Our friends often ask us if we really think weekend RV trips are worth the work. We tell them that getting on the road on a Friday afternoon may require some extra effort, but it is worth it every time. Why? Because of magical weekends like the one we just spent at the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA. Weekends that are filled with action and adventure and relaxation. Weekends that bring our family closer together, and leave us dreaming about our next trip.
Over the last four years, the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA has become one of our family’s favorite places for a weekend getaway. The campground is less than two hours from home, but it feels like it’s a world away. It is nestled among gently rolling hills in the heart of southeastern Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley. In the past we have always visited in the spring, when the countryside is bright green and in full bloom. But this fall we decided to join owners Gary and Lori Levesque for one of their popular, activity-filled Halloween weekends. Between the spectacular fall foliage and the campground Trick or Treating, we may have just discovered our next great family tradition.
The fun started right away on Friday night with a flashlight hayride.
And continued all day Saturday with pumpkin painting in the Liberty Lodge.
We really enjoyed watching the boys take their time and craft their individual pumpkin masterpieces. Even Wesley, our 18 month old, joined in on the action. But the real magic happened when the pumpkins were placed together to dry for that evening’s festive Halloween party.
The highlight of the weekend for our twin five year old boys, Max and Theo, was Trick or Treating around the campground. The cabins and RV’s were decorated with lights, pumpkins, cobwebs, ghosts, and skeletons, and it was so easy for the boys to collect their buckets of loot as we meandered through the campground at sunset during a perfect fall evening.
After the boys filled their buckets with candy we all headed to the Liberty Lodge for pumpkin pie and spooktacular live music. The band played ghoulish party hits like the Monster Mash and Werewolves of London, then a rousing version of the Hokey Pokey that had everyone on the dance floor. When we returned to the camper the boys were exhausted and fell asleep the second their heads hit their pillows. Then it was date night for mom and dad around the campfire. For us, weekends don’t get much better than this.
But it wasn’t all Halloween all of the time. This KOA is located along the banks of the Brandywine River and it is a perfect place for families to fish, kayak, or canoe. The campground rents canoes at a reasonable price, but this time we brought our own kayak and the adults took turns enjoying the quiet beauty of an autumn afternoon.
Yes, the campground is beautiful, but one of the reasons we love this destination so much is its close proximity to wonderful, family-friendly attractions like Longwood Gardens and Winterthur Museum, Garden, & Library, two amazing trips guaranteed to delight no matter your age.
Longwood Gardens is the former home of Pierre S. DuPont, and is truly one of our country’s great horticultural treasures. Although the Flower Garden Walk is always spectacular, the highlight for us is the magical Indoor Children’s Garden. Our boys love to get wet in one of the many whimsical fountains and then run through the bamboo maze and bang on the xylophones at the music station. If you go, make sure to bring towels and extra clothes for the kids! Also bring a picnic lunch to eat while you watch the Open Air Theater Fountain Show just outside the Conservatory.
Winterthur was founded by Henry Francis du Pont and is filled with rolling meadows, sparkling green woodlands, and secret gardens that will surprise and delight your entire family. No signs saying “keep off the grass” found here. Only room to run free. Again, there is plenty of horticultural interest, but our boys spent most of their time in the Enchanted Woods where fairy houses, tea rooms, mushroom gardens, and giant birds’ nests kept them spellbound for hours. An added bonus is that the gourmet cafeteria is actually very kid-friendly and affordable, offering delicious comfort foods that will please everyone.
So as you can see, we love our weekend adventures. But are they worth it for your family? We encourage you to hit the road and find out.
To learn more about the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA tune in to the upcoming episode of our podcast RV FAMILY TRAVEL ATLAS, available here on the blog and on iTunes.
We are repeat customers of this campground, but this trip was sponsored by Kampgrounds of America. As always, all opinions expressed are our own.