We were not prepared for how much fun Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Williamsport, Maryland would be. If I had to sum up the experience in one phrase it would be ‘summer camp for families.’ Jellystone is camping, glamping, or RV’ing that is loads of fun for the whole family. A few days at Jellystone will really be an unforgettable camping experience.
Located in Washington County, close to the Appalachian Trail and Maryland’s Western Scenic Foothills, Jellystone is the perfect place to get away with your family, and as a jumping off point to explore the area.
Our family has stayed at Jellystone at least once a year since my daughter was 4 years old. We have been in the summer and in the spring. If you are thinking about making plans to stay and play at Jellystone, check out this guide. And then make your reservations! I promise you won’t regret it!
How Does Jellystone Park work?
Jellystone Park is a Maryland campground that gives you tons of options for activities from early spring through Halloween. You can choose to go for a week or just a weekend. The cost of your lodging includes a number of attractions and activities.
And then you can pay extra for more fun! For campground lodging, you can choose primitive camping all the way up to glamping options that would accommodate a large family.
What are the lodging options? What are the ways to stay at Jellystone Park in Williamsport?
There are a wide variety of camping, glamping and lodging options available. Here are the basics:
Primitive Tent Sites- Yep. You can choose to pitch your tent. The primitive camping sites are in a wooded area of the park. Each primitive site includes a fire ring and picnic table. You also have relatively close access to public restrooms and shower facilities.
The cabin options are glamping at it’s finest. You can choose your level of space and comfort. Camping Cabins are just one step above tent camping sites.
These are very similar to the cabins you would reserve in a state park. They have beds, electricity, AC and heating, a small refrigerator, microwave, cable tv, and coffee maker. Outside there is a fire ring, picnic table, and a charcoal grill.
Our family always stays one step above the Camping Cabins at the Cozy Cabins or Comfort Cottages. This option has all the amenities of the Camping Cabin, plus a screened-in porch, toaster, utensils and dishes, and a bathroom, with shower. Jellystone really provides many of the amenities of home in a camping experience.
But the options for glamping just get better the higher up you are willing to go in price range. The highest end option is the Ranger Retreat that sleeps up to 16 people and has a full kitchen. There are some fantastic luxury cabins available to stay in. And many of the options are pet-friendly cabins too!
If you want to bring your RV, you can choose from a number of options, including more public vs. private sites. Every RV site has electric, water, and sewer hook-ups. All /RV sites come with a picnic table and fire ring as well.
Tips for Booking your Stay:
- When you are reserving a site (tent, cabin, or RV), pull up the map and you can actually pick your exact spot. This way you can choose your preferences. Do you want to be away from it all? Or do you want to easily be able to walk to the water park? A lot of campers have favorite spots (we do too!) and try to reserve that spot every year!
- When you make your reservation pay the extra lock-in fee to ensure your specific campsite is not picked by someone else! If you don’t lock-in your site, you will still get the type of lodging you reserved, but maybe not the exact site.
- Check-In and Check-Out: Cabins: 4pm/11am; Campsites: 3pm/1pm. You can also pay extra for early access or late departure.
- Is your pet camping with you? There are designated pet friendly sites. Make sure (especially if you are reserving a cabin) that you pick one that is pet approved.
Jellystone Park attractions that are part of the cost
When you reserve a camping spot at Jellystone there are loads of family fun camp activities and attractions that are included in the cost.
Yogi Bear’s Water Zone is honestly the best reason to spend a few days at Jellystone during the summer months. The water park is probably the main attraction (next to the bears). There are four main zones of water fun included in the park.
The 400-foot water slides are a blast and not super scary compared to other waterparks. They empty into the shallow wading pool and lifeguards are on hand to help kids (and adults) out.
There is a zero-depth entry pool that would keep the entire family busy swimming most of the day. This is great for toddlers and and preschoolers. But honestly, older kids and adults will still have a blast wading, relaxing, or playing a killer game of Marco Polo!
The third area is a ginormous pirate ship-themed splash zone with multiple small kid friendly play areas, water cannons, and dumping buckets.
The most recent addition to the Water Zone is a super relaxing and fun lazy river.
But wait, there’s more! At the front of the park, the Ranger Smith Pool (next to the Ranger Station) is a quieter pool that is also a ton of fun. A great way to cool off if you don’t want the overwhelm of the main water park area.
Jumping Pillow and Pad
There is a jumping pillow and jumping pad at Jellystone. The jumping pillow is for all ages and the jumping pad is specifically for kids ages 8 and under. These jumping pillows are exactly like the kind you find at a fall festival.
18-hole mini golf course
Grab a mini golf club and challenge your family to a friendly competition. The mini golf course is shaded and a great way to fill up some time!
There are three playgrounds at Jellystone Williamsport. One playground is near the front of the park (near the Ranger Smith Pool). The second playground is near the water park.
And the third playground is in the back of the park in the RV section. These are not cheesy playgrounds either. They have slides and climbing features your kids will love!
Sand Volleyball and Horseshoes
There are really so many amenities at Jellystone Park. They have horseshoes and a sand volleyball court. If you are coming with a big group this would be a great activity to work into the schedule. But you don’t need a big group to play. Also, behind the horseshoe pit is the entrance to some peaceful hiking trails.
Gaga Ball and Basketball Courts
Closer to the main park area, there are both basketball courts and a gaga ball area.
Pedal Carts and Bike Riding
When you visit Jellystone make sure to bring your bikes! Kids and parents bike all over the place here! In addition to the paved bike paths, younger kids will love trying out the pedal carts.
Daily activities and events that are part of the cost
Every day the camp counselors have a detailed schedule of activities. There are lots of things to choose from. Some of them cost extra but many of the activities are included in the camping cost!
Arts and Crafts
The free arts and crafts are perfect for younger kids. We have made froot loop necklaces, paper crafts, and just spent some time coloring. Cindy Bear Pavilion is the center of activity and throughout the day they play cartoons.
Yogi Bear Meet and Greets
Yes, you can meet Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, and Cindy Bear! Check the schedule to see when Yogi and friends will be available for hugs and photos!
Dance Parties and Campfires
Two of the definite character meet and greet times are dance parties and campfires. And sometimes the dance party and campfire happen at the same time.
The camp counselors are on hand for campfire games, singing, and of course.. s’mores!
Hey Hey Rides
The Jellystone version of a hay ride is the Hey Hey Ride. This is really a fun and slightly raucous time. At night they often amp up the fun with glow stick ‘Hey Hey’ rides.
Movies at Night
Check the schedule to see what movie is showing at the open air amphitheater!
Special Events and Themed Weekends
One of the most fun parts of a stay at Jellystone Park is that they have special themed weeks for every week they are open!
In the Spring there is Easter and Spring-focused themes. During the summer you can enjoy all kinds of themes like Pirates and Mermaids, Mess Fest, Christmas in July, 4th of July, and Luaus.
The fall brings Halloween spooky fun, fall fest, Friendsgiving, and a pajama party weekend.
Shoulder Season vs. Peak Season
Sure, the water park is not open during the shoulder season. But Jellystone does a great job of scheduling extra activities, particularly on the weekends, to make your camping experience so much fun!
Activities that cost extra at Jellystone Park in Williamsport
You could really have a blast just doing the activities included in your stay. But there are also a ton of super fun extras. In order to participate in most of the extra activities you either purchase tickets or a fun pass. The fees are not super high.
Boo Boo’s Bootcamp Ninja Course
There is a separate Ninja Course building with obstacle courses for younger kids and older kids/adults.
In addition to the free crafts, Jellystone has a closet full of ceramics you can paint. We love picking out a special friend and this option is particularly fun when the weather doesn’t cooperate, or your kid needs to decompress a little bit.
Sand Art and Tie Dye
Along with ceramics, the camp counselors often offer more complicated crafts like sand art, spin art, or tie dye. You have to pay a small fee to cover the cost of materials. But this is a great way to get some fun camping crafts under your belt!
Candy Bar Bingo
One of our absolute favorite extra activities is Candy Bar Bingo. The cost of admission is 1 candy bar per bingo card, You can purchase candy bars for $1 at the camp store, or bring your own. We typically have 3 or 4 cards each and sometimes we come away with a huge pile of candy!
Pizza Party with Yogi Bear
If your kids are enamored with Yogi Bear and you want a fun extra, sign up for the pizza party! This is a great way to take a mid-day break from the water park too. The pizza is decent and the hugs from Yogi and friends are priceless.
Laser Tag (or Lazer Tag)
For a small price you can hunt zombies (or the opposing team). Lazer Tag competitions are done in the woods and are really pretty fun.
There is a small arcade next to the water park and camp store. It has some fun games but nothing you will truly miss if you don’t visit.
My daughter is obsessed with gem mining. And the gem mining attractions at Jellystone is pretty fun. You pick up a bag of ‘gems’ to mine in the camp store. You can see what the options are.. ranging from a basic bag of rocks to something more thrilling.
A new addition to the paid attractions options, during the summer your kids can go on a short pony ride or carriage ride.
Older kids and adults can sign up to try archery and archery tag.
Special Extra Add-Ons To Consider at Jellystone Park in Williamsport
If you pick a campsite that is far away from the action, you might want to reserve a golf cart. There are a limited number of golf carts available but it seems like everyone is driving one around the park. This is a super convenient option, especially if you don’t want to drive back and forth to spots in the park.
A Special Tuck In From the Characters
Watch the website for the opportunity for one of the characters to come to your cabin or camp site and spend a little one on one time with your kids!
You can bring your own linens. But you can also rent linens from the park if you don’t want to bother bringing one more thing.
Pool Cabanas and Hammocks
If you plan to spend a lot of time at the waterpark, you might want to consider renting a pool cabana to use as a home base. There are plenty of lounge chairs throughout the water park, but the cabanas are shaded and very close to the concession stand.
Also, you can rent a hammock to be set up at your campsite.
Shopping and food options
The Camp Store has tons of basics and fun items. There is a ton of food, including freezer and refrigerated food. So, if you forget milk or eggs, they have you covered. There are toiletries, medicine, every camping tool or swimming item you can imagine. Camping chairs, beach towels, sunscreen, pool toys, bug spray, roasting sticks, and more.
There are toys. Tons of toys– stuffies, quiet time times, rainy day toys. And, of course, there are souvenirs Yogi Bear t-shirts, toys, postcards, and more!
You don’t have to make your own food while you camp at Jellystone! The Campfire Canteen has a grill, pizza, ice cream, and other treats.
Know Before You Go!
- To make reservations and get more info on Jellystone Park click here
- Google Map Directions for Jellystone Park
Pets are allowed at RV sites, but not in playgrounds, restrooms, or other buildings. Pets are also allowed at pet-friendly cabins
There is wi-fi in the park, but it can be weak
There can be up to 2 cars per site. Any additional cars will incur a $5 car pass
Yes! But they need to pay a visitor fee
In addition to Williamsport, there are parks in Lancaster, PA, Luray, VA, Delaware Beach, DE, Milton, PA, and Chincoteague Island, VA
Attractions that are nearby Jellystone Park in Williamsport
Antietam National Battlefield
Antietam National Battlefield is a mere 10 minutes from Jellystone Park. This Civil War site is the site of the bloodiest day in American History. You can pick up a map of the auto tour and visit all the major battlefield sites.
Crystal Grottoes Caverns
15 minutes from Jellystone, Crystal Grottoes Caverns is a trip underground.. way underground. Kids and adults will both love the lighted underground chambers with stalactites and stalagmites.
There are dozens of fantastic restaurants in Hagerstown, as well as a fantastic city park with one of the best playgrounds in Maryland. There is also a public art trail, the free Washington Museum of Fine Arts, and Discovery Station- a lovely children’s museum.
Williamsport C&O Canal Visitor Center
The Williamsport C&O Canal Visitor Center is less than 10 minutes from Jellystone. There is a great visitor center that is open seasonally, as well as a beautiful section of the C&O Canal Towpath to explore. Bring your bikes and scooters!