This past weekend we were invited to visit Jellystone Golden Valley, a new location that just opened up in the North Carolina mountains, about an hour outside of Asheville. I have friends that have camped at other Jellystone locations and raved about it, so it it had been on my radar. We were thrilled to be able to experience the newly opened campground! For a video perspective- check out my Jellystone GV highlight reel saved on Instagram.
Jellystone Golden Valley Day 1
Jellystone Golden Valley is about a 2 hour drive from Charlotte, so we left Friday afternoon after lunch. We pulled into the Ranger Station at 3:00 to check in and get our keys to our tent and golf cart. *Golf carts are an add-on cost but I highly recommend getting one. It was so nice to not get back in our car all weekend and the park is pretty large and sprawling. Plus, the golf cart only added on to the girls’ (and mine and David’s) fun!
While Jellystone Golden Valley has camp sites, RV sites, and cabins of all different sizes as well, we chose the glamping tent because it was something we’d never experienced before. The glamping tents are roomy and have a queen bed, a couch that folds out to a queen, and a fold out twin bed. It worked out perfectly for the four of us. It also had a table, microwave, mini-fridge, an air conditioning unit, and a TV.
Just a short walk up the hill from our front door was a cabin that housed 3 individual bathrooms, one for each glamping tent, and each under lock and key. Our bathroom had a toilet, a shower, and a sink. I was so pleased to see it was incredibly clean and air conditioned as well. It was such a great convenience to have, making it feel much more like glamping than camping.
We dropped our stuff, made the beds (for this rental, the linens are included), changed into bathing suits, and then hopped on the golf cart to go explore.
We started with a golf cart tour of the grounds. We marveled at the treetop cabins, did a loop around the RV sites, rode by the lake, and basically left no corner unexplored. I think it’s important to note that while the park is up and running, that as of June 2019, there are still areas that are under construction. This did not negatively affect our experience in any way, but I do feel that it’s worth noting so you aren’t caught off guard.
They were finishing some repairs of the splash pad on the Friday we arrived, but had provided inflatable water slides and a dunk tank to compensate for the closure down by the lake. We took full advantage of these, and had a lot of laughs at the dunk tank!
The girls had fun passes for the weekend, which means they had access to some “extras.” One of these was access to crafts at the rec hall. During a certain time period they had 2 different crafts/activities available and the girls (especially Hailey) loved it! On Friday afternoon Hailey picked to color a t-shirt and Kaitlyn picked a glitter tattoo.
After all our adventure, we ended the evening at the pool. The pool is fabulous in both layout and depth (nothing deeper then 3.5 feet). There are basketball goals, seats in the water, and ample places to set up around it. We ordered food from the adjacent restaurant (their brick oven pizzas were our favorite!) and let the girls swim until they exhausted themselves. Then we all went back, showered off, and put the girls to bed while David and I enjoyed a glass of wine on the glamping tent’s back porch, overlooking the lake.
Jellystone Golden Valley Day 2
Saturday morning we decided to check out the pancake breakfast at the lodge. The pancake breakfast is a simple buffet- pancakes, sausage, eggs, biscuits, juice, and coffee. The food left a lot to be desired but the staff was incredibly friendly and the lodge is pretty and has a great view.
After breakfast, we let the girls dictate the schedule. Their first request was crafts, so we went straight there and they each made a layered sand art castle. From there we stopped by the camping store to get bags of dirt (also on the fun pass) to go gen mining. The gem mining is cute. It’s a small setup sandwiched between the lake and putt putt course, and the kids thought finding hidden gems was pretty cool, especially the rose quartz they acquired!
We ate lunch poolside, then headed back to the lodge for a “VIB” meeting with Yogi himself! We were all tickled with meeting Yogi; he was great!
After all the running around in the morning, we decided to just set up shop at the splash pad for the afternoon. We were thrilled that it was back up and running after the repairs, and it ended up being even more fun than we expected. We (yes, David and me too!) spent a couple hours chasing each other through the various water obstacles, sliding down the water slide, and squirting each other with the water guns. It was a blast!
We headed back to the tent in the evening, with a couple meals from the restaurant it tow. We showered, grilled out some sausages, ate some nachos (healthy eating clearly took a backseat this weekend), then went on an evening joy ride around the park. We stopped at the jumping pad and the playground, grabbed some ice cream, chatted with some other campers, and searched for the best views we could find.
We stayed out until the sun had fully gone down and all fell into bed around 10:00 PM to the sound of the crickets and the frogs.
We had such a great getaway and felt it was an ideal family experience since it offers a little something for everyone. We’ve talked about trying to come back in the fall because we can only imagine how pretty it would be with the leaves changing colors. Maybe we’ll snag a treetop cabin because the mountain views are pretty incredible from there, but the glamping tent sure did treat us right for this visit!
If you have any questions, please leave them below and I’ll be happy to answer them!
Have you ever camped at a Jellystone Park?
What was your experience like?
Thanks for having us, Jellystone Golden Valley!
Maybe this is just me, but I don’t get the point of glamping. If you want nice amenities like AC and a comfy bed, why not just stay in a cabin? I don’t get why someone would want to stay in a “tent” if they’re not actually camping out, sleeping on the floor, etc.
Idk, I’ve never done it but I think it would be a cool experience. I love “real” camping and we go all the time, but if I was going to go this route, I think I would totally choose this over a cabin. It seems different and fun.
Looks like a fun experience. I like the idea of AC ,a bed , canvas sides, and a clean bathroom nearby—especially with kids in tow.
Megan Ruth Rowlinson says
Wow, looks like fun! I love reading these travel recaps. Where is your striped dress from? It’s super cute! Wilmington, DE