I just got back from the best vacation I’ve had all year. I didn’t earn any points for it, I didn’t get any VIP status recognition or perks, and I had to pay cash…but it was The. Best. Vacation.
Where was this amazing locale? Family camp!
My family has been going to Tuolumne Family Camp for 11 years now, since my daughter Bird was 3 months old. We keep coming back year after year because it’s one of those special places that is completely aligned with our family travel style (adventurous, active, personalized, and quirky). It’s both the same and different every year…the camp never changes, but we do. As my kids get older, we interact with camp in a different way, so each year brings new activities and possibilities.
It’s hard to describe. The setting is rustic – tent cabins along the Tuolumne River. No electricity. No internet or cell reception. We spend our days floating down the river on inner tubes, hiking, playing ping pong and badminton, and doing arts and crafts. We always go with a big group of friends, so it’s a very social experience as well – we get a chance to catch up and have long conversations, or just enjoy each others’ company.
The kids at camp run wild in packs. It’s safe to let them do their own thing all day long, because there are parents everywhere. Everyone looks out for each other’s kids. It’s like the fabled “village.”
It’s unique. There are amazing outdoor showers, where you feel like you are in the middle of the woods (because you are). Every few minutes, a table in the dining hall will burst into a camp song. There are activities each night – the staff show, bingo, the talent show, a night hike, campers vs. staff volleyball. It’s the full summer camp experience.
Each day feels long. The days blend slowly into one another. At the end of the trip, we feel like we’ve been gone for a very long time. A true vacation.
I’m back home now, but I am already looking forward to next year. Even if I can’t buy it with points.