By Janine Pettit

We all know there are seasons to each life and I recently entered a new one that I have been longing to be in – the grandparenting season. In less than 22 months our family welcomed three grandchildren, and let me tell you, it’s been a blast. Suddenly though, the whole idea of hitching up the camper and taking off for weeks at a time is a lot less appealing. Ten years ago, when my youngest graduated from high school, I took off like it was a prison break and never looked back. I traveled more than 75,000 miles since that first solo road trip to Yellowstone, Glacier and the Tetons. I embraced small towns and their quirky shops and mom and pop diners. I finally got myself to Texas when the bluebonnets were peaking and just drove around for five weeks immersing myself in a Texas spring. I traveled the southeast – the beautiful Georgia mountains, Tybee Island, the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I loved every minute of it, but will admit that there isn’t a national park or monument in existence that is as enticing to me as those sweet faces that call me ‘gama.’

Right now, all I want to do is get outside and enjoy time with them at the campground, which is why I am pivoting and putting down some RV roots with a seasonal site and a BIG – by my standards – RV that will hold a crowd. It can be a place of rest and refuge for my kids who are in the thick of childrearing. It’s going to be a win for me for many other reasons, too. It’s something I have considered for a long time and now seems like the right time to benefit from the perks of a seasonal site. Besides access to my grandchildren, there are other perks.

Second home – With the prices of real estate rising everywhere, a seasonal site is a great way to have a second home without all the expense. Most seasonal sites cost less than the taxes on a sticks-and-bricks house. It’s a second home without the mortgage, taxes and maintenance.

Amenities – Campgrounds are getting better all the time. The idea that I can get away for a weekend and use a pool I don’t have to maintain, take advantage of weekend food trucks, outdoor movies and things kids and grownups alike love is a good thing. No need to drag the kids to the arcade when they are just as happy with a campground bouncy pillow and game room.

Time with family and friends – The rush to get here and there never seems to end. The thing about campgrounds is that they seem to exist with the understanding that you’re there to slow down. I am looking forward to having time with family and friends to enjoy campfires, slow meals, nature sounds and cookouts.

Easy breezy time outs – Sometimes getting to the campground is half the battle. If you are working full time when Fridays roll around, the effort of getting the camper packed, hitched and towed to your location to set up, level and load up with groceries can put you over the ‘let’s just skip it this weekend’ edge. The temptation is real. I am looking forward to not doing all that and just arriving at the campground, putting the slide out and hitting the unwind button.

Change of venue – When you work from home you can get sick of your own four walls, no matter how much you love your space. Being able to change my workspace up and chill out at the campground during the week is so appealing to me. Most campgrounds are pretty quiet during the week when school is still in and that is just fine with me. Nothing like a little personal vacation in the work week.

Sun seeker – I have watched people who head south for the winter with a tinge of envy. I don’t see myself as becoming a snowbird, but I can imagine a scenario in which I could park my family camper in Florida for the winter and fly back and forth for respite from the northeast winters. I recently flew to my Aunt’s house in Orlando for $65 roundtrip! I can imagine a scenario in which I go back and forth as time permits.

Seasonal RV Wishlist – I shared all these ideas with my friends at Keystone and asked what a ‘Gama’ should look for in a seasonal RV and they offered to lease me a model for the season to test out for them. I couldn’t say no to that offer, so I dug in and started looking at fifth wheels. Here are a few things I was hoping to get.

• Sleeps a crowd – at least 8 people

• Lots of storage for multi generations to stash stuff

• Bunkhouse with door for privacy

• Outdoor kitchen and large awning

• Great family space for movie watching

• Good dining booth for game nights

• Outside storage for bikes and pool gear

Everything I wished for is available in the Keystone fleet but I’m going to need help from RVers to decide. I’ve created videos of each model and will share them in the weeks ahead. From experienced seasonal campers I need to know what I’m forgetting. I’m thinking that underbelly storage is going to be really important. From multi generational campers, help a grandma out. What might I be overlooking? That is an important thing when you’re camping with several generations? Follow the fun on Keystone’s Website!

Janine Pettit, founder of Girl Camper, turned her passion for camping into a movement, inspiring women through podcasts, a magazine, and partnerships with Go RVing and Camco. Leading the largest female outdoor adventure group in the US, she champions the idea, “there’s no wrong way to camp like a girl.

Girl Camper is all about camping, adventure, and friendship for women. We bring you the award-winning Girl Camper Magazine, engaging blogs, fun EVENTS, and vibrant social communities. Connect with your state chapter on Facebook, and follow us on YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram for more!

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