Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Adventure #3: Camping at Jellystone of the Smokies

We decided to take off for a weekend of camping.  We called our usual favorite campgrounds and they were full.  We called a few new ones and finally found a spot on the creek at Jellystone of the Smokies in Cosby Tennessee, just outside Gatlinburg.  This was our first time at a Jellystone, but several of my friends had recommended it.
I have to say that this was the cleanest, friendliest campground we have ever visited! The baths and showers were immaculate!  (That is a REALLY BIG DEAL with me.)  I admit, it was more crowded than we prefer.  I honestly prefer the National Park Campgrounds, especially Deep Creek and Cosby. However, none of them have showers.  I'm not going 3 days without a shower.  You can travel right outside the park on the Deep Creek side and buy a shower..but really???  There used to be a place you could shower near Cosby, but it was closed down when we were there.  I still would love to visit Deep Creek later this summer...even if I do have to go somewhere and buy a shower... I know that some people bathe in creeks and streams, but there are environmental issues with that.
Jellystone is family run and everyone was friendly and helpful.  We were escorted to our site by the owner.  Our shady site was right on a little creek.  It was really nice, just a little closer to the neighbors than we normally prefer.

The creek that ran beside our campsite

After getting set up, we toured the grounds. The grounds were exceptionally neat and clean.  There was a pool, a mini golf course, ping pong, a game room, an outdoor theatre for viewing movies (a different children's movie each night), and a pavilion for various activities.  We don't do movies/ TV when we are camping, but my daughter loved the pool and the mini golf. There are even hayrides (which they call "hey"rides) on Saturday nights.  Best of all- on Friday evenings, Yogi himself walks around the campground greeting the kids and getting his picture made with them.

Mini Golf Course

I'll admit, this is not the type of camping experience we are used to. We are "outdoors" people.  I don't think of swimming pools and mini golf as camping activities. However, if your child loves it and has a good's a success.  She did try fishing... and caught a couple of trees.

We also get out into the park.  I will post our visit to Cataloochee tomorrow. We even saw a black bear! I haven't seen one in the Smokies in years.  This one wasn't in the park-- it was walking through some one's yard!  We tried to take a picture, but he got away.
Again, this was not our typical family camping experience.  We are used to more secluded locations, with less people and more nature. Still, I can't say it was bad.  We did have fun.  And some of the conveniences were nice- like a laundromat.  The people were friendly, the campground was clean and safe.  We still sat around the fire at night making s'mores.  We got away from the house and had a good time.  I call it a success.

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