Camping in a Caboose
This past weekend, our family took a weekend trip to Branson. We wanted to stay on Table Rock Lake and cook out, hike, and fish on Friday before visiting Silver Dollar City on Saturday. We LOVE Silver Dollar City and try to visit at least once a year... our day there was fabulous (as always... ps: I recommend the take home cinnamon rolls at Eva & Delilah's Bakery for breakfast the day after), but the new highlight of this trip was our lodging.
On Table Rock Lake, just 30 minutes from Silver Dollar City, tucked in the woods in Lampe, Missouri, you'll find one of the most unique places to stay in Missouri. If your children love trains like mine do (plus Daddy), if your family loves unique like we do, and if you enjoy an outdoor experience, but don't want all the work of camping (and would like a flushing toilet and shower).... Caboose Junction (800.777.4922 or 417.779.4250) is a great place to stay! My family stayed at Caboose Junction when I was a child, and now I'm taking my own children.
(Photo above by Emily Light)
We spent the night in one of the red cabooses at Caboose Junction (they have 3 red cabooses and 3 green cabooses). Our caboose had two sets of bunk beds, one double bed in the loft, a three burner stove and oven, microwave, coffee pot, fridge and freezer, dishes, pots and pans, sink, wood burning stove (original to the caboose, we didn't use it), kitchen table, love seat and chair, tv, and Wi-Fi (though ironically my husband I challenged one another to leave our laptops at home and for the first time in our marriage.... we did!). I don't think they've changed the decor at all since they opened in the 70s, but it was SPOTLESS clean and comfy... perfect for the "almost camping" experience we wanted to enjoy. PLUS... we really enjoyed the large deck directly off the back of the caboose with a grill, picnic table, rocking chairs, and terrific view of the lake where they have a two story dock for boats (you can bring your own boat or rent one of theirs... all types), fishing, and swimming/diving in the summer (complete with water slide). Our only disappointment on the trip was the weather... it was far too windy to fish as we'd hoped.
I loved it because it was affordable lodging on the lake (best value I could find for waterfront), we were able to enjoy a lot of the fun of camping (grilled out and roasted marshmallows, hiked, etc), without all the work for me (they had dishes, pots and pans, everything)... plus indoor plumbing!
For the children, they love "little nooks" to play and that was one of the big highlights for them. Emily said, "Mom, I can hardly believe we're staying here, it seems like a dream. It's so much fun!"
Another plus for us was the loft.... we find that when we travel with our family, because our children are young we either put them to bed at the usual time and my husband and I find it hard to sleep so early (but we must because we're all in one hotel room), or we let them stay up late and pay the price with crankiness. The timing and coordination of sleep when we're all in one hotel room is perhaps our biggest travel challenge on trips.
At the caboose, the kids were downstairs in their beds, and we had a little loft where we could talk and read after they were in bed. The bit of separation and privacy, while we were all in the same space, was ideal for our family with young children and that may have been one of my favorite features.
The girls are ALREADY begging to stay at Caboose Junction again, and I foresee a new tradition for our family.
Okay, I want to know... do you have any great "off the beaten path" / unique places you love to stay when you travel? And... I won't bore you with all 100+ photos we took, but these are a few to give you a glimpse of the adventure we enjoyed at Caboose Junction.
Looking for more? Read Unique & Unforgettable Family Vacations for more inspiration!
Written by Kristina Light