When yours, mine and ours converge to create a family of twelve you know that camping is going to be part of the plan. When Gail met Wayne they both brought children into their now 25-year-old marriage. Together over the next two and a half decades they fostered seventy-five children in need of care, eventually adopting four sisters to bring their number of children up to ten – an even dozen in the family.

Life was busy on their small Ohio farm with horses, sheep, alpaca, barns and creeks, and camping with lots of kids! It must have seemed hard to picture the light at the end of the parenting tunnel for Gail. If the truth be told though, she really didn’t want to see it end. But kids grow up despite their mother’s protests and as that dim light at the end of the tunnel began to give off real light, she found herself thinking of ways in which she might fill the gap.

Gail, mother to many and friend to all she meets is the perfect person to act as Camp Host at Beaver Creek.


Gail grew up in Ohio but not in a camping family. She had just one sibling, a brother with whom she is still very close to. But Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill generously provided cousin Kaylynn, 9 months younger than Gail, to be a lifelong best friend. Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill were campers and more than happy to take Gail along on all of their adventures. The two cousins loved their campouts and Gail in particular developed a real love for nature.

The camping bug stayed with Gail, and when she and Wayne merged their families, camping became a big part of their lives. Over the years they camped in tents, a pop-up, and travel trailers. The family loved fishing and the outdoors, but none loved it all as much as Gail whose childhood memories with Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill never left her.

While raising her large family on their Ohio hobby farm, Gail honed many skills. For years she has been a fiber artist, a respected teacher and member of many knitting clubs, as well as at one time the host of a podcast on knitting, spinning and dyeing wools. As the kids grew and left home to make their own lives, Gail had more time for her interests.

These hobbies lead her to volunteer as a reenactor of feminine arts at the Beaver Creek State Park Pioneer Village in East Liverpool, Ohio. On the first of every month she dons Colonial garb and sits spinning in the restored log cabin while school children on field trips and families on day outings observe what it took to create a hat or sweater in days gone by. The park became a second home for Gail and Wayne who often fished there in the river that runs through it.

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We purchased our first RV seven years ago because we had a serious case of wanderlust and a set of brand new twin babies. An RV seemed like the most affordable and comfortable way to keep traveling, even with all the complexities that these little guys had brought into our lives.


That pop up camper purchase ended up being the perfect decision for us, and we have been able to travel more than we ever dreamed possible when we initially decided to test out the RV lifestyle. Over the years, we kept going farther away from home and spending more time on the road.



To be honest, it rarely occurred to us to camp where we live on the New Jersey shore. If we were going to plan a getaway, pack up the gear, and hitch up the RV, we thought the bigger the trip the better. It took us awhile to realize we were missing out on one of the best RV experiences there is – camping close to home.


Once we spent our first weekend at a campground about 30 miles away from our house, we were completely hooked. While big RV trips far from home are exciting and energizing, shorter RV trips close to home are relaxing and peaceful. And let’s face it…they are a lot easier to pull off for working parents with busy kids!


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When Brewster, NY native Danielle Thompson decided she wanted to be an RVer, she tapped into her “can do” family attitude and dove right in. A CPA by trade in her family’s historic NYC construction business, Civetta and Sons, Danielle is used to “big deals.” She is the third generation to work at the business started by her grandfather that has had a hand in some of the biggest “digs” in NYC, excavating for the buildings that silhouette the Big Apple’s skyline.

Growing up with her older sister and younger brother, she recalls a camper they owned being used more in the backyard as a playhouse than for actual camping. Because of the nature of her dad’s business, summer was always his busy season, so vacations with the whole family became winter ski trips in Vermont and Colorado. Her mom, however, thought nothing of throwing all the kids in the station wagon while dad was working and hitting the road. Whether it was Long Island for a day of discovery, or the family favorite “epic” Niagara Falls their mom had the spirit of adventure that Danielle and her sister and best friend Regina inherited. Danielle credits her mom with instilling in her the feeling that she can “do anything and go anywhere.”


The family camper turned playhouse that Danielle and Regina dreamed and played in as girls. 


When Danielle had her first baby she began feeling the pressure of motherhood, a career, and being a wife to a golf pro instructor. There was always something that needed to be done and juggling all of her responsibilities left her with “mixed up priorities.” It was then that Danielle picked up camping. She says, “When I was camping I was just in the moment. I didn’t care what was going on at work. I didn’t care what my house looked like – honestly I didn’t even care what I looked like. I was just in the moment. I cared about what I had to eat at the next meal, when I got to nap with my daughter and relax. This is what got me hooked.” Danielle began camping with her sister and her now two kids a couple of times each summer and when she did, she said she was so relaxed that the few days she was able to get away felt like weeks.


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Most RVers put a ton of time into researching the best campgrounds for their family vacations and weekend getaways. They will pour over catalogues, read online reviews, post questions in forums, and binge listen to podcasts.



But when it comes time to reserve a campsite, these same research junkies just put in their travel dates and leave the actual campsite selection to an impersonal computer algorithm.


Not us.


We have stayed at hundreds of campgrounds around this country and can say one thing for certain: even the best campgrounds and RV parks have a couple mediocre (or just plain bad) sites. Even more importantly, there is no one-size-fits-all ideal. The best campsite for a family with small children might be a young couple’s worst nightmare.



The key to enjoying campground bliss lies in knowing the exact type of site you want, and then making the effort to reserve that spot. Here are ten questions we recommend asking before booking your next great adventure.

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RVing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My very first RV memory is sleeping on the convertible dinette bed in a borrowed truck camper. When I was in middle school, my parents bought a 1970s Starcraft travel trailer that my dad towed with a gold 1969 Buick station wagon. I’d take along a friend on family camping trips and we would cram ourselves into the tiny bathroom spraying Aqua Net onto our teased bangs. Clearly, I knew how to “glamp” even before “#glamping” was a thing.


By the time I was in high school, my parents had changed RVs again and I had changed my hairstyle. (Thank goodness, four-inch tall bird nest shaped bangs aren’t flattering on anyone.) This RV was a Type C. It was our first motorized RV and I can remember hanging out with my siblings or reading in the back bedroom while we traveled to our destination. Cool beans!


Once my parents even let me drive it while they took a nap in the back (before seat belt laws required all passengers to be buckled in). That was back in the day when kids could stay out wandering the neighborhoods alone until dark. My brother sat shotgun and we chatted away until my dad woke up from the rough ride and decided I wasn’t ready to be driving the RV after all. More than 20 years later, we still laugh about it. Today I wouldn’t even dream of letting Thing 1 drive while we even relaxed in the back, let alone sleep, but that was a different, more innocent time…


The RV I supposedly drove “100 MPH” when I was a teenager. Right!!!


The cousins and my sister (I was way cooler in middle school ;-)) camping with Papaw.


My parents were not and still are not the only ones in our family with an RV. For as long as I can remember, my mom’s parents, Junebug and Papaw, had an RV. If a weekend at grandma’s house was fun, a weekend in grandma’s RV was even better.

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