Ken & I have been camping once as a couple, and we went once as a family. It was a lot of fun to be outside and to "get away", but we were exhausted after one night because we slept so poorly! Last summer, we opted to have a backyard camp-out (and we came inside to sleep in the end!). So, while our kids love it, Ken and I have realized that we're not big fans of camping... at least not in the traditional way.
We do love to get away and enjoy nature however, which is why we were excited to spend a few days at the Niagara Falls KOA (Kampgrounds of America) in Ontario. It didn't take long on their website before I discovered that they not only offer cabins to camp in, but they also have "deluxe cabins".. and our preferred style of camping was discovered! :)
The girls had been talking about this little trip for weeks, so when we were ready for our road trip, they were very excited!
I took lots of photos of our time at the KOA because there is just so much to see and do! I'll walk you through our experience with lots of visuals! Here are the girls in front of our cabin. We were happy to have a fire pit and a BBQ to cook over as well as a table with 6 chairs outside, and a table with 4 chairs inside. I loved the swing on our little front lawn!
Inside our cabin, we were very happy to have a bathroom (not pictured) with a full tub and shower (with good water pressure), regular toilet, and small vanity with sink and mirror. They provide hair/body soap in the bathroom. Because the females in our family have a lot of hair, it's hard to do without conditioner (I know.. we think we're glamping here ;), so Ken drove to the grocery store to grab some. This "Kampground" is very conveniently located near lots of stores, so he didn't have to go far!
There was also a small bedroom for the girls (this is one part they were looking forward to because of the bunk beds!). Talia got the top bunk on the first night, and Katrina got the top on the second night.
The main area of the cabin included a couch (pictured above) with a pull-out bed, our table & chairs, and the kitchen. We knew that the kitchen would include a fridge/freezer, sink, microwave, and toaster as well as dishes, utensils, & cookware. We were surprised to see that it also included a little cooking surface (you can see it in the photo below, on top of the counter). We wish we had known about it so we could've planned to have bacon and eggs one morning, so if you're headed for a cabin like ours, get excited- you've got a stove-top! :) There was also a flat screen TV mounted on the wall. You could put down a deposit in order to get a remote to use the TV. I was really glad they had that policy because we didn't really want to use the TV while we were there, so not having the remote control helped us to stick to that plan!
We had our own bedroom on the opposite side of the cabin, with a queen sized bed in it and a little bench with room underneath for our luggage. Both bedrooms and the bathroom had little sliding pocket doors. Best of all, perhaps, our cabin had air conditioning!
We were definitely pleased with our cabin, but that little cabin was just the beginning of what KOA had to offer! There were organized activities planned every hour from noon until evening! The people running them were really kind and energetic and worked well with the children. We participated in a lot of them!
After getting settled in, we went to join a game of Four Square which Talia quickly picked up and made her way to "King".
At the same time, they had a spot set aside for sidewalk chalk where Katrina had fun creating pictures.
After that activity, the girls were very excited to check out the playground area! The playground there was quite impressive! There was also a little playground more geared toward young kids (in the bottom, right of the little collage below). You can see Katrina with a little friend she made, peeking through the door.
The playground had some great sand for digging and the girls loved these little diggers!
This giant spider web was a hit, too!
Ken joined the girls for a game of giant checkers...
...and the jumping pillow was probably Talia's favourite thing there! Ken even got in on the fun for these pictures. :)
They also had a smaller jumping pad for younger children.
For dinner that night, we cooked shrimp, zuchini, and pineapple on the BBQ and had some salad with it. It was delicious!
That evening, we went on a wagon ride all around the "Kampground". Katrina thought the man driving the tractor was funny because every time he honked his horn, he touched his nose as if that was what made the noise. It was fun to wave at the people we would pass at their camp-sites or outside of their RVs and it was clear that the people who worked there were well acquainted with some of the people who come there to camp, as they waved and greeted each other by name.
That night was a little cool for swimming outside, so we headed for the indoor pool! It was shallow enough for Katrina to be comfortable in more than half of the pool (about a quarter of the pool was too deep for her) which was great because we often find pools too deep for our kids! They also had two hot tubs and a sauna!
When we got back to our cabin, the girls changed into their jammies and helped Ken to get the fire started.
We snuggled up on the swing and enjoyed the fire! :)
Campfires are probably my favourite part of camping, so I loved this! We brought a bag of large marshmallows with us, for roasting. I loved watching Ken teach the girls about how to roast marshmallows (they were learning from the best ;).
After the girls were in bed, we were able to catch up on our emails with the free wifi there (although, we mostly avoided using the internet, to try and get a real break from everything!).
The next morning, we had breakfast and as soon as the activities started up for the day, the girls were off! I took them to a little finger puppet craft first.
We had hot dogs for lunch (cooked on the BBQ) and then Ken took the girls to participate in a scavenger hunt while I washed dishes at the cabin. They were very excited to finish first and win a prize! (Everyone who finished the hunt also won a prize).
We spent some time outside at the two outdoor pools that day. One was a wading pool (which only went up to 2.5 feet deep) which was just as large as the regular pool. The regular pool had a deep end and a shallow end which was perfect for our girls. Ken spent some time giving them some swimming tips, too!
After swimming, we went back to our cabin for lunch. We made baked potatoes on the BBQ and they were delicious!
This KOA also has a mini golf course. There was a small fee to use it, but one of the activities planned for this day was a mini golf tournament, and participation was free. In the photo below, Katrina is getting some pointers from Daddy. ;)
After so much time outside, we spent some down time inside the cabin, playing a card game that we brought and having some snacks. Then it was back outside for a wet sponge water fight that looked like so much fun! The kids really got into it!
Next up, and last on the activity list for the day, was making s'mores! This was my favourite activity to participate in ;)
We came back to our cabin where Ken and the girls started a camp fire. I manned the fire while he took the girls for one last swim at the indoor pool.
When they returned, they dried off and switched into pyjamas to roast marshmallows and talk around the fire one last time and then it was off to bed for our last night at the cabin!
The next morning, the girls played at the park a bit and we packed up in time to check out and say goodbye to Niagara Falls KOA! I'm so happy with the memories we made while visiting. We really had a fabulous experience there!
I would definitely recommend the Niagara Falls KOA to anyone looking for a good place to camp as a family. The grounds were well kept and clean. The workers were friendly, cheerful and helpful. There are lots of things to do to keep busy, and it's very close to the falls (which we didn't visit while we were there, but we know from a recent trip how fun that can be, too!).
Thank you to Niagara Falls KOA for hosting us for our family getaway!