Our Catskills camping adventure at a Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort ranks among our top Mid-Atlantic summer vacations. Along with RV camping in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country and glamping in the Poconos, it gave us room to figure out our camping style.
Jellystone Park’s Remote Location
We booked a tiny cabin at Jellystone Park at Birchwood Acres (877/240-4606) because of its remote location in New York’s Catskill Mountains, not far from home or the legendary site of the original Woodstock Music Festival. The closest town of Ellenville, tucked between several Hasidic vacation camps, has bungalow colonies, a good Mexican restaurant Gaby’s, some Borscht Belt era theatres and a surprisingly hipster feel.
And our campground? As one of 75 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp-Resorts in the U.S. and Canada, this New York Jellystone is themed to the vintage animated series about bears. The vibe is super family-friendly, with a furry mascot (either Yogi, Boo-Boo or Cindy) riding around in a golf cart to greet campers and, on occasion, pose for photos… at a safe distance of course.
Jellystone Park’s Many Sleeping Options
The Jellystone Park camp-resorts can claim the ‘resort’ name because of their many sleeping and recreation options. Choices range from deluxe RV sites with all the hookups, to cabins ranging from rustic to multi-bedroom chalets, park model RVs, yurts, tent sites and more.
We reduced our footprint on earth in a Rustic Cabin, petite in stature. Cabin CB-2’s screened windows and narrow bunks really reminded me of summer camp; the air conditioning, full size fridge, WiFi, microwave and small TV did not. There was a faucet, picnic table and fire pit outside. Facemasks were mandatory for visits to the spotless bathhouse, which has toilets and individual shower rooms, all about 100 yards away.
Jellystone Park’s Village Layout
We liked that the Birchwood Acres campground was set up in neighborhoods; Boo-Boo Way was a tranquil setting that also gave kids easy access on foot to the playground, splash pad, swimming pool and general store.
Another nice feature of this Jellystone campground, especially for those who bring their own tents or smaller Popup TV trailers, is that most camping sites are surrounded by trees, effectively adding to the social distance that campers naturally keep.
Yet everyone was friendly, waving as they passed in a golf cart or ready to offer tips on grilling. It was peaceful at night, when the only intrusions were fireflies or neighbors making s’mores on their fire ring.
Jellystone Facilities & Recreation
All Jellystone Camp-Resorts are loaded with different facilities, including a laundry room, game room, general store and for a fee: golf carts, firewood, cable TV, non-motorized boats, art ‘n’crafts and snacks.
In addition to one large pool, our campground had a signature Yogi Bear’s Water Park, waterslides and fun splash pad area where a siren announced the tipping of a huge water bucket every 5 minutes.
Jellystone Parks often have lakes for fishing and recreation, plus ball courts, jumping pillows, minigolf, pedal carts and themed weekend events for kids. During the coronavirus pandemic, some facilities are closed according to local state and county safety regulations.
A Special Thank You for Jellystone Park Hygiene
Worth noting is this Jellystone Park’s owner, SunRV Resorts, and their commitment to rigorous hygiene during the pandemic.
At our visit, all cabins were cleaned by a groundskeeper who tends the firepits and outdoor furniture, while a two-person cleaning crew with disinfectant wiped down the cabin interiors. (We had brought our own linens and were asked to dump garbage and leave the cabins broom clean.) In the spotless common bathhouses, both toilets and the individual, lockable shower rooms were cleaned regularly according to a posted schedule.
Last but not least, at check-in, they gave us a complimentary hygiene kit with travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer, face masks and packages of wipes. We had our own of course, but I’m sure this thoughtful welcome gift helped ensure the 100% safety compliance we saw throughout our stay.
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