Our family is well acquainted with Huttopia, Canada USA. We’ve been to their White Mountains location twice before, you can read about our first stay here and our more recent stay, here. When we heard about their newest location being in Southern Maine we were ecstatic to try it out. It’s even closer to Boston (our home) than the New Hampshire property, so, when we got the invite to check it out during their opening week, we packed as fast as we could to get up there.
The great thing about camping with Huttopia is how little you really need to pack. This newest location even has a restaurant (the White Mountain Location has a food truck with pizza and crepes) for a dining option, so you can stay without packing your own food, even. They have a wonderful game area filled with games for family time, so if you’re like us and couldn’t find the game section at Walmart before you got there (where do they keep the games??) Huttopia has them waiting for you.
Our stay was in a Vista Chalet, which came with our own fire pit and a barbecue outside, as well as a full kitchen inside! We absolutely loved the tiny living experience. It’s a two room little cabin, one queen size bed, one twin sized bunk and an additional twin bed occupy the second bedroom. A full bathroom, too! Showering our kids off before bed is my favorite part about glamping. The main living space is the tiny, green kitchen and a dining table. Both of the walls of the main room are sliding glass doors which open wide to a wrap around screen porch. We loved this feature. We had the doors open wide the whole time we were there and the screens really cut down on the amount of mosquitos that got in with us. The Vista Chalet’s are also the closest residences to the pond that the property sits on. They still have the typical trapper tents that are a signature Huttopia experience (which we adore), but if you can splurge for the Vista Chalet, I highly recommend it!!
The resort property sits on Sand Pond and like their New Hampshire location, you can rent kayaks and paddles or just spend the day on the shore. We spent the majority of the time here by the water, sitting in the Adirondack chairs and watching our kids wade in the shallow pond water. There is also a pool and a playground, both approved by the littlest wandering darlings.
We have gone glamping three times this summer, and though we are by no means experts, we’d like to share our complete list of tips for glamping with children!
1). Leave the toys at home. Aside from bringing a favorite stuffed animal or a toy that they always want to have with them, we suggest leaving the toys behind. It’s not just less to pack and bring and worry about not forgetting when you pack up for home again, but also it encourages your children to play with nature. Sticks and rocks make the best of toys. A pile of dirt or sand become their endless entertainment. Encouraging children to explore and appreciate what is around them is so much easier when they don’t have things there to distract them. Bringing a ball to play with or some games to play with one another in the evening or the lull of the afternoon is a perfect addition, though!
2). Camping gear. You don’t have to have a lot of gear when glamping, as most places seem to already have a wonderful setup for you. But, we suggest bringing some camping items that will make your children feel like they’re included and feel grownup. Things like their very own flashlights headlamps or lanterns. Kid size camp chairs, sleeping bags to sleep in atop their beds or even some fun glow sticks or a string of battery operated lights to decorate inside their bunk. We also think it is a perfect time to let your kids wander around with a camera of their own, they take so much pride in getting to choose what is photo-worthy.
3). Let your kids plan the menu with you. We always research the closest store to our glamping destination and stroll the aisles together, each coming up with additions to the overall menu of our stay. Kids get super excited about their grilled or roasted vegetables when they’ve made the executive decision that that’s what YOU are eating for dinner.
4) Bug spray. Mosquitos are always our arch nemesis when we are in nature and though we haven’t found a fail safe approach to those little buggers just yet, here’s what I do know; you will need bug spray, we like to choose safer Deet free options, like this, this, and this. And Citronella candles are really great to have lit up throughout your tent or cabin to ward off any little bug that might be hanging out in the shadows.
5) Pack layers. Evenings can cool down in the woods, even in the hottest of summer months, so bring pants, long sleeves, sweatshirts and even rain gear helps to be prepared for whatever the wind blows in. We always bring rain boots, so the sludgy mud doesn’t slow the kids down from exploring, and umbrellas because they’re also great to shade you from the hot sun.
6) Bring watercolors and a notepad for nature journaling. Children will find so many extraordinary things in nature and its always best to tell them to leave it behind, but they can always capture what they witnessed into their nature journal and fill in notes on their discovery to have as a special keepsake of their time with you in nature. Our favorite watercolors and journal.
7). S’mores. These are a right of passage for any child around a campfire. Remember you will need roasting sticks, marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate. Or, you could try our favorite way and just smear Nutella on our graham crackers before we smoosh the gooey marshmallow on top.
8) Teach them about nature. It’s always an honor to be amongst God’s creation and it can be awfully tempting to fill up our pockets with what we’ve found or play with the friendly caterpillar a little too long and now he’s no longer friendly because he is no longer alive. oops, kids. So, we like to take these moments in nature and teach them that they can enjoy the environment while also taking steps to protecting it. Always staying on the clear cut path, don’t squash the bugs (intentionally), don’t feed the animals human food, dispose of trash properly (our children love the element of burning down the majority of our trash in our campfire). There are other ways you can be in nature and respect the “Leave No Trace” principles.
9) After each trip, reassess what worked for you and what didn’t. This works in regards to all types of traveling. But with camping/glamping, just make note of the things you want to make sure you bring again and the things you found little or no use for. No matter what, the experience is always about being together, so the focus should be more on that than what you’re doing.