June is the perfect time to get outdoors, and for many dads, classic summer activities like boating, fishing, hiking, and camping are a favorite. Celebrate this Father’s Day with an epic summer trip to the mountains, lake, or river. With lodging options from cabins and glamping, to RVs and backwoods tent campsites—there’s something to suit the comfort level of everyone in the family.
Family Fun in the Rocky Mountains
For families and groups looking for the ultimate Colorado adventures this summer, YMCA of the Rockies announced programming highlights at both of its locations at Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado. The popular mountain vacation destinations, both recently named as Good Housekeeping’s 2023 Family Travel award winners, are located at gateways to the state’s treasured Rocky Mountain National Park, offering stunning alpine views, affordable cabin and lodge room accommodations, and a nostalgic, unplugged vacation experience with camp-like activities for all ages.
“Whether it’s capture the flag and kick-ball games on the open fields, daily educational sessions with our trained staff on topics like wildlife ecology and stargazing, or campfire singalongs, we create summer experiences for our guests to unplug and connect with nature, and each other, in a meaningful way,” said Kellen Toulouse, Marketing Director, YMCA of the Rockies.
This summer, guests will enjoy activities such as pickleball, archery lessons, creating keepsake projects in the craft centers, playing miniature golf, roller skating, swimming, rock climbing with skilled instructors, family-friendly hikes to waterfalls, and of course the summer tubing hill at Snow Mountain Ranch. For the adventurous, there are also fly-fishing lessons, mountain biking trails, whitewater rafting and guided hikes through the national park.
Accommodations range from affordable hotel-style lodge rooms with common areas perfect for groups traveling together, and pet-friendly multi-bedroom private cabins featuring wrap-around porches, full kitchens, and a variety of sleeping options including bunk beds. Snow Mountain Ranch also features yurts and campsites in the summer months. Most lodge rooms and cabins do not have televisions, providing a truly unplugged experience for everyone involved.
Favorite activities include:
The Enger Family Nature Trail – A new pet-friendly hiking and walking loop that winds along Glacier Creek located on the property’s 860 acres bordering Rocky Mountain National Park.Master Naturalist Classes – For the first time, these popular classes will be offered during the summer months, featuring multi-day workshops focused on birding, geology, plants, wildflowers, and the history of Rocky Mountain National Park.Hanging with Huskies – Meet some of the members of the Snow Mountain Ranch dogsled team and play with them in the dog park – free for overnight guests and day pass holders.Glamping in the Colorado Rockies – Yurt Village is a popular option for camping-light with each yurt sleeping up to six people.Kids Camp – Day Camps will be available at both Estes Park and Snow Mountain Ranch for children ages 3 -17 Monday through Friday from early June through mid-August. Guests may register for one day, a few days or weeks at a time. Rates start at $47/day at Estes Park Center and $140/week at Snow Mountain Ranch.
Go Fishing in Tennessee
Tellico Lake by Susanne Alexander – Unsplash
Thousands of acres of lakes and streams make Loudon County a favorite for serious anglers, casual fishermen and recreational boaters. The waters of the Tennessee River feed lakes, streams and coves that create a haven for those who love to be on the water. Fort Loudoun Lake is known among anglers for its quality largemouth and smallmouth bass and is also a top location for crappie, catfish and bluegill. Tellico Lake is a 15,500-acre reservoir with cooler waters that make it a top spot for rainbow and brown trout in addition to walleye and bass. Located on the Tennessee River, Watts Bar Lake is popular for boating, swimming and fishing. A scenic overlook near the dam gives visitors a panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding landscape.
Before heading out on your trip, though, stock up on the essentials at one of these great BBQ spots—be sure to ask about the by-the-pound options.
Smokin’ F BBQ & Barn (1821 Lynn Road, Philadelphia, Tennessee 37846; 979-436-3482) brings new options for food and fun. The lunch menu is available from the Smokin’ F Food Truck during the week. The Barn is open Fridays and Saturdays and serves up live music and a barn dance atmosphere with the meal.Sons of Smoke (304 Cedar Street, Loudon, Tennessee 37774; 865-657-3332) has specialties like the fried pork tenderloin sandwich, smoked meatloaf and pork stuffed baked potato, as well as all the standard fare.Taste-O-Texas (1562 Highway 72 N, Loudon, Tennessee 37774; 865-657-9684) proudly serves their version of authentic Central Texas style barbecue. The specialties include beef brisket and smoked sausage, cooked over a wood fire. For those who want sauce, their Sassy and Smokin’ versions offer variety.
There is plenty of public access at numerous public boat ramps and marinas in the area. For those who just want to enjoy a fun day on the water, boat rentals are available, too. Tennessee National Marina (8301 Tennessee National Drive, Loudon, Tennessee 37774; 865-657-3617) has pontoon boats for rent as well as kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. Fort Loudon Marina (5200 City Park Drive Lenoir City, Tennessee 37772; 865-986-5536) has pontoon rentals, also.
To make the most of a visit to this outdoor paradise, many choose to stay in one of the beautiful campgrounds in the region:
Yarberry Campground (4825 Yarberry Road, Lenoir City, Tennessee 37771; 865-986-3993) is located on the shores ofFort Loudoun Lake and has beautiful views. Its large sites accommodate the largest of RVs but tents are also welcome. The property includes a boat ramp and a day use area with a sandy beach, picnic tables and grills. A variety of watercraft are available for rental, from pontoons to paddleboards.Soaring Eagle Campground (3152 Buttermilk Road W., Lenoir City, Tennessee 37771;865-376-9017) is situated with sites on the Clinch River and Watts Bar Lake. It has both large RV sites and secluded primitive tent sites. There is a bathhouse and general store onsite, as well as a dock and boat ramp, picnic area and swimming pool. Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and canoes are available for rent.Tellico Lake has Lotterdale Cove (17177 East Coast Tellico Parkway, Greenback, Tennessee 37742; 865-856-3832), with 90 RV sites and three tent sites, has amenities that include boat docks and easy access boat ramp, beach with designated swimming area and an on-site convenience store.
Pitch a Tent, Pack Up the RV, or Go Glamping
Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park by Aaron Burden – Unsplash
Spacious Skies Campgrounds, owner and operator of 15 campgrounds from Maine to Georgia, is kicking the fun up a notch this year by introducing common themed weekends. Weekends throughout the year will cover topics such as “Mother’s Day,” “Father’s Day,” “Farm Life,” “Outer Space,” “Hollywood” and more. Prospective guests should check the specific campground pages on the Spacious Skies website for opening and closing dates to confirm the weekends each campground will be available to participate.
“Regardless of which campground our guests are visiting, the theme will be the same fun with a little local flair,” said Kate Thompson, director of communications of Spacious Skies Campgrounds. “I think we had almost as much fun coming up with the ideas as the people will have participating in these weekends. Not only will our teams have fun planned for our campers, we hope our guests embrace each theme by decorating their RV or their sites as well, so the whole campground feels festive.”
The various campsites, located up and down the eastern region of the US, offer up several different camping options depending on what your family’s interest is: RV, glamping, yurts, tent rentals, cabins, and primitive campsites.
Set within the mountainous Appalachian region of central Maine, dotted with lakes both small and massive, Spacious Skies Balsam Woods gives you and your family and friends the best that nature has to offer—the serenity of the wilderness, and the adrenaline-pumping excitement adventurers seek. See your campsite as home base for a variety of nearby adventures in the Moosehead Lake/Mt. Katahdin region, hike or bike to any number of lakes and waterfalls in the region, or simply take in the peace and quiet of the grounds, no road noise to be heard, and gaze dreamily up at the stars above by the warmth of your campfire.Spacious Skies Adirondack Peaks is the perfect spot for family fun or peaceful quality time, tucked away in the piney setting of North Hudson, New York, yet conveniently located right off I-87. With countless activities and opportunities for adventure on the grounds, you won’t need to roam, but with desirable destinations like Lake George and Lake Placid less than an hour away, you may want to take advantage of this prime location.Spacious Skies Shenandoah Views sits up on an evergreen hill in the Shenandoah Valley with views that span for miles off the Blue Ridge Mountains. The famous Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park is a short drive away, as are the Luray Caverns for spelunking, the Shenandoah River for rafting and tubing, and a number of historic Civil War sites for your educational pleasure.