October 21, 2016

Camping with Kids: 20 Places Where You Can Stay in a Yurt

yurt collagePrior to a few months ago, I’d never even heard of a yurt, much less stayed in one. When I travel with the kids, I like to mix up accommodations and book stays at campgrounds (in cabins, my version of camping with kids), hotels and vacation rentals. It adds to the fun, and this year I decided to add a yurt to the mix.

As I quickly learned, a yurt is a circular structure with a wood frame, lattice walls and a canvas covering. It’s more or less a cross between a cabin and a tent. During our cross-country road trip, we stayed in a yurt at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground, a Thousand Trails campground in Bend, OR.

Our yurt at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Our yurt at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Our yurt comfortably slept six on bunk beds and two futons, which was a good size for camping with kids. The yurt also had a kitchenette (more than just a microwave and a mini-fridge), a private bathroom with a shower and satellite television. It was also climate-controlled with a swamp cooler and a heater. There was even a deck with a table and chairs that was perfect for playing Crazy 8 in the evenings.

The yurts are centrally located at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground. They were very close to the ranger station, as well as the pool, mini golf, playground and the tennis courts. This was nice, enabling the kids to explore the campground without needing to go too far from our yurt. As a bonus, there were lots of camping activities for kids, like arts and crafts and bingo games.

The kitchen and dining area inside our yurt

The kitchen and dining area inside our yurt

We’ve stayed in cabins numerous times at other campgrounds, but what I really liked about the yurt is that all of the living area is in one space. The bunk beds, kitchen, dining area and family area where all in one space, yet there was still enough room to get around without being on top of each other all the time. And again, there was a private bathroom right inside the yurt, which was nice, though this is definitely a luxury and not included in most yurts. Just something to keep in mind when camping with kids.

During our July stay, temperatures were in the upper-80s during the day and dipped down into the 50s at night. While I loved staying in a yurt, one thing I missed was insulation. As I noted above, a yurt really is like a tent in that it’s covered with canvas, so it can get downright chilly at night, and it usually did at around 3 or 4 am. So keep extra covers close at hand.

The family room and sleeping area inside our yurt

The family room and sleeping area inside our yurt

Want to stay in a yurt? Seriously, it’s really fun and you’ll love staying in one even if you’ve never been camping with kids. It’s actually a really good way to ease into camping with kids. Take a look at 20 campgrounds in the U.S. where you can book a stay for you and your family in a yurt.

1. Orca Island Cabins (Seward, AK)
Each yurt here sleeps up to a family of four on a queen bed and a futon. Linens are provided and every yurt has a kitchenette, a private bathroom, a large deck and an outdoor grill.

2. Yosemite Pines RV Park (Groveland, CA)
Just outside Yosemite National Park, you’ll find a handful of yurts that sleep up to five on a full-size futon and bunk beds. All yurts have microwave and bed linens. They are near to restrooms and showers.

3. State Bridge (Bond, CO)
Situated on the Upper Colorado River, you’ll love the 10 yurts that sleep between four and 12 people on bunk beds, queen beds and futon couches. Go fishing, enjoy live music or simply take in the views.

4. Pearl Lake State Park (Clark, CO)
There are just two elevated yurts here, each of which sleeps up to six people, but the views of Pearl Lake can’t be beat. Each yurt has a ceiling fan, a table and chairs, a fire ring and an outdoor picnic table.

5. Snow Mountain Ranch (Granby, CO)
There are 12 yurts in the yurt village, each of which sleeps up to six people on one queen bed and two bunk beds. A bathhouse is located in the yurt village, but yurts are not heated, so keep this in mind.

6. Stone Mountain Park Campground (Stone Mountain, GA)
Just outside Atlanta, you’ll find a campground with three yurts that each sleep up to five people. There are no private bathrooms or kitchenettes, but there is an outdoor grill for hamburgers and hot dogs.

7. Normandy Farms (Foxboro, MA)
The high-end yurts here come with flat screen televisions, fireplaces, kitchenettes and private bathrooms. Yurts comfortably sleep up to six on a queen bed, pull-out couch and two pull-out chairs.

8. Pinewood Lodge Campground (Plymouth, MA)
The yurts here are fairly rustic and include a futon, bunk beds and a table and chairs, but sometimes that’s all you need, especially when your plans include hiking, biking and exploring nearby attractions.

9. Higgins Lake KOA (Roscommon, MI)
Here you’ll find three camping yurts, which each sleep up to five people on a queen or king bed and bunk beds. Each yurt has a distinct theme too, like “Fisherman’s Wharf” and “Pirates Cove.”

10. Jellystone Park at Paradise Pines (North Hudson, NY)
More on the rustic side, the three yurts here (called Mountain Cabanas) have twin and double bunk beds, a refrigerator and a microwave, but no running water inside the yurt. Look for a spigot outside each unit.

11. Nantahala Yurt Village (Bryson City, NC)
Inside each yurt you’ll find a queen bed and a double futon, which would work well for a family of four, though showers and restrooms are in an adjacent building. Enjoy rafting, hiking and mountain biking.

12. Sky Ridge Yurts (Bryson City, NC)
The colorful glamping-style yurts here boast private bathrooms, kitchenettes, free wi-fi and private decks. Oh, and beautiful mountain views, of course. The “Tsali” yurts sleep up to four on two queen beds.

13. Bend-Sunriver RV Campground (Bend, OR)
Look for four yurts, each with private bathrooms, kitchenettes and enough space to sleep five or six. Try your hand at mini golf, enjoy a game of pickleball or go fishing on the Little Deschutes River.

14. Great Smoky Jellystone Camp-Resort (Gatlinburg, TN)
Book a stay in one of six Yogi Bear Yurts, which have air conditioning, a mini-fridge, a fire ring and a picnic table. The yurts sleep six people on two sets of double/twin bunk beds.

15. Shenandoah Crossing (Gordonsville, VA)
Look for luxury yurts that include one bed and one pull-out couch to easily sleep a family of four. Yurts also include flat screen televisions, private bathrooms and full kitchens.

16. Mount Vernon RV Campground (Bow, WA)
There are three yurts at this campground and all three have private bathrooms. The yurts sleep four or five people and the campground offers easy access to the Cascade Mountains.

17. Guemes Island Resort (Guemes Island, WA)
There are four yurts that sleep two to four people, as well as one larger yurt that sleeps up to six people. All of the yurts have easy access to grills, a refrigerator and central restrooms.

18. Apple Creek Campground (De Pere, WI)
Look for two sets of bunk beds inside the yurts at this campground, as well as a table for games and meals and a ceiling fan. Outside, enjoy a fire ring or a charcoal grill to cook up dinner for the evening.

19. Smokey Hollow Campground (Lodi, WI)
There are four beachfront yurts at this campground, including one jumbo yurt that sleeps 12 people. All yurts include a microwave, refrigerator and ceiling fan. Rent golf carts, play horseshoes or ride bikes.

20. Merry Mac’s Campground (Merrimac, WI)
Each of the three yurts includes 2-3 bunk beds, a futon and a kitchenette. Two of the yurts sleep six people, while the jumbo yurt sleeps up to 12 people. Swim on the beach or bounce on the jumping pillow.

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