Our Campground Reviews For 2005

Here you will find reviews of the campgrounds we visited in 2005. Our full-timing adventure began in August 2005, so the reviews you see here will cover only August through December.

For more information on how we choose a campground and on our review criteria, go to our Main Campground Reviews page.

These reviews are shown in the order we visited the campgrounds during the year. To see campground reviews by state with the most recent visits at the top of the page, go to our Main Campground Reviews page and click on the state by state links.

Also, note that these reviews indicate a "Journal Site" number. This number corresponds to the number of the stop since we began our adventure and also to the number on the Map Of Our Travels on our Journal page. You may be able to find more information about the campground or the area by clicking on Our Journal and locating entries for the dates indicated for each campground.

Direct Links To 2005 Reviews Below

Fort Boonesborough State Park, Boonesborough, KY - August 2005

Tellico Plains KOA, Tellico Plains, TN - August 2005

Shipp's RV Campground, Chattanooga, TN - August 2005

Noccalula Falls Campground, Gadsden, AL - August 2005

Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham, AL - August 2005

Bankhead National Forest Corinth Recreation Area Campground, Double Springs, AL - September 2005

Foscue Creek Corps Of Engineers Campground, Demopolis, AL - September 2005

Isaac Creek Corps Of Engineeers Campground, Franklin, AL - September 2005

Island Retreat Rv Park, Gulf Shores, AL - October 2005

Emerald Beach RV Park, Navarre, FL - November 2005

Falling Waters State Park, Chipley, FL - November 2005

Kelly's RV Park, White Springs, FL - November 2005

Kathryn Abby Hanna Park, Jacksonville, FL - November 2005

Sumter Oaks RV Park (An Escapees Rainbow Park), Bushnell, FL - December 2005

Journal Site 2: Fort Boonesborough State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 5

Dates: August 3, 2005 - August 8, 2005
Location: Central Kentucky; 5.5 miles east of I-75 between Richmond and Winchester
GPS Coordinates: 37.8963N, 84.2671W
Reason Selected: Closest campground (by many, many miles) to our destination in Winchester, KY
Setting: Part of state park grounds and situated along banks of Kentucky River; bordered by trees on all sides; thinly wooded within campground, but many shady sites; However, quarry located just on other side of trees in one area and heavy, noisy trucks started very early in the morning on weekdays
Guidebooks: Not much of a factor since our choices were limited; Nothing to scare us off
Big Rig Friendly: Only one pull-through site and it had low hanging branches; However, there were plenty of back-in sites large enough to accomodate with room to maneuver
Hook-ups: Only electric and water (like most Kentucky State Parks); We did have 50 amp electric; three dump stations
Laundry: On-site laundry in convenient locations; older facilities
Price & Discounts: This state park facility had a daily rate of $20 and offered no discounts or weekly/monthly rates; probably a little over-priced without sewer hook-ups and without much to do in the area; also, the pool area, even though not actually in the campground, was nice, but was an additional $4.00 per day for adults - we passed
Other Factors: Staff was very friendly when we called about big rig sites, but website was lacking.
OVERALL RATING: 5 (out of ten)
Campground was nice and could have gotten a point or two higher, but I have to give it an overall average rating because of 1) the noise from the quarry, 2) it was a little over-priced, 3) the bathhouses were old and not cleaned well, and 4) there was no effort on the part of the staff (which there was plenty) to pick up random trash and make the place look better; we would stay there again only if we had to be in that area

Fort Boonesborough State Park Campground

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Journal Site 3: Tellico Plains KOA - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: August 8, 2005 - August 17, 2005
Location: Southeastern Tennessee; 25 miles east of I-75 between Knoxville and Chattanooga
GPS Coordinates: 35.3641N, 84.2820W
Reason Selected: Because it was 25 miles off the Interstate on the edge of the Cherokee National Forest and because it was within a reasonable distance of our route to Chattanooga for RV service
Setting: Just outside the tiny town of Tellico Plains situated along banks of the Tellico River; sits in a small valley bordered by the river on one side (you can fish in the river on the property without a license), soybean fields on one side, an apple orchard on one side, a small field and apple orchard on one side; small trees within campground, but no shade to speak of
Guidebooks: Narrowed choices to several KOAs on the route to Chattanooga and Harrison Bay State Park (mostly due to review of Big Rig Resorts website); all KOAs had similar amenities, but Harrison Bay did not have sewer hook-ups and we were concerned about crowding with it being the last week before school started
Big Rig Friendly: Very big rig friendly; numerous pull-through sites and back-ins were accomodating; however, the sites were all side-by-side with nothing much separating them
Hook-ups: Full Hook-ups (water, 50 amp electric, and sewer); some sites had cable for an additional $2.00 per day
Laundry: On-site laundry was immaculate!
Price & Discounts: Normally we feel that KOAs are a little over-priced even with our KOA discount card, but this one was $25 a night and they were having a stay 3 weeknights get 1 weeknight free promotion; however, tax was outrageous at 12% and our average daily rate with the tax came out just over $25.00 per day
Other Factors: All KOAs have nice websites, but my complaint is that the photos are always of the office, the pool, and cabins to rent; you can rarely get a good feel for the RV sites; Staff was very nice when we called and during our stay
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
This four year old campground was very nice, very clean, and quiet (except for the numerous motorcycles in the area); apparently, the ride on the mountain roads through the Cherokee National Forest are quite a draw for motorcyclists; all the facilities were superb and fairly new; the laundry, common bathrooms, and showers were absolutely spotless; had the camping sites had a little more character, beauty, and privacy, it would be hard to not give this campground a 10; we would definitely stay again

Tellico Plains KOA

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Journal Site 4: Shipps RV Campground - Overall Rating: 3

Dates: August 17, 2005
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee; Exit 1 about 1/4 mile east of I-75 at Shipps RV and Camping World location
GPS Coordinates: 34.9894N, 85.1967W
Reason Selected: Because we were getting warranty work done on the RV at Shipps
Setting: Within the fences of the Shipps RV/Camping World Complex; there is a grove of tall trees within this small, tight-sited campground
Guidebooks:Didn't even consult them in this case
Big Rig Friendly: Has to accomodate big rigs, because the campground is there to accomodate rigs they sell and service; Yet the sites are narrow and right on top of each other; The trees can be an issue when turning and pulling out of the small spaces
Hook-ups: Full Hook-ups (water, 50 amp electric at a few sites, and sewer)
Laundry: No idea and didn't care
Price & Discounts: $25.00 and no discounts
Other Factors: You can't even get to the campground information on Shipp's website; the person handling the desk had zero personality or information, but tried to be helpful
OVERALL RATING: 3 (out of ten)
This campground served its purpose, but half the sites were filled with used rigs for sale and others were clearly for employees that lived on site with no requirements to keep their sites looking nice; Unless you are having a rig serviced at Shipps, avoid this campground; I gave it a three because it did have full-hookups and a pool

Shipp's RV
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Journal Site 5: Noccalula Falls Campground - Overall Rating: 7

Dates: August 18, 2005 - August 25, 2005
Location: Gadsden, Alabama; 2 miles off I-59 at Exit 188
GPS Coordinates: 34.0407N, 86.0202W
Our Site Number: A34 Reason Selected: On our way to Mississippi along I-59 and because of campground guides and RV club discounts
Setting: City owned campground right next to city owned and run Noccalula Falls Park; just a few miles from center of Gadsden; Quiet campground nestled among tall pines
Guidebooks:Great review in Trailer Life guide
Big Rig Friendly: Few pull-through sites, but plenty of back-in sites suitable for big rigs
Hook-ups: Full Hook-ups (water, 50 amp electric, and sewer)
Laundry: Older facility near office and quite away from furtherest campsites; Air conditioned and clean
Price & Discounts: $21.00; 10% Good Sam and 15% Escapees
Other Factors: Did not consult website; Personnel was friendly
OVERALL RATING: 7 (out of ten)
This campground warranted a seven because it and the facilities were clean even if a little older and because of the 15% Escapees discount. With the discount (and including taxes), we averaged 17.00 per night for full hook-ups and a pool; without the discount, we probably would have given it a 6

Noccalula Falls Campground

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Journal Site 6: Oak Mountain State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: August 26, 2005 - September 6, 2005
Location: Pelham, Alabama; Exit 246 on I-65, then follow signs to state park
GPS Coordinates: 33.3136N, 86.7698W
Our Site Number: 16 (Section B or North Campground)
Reason Selected: Because of State Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Birds of Prey Trail;
Setting: Quiet campground in the woods five miles from the entrance to Oak Mountain State Park; Two sections; Section A has more attractive and private sites, but Section B has more reliable satellite access;
Guidebooks:Reviewed in both Frommers Best Rv & Tent Campgrounds and in Trailer Life guide
Big Rig Friendly: Plenty of pull-through sites, but some are just "pull-off" sites and awnings and doors open to the road; many back-in sites suitable for big rigs
Hook-ups: Full Hook-ups (water, 30 amp electric, and sewer)
Laundry: Facilities exist but half of washers & dryers were out of order; old appliances and not exactly spotless rooms
Price & Discounts: $16.65 for full hook-ups; no club discounts
Other Factors: Nice website on Alabama State Parks; Personnel was friendly
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
Decent State Park campground, but looks like it has been let go a bit - has seen better days; Laundry and restroom facilities were relatively clean for the age, but were inadequate; Gave it a 6 for the campground alone, but if we take the park and golf course into account, it probably would deserve a little higher

Oak Mountain State Park - Alabama

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Journal Site 7: Bankhead National Forest, Corinth Recreation Area Campground - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: September 6, 2005 - September 22, 2005
Location: 7 Miles east of Double Springs, Alabama; About 45 miles west of Cullman, Alabama off I-65 off State Road 278 on County Road 57
GPS Coordinates: 34.1232N, 87.3304W
Our Site Number: 40
Reason Selected: Made decision to head north and then west after we lost our spot at Oak Mountain; Campground was listed in our Frommers Best Campgrounds guide with high ratings; Plus, at the time we called they were allowing free camping because of Hurricane Katrina
Setting: Gorgeous campground in the middle of the woods and sitting on Smith Lake; Lake is a short walk; Wonderfully peaceful and quiet, but a seven mile or so drive to get to anything; Two loops; The Yellowhammer loop is more wooded and allows for somewhat better privacy; The Firefly loop is also wooded, but has fewer trees between sites and is more suited to satellite
Guidebooks:Reviewed in Frommers Best RV & Tent Campgrounds - High ratings for beauty and quiet
Big Rig Friendly: A few pull-through sites, but only on the Yellowhammer loop; many back-in sites suitable for big rigs
Hook-ups: Full Hook-ups (water, 50 amp electric, and sewer); Sewer hook-ups were set in stainless steel "sinks" with an additional drain - first time we had seen this, but was very nice
Laundry: No laundry facilities
Price & Discounts: $22.05 for full hook-ups; no club discounts
Other Factors: Personnel was extremely friendly; Offer of free camping at the beginning of our stay sealed our decision to camp here
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
This was the best campground we have stayed in so far; Natural surroundings, access to the lake, and wildlife within the campground; Great sites with full-hook-ups and complete peace and quiet; Would have gotten a 9 if it had laundry facilities and better water pressure; Not exactly easy to get to, but if nearby, you need to check it out

Cradle Of Forestry Website (The Cradle Of Forestry Runs This Campground)

Reservations At ReserveUSA

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Journal Site 8: Foscue Creek Corps of Engineers Campground - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: September 22, 2005 - September 29, 2005
Location: On the western outskirts of Demopolis, Alabama about 2 miles off U.S. Highway 80
GPS Coordinates: 32.5150N, 87.8766W
Our Site Number: 38
Reason Selected: We decided that we did not want to get back on the interstate from Double Springs. This Corps of Engineers campground was on our way south a fairly straight shot from Double Springs and it is one of the few COE parks in Alabama with sewer hook-ups; Sites looked spacious on the internet; Also a couple at our last campground had just been to this one and recommended it
Setting: Very nice campground on Foscue Creek with a few sites directly on the Tombigbee River; the majority of sites are waterfront; there are two sections with the first section of fifteen sites being less wooded and the second section having more trees & three or four small loops within the section; Not as quiet as Corinth Recreation Area with a plant on the eastern side (sort of a dull hum you get used to), train tracks across the street from the entrance (count on a train each weekday morning around 7:20), and occasional barge horns as they go through the lock just downriver from the campground; Most folks with tripods seemed to be able to locate satellite TV from most sites; RV mounted dishes may need to be more selective
Guidebooks: Mentioned in Frommers Best RV & Tent Campgrounds - No real description though; Guidebooks were not a factor on this choice
Big Rig Friendly: A couple of pull-through sites, but many back-in sites suitable for big rigs
Hook-ups: Full Hook-ups (water, 50 amp electric, and sewer); Only five sites without sewer
Laundry: Single washer and dryer in each of the two bathhouses; adequate, but not great
Price & Discounts: $18.00 for full hook-ups; no club discounts
Other Factors: Personnel is contracted by Corp of Engineers and they were friendly - said they had the prettiest campground in the state when we called and warned us about the over-zealous fish & wildlife ranger in the area; Army Corp of Engineers Parks always have water nearby which is great for aesthetics and wildlife; Website descriptions and photos lacking
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
This was our first Corps of Engineers Campground and we really enjoyed having a waterfront home for a week; Natural surroundings, access to the creek/river, and lots of birds within the campground; Great sites with full-hook-ups; A good solid 8 because of waterfront sites, but would never get a 9 because of low water pressure, lack of good laundry, area noise (not really too bad), and it's a little too close to town for our taste; When driving to the campground from U.S. Highway 80, we were a little apprehensive because of the area and rough road, but our stay exceeded our initial impressions by a good bit

Foscue Park COE Campground

Foscue Park Reservations At ReserveUSA

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Journal Site 9: Isaac Creek Corps of Engineers Campground - Overall Rating: 7

Dates: September 29, 2005 - October 3, 2005
Location: In the middle of nowhere on the Alabama River. :) Actually, about 20 miles off U.S. Highway 84 between Grove Hill & Monroeville, Alabama
GPS Coordinates: 31.6456N, 87.5201W
Our Site Number: 41
Reason Selected: We were struggling to find a decent campground about half way between Demopolis and Gulf Shores, Alabama; Since we had luck at Foscue Creek, we found that Isaac Creek was the southernmost Corps of Engineers Park in Alabama; Though not halfway and though without sewer hook-ups, we decided to make our way to Isaac Creek for four days before traveling on to Gulf Shores
Setting: Absolutely beautiful campground bordered by the Alabama River and Isaac Creek which connected the river to Claiborne Lake; there are about 10 sites directly on the Alabama River with clear views - a few of those were shaded; the rest of the sites sit in deep woods with very tall trees; many sit directly on the creek or across the road and they are the first occupied; there is one section of sites not on water furtherest from either of the two bathhouses that are extremely private, but many have gravel pads rather than concrete; satellite access was available in some of the more wooded sites, but the best opportunities are on the riverfront sites
Guidebooks: Mentioned in Frommers Best RV & Tent Campgrounds - No real description though; Guidebooks were not a factor on this choice
Big Rig Friendly: A couple of pull-through sites, but almost all back-in sites suitable for big rigs
Hook-ups: Water & 50 Amp Electric Only, no sewer
Laundry: Single washer and dryer in each of the two bathhouses; adequate, but not great
Price & Discounts: $16.00 for waterfront sites; $14.00 for all others; no club discounts
Other Factors: Personnel is contracted by Corp of Engineers and they were friendly and gave good directions to this very, very remote campground; Army Corp of Engineers Parks always have water nearby which is great for aesthetics and wildlife; Website descriptions, information on actual location, directions, and photos lacking
OVERALL RATING: 7 (out of ten)
This campground was just beautiful!! If it had sewers, we would have given it an easy 8; but because of the lack of sewers, the remoteness, and the poor condition of the bathhouses, it could easily have been a six as well; the beauty of the natural setting bumped it to a 7 for us

Isaac Creek Corp of Engineers Campground

Isaac Creek Reservations At ReserveUSA

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Journal Site 10: Island Retreat RV Park - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: October 3, 2005 - November 1, 2005
Location: Gulf Shores, Alabama. About 1.5 miles west of Highway 59 on Fort Morgan Road (Hwy 180)
GPS Coordinates: 30.2598N, 87.7120W
Our Site Number: 178
Reason Selected: We knew we were going to be in Gulf Shores for the middle two weeks of October for the Hummer/Bird Study Group migrating bird banding at Fort Morgan at the end of Fort Morgan Road (about 20 miles from Hwy 59). Since we planned to make that 20 mile trip twice a day for two weeks, we wanted to get as close to Fort Morgan as possible. We also determined that we would stay a month to get the best rates. There are four campgrounds on Fort Morgan Road (two of which were quite a bit closer to Fort Morgan than Island Retreat) and a couple of other ones nearby. This time we could not choose, so we drove to Gulf Shores and decided we would make our decision upon arrival. We stopped at our first choice, but it turned out to be right under Hwy 59. We moved to the two other campgrounds close to Fort Morgan, but they were both too small and did not appear to be a good deal for the money. We ended up at Island Retreat by default.
Setting: Basically an RV parking lot; A few trees in the older section nearest Fort Morgan Road, but no trees in the newer back section; Old houses and trailers on each side and an apartment complex in the rear; the only redeeming quality of the setting was that there was no problem getting satellite service from any site
Guidebooks: Good ratings in the guidebooks; probably would have chosen this park had we relied on the guidebooks alone
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig; A majority of the pull-through sites were in the less attractive back section
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50 amp electric
Laundry: Four washers and dryers in the newer rear section bathhouse; Three washers and dryers in the older front bathhouse; Very good laundry facilities
Price & Discounts: $424.00 for a month (October thru April); $533.50 per month (May - Sept); $19.65 per day, $177.90 per week; Good Sam discount on the daily rate
Other Factors: Personnel was satisfactory; Apparently this park had just been sold to a corporate entity earlier in 2005, and there seemed to be uncertainty as to what effect it would have on the park; Website is inviting and informative, but the online site map is what made us feel like it didn't have character and was more of a parking lot which it was
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
We were originally relegated to the back section of this park where there were cluttered sites where people were living and one RV up on blocks with no wheels; We were able to move to the front section of the park, and it felt much better though there still is not much ambience to this "campground"; This type of park is not our cup of tea (I would have given it a 4 if I had rated it the first couple of days), but we have to give it credit for facilities, convenience and the acceptable monthly rate (I would never have paid $30 a night here); We would stay here again, simply because there are not many other choices, but if we are back in the area, we will look hard for other alternatives

Island Retreat RV Park Website

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Journal Site 11: Emerald Beach RV Park - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: November 1, 2005 - November 2, 2005
Location: Navarre, Florida on the Gulf Coast between Pensacola and Fort Walton; Directly on US HWY 98
GPS Coordinates: 30.4050N, 86.8514W
Our Site Number: 49
Reason Selected: Getting RV work done at nearby Emerald Coast RV and it was the closest place that the dealership recommended; Since we knew it was going to be a short stay we had decided to stay overnight at the area Wal-mart, but the pouring rain on travel day made us want to have hook-ups
Setting: Sits on Santa Rosa Sound (a body of water between barrier islands and the Gulf of Mexico) and has its own small private beach; Well maintained park with small palm trees, but sites are very close together; Also, sits right on the busy four lane Hwy 98 and is very near Eglin Air Force Base; Satellite reception was not a problem at all
Guidebooks: Did not rely on guidebooks for this choice
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle big rigs, but we were barely within our pull-through site
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50 amp electric
Laundry: Forgot to even check out the laundry facilities since we were there only a couple days
Price & Discounts: $35.00 ($45.00 for beach front)per night plus tax in winter and $5.00 more in summer; Good Sam discount (still came out to almost $35.00 with discount and tax)
Other Factors: Personnel was very nice; Website is good and emphasizes the beach as it should
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
Again, this type of "campground" is not what we look for, and at the price we would not have stayed here had we not been in the area for RV repairs; However, it is very well maintained with full hook-ups and a pool; The bathhouse was clean and the private beach is a nice feature; But the website and promotional materials do not prepare you for the traffic noise or military maneuvers from the air force base; Considered giving it a 7, but gave it a 6 because of the noise and the high price

Emerald Beach RV Park Website

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Journal Site 12: Falling Waters State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: November 2, 2005 - November 10, 2005
Location: Chipley, Florida; State Park is three to four miles off of I-10
GPS Coordinates: 30.7353N, 85.5373W
Our Site Number: 16
Reason Selected: We were looking to make 3 stops between Navarre and Jacksonville and were looking at two routes - a Gulf Coast route and an I-10 route; It turned out that our Gulf Coast route would not work because of the remnants of hurricanes and a couple places we had picked out did not have sites large enough for us; We had been looking at state parks, and this one in Chipley looked like a good stopping point for the next leg of our journey
Setting: This campground is snuggled back in the woods of this relatively small state park; It is completely wooded with towering pine trees, but only 24 sites that are not really suitable for big rigs; We were very lucky to be able to find a gap in the trees to get satellite access (Site 16)
Guidebooks: The Guidebooks did not have much to say about this campground, but the ratings were adequate
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle big rigs, but not at all set up for them since it is probably 50 years old with few changes; Still, we made it in and others did as well
Hook-ups: Water and 30 amp electric only; no sewer hook-ups. Also, electric hook-up is on wrong side
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts: $15.00; no club discounts, but they are willing to negotiate complimentary nights for volunteer work - we got three nights
Other Factors: Personnel was very nice, especially Ranger Scott Sweeney; Florida State Park Website is good, but don't let the photo of the falls entice you - it only flows like that after a whole lot of rain; bathhouse was very clean and there were two showers in each bathroom
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
We loved the seclusion and quiet of this campground; It was nature as we like it; But based on our criteria, we could only give it a 6 since it did not have full hook-ups or laundry facilities, and it is in need of updating; The setting and the three nights complimentary camping got it up to a 6, but we just could not justify a 7

Falling Waters State Park Webpage

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Journal Site 13: Kelly's RV Park - Overall Rating: 7

Dates: November 10, 2005 - November 14, 2005
Location: White Springs, Florida; On US HWy 41 about 6 miles north of I-10 or it can be accessed from I-75 going about 5 miles east
GPS Coordinates: 30.3203N, 82.7579W
Our Site Number: 138 Reason Selected: We had picked out this area along I-10 as a good place for our last stop before getting to Jacksonville; Our selection of Kelly's was based on two things: 1) Passport America discount, and 2) their website description of the natural surroundings
Setting: This campground is right on US 41, but is wooded with lots of oak trees (gotta be ready for acorns) and spanish moss; there are nature trails on either side of the RV park and a lake in the rear; The thing that takes away from the setting is that the first part of the park consists of several mobile homes for permanent and winter residents - they are well maintained, but we didn't like the feeling of being among permanent dwellings; We were able to get satellite reception, but had to pull the rig up to the edge of our site to get around some trees
Guidebooks: The Guidebooks did not have much to say about this campground, but the ratings were adequate
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any rig; However, the pull-through sites were all large gravel sites and not as attractive as the neighboring back-in sites with concrete pads
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50 amp electric
Laundry: Adequate facilities, but two of the four washing machines were out of order and all the rest of the machines needed updating
Price & Discounts: $25.00 plus tax; Passport America discount (no pesky restrictions) makes it $12.50 plus tax; Also, has Escapees and Good Sams discounts
Other Factors: Usual manager was on vacation, but owners did their best to fill in; Website is pretty good, but photos of sites would have been helpful (gallery was under construction at the time); No bathhouse per se, but two unisex bathrooms with showers - updating needed; Snowbirds were starting to arrive and made us feel welcome at community campfire and Saturday morning breakfast
OVERALL RATING: 7 (out of ten)
Again, this was another RV park that we would not have ordinarily liked, but it had a little better feel than the other RV parks we have stayed in, and it had great access to nature activities; The negatives were the uncomfortable gravel pad, the outdated laundry and shower facilities, and the mobile homes, but there were enough positives (especially the Passport America discount) to get it up to a 7 - an 8 was never an option; However, if we are in the area again, I think we would opt for the campground at the Stephen Foster Culture Center State Park (even without sewer hook-up) down the road for a few dollars over the Passport American price at Kelly's - we visited it, and it has the more natural setting and campground feel that we like

Kelly's RV Park Website

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Journal Site 14: Kathryn Abby Hanna Park Campground - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: November 14, 2005 - December 19, 2005
Location: Jacksonville, Florida; On the Atlantic Ocean at the end of Wonderwood Drive in the Kathryn Abby Hanna Park run by the City of Jacksonville
GPS Coordinates: 30.3718N, 81.4065W
Our Site Number: 226
Reason Selected: We had heard nothing but great things about this campground and park from other RVers; Also, it was the campground nearest Linda's sister and the rest of the family; The city had doubled the nightly rate this year which almost made us go somewhere else, but the convenience to everything, plus the beach, the lake, and the bike trails made it justifiable to pay the additional amount
Setting: This campground is within a beautiful park that sits on 1 1/2 miles of beach on the Atlantic Ocean; We were surprised to find that this campground on the ocean was completely treed; The canopy was so thick it was difficult to find openings for satellite service (people had tripods cabled everywhere), but we did manage on Site 226; The park is not located in the best part of town and with it being right next to a naval base there is actually a strip club right at the entrance to the park; Security, however, is good as the park itself is gated and requires an admission fee for non-campers and the campground itself is gated and requires a code to get in
Guidebooks: We relied on recommendations of other RVers and did not use the guidebooks
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle any size rig, but the roads within the campground are pretty narrow and there are quite a few low-hanging branches - go slow; There are numerous pull-throughs, but the sites vary quite a bit in size; Some sites do not leave room for a tow vehicle or toad
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 30 amp electric
Laundry: Adequate facilities under a shelter - not inside a building; Not much of a factor for us and we didn't try the machines because we were able to use Linda's sister's machines
Price & Discounts: $22.50 plus tax making it $25.43 - this is the rate from November through February; March through October the rate is $30.00 plus tax
Other Factors: Beach is about 1/4 of a mile from the campground entrance; 60 acre freshwater lake on the north side of the campground - a few campsites are on the lake; City website does not offer much in the way of description or photos; City employees can be cranky according to others, but they were nice to us; Bathhouses were cleaned by host campers every morning and stayed pretty clean, but they are old and in need of updating; Campground hosts were pleasant and did pretty good job with a few activities
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
This is a terrific campground with the beach and lots of hiking and off-road bike trails (the trails are NOT for easy cruising on a road bike, but there are plenty of paved roads to ride on); The thick tree canopy makes it a bit dark and dreary during winter months, but I am sure that the shade is quite welcome during the summer months; We did not experience any mosquito problems, but there is lots of standing water so I would bet mosquitoes are a problem in warmer months; Still, it is a beautiful park and campground with lots of activites on site; Without 50 amps and concrete pads, we could not give it a 9, but there were enough good things to rate it above a 7

Kathryn Abby Hanna Park

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Journal Site 15: Sumter Oaks RV Park (An Escapees Rainbow Park) - Overall Rating: 8.5

Dates: December 19, 2005 - January 17, 2006
Location: Bushnell, Florida; About 1 1/2 miles east of I-75 (about half way between Ocala & Tampa) on County Road 673
GPS Coordinates: 28.6044N, 82.1682W
Our Site Number: 9
Reason Selected: 1) We had to be in Tampa by January 17 and this campground was on the way, 2) Having met numerous Escapees on the road and understanding the family-like atmosphere, we felt that an Escapees Park would be best for our first Christmas on the road away from family
Setting: This campground is off by itself and far enough away from the interstate that interstate traffic noise was not really noticeable; It is located in a rural area and is clearly an older campground; There are lots of trees, mostly live oaks, and it is bordered on the west by a large, open field, on the east by a farm with cows and donkeys, and on the north by soggy marshland; the park is entered from County Road 673 on the south side and it does not sit back off the road, so the south side sites (sites at the "front" of the park) are pretty close to the noisy county road; there is a rock quarry down the road that cuts in behind the campground (not visable from the campground) and trucks and machinery seem to run all night during the week
Guidebooks: We relied on recommendations of other RVers and did not use the guidebooks other than our Escapees guide to pinpoint the location
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle any size rig, but the few pull-through sites are reserved for overnight and short-stay guests; if planning a stay of a week or more, sites for the largest rigs may be hard to find during peak times
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50 amp electric on the east side of the park and 30 amps on the west side
Laundry: Very nice facilities located in the main office building
Price & Discounts: Escapee Member Rates: Daily $12.50 plus 9% tax making it $13.63 PLUS metered electric at 11 cents per kilowatt hour; There is a weekly rate of $77.00 plus tax & electric from April - December; Dry camping is $2.50 per day (limit 21 days for members); Rates are for 2 people - $1 a day more for each extra person; We averaged $2.30 per day for electricity running our computer equipment non-stop and our electric fireplace and heater quite a bit; Our 29 day stay averaged $15.64 per day;
Non-Member Rates: Daily $24.00 plus tax & electric, Weekly $105 (Apr-Dec) plus tax & electric, Dry $10 (1 day limit)
Other Factors: This was our first stay at an Escapees park and everything we had heard about the family atmosphere and friendliness was true; We may be a bit more outgoing than most, but we were embraced completely by the community; Lots of activities; a single bathhouse that was clean, but in need of updating; the website is a single page with necessary information; Hugs from staff when you check in and when you leave are an Escapees tradition; within just a few miles there is hiking, a 46 mile paved bike trail, a canoe trail, and a lake
OVERALL RATING: 8.5 (out of ten)
The Escapees family atmosphere and the Escapees member rates are what garners an 8.5 rating rather than an 8; It is a terrific campground, and I considered giving it a 9 (Linda would give it a 10 based on the donkeys and resident owls alone); But looking at it objectively with the gravel roads, the single, outdated bathhouse, the Non-Member rates, and the noise from the road and rock quarry (my biggest issue), I just couldn't bump it to a 9 (in fact, had it not been an Escapees Park, it may have been more like a 7.5)

Sumter Oaks RV Park - An Escapees Rainbow Park

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