Nurtured in Nature

Renting an RV provided a perfect way to ensure our family was well cared for during a weekend of camping in Shenandoah

My husband grew up doing some serious camping. I’m not talking about the kind of outdoor “adventures” that involve a long weekend roasting marshmallows outside a cozy mountain cabin. I mean two months each summer spent traveling cross-country with his family packed in an old Chevy Beauville, pitching tents nightly at various locations that only sometimes included the luxury of running water.

I, on the other hand, was raised thinking that spending the night in a sleeping bag in our neighbor’s backyard qualified as “roughing it.” So now that we had a family of our own and he suggested beginning the tradition of an annual camping excursion, I called for a compromise.
Road Trip Rentals to the rescue. The company provides RV rentals for vacations and events in Maryland and Virginia. You choose the campsite of your choice, and you can tow or drive your rental RV or have them conveniently deliver it directly to the location. Enjoying some fresh air and beautiful scenery for just three nights with a modern and well-equipped space to escape the bugs and take a shower? Now this I could agree to.

According to Christy Hamilton, a publicist for GoRVing.com, many families can easily get on board with this alternative to tent camping.

“The changing face of a typical RVer has gone from grandparents to families who live an active lifestyle and want the ease, extra space and flexibility of an RV,” she says. According to the 2012 Campfire Canvass survey, she says, 88 percent of RVers cite their outdoor lifestyle as the number one reason they love RVing.  

I thought I could learn to love it too (at least for one weekend a year), so we loaded our 15-month-old, flash lights, graham crackers, matches and tons of other outdoorsy supplies into the car last June and headed to Shenandoah River State Park. We arrived at our campsite to find the Rockwood Roo waiting for us. The Roo is a hybrid-style RV that’s a combination tent camper and travel trailer. I breathed a sigh of relief—and a breath of brisk air (the temperature-controlled interior provided a wonderful break from the hot June sun)—upon stepping inside and surveying the interior. I found a family dinette, three beds, a large refrigerator, a three-burner gas range, microwave, plenty of space for my daughter’s Pack ’n Play, a shower, toilet and two sinks with—yes!—running water.

 

With no need to do much camp set up, we immediately began enjoying our natural surroundings. My toddler started digging the small stones that covered our site, an activity that kept her busy for most of the weekend, and my husband ventured into the woods to collect some firewood. I sat down at our picnic table, looked around and took it all in—the quiet, the outstanding scenery and the peace of knowing I had an abundance of  amenities, and a secure shelter should a bear decide to pay us a visit, just a few feet away.

The next morning we woke up smelling like campfire and listening to the soft sound of light rain above our heads. Thankfully, we remained dry and comfy inside the Roo. The sun came out shortly, and we readied ourselves to spend the day exploring Shenandoah River State Park.

We selected this camping spot for our trip because Virginia state parks tend to be well-managed with picturesque, wooded sites and plenty of wonderful outdoor activities. Shenandoah River did not disappoint. This park sits on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and includes more than 1,600 acres along 5.2 miles of shoreline. After a visit to the impressive and meticulously-landscaped visitor’s center, we buckled our daughter in a baby backpack and headed to check out some of the trails (24 miles of them in all) while breaking frequently to take in the views of Massanutten Mountain and ending at the foot of the river.

Many visitors take advantage of canoeing and other river activities in this area of Warren County, but since tubes are not meant for toddlers, we spent the next day touring Luray Caverns, a large, commercial cave just west of Luray and only about 15 miles south of the park.

By the close of the weekend, both the park and the Roo convinced me on the appeal of life outside. Bonding with my family came naturally without all of the typical distractions. I became accustomed to nature while relying on a place to get warm on chilly mountain nights, keep my milk fresh and prepare a hearty breakfast  … even though my husband insisted on cooking every meal on an open fire. Some things never change.

To plan your trip, start by visiting GoRving.com for vacation comparisons, buying information, fuel savings tips, rental facilities, destination suggestions, photography and videos

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