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For years Brad and I have discussed taking a camping trip and we finally did it! This trip posed an interesting challenge for us: camping with a toddler, an infant, and a dog in our 21 foot long pop-up. Although we had a ton of fun, there were definitely times where we questioned our life choices and said "we'll never do this again".

We chose to stay at Hershey Road Campground. This campground was great! It's a small campground with a ton to offer and is only about a 15-20 minute drive to Hershey Park. When we decide to take another camping trip, this place is at the top of our list.

DAY 1.

So this trip did not get off with the best start. Although we did our best to prepare in advance, we seem to keep hitting some snags. Eventually we finally hit the road! On our way the kids and I stopped at the welcome center in Pennsylvania where Anastasia and I enjoyed a snack, and Oliver enjoyed looking around. This gave Brad a head start on setting up the site without a crazy toddler getting in the way.

The drive to the campsite was beautiful. We drove through Marietta, PA which looked like a town out of a Hallmark movie. Farmlands and large farmhouses new and old greeted us along the way. I forgot how many companies farm in this region. We passed Land O Lakes and Turkey Hill along this route! 

When we arrived Brad had the pop up set up and was grilling some burgers for our dinner. Anastasia immediately saw the playground and just had to check it out. After a few rounds on the slide it was time for dinner, and our evening walk. During our walk we checked out the game room, laundry, mini golf, the pool and splash pad, and the bath house. This campgrounds facilities were absolutely amazing! They really put a lot of work into the design and layout, as well as maintaining it. 

Bedtime presented an interesting challenge. We had to set up both the king bed and dormer while managing a cranky infant and a overly energetic toddler. I would be lying if I said I didn't think about packing up the car and driving home during this bedtime ordeal. We ultimately didn't need the dormer as Anastasia ended up in our bed at some point. Luckily its a king sized bed with plenty of space for all of us. We also found the downside to this campground: the noise. You can definitely hear the interstate. So if you're looking for nature sounds only this might not be the place for you. However, this campground is remote enough to enjoy some stargazing. Brad had fun identifying some constellations.

Day 2

This was the first day we used the stove inside the pop up. We made scrambled eggs with spam with a side of oranges and milk. It was definitely a challenge cooking with such little surface area especially with Anastasia determined to help crack the eggs. Eventually we all ate and started our day. First thing on the agenda was to take another walking tour of the campground. Here's what we found: 

  • The best bathhouse ever. This bath house is one of the nicest I've ever been in. I almost forgot I was camping! The water was always hot and everything was really clean. There always seemed to be a staff member around wiping things down. 
  • Playground. It had all the essentials: 5 swings including a baby swing, and a 2 slide play area equipped with a tunnel and other neat features. The slides did get way too hot to use in the afternoon sun to Anastasia's disappointment.   
  • Mini golf. This was one of the reasons we choose this campground. Mini golf was included with our site rental. The balls and clubs were left in bins nearby for us to use when we pleased 
  • Pool with a splash pad. It was too early in the season for us to use this amenity but rest assured we will be back to check it out when it is fully operational! From what we could see the splash pad looked like a ton of fun!
  • A dog park. This dog park was just the right size for our furry friend to let off some energy. It wasn't the biggest dog park we've ever been in but it was big enough for a good game of fetch and chasing new friends around. Plus it had doggy obstacles for the dogs to run through or over!
  • The Game Room. It's not the largest but if you just want to keep busy for about an hour then you will find enough here to do.
  • Laundry was pretty standard but did have a small library to help pass the time.
  • The Pond. There is fishing allowed in this well stocked pond but please note that it is catch and release only! 
  • The store was well stocked with anything you may have forgotten from home and things to keep you entertained. We ended up with a squirt gun that led to many laughs later in the day. 

After a day of exploring and using most of the amenities it was time for bed!

Day 3

We woke up to the sound of rain. It was so peaceful, and relaxing that the kids actually slept in for a bit (lucky us)! On this day we planned to drive into Hershey to check out Hershey's Chocolate World, which is located just outside of Hershey Park. Inside we found the biggest candy store we've ever been in! There was an option to stuff your own Reese's Cup, Smores made with different candy bars, a variety of foods to purchase, and Hershey's Chocolate Tour. The tour is a ride that takes you through their chocolate making process. Anastasia loved the singing cows at the beginning and Oliver somehow managed to sleep through the whole experience! Outside we found Hershey Trolley Works which is a trolley ride and show through the history of Hershey. We will definitely be back to do the trolley show and actually go into Hershey Park. The line to get into the park was extremely long so we made a mental note to be in line an hour before park open when we decide to return. We even joked with some other guests about the line being longer than the lines to get into Disney's Magic Kingdom at rope drop haha!

For lunch we drove over to Simply Greek which was located in a plaza designed to look like a small village. We ordered two traditional Gyros, Greek Fries and Zucchini Fritters. The food was delicious and we managed to eat it all before the rain set in. After a mad dash to the car we drove back to the campground.

After all storms had passed it turned out to be a perfect night for roasting marshmallows with our Marshmallow Roasting Sticks. So we made our way up to the campground store to get a few supplies. After a few attempts to get the fire going, a toddler meltdown, and one messy infant diaper, we were finally ready. This was Anastasia's first time roasting marshmallows and she quickly found that eating the marshmallows out of the bag was much faster, and making friends at the playground was more fun than the fire.

Day 4

Time to head home! Our last day was spent attempting to get everything packed and cleaned up for our departure by Noon. This was definitely easier said than done. We did manage to squeeze in another walk around the campground and some playtime at the playground before we loaded up into the car and left Brad to finish folding down the pop-up.

Our Take away

While this trip was a ton of fun we did face some challenges. Due to a series of events leading up to this trip we were not as organized or as prepared as we would have liked. Also, cramming a 2 year old and a 2 month old in a small pop-up with a dog and 2 adults was probably not the best idea. Our dog, Nugget, definitely did not enjoy being inside with all of us, but she did love her walks and time in the dog park. We will do this again but maybe when Oliver is at least a year older.

Was it worth it? Absolutely! We enjoyed so much quality family time and experienced some new things. Seeing Anastasia make new friends and enjoy her time camping is something we would not trade in. Oliver may have slept most of the time but when he was awake he did take interest in looking around at our new environment. We will be back to explore more of Hershey and the surrounding area, and we will 100% be back to stay at Hershey Road Campground when the weather is warm enough to utilize that amazing looking splash pad!

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