RV’ing full time with our twelve children is possibly the greatest decision we’ve ever made. It’s allowed us to capitalize on every second of the short time we have with them and teach them and show them all the things I worried we would never have time for. Vacations were never really feasible due to finances, and when they were, we chose the beach. Now, today, our kids get to see the entire country, learn first hand about geography, science, history, government … the list is endless. We have become inseparable, we are each other’s best friend, we have each others backs on and off the river. We even have a new family motto: Faith, Family & Fun to keep us focused on the goal of this adventure. Those are our priorities and everything we do is aimed at increasing the quality of those 3 things.
But, of course, we have our struggles. We all know nothing worthwhile is ever easy and our biggest struggle is finding campgrounds that are family friendly in both the financial arena and the social arena. Campgrounds facilitate Dan’s job, the kids’ blogging, my blogging, keeping up with friends and family via technology, etc. and give us a space to call home for awhile. Campgrounds have a little something called hook-ups for water and electricity …
State run campgrounds are almost always both financially and socially great. They typically have room to roam, RV’s aren’t stacked onto each other, they are often extremely well kept and are relatively easy on the wallet. Private campgrounds are, on average, none of those things, unless you are blessed and contact a private campground that is welcoming towards families. They tend to gouge the traveller for every penny and offer very little in return.
In our experience with most private campgrounds I’ve found very few that are spacious, clean, welcoming and financially doable for full-timers with children, let alone 12 children. Nelson’s campground is one of these rare exceptions. They have a monthly rate of $300 that they don’t exceed, their grounds are spotless and their location is about 17 miles from Nantahala Outdoor Center! Most importantly, they don’t charge per child; like most private campgrounds. This is the struggle we have. In fact, we recently received an $96 night quote from Summersville Lake Retreat in Summersville, WV and they were not at all open to reason. Their entire campground was empty and they wouldn’t budge on the price. Oh well. Just down the road is Battle Run Campground, which is actually on the lake, has gorgeous grounds, spacious RV spots, a playground, sports complex and the fee per night was a mere $24. This campground is full, but the spots are big enough for 12 kids to run around in without bothering anyone and there are trees — even spots on the lake itself! As I write, they are fishing, playing basketball, and screaming like banshees on the playground! A real outdoor experience, not contrived and within an arms reach of your neighbor!
When RV’ing with kids, sometimes you don’t get what you pay for … oftentimes the cheapest campgrounds are the best for families. We are not fond of camping on top of other RV’s, we enjoy privacy and space more than game rooms and haughty owners. RV’ing for us is about family, fun and the adventures found in nature. It’s about unplugging and rejoicing in the simple glory of nature. It’s not found in gamerooms and touristy gimmicks. Rather, it’s found at the lake, on the river, on the mountain, in the rolling hills, in a hammock under the stars, on a blanket with a good book under the warm sun, chasing your toddler at the park, listening to uncontrollable laughter … this is our life. This is what we choose for our family and it’s as real as it gets. Some campground owners get this and it’s about the lifestyle … others don’t and it’s about lining their pockets.
Really great blog. Some people don’t get it. I looked at that resort and wasn’t impressed. Their reviews on line are less than stellar as well. You guys are awesome!
REALLY? Guests pay to visit those paying crazy fees to camp there? Yeah, they are real cool … NOT!!
We are still watching you guys. Rose and I have already raised a family. Our son is 33, daughter would be 30 and she gave us a granddaughter who will be 10. Now, we have started a family yet again with one who turns three next month but this time we are retired.
We have been admiring little 13 foot trailers to be our home on the road but we just have not come to terms on how we are going to do it yet, I guess. She is talking about parking and I think more on driving. Both are too expensive to do so we are just hanging in my mothers house trying to figure it out.
Hopefully we’ll see y’all on the road some day.
Jon and Rose
Great to hear!!! From what I’ve heard being grandparents is the greatest!! 🙂
We feel the same way as you do. If wanted to be on top of each other and live the city life we would have stayed in our home in a neighborhood. There are wonderful campgrounds and beautiful BLM property that can be found. It is a lot harder to find but they are wonderful! Friends backyards work well too!
I love your family, you are doing something most of us can only dream of. We travel to WV and the Summersville area often and I can tell you we were horrified by the prices, yes, but mostly by the owners. They were rude to our guests, charged them $5 per person simply to come into the “resort” to pick us up. I complained and Steve, the owner, did not care. He’s in the business of making money, not serving people, so you Kellogg”s don’t belong there. God’s Blessings bestowed on you always, your sister in Christ, Mere.
Thank you so much!!
Are you serious? $96 and down the road is $24 and it’s nicer and better? I bet they didn’t know how amazing your family is, or how gracious your family is. It’s a shame, I know it’s their loss, but I would like for more people to have the pleasure of meeting you. I know I would love to.
Dig the last paragraph, my wife’s on board with getting rid of everything. I’m the hold-out, how’s that for screwy?
I stumbled upon one of your youtube videos last year while researching large families in full time situations, I have been following you all since. I envy your family. My husband and I have 5 kids and I would gladly have more but finances won’t allow. We want to travel the world with our kids and escape the ways of society, but…yeah, finances won’t allow. You guys are very very lucky that Dan has a good job that goes with him. I enjoy seeing yall’s pictures. Keep enjoying life, many of us never get that chance.
Thx for the info on the campgrounds. We have seen you all at church in Oneonta. I recently retired and looking forward to nice places to camp. I admire how you all are raising your family.
That’s so awesome!!
Hello! We aren’t able to travel much, but are considering buying a large camper and living in it with our five children for awhile. We homeschool and are in the process of selling our home. How difficult would it be with babies in a camper? We also live in a region where winters get cold and at times below freezing. I crave a closer family relationship and to focus on each other rather than a big house to seperate us all 🙂
RV’ing in the winter is much more difficult, we try to avoid the cold areas, however, we are going to brave them this winter and hope we get it right!! We live in an RV with 12 kids … the youngest has been in the RV his whole life!! 🙂 I think it’s an exceptional way to live!! :))
Enjoyed reading your blog. We too are full time RVers. We have 7 children leaving in our 5th wheel. It has 2 large bedrooms, but can definitely be cramped with all 9 of us. We’re currently in Minnesota, but plan to head south in the next no the or so…definitely wanna beat the snow!! 🙂
Oh, RV’ing in snow is soooo hard!! Congratulations on your newest blessing!!! 🙂
Hi, My husband and I have been planning to begin full time living in a camper; house is for sale. Kids are 17 and 14-homeschooled. We are having a difficult time finding a plan to stay at a site full time (not sure if wanting 6 months and then moving or longer). Everything I have seen is seasonal. We live in Fl now and found it to be almost impossible to find any places that will accept under 55 for more then a week and no kids allowed on a monthly basis. We are open to where to go but looking more to the northwest or midwest. Any suggestions at all would be great. Thanks.
We are a family of 9, Mom, Dad, and seven kids (1-15). We are looking at getting into an bunkhouse RV but have noticed most campsites are listed as 6 person max occupancy. How do you find nd RV campsites that allow big families?
Most private campgrounds are uber strict and charge a million dollars per person … we choose municipal, state, and federal campgrounds … they don’t care at all about the numbers. 🙂