Well, its summertime again and we are all eager to find somewhere to rest and relax...Right?? Having 3 young children its not always convenient to go just anywhere, plus the expense. However, I believe we found our "spot" for a quick family getaway that promotes the relaxation but also a quality "family" experience.
We visited Platte River State Park in Louisville, NE, July 2007. This was our first real "family" getaway and camping no less with children from 5-2-18 months. This was quite the adventure. The accomodations at Platte River consist of Teepees, camping grounds for tents, cabins with centrally located bathrooms, and cabins that are fully equiped with air/toilet.
Having 3 young children and being 90 degrees in the shade, we opted for the cabins with air and toilet. Our cabin was equipped with a refrigerator, stove, some dishes, sink, 2 bedrooms, livingroom, and bathroom/shower. You would think this was luxury right! Nope, this was 1970's style with carpet yes, but no padding and very very old/used furniture. Very small, yet clean bathroom and just the basics here! No television, old lamps for lighting and overall what you would think a cabin should be on a river. There was a screened porch area with table and chairs, and then off to the side a large grill and picnic area with sand. Not sounding so wonderful is it!
Here is where it gets good....the view! It was beautiful, lots of space to run around, lots of green grass and trees, and we backed up to the horse grazing pasture. My middle child is fascinated with horses and when they came out to graze for the night she was thrilled. My son and husband played catch and tossed a frisbee. All three children played in the sand. We grilled our dinners (did not use the oven for anything) and we cooked hotdogs over the firepit for lunch. We roasted marchmallows for dessert. And by 9pm the children were completely wiped out, and so were the parents.
There is a swimming pool there, not fancy like some camp grounds, but a basic pool 3 ft- 12 ft. Lots of trails, a craft area that is very very reasonable and affords the kids to paint their crafts and they will fire them if needed (cost was under $10 for two crafts painted by the kids) There is horse-riding, catch a release area for fishing, bon-fire, paddle boats, but most of all quiet and relaxation.
The grandparents were worried that our kids would be unhappy as there is NO television, but instead of TV in the mornings we ran outside to play in the sand or kick the ball. Instead of watching a cartoon in the evening before dinner, we had to reel them in and get them to eat a little something.
Overall, this was an amazing trip especially for bonding with your family. My husband was a little shakey, but after our experience he has decided we should go back every year. So this summer we will be heading back again for just a weekend, and then the following year we will be doing more camping trips perhaps to yellowstone or Colorado.
Yes, we paid more for our cabin...$90 per night and we paid $10 for crafts and $20 for the pool. But the time spent with just your family was priceless and completely worth the small fee. Bring your food, grill out, watch your kids, play ball, and most of all enjoy what you have right in front of you.