Family camp had been on my bucket list since my eldest was a toddler. Every year I’d Google “Family Camps,” but for one reason or another it never worked out.
One day last year, I received a message on Instagram from a former student of mine. She had been following my social media and told me that my family should come to Glorieta Adventure Camps near Santa Fe, New Mexico where her husband was working. “You would love it,” she said. To my surprise, she offered me her personal discount for family camp! Could this dream of mine really come true?
As soon as I searched Glorieta Adventure Camps and began reading about the Family Camps, I agreed my family would love it, and I began making plans and booked our trip!
From the time we arrived at Glorieta Adventure Camp, it was non-stop fun. Entry to the camp is gated, and your name has to be on their list in order to enter. I loved that. I felt safe.
The grounds are extensive, so we were given directions to the building where we would be staying. I had reserved two rooms online when I made reservations. The rooms are like hotel rooms! They are so nice with all the amenities you expect at a hotel.
As we drove up to the building, our counselors were already waiting for us. They came up to our van, introduced themselves, and then gathered their friends to help us take our mountain of luggage to our rooms! In record time we were all settled in.
Next our counselors (Counselors are all assigned to groups that they lead for the duration of family camp. Our group consisted of four families and about 20 people total.) took us on a tour of the camp and answered every question we had. They were fantastic!
All settled in, we went out to make new friends and play! There were bounce houses and games set up that everyone could enjoy. We chatted, played games, and relaxed until the evening’s opening activity.
Opening Night Carnival
The first planned activity of family camp was a carnival. We boarded vehicles that took us a short drive to the carnival. At first sight, we were blown away! Who doesn’t love a carnival where all the food and games are free?? I mean…we’re talking…all you can eat carnival food!! We all lived it up! There were so many options, and I’m not ashamed to say, I tried them ALL! I’m not sure what I liked the best, but we enjoyed Frito Pies, Sausages, kabobs, soft pretzels with cheese, corn on the cob, popcorn, snow cones, cotton candy, chocolate covered apples, churro donuts, and more. The food was amazing.
If you know me, then you know that I’m all about the food! The kids enjoyed playing games and snacking until they were completely exhausted. That was just kickoff to family camp! We fell into bed that night excited for the next day’s fun that awaited.
Family Camp Dining
I absolutely loved the all-inclusive factor of family camp. In anticipation of the trip, I had wondered if the food would be good or if it would be meh. In short, the food is fantastic! Each morning began with a breakfast buffet that included meat, eggs, bread, fruit, and more. In addition there was always something special. One day would be made-to-order omelets; another day was waffle day etc. None of us ever left breakfast hungry.
Lunches were always tasty. My kids’ favorite was the build-your-own pizza day. We placed our order in the morning, and it was ready for us at lunch time. There was always a theme like Greek, Italian, New Mexican, or build-your-own quesadillas. Each night supper was an event to look forward to and the food did not disappoint!
We made the most of every minute at family camp. During our free time we hung out with our new friends in the recreational room that included a coffee shop, comfy seating, ping pong table, pool table, air hockey table, toddler area with foam brick pit included, and lots and lots of space to play games or just visit. A highlight was the Gaga ball pit!
Morning Round Up
Shortly after the breakfast hour every morning, there was an collective activity to get everyone moving and excited for the day. There were about 150 of us at family camp our session!
My shy kids held back from participating in some of these activities…and that was OKAY! Everything at camp was optional! I’ve been inundated with mandatory functions and participation in my life, that this was a breath of fresh air. The entire week you only have to do what you want to do. No one will try to force you! Isn’t that awesome!?
After breakfast and round-up, each day there was a time of worship. It began with everyone gathered together to sing. Then the kids would break off into groups their own age for a teaching time. The adults had a speaker of their own. Our speaker was Reggie Rice, and I very much enjoyed and appreciated his talks. They were always uplifting and encouraging with great, practical ideas for anyone. My only previous experience of camp was when I was in about the sixth grade, and each night were, what I call “scare-you-into-heaven” messages. I was so glad family camp was NOT like that!
After the speaker and kid sessions, we were given time and suggestions for family devotions. I have the best memories of this short family worship time together. While some days we considered skipping it, and getting ready for our next activity, I’m so glad we didn’t. It was a great time of bonding–just the seven of us!
Family Camp Daily Adventures
On most days we met with our small group and counselors for a couple of hours after worship and then a couple of hours after lunch. These hours were filled with adventure.
Mountain Scooters were, hands down, the most anticipated adventure at family camp. It was also the activity with the most accidents. I was terrified!
While the photo above may look like a bike, the back is actually a scooter. I had never even ridden a regular scooter in my life, but I was bound and determined to try everything. If you love outdoor adventure, then this is for you! Everyone loved it, and none in our group received any injuries except for some bumps and bruises.
A truck took us to a spot toward the top of the mountain, and we unloaded the scooters and rode them down. The trail was rough with lots of rocks and sometimes huge boulders to traverse.
As we made our way down, there were a couple of check points where we would stop and counselors would tell us what to anticipate in the next section.
At the first stop, was surprised to realize that I was the only one having trouble breathing. Everyone else just seemed perfectly normal as they stood by their scooter, and I was huffing and puffing. By the next stop, I was shaking uncontrollably. We were to go over a huge boulder! I got off and helped Bobby, my youngest, get his scooter over the mountain of rock. By then my husband had finished his ride and walked back up to help. I gave him my scooter and walked the rest of the way down the mountain.
“You’re white as a sheet!” I was told as I walked up to the rest of the group waiting for us, “Are you okay?” I was still shaking and gasping for breath. That’s when it hit me. I had had a full-fledged panic attack!
I sat down and it was about a half hour before I began to feel normal again. Wow! I had been even more scared than I thought, but I was glad I had tried it anyway. The rest of the family had such a blast and are dying to do it again.
This was the only adventure that I didn’t not participate in because my youngest was not bike ready enough to ride his bike up the mountain. Several of the other kids also turned back after the beginning of the climb. It was just two challenging for them since they don’t do much biking. Those that went though, had a great time.
Hide and Seek in the Boulders
This was so much fun! We took a short drive up to this area of the mountain. I could not imagine how we would play hide-and-seek on the mountain, but it was a blast. I hid together with my youngest in whatever nook and cranny we could find. One person would be “it” and then the last person to be found would be “it” the next round. Luckily we didn’t encounter any snakes or large spiders in our hiding spots–my worst fear. Ha ha!
Glorieta Lookout Hike
I love to hike. This was one of my favorite adventures. We set out for this hike on foot from our base at camp. I have great memories from chatting with friends on the way up and back. Getting a family photo was a bonus. It was an easy hike for the whole family, but with maximum views!
When I saw “Drift Ball” on the schedule, I had no idea what I was getting into. I’m going to compare it to a soccer game where you ride these trikes and use your hands.
I have never been good at sports, and I loved that this was something anyone, including me, could do. It was a fun family competition!
With as much fun as we were having, I couldn’t imagine that racing cars would compare to the other adventures. I was wrong. Racing the kids with these remote controlled cars was a blast! The race course was huge. Getting used to driving the cars was much more difficult than I would have imagined, and we laughed uproariously when we bumped into the edges or zoomed past one another.
Shooting BB guns never gets old!
It was our first time trying to shoot crossbows. We were surprised how heavy they are. The little kids let the crossbow rest on the fence, and with some help were able to give it a try.
Think Hunger Games. Within my family we either loved or hated this game. While it was super popular with most of the families at camp, two of my girls and I just weren’t that great at shooting the bows and felt like we were the weak links in this very competitive game. After a first attempt, we decided to let the savages have it, and we enjoyed the great outdoors while they lived it up killing each other. I suspect if we had a little time to practice and get used to the bows, we would all have loved this game. Next time!
Climbing a tree was surprisingly fun for me! I’d never tried climbing before, and I really enjoyed it. I even made it to the top. Ok, so I didn’t try the more challenging trees! We all greatly enjoyed this adventure.
Each day there was at least one special event like the carnival that included supper on the first night of family camp. The events occurred at different times of day, and some included food, while others were only an activity, but all were greatly anticipated.
What is so chaotic about a kickball game? Four separate games of kickball are played at the same time and on the same field only all four games share one base in the middle. See a ball flying in from a different game? Grab it and get your opponent out. It was CRAZY!
I have pretty much never enjoyed participating in any sport of any kind. Growing up I was never good at sports and felt like I was either made fun of or brought down my teammates with my lack of skill. I was a little hesitant to participate in Kickball Chaos, until our team assured me that no one would care if I struck out every time.
Guess what? I made it on base every time I was up to kick and even made a run! I had a blast!
One morning was reserved for lake activities. There were all kinds of floats, toys, boats, and more to enjoy. Everyone was free to explore whatever lake fun looked most fun to them. It was a perfect day of fun in the sun.
I had no idea what Foam Day would be, when I saw it on the schedule. I would not have imagined how much fun families could have in soap suds. Ok there were a LOT of suds. Kids chased each other around, tried to see how covered they could get, and frolicked in the foam.
Family Feud Game Night
For a fun evening without the kids, adults dined on wings and all the fixings and laughed until our sides hurt at the answers people gave to the Family Feud questions. It was a night of good, clean fun while the kids all enjoyed food and activities geared for them.
The only other kid-less evening was date night. We were driven to this beautiful setting outdoors with live romantic music playing, Italian cuisine, and just our spouse to spend the evening with at a table for two. Jason and I had so much fun together. We laughed and laughed. Are you surprised?
Glorieta Encore Circus
A circus in which you are the show. We tried walking tight ropes, throwing axes, stilt walking, and so much more. We feasted on hamburgers and to my great delight cotton candy. It was the best circus ever.
The final night of family camp was red carpet crazy night. Some people went all out in costume, some had hints of crazy, and others skipped the crazy, but all enjoyed a nacho bar and ice cream sundae. Following the food was a family dance party. We couldn’t believe it was all ending!
Have you been to family camp?
What a fantastic time we had at family camp start to finish. The kids unanimously agreed that it was equal to a week on a cruise ship only with lots more new friends to enjoy the week with. Our experience could not have been better.
We highly recommend Glorieta Adventure Family Camp! Everything was so well done, and we loved the gorgeous scenic mountainous area where it was sunny and warm, but cool in the shade. If you’re looking to bond as a family, make new friends, and enjoy outdoor adventure, you have to check out Glorieta!