This vacation was built around a planned trip to Colorado for a family reunion. The family reunion meant to reunite about 80 family members ranging from 1 year old to 70 years old. We ended up with just over ½ of that amount that could commit to the dates. There were 13 separate family groups including grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and second cousins. This was a monumental task – talk about “big family travel”.
Jellystone Campground near Estes Park was the perfect place to make this happen. Jellystone provided our group many options and catered to the many needs of so many people and age ranges. We were able to choose from tent camping (none in our group were that adventurous-lol), RV spots with hookups, RV rentals, and several cabin/cottage choices suited to sleep from 5 up to 14 people.
Our family chose a cabin that had a living area, a private bedroom, private bath and a loft. The loft was perfect for air mattresses and all of the kiddos to sleep sleepover style. We had a full kitchen which was great for meal prep. We had stopped to grocery stop on our way and were able to cook breakfasts and lunches in our cabin for our family – we made dinners potluck style for the entire group with each family bringing an appetizer, main dish or dessert and gathering at the pavilion on site. Most rental areas also were equipped with an outside cooking area (a firepit or a grill). The view from our cabin was unbelievable.
The campgrounds provided many options for family fun including a heated pool, mini golf, horseshoes, and a playground. There was also a gift shop and an arcade. We were able to reserve the pavilion for our group to gather and do craft projects and eat a buffet-style potluck.
The park also provided some fun perks that we enjoyed. We had visits from Yogi bear himself and had photo ops with him including a hayrack ride that the kids loved.
The best part was that they have theme weekends and we were able to go over “Chocolate Lovers” weekend!! One of the highlights was that they provided a chocolate pudding covered slip and slide for the guests!! What a riot!
We were also conveniently located to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. We left the campgrounds a few times to enjoy these locations. We were able to enjoy a nice group hike through RMNP – we ate a picnic lunch and then hiked on a well-designed trail to see mountain falls. The path was perfect for all the ages and there were several different sites to see along the way (versus just one goal at the end of the hike) so as some decided to venture longer, others were able to turn around still having seen the beauty of the trail.
We stayed for a long weekend though there was plenty more to do had we stayed for an entire week. The weather was beautiful – warm enough during the day to swim and cool enough at night to sleep with windows open and enjoy the fresh mountain air.
On our way out, we stopped at RMNP again, the kids completed their junior ranger booklets and earned another junior ranger badge. That is a wonderful, educational, and totally free (excellent news for big families)way to experience the park system for kids!
Next on the trip – Kansas and Oklahoma!