Kid- and Budget-Friendly Vacations with Jellystone Parks

As an adult there are a variety of things to look forward to. Vacations are one of them and pretty high on the list for me. Not only do they give you a chance to break from your normal everyday routine but they also allow for quality time with family and friends. Quality time that results in some pretty cool and priceless memories.

Kid friendly Jellystone ParksAs a single mom, there are several factors to consider when thinking about and planning a family vacation. The top two – budget and convenience. Budget when raising kids is always a concern. When you factor in all of their clothes, their food, and the childcare, there isn’t much left for vacation and, let’s be honest, the thought of driving hours in the car with them only to arrive at a destination where you will be lugging up and down from the hotel room and patiently visiting crowded attractions is panic inducing.  How do you weigh out the need for a vacation and the want for the experience with the struggle that it is going to cause on your pocketbook and your psyche?

The answer is the same as most answers to questions we ask ourselves as single moms. You find something that works for you and you go for it. One of the answers we’ve found to the vacation dilemma is a lovely chain of kid-friendly campgrounds called Jellystone Park. Jellystone Parks are privately owned campgrounds with locations across the US, although mostly consolidated on the Midwest and eastern side. These Yogi Bear-themed camping resorts solve the two main single mom vacation concerns.


    • Jellystone offers three types of camping experiences – tent camping, RV, and cabin rental. If you have an RV or are adventurous enough to brave tent camping with little ones, these options are by far the most affordable. However, the cabin offers many perks and cost-savings when you take a closer look. Typically there are several different cabin sizes to choose from and you pay based on size and time of the week that you are going. Holidays and weekends are typically a little bit more expensive ($20 or so more a night). The rate for these cabins is comparable to a mid-level hotel room. Think Holiday Inn Express or Courtyard Marriot.
    • Each camping option provides you with the ability to cook your own meals. The cabins include a kitchenette to cook all of your meals. Adding in the cost savings of not eating out for every meal on vacation, these cabins are extremely affordable (and cute).
    • The park is complete with activities, which makes paying for typical vacation attractions unnecessary. More on the activities below.

Affordable Jellystone CabinsConvenience

  • There is no reason to leave the campsite. At all. Unless you forget to pack your wine opener and need to make an emergency run to the local grocery store, there is no reason to have to leave the Jellystone campground the length of time that you are there. That means no loading and unloading of kids from a vehicle for days. That is huge.
  • The actual planning of the vacation is practically taken care of for you. You don’t need to worry about what the day’s activities will be, or how much time you need to subject yourself to at a certain attraction because it cost you a month’s worth of groceries just to get inside. In fact, Jellystone takes care of the activity planning for you, and almost all of them are free. Most weekends during the summer have a theme with thematic activities throughout the day. Scan the park’s website to choose which theme you are most interested in when planning your vacation. When we went last year we had a tough decision to make between the chocolate or water wars weekends.
  • Pools and water slides are on site, and they aren’t those tiny hotel pools. Most of the Jellystone Parks boast multiple water attractions. For example, the Jellystone Park in Cave City, KY is home to a gigantic downhill waterslide, a pool, and a splash pad. The Jellystone Park in Mt. Gilead, OH maintains a downhill waterslide, regular waterslide, lake with a beach and floating jumping pad, and a pool. If that doesn’t say summer, I don’t know what does.

They say that vacationing with kids is merely the opportunity to experience stress in a new setting. It’s a humorous saying but also true for the most part. Getting away from the everyday with kids can feel more overwhelming than it’s worth, and sometimes paying for that stress doesn’t seem worth it at all. Jellystone Parks alleviate a great deal of those worries. There is still the car ride to get there, but once you arrive, it provides you the opportunity to have a great vacation.