Family with a motor home at a national park campground on vacation.

Embrace the great outdoors this summer with a family camping trip. (Getty Images)

For many American families, camping is a time-honored tradition. Once warm weather hits, they pack into cars or campers and head to their favorite campground or state park for copious amounts of outdoor fun.

Being one with nature is easy when you’re camping in a tent under the stars or cuddled up in your own rental RV or trailer. And, if your goal is getting away from the hustle and bustle of modern living, camping is the best option you’ll find.

[See: 15 Must-Visit National Park Attractions.]

But if you have your kids in tow, it’s important to choose a campsite with family-friendly amenities. Here are 11 of the most family-friendly campgrounds in the U.S., along with their unique benefits:

Lake Rudolph – Santa Claus, Indiana

Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort in Santa Claus, Indiana, offers every amenity any family could want, and all next door to the world famous Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari theme park. The campground itself features playgrounds, basketball courts, mini golf, gem mining and paddleboats. It also features its own spacious pool and miniature water park. Guests who rent camp spaces, campers or luxurious on-site cabins enjoy free Wi-Fi and shuttles to the park next door.

Red Apple Campground – Kennebunkport, Maine

Red Apple Campground offers spacious RV sites and RV rentals along with park model cabins for rent. With ample space for groups, it also caters to multigenerational families who want to travel together. Pets are also welcome. Summer activities include potlucks, costume parties, live entertainment and more. Families with kids can delight in the on-site play set, bocce ball and shuffleboard courts, and a new, adult-sized swing set for kids of all ages. Guests who are up for some action can also sign up for dances, bingo, card night, karaoke, cribbage tournaments and pancake breakfasts galore.

Jellystone Park – Mill Run, Pennsylvania

Families with kids will delight in the offerings of Jellystone Park at Mill Run. Although still a campground, this park comes with the unique opportunity to participate in organized activities and themed weekends with Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Cindy Bear and Ranger Smith. Families can explore their talents with arts and crafts, paint faces and play paintball games, or they can relax with evening campfires and late-night tuck-ins with the bears. This property boasts 258 RV and tent sites along with 48 cabins for rent.

Ocean Lakes Family Campground – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Ocean Lakes Family Campground opened in 1971 with 30 camp sites. These days, the property offers 859 camp sites on 310 beautiful oceanfront acres with nearly a mile of beachfront. In addition to beach play, families can enjoy large playgrounds, volleyball, bocce ball and a skate park. Ocean Lakes’ Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center includes a pool area with a kiddie pool, lazy river and splash zone for the kids.

Camp Gulf – Destin, Florida

Camp Gulf is located along the beautiful white sand beaches of Northern Florida. The property offers 19 furnished park model RV rentals, along with tent sites and RV rental sites perfect for families of all sizes. For active families, the property features a new waterslide, heated pools and myriad on-site activities, including pancake breakfasts, ice cream socials and magic shows.

The Vineyards Campground and Cabins – Grapevine, Texas

The Vineyards Campground and Cabins offers an array of RV and tent sites as well as park model RVs you can rent. The property sits on 52 unspoiled acres of lush green space and woods, perfect for the family who wants to get away from it all. In terms of leisure, the property offers life’s simple pleasures: sandy beaches, lakes for swimming, fishing and kayaking. For those who love a good hike, you’ll also find beautiful nature trails perfect for exploring the great outdoors.

[See: 10 Memorable Camping Trips.]

Casini Ranch Family Campground – Sonoma County, California

Casini Ranch Family Campground sits along the scenic Russian River, offering an array of RV and tent rental sites that are both family- and pet-friendly. Family offerings perfect for kids include movie nights, hay rides, ice cream socials and guided hikes. With Willow Creek directly next door, there’s ample opportunity for hiking and independent exploration as well. You can also fish, swim, canoe or paddleboard the day away on the Russian River.

Ventura Ranch KOA – Santa Paula, California

Ventura Ranch KOA offers an array of amenities perfect for families. From its 25-foot rock wall to its life-sized checker board and on-site zipline, there is plenty for families with kids to do. The property features fully furnished safari tents along with tipis and rental RVs. Wild peacocks roam the site, and kids will giggle the night away with a flashlight in-hand during late-night adventure walks. Classes offered include tie dye shirt-making, rocket building and gem mining.

Campland on the Bay – San Diego, California

Campland on the Bay offers exactly what you would expect in an upscale California campground: roomy RV and tent sites, “supersites” featuring private patios, grills and Jazuccis, and an adjacent wildlife sanctuary. In addition to allowing campers to bring their own RVs or tents, Campland partners with GoRving.com to offer furnished campers that can be set up when you arrive. Family activities include arts and crafts, yoga, sand castle building contests, luaus and myriad sporting events. The property also boasts an on-site skateboard park, and you can rent bicycles and watercraft.

[Read: 5 Underrated Glamping Experiences to Try This Year.]

Clay’s Park Resort – North Lawrence, Ohio

About 25 miles south of Akron, Clay’s Park Resort offers oodles of fun for kids and family members of all ages. Fly down one of the two 150-foot-long waterslides, play with ring swings or zip line directly into a lake from a platform above. Families can also kayak, canoe or play miniature golf, sand volleyball, corn hole or basketball. The park also has spots for rental RVs and tent sites, along with its own pool.

Buffalo Lake Camping Resort – Montello, Wisconsin

Buffalo lake Camping Resort offers 110 camping sites for RVs or tents. You can also rent a model RV on site. Campers can swim in nearby lakes and rivers or fish for the latest catch. On-site amenities for families include volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, an arcade and a solar-heated swimming pool. Organized family activities also abound, centering on family-friendly pastimes such as fishing or making your own ice cream.

Tags: travel, vacations, family


Holly Johnson writes about travel, credit cards, personal finance and frugality for a wide range of publications including U.S. News, The Indianapolis Star, The Simple Dollar, Lending Tree, Frugal Travel Guy and Wise Bread. Along with her husband, Johnson also runs two personal blogs - Club Thrifty and Travel Blue Book. Johnson's travel writing revolves around the Caribbean and Europe, with a special focus on family-friendly activities, all-inclusive resorts and unique hotels. Follow Holly Johnson on Twitter @ClubThrifty.

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