I hate camping. Well I did, until I “camped” in a KOA deluxe cabin. Which camping purists will say isn’t camping at all. But, I don’t care. It was fun!
My only previous experience with actual sleep-in-a-tent camping was with Girl Guides with I was about eight years old.
I hated it.
And then when I was a bit older, I went away to the kind of camp where you sleep in a cabin with a bunch of other kids, but in the middle of the two weeks we went on a three-day canoe trip that involved sleeping in tents and portaging in the woods.
I hated it.
As a Canadian, I sometimes feel pressured to enjoy camping. Where you not only have to prepare your own meals, but essentially pack a kitchen AND food AND build your house and bed AND be dirty and sleep on the ground amongst bugs and forest creatures.
And that is why I laughed when KOA got in touch and asked if I’d like to try camping and said, “No, thanks.” And then they told me about their deluxe cabins that have kitchens and bathrooms. And I said, “Ok!”
I understand that what we did that late-summer weekend was not exactly camping, more like “cottaging” or “trailering,” but for someone anti-camping like me it was a great introduction to the campground lifestyle. We stayed at the Cookstown KOA campground for two nights, and it was a fantastic little mini-vacay that offered a break from the city without really leaving it.
Cookstown KOA has two Deluxe Cabins that feature a kitchenette, a full bathroom, a nook with bunkbeds for the kids, and a comfy, private Queen bedroom for you. Everything is provided in the Deluxe Cabins, even towels and bed linens. In less than an hour we whisked ourselves away from our busy week to a magical place where wearing sweatpants and Uggs while drinking wine from a coffee mug is totally acceptable. It was great!
We brought snacks and a few groceries with us to see us through to the morning, and then drove for about ten minutes into town for breakfast and to pick up the rest of the groceries that would see us through the rest of the weekend. And the rest of the time we relaxed and explored the KOA campground.
We had a couple of rounds of chess on the giant board. The kids monkeyed around the play structure for a bit. They actually went for a swim even though it was unseasonably cold that weekend. (The pool is heated and open from mid-May to mid-September). We lit a campfire and cooked hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner. (See, camping!) We bought wood at the Foodland in town, but you can also buy it at KOA and they will deliver it right to your campsite.
The kids went for a bit of a wander and explored on their own for a while. This is a big deal for a helicopter mom like me 🙂
For those who can camp without indoor plumbing, there are showers in the main building as well as a tuck shop that sells a few grocery essentials as well as ice cream and coffee.
Our cabin and the campgrounds were absolutely spotless. And all the staff were so friendly and helpful.
In town we had breakfast at Hot Stacks on the first day, and then Wagon Wheel on the day we left. Both were just ten minutes down the road in Cookstown and both were delicious and very reasonably priced. And, of course, we shopped our faces off after we checked out at the Tanger Outlets Cookstown Outlet Mall. It’s a good one!
So will I camp again? Probably?
One nice thing about this experience is it was an easy introduction into camping and campground life, and I could test the waters to see what I could handle. I’m actually feeling a little brave and might try just a regular cabin next year. I may never graduate to a tent in the middle of the woods, but it felt great to have a little adventure with my family that was different from our norm.
KOA Cookstown is north of Toronto and south of Barrie, just off Highway 400.
My family stayed as guests of the Cookstown KOA, but all opinions remain my own.