you get your favorite shows.
RV and Tent Sites
RV Sites at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort
Back in sites along the river at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort
The RV and tent sites at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort range in price from about $50 dollars to $200 dollars and there is truly a site for everyone, depending on your budget and the requirements of your rig. We loved the luxury RV sites with covered bar/seating area, a sink with running water, and plenty of counter space for eating and entertaining. This sites are around $180-200 dollars per night, but we think they are a delightful splurge. You can also share these sites with a second RV buddy for a small, additional fee, and then split the cost in half. Doing so would make these sites a bargain. There are also a variety of back in sites along the Little River that are excellent and fairly priced at just under $100 per night. Overall, it is hard to find a bad RV site at Little Arrow. Tent campers may struggle to find a site with adequate privacy. But for RV owners--this is a little slice of heaven in the smokies.
Cabins, Tiny Homes, and Glamping Tents
Glamping Tent at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort
Little Arrow does not call itself a campground. They call themselves an "outdoor resort." When you see the charming selection of cabins, tiny homes, and glamping tents, you can clearly see why. Much like the RV sites, all of these unique accommodations are lovely, and very reasonably priced for what you get. We stayed in the Magnolia Tiny Home (pictured above the glamping tent) for approximately $250 per night. It was clean, charming, and comfortable. The highlight for our kids was the double loft areas with plenty of space for them to spread out. The highlights for mom and dad were the comfortable master bedroom, spacious kitchen, and washer and dryer! It was wonderful being able to do laundry while on vacation. We create huge piles of dirty clothes when we are exploring a national park--and we used the washer/dryer every single day.
Pool and Hot Tub Area
The Hot Tub at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort
The highlight for most guests at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort is the luxurious outdoor pool and hot tub area. Every inch of this area is comfortable and thoughtfully designed. The zero entry pool (with grottos!) was nicely heated, and the hot tub was an absolute delight. You take a short flight of steps up to the private hot tub area, so it feels like it is in a little hidden world away from the pool area. The sign on the hot tub gate says that kids are not allowed. But there was no one there to enforce this rule during our stay, and there were many, many kids in and out of the hot tub during our stay--including our own.
The Camp Store and Coffee Lounge
During our stay the camp store at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort was only open from 9am to 5pm. We were in the park from early morning to after 5pm during our first few days there, so we could not get into the camp store for a few things we needed.
You CAN RV with small kids!
As a father of twins and two other kids, all five and under, I am hooked on this podcast because it's the only one that addresses how to travel with young kids. Strategies of entertaining the kids during camp setup and takedown, nap time routines, and just knowing that IT CAN BE DONE! Thank you both so much for starting this podcast and helping my wife and I decide to hit the road with our four kids!
My sentimental fave
This was the very first podcast I started listening to when we bought our travel trailer years ago. Stephanie and Jeremy were out providing high-quality content years before it was cool or hip or trendy. They are trailblazers. I’ve even met and listened to Jeremy speak in person at an RV show. Things have changed a bit as their careers have morphed but they are still my #1 source for info when I am planning or dreaming about a trip. I never miss an episode and frequently dive back into their show catalogue to listen to old ones. I wish they would put out as many episodes as other RV podcasters but I understand why they don’t. Their 2 most recent books are fantastic and I would recommend “See You at the Campground” for any newbie and “Where Should We Camp Next?” as a great resource for all who dream of or plan trips. Last thing—I appreciate that they are family friendly and have often played them for my little family to get us excited about a destination. We’ve been to loads of their recommended campgrounds and restaurants and obtained plenty of their recommended gear. They have never steered us wrong!
Love it, but a bit of feedback
I love this podcast and look forward to new episodes, and also enjoy going back to listen to old episodes of places we plan to travel. I do wish Stephanie would not talk over/interrupt Jeremy as much as she does though. There is a noticeable difference in episodes from prior years than compared to the last couple of years.