Our 2006 Campground Reviews

Here you will find reviews of the campgrounds we visited in 2006.

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 2006 Reviews Below

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

Florida State Fairgrounds, Tampa, FL - January 2006

(Private Residence), Bradenton, FL - January 2006

SKP Resort, Wauchula/Zolfo Springs, FL - February 2006

Lake San Marino RV Resort, Naples, FL - March 2006

Vacation Inn Resort, West Palm Beach, FL - April 2006

Lake Louisa State Park, Clermont, FL - April 2006

Stephen C. Foster State Park, Fargo, GA - April 2006

Georgia Veterans State Park, Cordele, GA - April 2006

F.D. Roosevelt State Park, Pine Mountain, GA - April 2006

Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn/Trenton, GA - April 2006

Best Holiday Trav-L-Park, Chattanooga, TN - May 2006

Bowling Green KOA, Bowling Green, KY - May 2006

Payne Farm (Now "Former" Payne Farm), Louisville, KY - May 2006

Taylorsville Lake State Park, Taylorsville, KY - June 2006

Paintsville Lake State Park, Paintsville, KY - July 2006

Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Slade, KY - July 2006

Grayson Lake State Park, Olice Hill/Grayson, KY - July 2006

Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY - July 2006

Taylorsville Lake State Park, Taylorsville, KY - July 2006

Hardin Ridge Recreation Area Campground, Hoosier National Forest, Heltonville, IN - August 2006

Stout's RV Parking Lot, Greenwood, IN - August 2006

Moraine View State Park Campground, LeRoy, IL - August 2006

Prairie Flower Recreation Area Campground, Saylorville Lake, Ankeny, IA - August 2006

Backbone State Park Campground, Dundee, IA - September 2006

Paradise Valley Campground, Garnavillo, IA - September 2006

Pulpit Rock/Decorah City Campground, Decorah, IA - September 2006

Elinor Bedell State Park Campground, Spirit Lake, IA - September 2006

Louisville State Recreation Area Campground, Louisville, NE - September 2006

Tuttle Creek State Park Campground, Manhattan, KS - September 2006

Blasi Campground, Wichita, KS - October 2006

Coon Creek Cove Corps of Engineers Campground, Kaw City/Ponca City, OK - October 2006

Bear's Den Resort, Grove, OK - October 2006

Withrow Springs State Park Campground, Huntsville, AR - October 2006

Denton Ferry RV Park, Cotter, AR - October 2006

Lake Ouachita State Park Campground, Mountain Pine/Hot Springs, AR - November 2006

Rocky Point Campground, Wright Patman Lake, TX - November 2006

Rainbow's End RV Park, Livingston, TX - November 2006

Private Business, Conroe, TX - November 2006

Rayford Crossing RV Resort, Spring, TX - November 2006

Padre Island National Seashore Campground, North Padre Island, TX - November 2006

Padre Balli Park Campground, North Padre Island, TX - November 2006

Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer RV Compound, Alamo, TX - December 2006






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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Journal Site 16: Florida State Fairgrounds Campground - Overall Rating: 2

Dates: January 17, 2006 - January 23, 2006
Location: Tampa, Florida; Just off I-4 and US 301 a little bit west of the intersection of I-4 and I-75
GPS Coordinates: 27.9887N, 82.3588W
Our Site Number: 201
Reason Selected: We were contracted to do an RV seminar at the Florida RV Supershow at the fairgrounds and part of our deal was a free campsite
Setting: This "campground" is comprised of two sections that are basically open fields; the noise of traffic and sirens from the interstate was barely tolerable; Fortunately, we were in the section that actually had a lake, so the view was better than we expected
Guidebooks: No need for guidebooks on this one
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle any size rig, but the lake section is more suited to the larger RVs
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 30 amp electric
Laundry: Ha Ha Ha - None
Price & Discounts: Free for us, but they were charging everyone else $30 a night! Unbelievable.
Other Factors: There was no guidance whatsoever in parking and site selection; We were told we had to move after our first attempt to park; The sites were on top of each other and at one point we were told that we would have to pay for two sites if our slides hung over our invisible "line"; Horrible organization
OVERALL RATING: 2 (out of ten)
This place got a 2 rather than a 1 because it had full hook-ups; There is absolutely no reason to stay here unless you are attending an onsite event or rally (actually it's not open to the public, so you can only stay for an event), and even then, I would look at other options if I had to pay

Florida State Fairgrounds - Tampa

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Journal Site 17: Bradenton (Private Residence) - Overall Rating: None

Dates: January 23, 2006 - February 1, 2006
Location: Bradenton, Florida; That's all you get - didn't think I would just give out our friends' address did you? :)
GPS Coordinates: I don't think so. :)
Our Site Number: 1
Reason Selected: FREE!
Setting: Nice neighborhood with Palma Sola Bay a block away and Anna Maria Island five miles west
Guidebooks: Nah.
Big Rig Friendly: Handled us didn't it? :)
Hook-ups: Water & 20 amp electric only
Laundry: Excellent facilities!
Price & Discounts: FREE! We know the owners. :) Couple hundred bucks a night for anyone else.
Other Factors: Great people!
OVERALL RATING: None (out of ten)
We don't rate our friends' driveways - if we did, they would all be 10s just in case we want to go back. :)

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Journal Site 18: SKP Resort - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: February 1, 2006 - March 1, 2006
Location: Wauchula/Zolfo Springs, Florida; About 50 miles east of I-75 on State Hwy 64 and about an hour due east of Bradenton, Florida
GPS Coordinates: 27.5109N, 81.7678W
Our Site Number: A-23
Reason Selected: It is an Escapees Co-Op park and we knew that we would not be turned away. If there were no full hook-up sites available, we could stay in the dry camping area or the electric/water area until a site became available; we could find no other campgrounds in south Florida that had openings for more than a couple of days in February (at least there were none that were within our budget)
Setting: This campground is out in the middle of orange grove country; There are palm trees, but no other significant trees; it is bordered on the west by wooded farmland, on the east by farmland, on the north by a strawberry farm, and on the south by Highway 64; the park is entered from State Road 64 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 road; also, there are quite a few park models and they tend to overshadow the RVs
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
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50 amp electric
Laundry: Nice nice facilities located in the main office/community center building
Price & Discounts: Escapee Member Rates: Daily $13.00 (no tax)PLUS metered electric at 14 cents per kilowatt hour; you must be an Escapees RV Club Member to stay here
Other Factors: The friendliness of the Escapees community; However, not as friendly as the Rainbow Park at Sumter Oaks in Bushnell and there were not nearly as many activities; bathrooms and showers were located in the main community building and they were very clean; the website is a single page with necessary information only; the park is a couple of miles from the Peace River which is great for canoeing, and it is very centrally located; it is an hour from both Gulf beaches and Atlantic beaches and a couple of hours from Orlando and many other tourist attractions; nice pool area
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
This a nice RV Park with paved roads and large campsites with full hook-ups and 50 amp service; the Escapees rate of $13.00 really makes this campground a worthwhile stop even if it is a long ways from most things people like about Florida; it is an RV park rather than a campground out in nature that we prefer, but it was worthy of the 8 rating

SKP Resort


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Journal Site 19: Lake San Marino RV Resort - Overall Rating: 7

Dates: March 1, 2006 - March 30, 2006
Location: Naples, Florida; Just off of US 41 in north Naples slightly south of Bonita Springs
GPS Coordinates: 26.29309N, 81.79542W
Our Site Number: 194 on Port Place
Reason Selected: Strictly financial. We wanted a southwest Florida base and we discovered the $189 per month internet special for first time visitors to a Sun Communities Resort. The special was not good for January or February but it was for March if they had availability.
Setting: This is strictly an RV park located no more than a half a mile from the very busy US 41. We expected it to be a little nicer than it was. It is quite old with several park models and very tiny paved roads. It does have a high border fence all the way around the park to buffer noise and unpleasant views. Across from the entrance (north) is another older RV park. There is another older community to the south, a tree buffer on the west between the resort and a Wal-greens and strip center. There is a cement factory on the east that is a noise problem for those on the fence row. There are a few palm trees, but it is mostly sunny with the sites very close together. There is a lake, but it is surrounded by park models and access is very limited.
Guidebooks: We first looked at the Sun Communities resorts because they are listed in Passport America. The 50% Passport America discount is not good January - March, but we did find the internet specials when we checked out the website.
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle any size rig, but the lot sizes and distances between sites vary quite a bit.
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 30 amp electric - the 30 amps was a little surprising
Laundry: Decent facilities located in the main office/community center building and in one other location; for the number of sites in the park, you would think there would be more washers and dryers
Price & Discounts: Internet Special of $189 per month PLUS resort fee of $61 (not good in January & February and subject to availability); They also honor a coupon for $149 for a month for first time visitors (not good in February and subject to availability); Regular monthly rate is $996 January through March and $515 April through December; Daily rate is $42.00 except May thru September when it is $29
Other Factors: When we called inquiring about the internet special and availability, they gave us a site on the fence row. When we asked, they told us about the factory and then said they would try to find us a different spot and call us back. They called us back within minutes and found another site for us. Considering we were paying a fourth of the regular rate, we were pleasantly surprised by the service.
OVERALL RATING: 7 (out of ten)
This is a decent RV Park with paved roads and full hook-ups; there are tons of activities and social events in the winter; The thing that made our stay special was the people we met on our street, Port Place. Without the wonderful time we had with that group, I might have pushed this down to a 6 because of the crowded feel and the 30 amp hook-ups; Actually, if we had to pay regular price it might even have gone down to a 5; But the people and the price we paid ($8 a day) made it a 7 ... for us .... this time; We will not likely return if it means paying standard winter rates (except to visit the regulars we came to know)

Lake San Marino


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Journal Site 20: Vacation Inn Resort - Overall Rating: 7

Dates: March 30, 2006 - April 6, 2006
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida; Military Trail just off of I-95
GPS Coordinates: 26.772084N, 80.107754W
Our Site Number: 211
Reason Selected: Invited to stay as a guest by a website/Journal reader. We wanted to visit a few people on the souteast coast of Florida, so we jumped at the opportunity when offered
Setting: This is a gated RV park between a busy road in the front, a warehouse on one side, a power company on the other side, and the elevated I-95 located to the rear beyond a small lake. Inside the gate, this was the nicest place we have stayed so far. The amenities were great and the landscaping was beautiful - both on the sites and the common areas. Outside the gate, it is not located in a very nice part of what is supposed to be a high end city. Once we left the park, it is the first time we felt like we had to be extra cautious about safety.
Guidebooks: None used - this is an ownership RV park.
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle any size rig, but the roads were narrow for the size of rigs.
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50 amp electric
Laundry: Excellent facilities located in each of the immaculate bathhouses; Not only were the facilities wonderful, but the prices were a little less than most other places we've been
Price & Discounts: Since we were "Invited Guests" we didn't have to pay; This is an ownership park, but owners can rent their sites; the rates are not made public, but we did hear that the monthly rate is $1,400 in the winter
Other Factors: Daily trash pick-up from each lot, cable TV, two pools with jacuzzis, city sewer and water, and lots more that makes the park top notch.
OVERALL RATING: 7 (out of ten)
This is a luxury park by all accounts; Put this park in a more scenic, less populated area and the overall rating could have been a 9; However, because of its location, the surrounding noise, and the safety concerns, we just could not rate it any higher than a 7; This was our least favorite place to stay, but we had to give the park itself its due and we certainly were appreciative of our hosts and their kindness

Vacation Inn RV Park


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Journal Site 21: Lake Louisa State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 7

Dates: April 6, 2006 - April 10, 2006
Location: Clermont, Florida; About 30 miles southwest of Orlanda on Hwy 27
GPS Coordinates: 28.43664N, 81.7233W
Our Site Number: 47
Reason Selected: After being in RV parks and/or populated areas for 5 months, we needed to get back into a state park campground setting; Also, we needed to start heading north; Finally, we decided at the last minute to attend the national RV Rally put on by Good Sam affiliated companies; So we checked out all the state parks in the vicinity of Daytona where the Rally was being held; Most of the park campgrounds were either booked or did not have sites large enough for us; So we settled on Lake Louisa about 90 minutes from Daytona due to the large sites, 50 amp electric, lack of shade (good for satellite internet), and lakes at the park.
Setting: This campground was three miles into the Lake Louisa State Park at the end of the park road. It sits between two large lakes with fishing piers within walking distance; The area was very dry with no shade in the campground so it was not the most attractive campground by a long shot; But it is about as private as it could be given its closeness to Orlando and the ever encroaching construction of new communities; Some traffic noise could be heard from Hwy 27, but all in all it was a very peacefull campground.
Guidebooks: We relied only on our Florida State Parks guide and the Florida State Parks website
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle rigs up to 45 feet with plenty of room to maneuver.
Hook-ups: Water and electric only with 50 amp electric
Laundry: One washer and dryer per bathhouse - better than nothing
Price & Discounts: $21.00 plus tax per night
Other Factors: Very, very nice bathhouse facilities for a state park; The park is all about the 6 lakes.
OVERALL RATING: 7 (out of ten)
We didn't get the chance to check out much of the park, but the campground was just what we needed; It was nice, not great, but we would stay there again if we are ever in the Orlando area; It's a great answer to the crowds of tourists

Lake Louisa State Park


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Journal Site 22: Stephen C. Foster State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 9

Dates: April 10, 2006 - April 17, 2006
Location: Fargo, Georgia; The southeastern corner of Georgia in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp and Natiional Wildlife Refuge; 17 miles off of Hwy 441 (the road dead ends into the park)
GPS Coordinates: 30.82046N, 82.36518W
Our Site Number: 66
Reason Selected: We were still craving nature and we wanted to state in a state park on our way back north for an RV service appointment in Chattanooga, TN May 1 and for Life On Wheels in Bowling Green, KY May 12; We had heard that the Georgia state parks were nice, so we narrowed things down to Georgia state parks or Corps of Engineers Campgrounds; Since there were no Corps campgrounds within our 200 mile driving range we were left with the state parks; Of the five or six state parks within our driving range, Stephen C. Foster sounded like the best as far as setting and nature (by the way, I'm not sure why they named this park after Stephen Foster - I guess because the Okefenokee is the source for the Suwannee River and he wrote "Way Down Upon The Suwannee River" although he never even saw the river; This park should be called Okefenokee Gateway Park. :)
Setting: This campground is 17 miles from a main road and sits in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp; the campground sits away from the water and boat basin amongst tall pines; it is pure nature and the easy access to the swamp, one of the most beautiful places we have ever been, is a big bonus.
Guidebooks: Besides our Georgia State Parks Guide, this campground was highly rated for beauty, quiet, and privacy in our "Frommer's Best RV & Tent Campgrounds in the U.S."
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle rigs up to 50 feet, but I wouldn't take anything over 35 feet into the two campground loops because of the tight turns; there are a few pull-through sites off by themselves that are much more suited to big rigs; This place is remote, so I wouldn't recommend pulling in here with a big rig without a reservation for a large spot.
Hook-ups: Water and electric only with 50 amp electric (& cable TV - about a dozen stations).
Laundry: One washer and dryer per bathhouse - better than nothing
Price & Discounts: $22.00 per night; However, since the state park is within the National Wildlife Refuge, you do have to purchase a pass to the refuge for $5.
Other Factors: Bathhouses (they call them "comfort stations") are old, but they are cleaned quite well every day; The park itself is only 80 acres and there is only one short, flat hiking trail; So if you are not into fishing or exploring the Okefenokee, there is very little to do here - no pool, and you sure can't swim anywhere else because of the alligators; Canoe and motorboat rentals are available at very reasonable prices - if you don't have your own boat or canoe, you must rent one or you will miss out on the best part of staying here; Friendliness of the staff is hit or miss depending on the day and who's working; Because of heat and bugs, I'm not sure it would be a pleasant stay here in the middle of summer; Also, it is a loooong drive into town for groceries, gas, or eating out; Rooftop satellite dishes can be a problem in the wooded campground
OVERALL RATING: 9 (out of ten)
The natural setting, quiet, and access to the Okefenokee Swamp warrant giving the campground a 9 based on our criteria; Of course, if we were rating the campground without considering the setting, it would likely be a 6 or a 7; But this is exactly the type of place we desire to frequent; add sewer hook-ups, maybe a bike trail, and maybe some reasonably priced groceries five miles away instead of 45, we would have given it a 10

Stephen C. Foster State Park


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Journal Site 23: Georgia Veterans State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 7.5

Dates: April 17, 2006 - April 20, 2006
Location: Cordele, Georgia; South of Macon, Georgia about nine miles west of I-75 on U.S. Hwy 280
GPS Coordinates: 31.950856N, 83.90911
Our Site Number: 2
Reason Selected: We still were not ready to go back into a private RV park and we selected this state park as a stopping point on our way to F.D. Roosevelt State Park in western Georgia
Setting: This campground is a couple of miles off Hwy 280 and sits on an inlet from the 8000 acre Lake Blackshear; there are three camping areas and Camping Areas 1 & 2 have lakefront sites and lakeview sites with varying amounts of shade; Camping Area 3 sits back off the water in a wooded (mostly shaded) area and has all pull-throughs; canoes and kayaks can be launched from sites within the campground.
Guidebooks: Georgia State Parks Guide
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle any size rig although the roads in all campground areas are very narrow with trees on both sides; Slow and steady is the name of the game.
Hook-ups: Water and electric only with 30 amp electric.
Laundry: One washer and dryer per bathhouse - not bad
Price & Discounts: $24.00 per night.
Other Factors: Bathhouses (they call them "comfort stations") have been refurbished and clean; The park itself has a golf course, a disc golf course, a model airplane strip, a hiking trail that is hardly worth mentioning, a day use swimming area on the lake, and fishing and boating (pontoon and power boats are available for rent); the campground has pretty good security with a gate requiring a code to get in (in fact, if you arrive after 10:00 you cannot get a vehicle in at all - you must walk in); The office staff was friendly, but there was no "wow" factor; There were several sites that would have worked for our rooftop satellite dish, but most were occupied when we arrived on a Monday (it was spring break)
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 (out of ten)
This is a nice campground with a great layout in a fairly natural setting. The waterfront site kept us from griping about the price which we thought was a little on the high side. There was something about it that didn't quite grab us, but based on the on-site activities available in the park, we think it warrants a better score than some of the other campgrounds we have rated a 7.

Georgia Veterans State Park


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Journal Site 24: F.D. Roosevelt State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 7.5

Dates: April 20, 2006 - April 26, 2006
Location: Pine Mountain, Georgia; East of I-185 just off of U.S. Hwy 27; about 80 miles southwest of Atlanta & 35 miles northeast of Columbus
GPS Coordinates: 32.84591N, 84.83163W
Our Site Number: 100
Reason Selected: We had heard great things about this state park and we wanted to visit with a couple of our website visitors who we had met previously back in August 2005 (they had also done some camp hosting at this campground); Also, it put us closer to our RV service appointment in Chattanooga, TN the first of May
Setting: This campground seems miles away from everything as you enter the state park main entrance. Later we learned that the rear exit of the campground is closer to U.S. Hwy 27 than we thought, but it is still pretty secluded; The entire campground is heavily wooded and the setting is gorgeous; There are 5 camping sections; Sections 1, 2, and 4 (our section) sit on Lake Delanor which is a beautiful little mountain lake - most sites in those sections are lake view and a few are lake front.
Guidebooks: Georgia State Parks Guide and Frommer's Best RV and Tent Campgrounds in The USA
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle just about any size rig, but the number of sites for the really big ones are limited; the roads in all campground areas are very narrow with trees on both sides; Go slow, slow, slow; Also, the incline from registration down to the campground is very, very steep.
Hook-ups: Water and electric only with 30 amp electric.
Laundry: One washer and dryer per bathhouse - not bad
Price & Discounts: $18.00 - 20.00 per night.
Other Factors: A couple of bathhouses (they call them "comfort stations") are very nice, while the others are old, but clean; The dump station is on the way out using the rear exit, which is nice because it is a much easier drive than coming from the main entrance; The bad thing is that locals use the campground's main road to cut through the park - however, they were working on gates when we were there; The park itself has two lakes, a swimming pool (open between Labor Day & Memorial Day), stables, and several hiking trails; fishing is allowed on the lakes, but motorized boats are not; However, you must rent one of their boats - we were not allowed to put our canoe on the lake which was irritating; The office staff was friendly, and went out of their way to accomodate us when I made a reservation mistake and reserved for the same time the following month; There were very few sites that would have worked for our rooftop satellite dish - we got lucky
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 (out of ten)
This is a beautiful campground in a natural setting. We were so relaxed and never really felt the urge to leave the campground or the park during our stay. There were fewer activities in the park than at Georgia Veterans, but we felt much more in our element here and the beauty of our spot bumped it above a 7 - an 8 was never a consideration, however.

F.D. Roosevelt State Park


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Journal Site 25: Cloudland Canyon State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 7.5

Dates: April 26, 2006 - May 1,, 2006
Location: Rising Fawn, Georgia; Between Trenton (8 miles) and Lafayette, GA on State Highway 136; About 20 miles from Chattanooga, TN via I-59 in Trenton
GPS Coordinates: 34.83616N, 85.48841W
Our Site Number: 40
Reason Selected: We were not yet ready for an RV park and wanted to stay in a natural secluded setting up to the point we had to take the rig in for service in Chattanooga on May 1
Setting: This state park actually has two campgrounds - the East Rim & the West Rim; The East Rim campground is nothing special and I wouldn't even recommend it; The West Rim, on the other hand is simply heaven in comparison; The sites are large and there is good distance between them; The very heavily wooded campground is about as quiet and peaceful as it gets until the weekend crowds come; This state park is not easy to get to with mountain climbs and some tight turns, but it is well worth it.
Guidebooks: Georgia State Parks Guide and Frommer's Best RV and Tent Campgrounds in The USA
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle just about any size rig in the West Rim campground, but stay out of the East Rim section even though the East Rim has numerous pull-throughs (small ones) and the West Rim has only three real pull-through sites; The roads in the West Rim are paved, but curvy and narrow with some pretty big drop-offs if you are not very, very careful; Again, go slow, slow, slow.
Hook-ups: Water and electric only with 30 amp electric.
Laundry: One washer and dryer per bathhouse - faciliteis were very nice in the West Rim campground
Price & Discounts: $22.00 - 23.00 per night.
Other Factors: The park itself has gorgeous views from the overlook and the West Rim Hiking Trail (accessible from the campground); There are two wonderful waterfalls in the canyon that are accessible by lots of stairs to the bottom; Tennis courts and a Disc Golf course are also present; The office staff was friendly; We could not locate a single site that would allow us to get internet access via our rooftop satellite dish - it was just too wooded and even sites that looked like they would work would have one pesky tree or branch in the way; Cell phone service is not good either unless you drive to the highest point up by the tennis courts
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 (out of ten)
This is a beautiful campground in a natural setting. I loved this park and campground. We wish we would have had time to stay longer since the weather was not very cooperative during this short stay. I would have given it an 8 if it would have had either sewer hook-ups or a couple of more open sites for satellite

Cloudland Canyon State Park


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Journal Site 26: Best Holiday Trav-L-Park of Chattanooga - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: May 1, 2006 - May 10, 2006
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee; Exit 1 on I-75 then follow the signs to the west
GPS Coordinates: 34.978N, 85.21566W
Reason Selected: Because we were getting warranty work done on the RV at Shipps RV just on the other side of the interstate; Actually, we tried the nearest state park since we did not want to stay in an RV park, but we could not find a level spot large enough, so this park was a last minute change of plans
Setting: This is a decent RV park, but it is just that - an RV park; There are a surprising number of trees in this park surrounded by commercial and residential area; There is an older section and a newer section; The older section was filled with long-term stays and the newer section rotated transients daily; The space between sites was small and the noise from I-75 was pretty loud
Guidebooks:We knew that this was a highly rated RV park from our prior visit to Chattanooga last August
Big Rig Friendly: No problem with the biggest rigs; Yet the sites are narrow and right on top of each other which can be an issue when turning and pulling out of the small spaces
Hook-ups: Full Hook-ups (50 amp electric at about half the sites)
Laundry: Very nice laundry facilites with six washers and adequate dryers
Price & Discounts: $29.00 (30 amp), $31.00 (50 amp%); 10% Good Sam & FMCA discounts; 15% Escapees discount
Other Factors: Very nice folks in the office; The bathhouse was excellent and very clean - nice private showers; Our biggest issues were the narrow sites and the noise; Not only did we have the interstate nearby, but the locals drove loud ATVs on the road right behind the park and there is a race track within range to top things off
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
This campground has nice facilities and it was convenient for our service appointment which was stretched out over a week because parts did not come in. However, we didn't enjoy being there at all. Our journey is not just about finding a place to park and we certainly are not looking to pay above our budget for interstate stopovers. But as much as we disliked staying here, we must give this park some credit for its complete, well-maintained facilities, the friendly staff, and the discounts which eased the pain to the budget.

Best Holiday Trav-L-Park of Chattanooga

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Journal Site 27: Bowling Green KOA - Overall Rating: 5

Dates: May 10, 2006 - May 15, 2006
Location: Bowling Green in Southwestern Kentucky; An hour north of Nashville and 2 hours south of Louisville on I-65
Our Site: A52
GPS Coordinates: 36.91362N, 86.43432W
Reason Selected: Designated campground for the 2006 Bowling Green, KY Life On Wheels conference for which we were instructors
Setting: The setting would be nice with the combination of trees, fields, and ponds except that it sits in the armpit of the intersection between I-65 and the Natcher Parkway
Guidebooks: No factor since it was a designated place to stay for Life On Wheels
Big Rig Friendly: Plenty of space for rigs of all sizes; All sites are pull-throughs
Hook-ups: Over half the sites have full hook-ups, but we were late getting in and had only electric and water
Laundry: On-site laundry in main building
Price & Discounts:$24 - $35 per day (we were in at the Life On Wheels discounted rate of less than $20 per night)
Other Factors: Website is good, but we did expect this to be a nicer campground; It was an RV park with some personality, but our site was not good; We were able to get satellite clearance.
OVERALL RATING: 5 (out of ten)
This campground was not well-maintained with grass growing up through the gravel in the pull-through sites. As a matter of fact, the only mowing that had been done in awhile was the cutting of the sites, but not the grass in between the sites. That and the double highway noise made this an unpleasant stay. Only the discounted rate made it worthwhile to stay there - well, that and the fact that there were virtually no other options.

Bowling Green KOA


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Journal Site 28: Payne Farm (Now "Former" Payne Farm) - Overall Rating: N/A

Dates: May 15, 2006 - June 22, 2006
Location: Southeast Jefferson County, Louisville, Kentucky
Our Site: N/A
GPS Coordinates: N/A
Reason Selected: Howard's parents' farm - FREE!
Setting: Beautiful 7 acre tract of land with a pond and log cabin
Guidebooks: N/A
Big Rig Friendly: Oh yeah! Except getting in and out of the driveway is a little tricky.
Hook-ups: Full but only 20 amp electric
Laundry: On-site laundry in parents' house
Price & Discounts:FREE!
Other Factors: None
OVERALL RATING: N/A (out of ten)
Great place to stay for free. But, alas, the farm has been sold, so that option is gone for good.

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Journal Site 29 & 34: Taylorsville Lake State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: June 22, 2006 - July 10, 2006 AND July 27 - August 3, 2006
Location: About 30 miles southeast of Louisville; On State Road 248 about 10 miles south of I-64 from Shelbyville; However, wider easier roads from I-64 to I-265 a little closer to Louisville
Our Site: 22 (both times)
GPS Coordinates: 38.02888N, 85.26153W
Reason Selected: Close to Louisville and one of only four real choices in the area; two of the other three are right on interstates and the third, which used to be in a rural area, is not surrounded by apartments and businesses
Setting: Grassy area carved out of the woods that surround Taylorsville Lake; RV sites are all full sun as the immature trees planted have not grown in yet; Sites are large and well spread out with large, level gravel pads
Guidebooks: No factor since our choices were limited
Big Rig Friendly: Only a couple of pull-through sites in the main loop (the equestrian camping area has 10 very long pull-through sites but you have to bring a horse to stay in that loop); However, there are plenty of back-in sites large enough for big rigs and a tow or toad; Interior roads are wide and paved and there are no tree issues
Hook-ups: Only electric and water (like most Kentucky State Parks); We did have 50 amp electric; two dump stations
Laundry: On-site laundry with two washers/dryers in very nice, fairly new bathhouse
Price & Discounts: This state park facility had a daily rate of $21 ($23 on holidays) and offered no discounts or weekly/monthly rates
Other Factors: Easy satellite access and staff was very friendly, but website lacks good info about campground; Kentucky State Parks recently went on ReserveAmerica reservations system which has some good features and some horrible features; There is a 10 site equestrian loop with horse tie-ups and there is a separate primitive loop for tent campers that desire more trees; The equestrian and primitive loops share a bathhouse and both loops are quite far from the main campground loops; The park has several hiking, mountain biking, and horse trails, but the main attraction is the boating
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
We really thought this campground was one of the better ones we have chosen. It is away from all traffic and noise and is in a very natural setting. Though it is located near Taylorsville Lake, which gets lots of boat traffic, it sits far enough off the lake with enough trees around it that you rarely hear any boat motors. The sites are large, far apart and are well-maintained. It was a very peaceful place to stay though it does fill up on weekends in the summer. As one of the newer campgrounds in the state, it is also one of the better state park campgrounds. We would have given it a 9 if it had sewer hook-ups. However, we will warn you - if you are looking for quick, easy access to Louisville, this is not the place. :)

Taylorsville Lake State Park


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Journal Site 30: Paintsville Lake State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 7.5

Dates: July 10, 2006 - July 17, 2006
Location: About 3 miles outside of Paintsville in far eastern Kentucky; Approximately 2 miles from U.S. 23 on Kentucky Hwy 40
Our Site: 10
GPS Coordinates: 37.84406N, 82.87768W
Reason Selected: The newest state park campground in Kentucky and the only one with sewer hook-ups; Also, the beautiful mountain lake was a bit of a factor
Setting: Campground sits in a valley with woods on three sides; A community park, the lake, and a marina border the front entrance to the campground; RV sites are all full sun at midday as the immature trees planted have not grown in yet; Sites are large with level gravel pads, but the 32 RV sites are kind of crammed into the little valley (still we have seen them a lot closer together)
Guidebooks: No factor. I just relied on internet research on state parks and corps of engineers park in eastern Kentucky
Big Rig Friendly: Only a couple of pull-through sites; However, there are plenty of back-in sites large enough for big rigs, but the tow or toad might be a problem; However, they don't seem to enforce the rules for parking, so room can be found; Interior roads are wide and paved and there are no tree issues
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50 amp electric, water, and sewer (the only Kentucky State Park with full hook-ups; No dump station
Laundry: On-site laundry with two washers/dryers in very nice, new bathhouse
Price & Discounts: This state park facility had a daily rate of $27 and offered no discounts or weekly/monthly rates
Other Factors: Easy satellite access and staff was very friendly, but website lacks good info about campground; Kentucky State Parks recently went on ReserveAmerica reservations system which has some good features and some horrible features; The park has only one hiking trail, but the main attraction is the boating; The boat ramp area, lakeside park, and marina are all public use areas, so there are a lot of locals using the day use facilities right outside the campground
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 (out of ten)
We would give this campground at least an 8 if the sites were spaced out a little more and the campground was not so close to the day use area. However, it is a very nice campground since it is so new. It is away from all highway traffic and noise and is in a very natural setting. It was a very peaceful place to stay though it does fill up on weekends in the summer and the boat traffic can be louder. I'll have to say they don't care about the posted rules too much. There seems to be a few RVs that stay here all summer long even though there is a 14 day limit. Also, people are allowed to park on the grass next to their sites and there are often two vehicles and a boat along with an RV on a site.

Paintsville Lake State Park


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Journal Site 31: Natural Bridge State Resort Park Campground (Middlefork) - Overall Rating: 5

Dates: July 17, 2006 - July 21, 2006
Location: About 2 miles off the Bert Combs Mountain Parkway in eastern Kentucky on KY Hwy 11; Exit 33 - Slade, KY
Our Site: B2
GPS Coordinates: 37.76666N, 83.67482W
Reason Selected: We were on our way from far eastern Kentucky to Louisville and had never been to Natural Bridge or the Red River Gorge; It was our only real option to spend a few days in the area
Setting: Campground sits in a valley with a stream running through it and woods on three sides; the fourth side is bordered by HWY 11 which runs high above the campground; Unfortunately, the sounds from the highway filter right down into the bowl of a campground; RV sites are a mixture of sizes and have varying levels of sun and shade; All sites have gravel pads
Guidebooks: No factor. I just relied on internet research on state parks
Big Rig Friendly: NO! Don't be fooled by the ten pull-through sites - only a couple of them are big enough for a 40 foot rig, but there is no place to park a tow or toad; If you have a 35 footer or larger, only site B2, B3, & B4 are worthwhile and even B3 has utilities on the wrong side; the campground entrance/exit is in a curve with limited sightlines
Hook-ups: Water and 30 amp electric only; There is a dump station, but it is small, sort of hidden and on a hill on the wrong side of the road as you leave - there is no separate pull off
Laundry: On-site laundry with one old washer/dryer beside the bathhouse
Price & Discounts: This state park facility had a daily rate of $24 and offered only AAA and senior discounts
Other Factors: A few sites offer easy satellite access; Staff was reasonably friendly, but not outstanding; The website lacks good info about campground; Kentucky State Parks recently went on ReserveAmerica reservations system which has some good features and some horrible features; The park has 11 great hiking trails and a small electric motor only lake; There are rental canoes for a pond - rip off! - and there is a pool near the lodge for an additional fee
OVERALL RATING: 5 (out of ten)
This campground is old and the facilities are outdated. Site-wise, it's perfect for tenters and pop-up campers, but it's not good for larger rigs. Considering the dangerous entrance/exit, the poor location for the dump station, and a price that's too high, we dropped this down from a possible 6 or 5.5.

Natural Bridge State Resort Park


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Journal Site 32: Grayson Lake State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: July 21, 2006 - July 24, 2006
Location: On KY Hwy 7 about 7 miles south of I-64 at exit 172 in northeastern Kentucky; You actually go through Grayson, Kentucky but the address is Olive Hill
Our Site: 41
GPS Coordinates: 38.20057N, 83.02427W
Reason Selected: We were taking the opportunity to visit some of the Kentucky State Parks during July before we had to be back in Louisville on July 29 for a high school reunion; Our plan had been to spend six days in the Kentucky Horse Park, but they were booked for the weekend; I made the decision to check out Grayson Lake State Park because of the highly rated golf course and pictures I had seen online of a canoe trip on the Little Sandy River that forms Grayson Lake
Setting: Campground sits at the very end of the state park road; It is bordered by the golf course and Grayson Lake (although the lake is not visible through the trees in the summer); The sites have a variety of sizes and are full sun to full shade; It is quiet except that their is a lot of boat traffic near the campground on the weekends; Site pads (just the parking pads themselves are paved, but not necessarily level; Campers park vehicles and boats in the grass
Guidebooks: No factor. Just web research.
Big Rig Friendly: To a degree; Though there is plenty of room to maneuver through the campground and there is space to make parking fairly easy, the site pads are pretty small; The sites in full sun are best for larger rigs
Hook-ups: Water and 30/50 amp electric - no sewer hook-ups; There is a dump station; Water faucets are between sites, which means they are on the wrong side in every other site so be sure to bring plenty of marine hose
Laundry: On-site washers and dryers at one of the bathhouses
Price & Discounts: This state park facility had a daily rate of $20 and offered only AAA and senior discounts
Other Factors: Several sites offer easy satellite access; Staff was friendly; The website lacks good info about campground; Kentucky State Parks recently went on ReserveAmerica reservations system which has some good features and some horrible features; The park itself is basically just the campground and the golf course with one trail; The golf course is great, but other than that, this park seems to just be a place for the local boaters to camp - there is no boat ramp in the park, but there is one just down the road on Hwy 7; There is lake access by foot down a pretty steep hill at the back of the campground
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
There was just something about this campground that was not inviting. We never could quite put our finger on it. Because of that we gave it a 6. It was not bad by any means - the golf course is great and the lake is beautiful. It was definitely better than a 5 and may deserve a 6.5, but there was just a feeling we had. Perhaps it was our site or the fact that we were only staying a short time. We would have liked to have explored the area a little more as there are two other state parks and the Daniel Boone National Forest nearby, but our stop was sort of a whim. Maybe another time.

Grayson Lake State Park


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Journal Site 33: Kentucky Horse Park Campground - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: July 24, 2006 - July 27, 2006
Location: Just north of the intersection of I-64 & I-75 between Lexington and Georgetown, Kentucky; About 1/2 mile east of I-75 at exit 120
Our Site: 21
GPS Coordinates: 38.147N, 84.50465W
Reason Selected: We had heard many great things about the Kentucky Horse Park Campground, but we had not stayed there or even visited the Horse Park; Since we had some time to kill before being back in Louisville at the end of July for a reunion, we made a point of stopping
Setting: The campground sits back off the road and borders the bluegrass fields of the Kentucky Horse Park; It is made up of two large loops each with a smaller loop inside; All sites have some shade at least some of the day and all are about the same size; It is huge with 260 sites, but it does not have that big RV park feel as there is decent space between the sites; The pads are paved, but not very wide and you almost have to park a second vehicle in the grass with bigger rigs
Guidebooks: No factor. Just web research and the numerous referrals of other RVers.
Big Rig Friendly: Can handle any size rig - no problem; But again, the actual parking pads are narrow
Hook-ups: Water and 30/50 amp electric - no sewer hook-ups; There are two nice dump stations
Laundry: On-site washers and dryers, but we forgot to check them out - oops.
Price & Discounts: April - October: $27 per night water/electric, $22 senior water/electric, $20 electric only, $15 no hook-ups; November - March: $22 per night water/electric, $19 senior water/electric, $18 electric only, $13 no hook-ups; Prices are $3 higher on Labor Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day and other special event weekends
Other Factors: Several sites offer easy satellite access; Staff was friendly and fast; The website has decent information about the campground and the aerial shot is nice for perspective; The Kentucky Horse Park campground recently went on ReserveAmerica reservations system which has some good features and some horrible features; The facilities within the campground are very nice with a large pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, and two large bathhouses with washers and dryers, and a campstore
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
If you like staying at campgrounds with easy interstate access, but want to feel like you are in more of a natural setting, you can't do any better than this one. There is a slight drone of traffic noise from the interstate, but it's not too bad. The ease of getting in and out, the internal facilities, and the Horse Park itself make this a really nice place to stay. I personally like things a bit more rural, but we have to give this campground credit for convenience, facilities, and attractiveness without it being it just a parking lot. Actually this 8 rating is courtesy of Linda as I probably wouldn't have gone above 7.5. :) I might have gone 8 with sewer hook-ups.

Kentucky Horse Park


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Journal Site 35: Hardin Ridge Recreation Area Campground, Hoosier National Forest - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: August 3, 2006 - August 16, 2006
Location: About 30 minutes south of Bloomington, Indiana; It can be accessed from either Hwy 37 to the west or from Hwy 446 to the east (I think 446 is probably easier)
GPS Coordinates: 39.02078N, 86.46092W
Our Site Number: 144
Reason Selected: We were struggling to find a decent campground in southcentral Indiana so that we could make a quick trip for service toward Indianapolis and so we could visit with some old friends within an hour's drive; I just wasn't getting a good feeling about the campgrounds or RV parks in the area and I could not find much about Hardin Ridge; We sort of took a chance based on the large sites and number of non-reservable sites available
Setting: Absolutely beautiful campground! There are six "loops" that are completely separate and completely wooded. The Recreation Area road ends in the largest lake (Monroe Reservoir) in Indiana that is not a Great Lake. There is a swimming area and boat ramp within the area.
Guidebooks: No reliance.
Big Rig Friendly: There are NO pull-through sites in this 202 site campground; However, there are plenty of sites large enough for the biggest rigs; The interior roads are all paved and there is a lot of room to manuever
Hook-ups: Okay, this gets confusing. There are NO sewer hook-ups unless you are a campground host; There are 94 electric sites - 79 with 30 amps and 15 with 50 amps. Two of the six loops have no hook-ups at all. There are water hook-ups at only 14 sites and they are scattered among four loops; All water sites have electric, but only 5 have 50 amps - 136, 141, 144, 184, & 186; There are two side-by-side dump stations
Laundry: No facilities
Price & Discounts: $21.00 for water & electric sites; $18 for electric sites; $15 for no hook-up sites; no club discounts, but those with Golden Age or Golden Access passes get half off; They also run a special sometimes where you can get a night free if you check in on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday and stay at least two nights (you can only get that special at the gate)
Other Factors: The campground is managed by the Cradle Of Forestry; This is the second Cradle oF Forestry managed campground we have stayed in and we have been highly impressed both times; They have a camp host for every 20 sites and they are friendly and visible; This is a federal campground and online reservations are done by ReserveAmerica; The Recreation Area website is a bit outdated, but provides better information on the campground than the ReserveAmerica site; Only half of the sites are reservable - the sites on the right side of each loop are reservable and the sites on the left are not; Only 8 of the water sites are reservable (2 of them have 50 amps) and only 4 of the 50 amp sites are reservable; Bathhouses were very nice although they have the same bug problems most public campgrounds have; There are private shower rooms, but the showers could have been a little cleaner; Rooftop satellite access is a problem - we got very lucky to get internet and there may have been one other site where we could have; We did not get satellite TV and those that did had to manuever tripods and cables; Most sites are gravel, but there are a few paved sites sprinkled in
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
This campground was just beautiful!! If it had sewers & laundry facilities, we might have given it a 9.5. The tough thing about the campground is that there is just no rhyme or reason to the sites and what amenities they may or may not have. Still, anytime we are traveling through central Indiana, we will make it a point to stay at Hardin Ridge and we will try to get our non-reservable site 144 which has water and 50 amp electric. We loved it!

Hardin Ridge Recreation Area

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Journal Site 36: Stout's RV Parking Lot - Overall Rating: 4

Dates: August 16, 2006 - August 18, 2006
Location: Greenwood, Indiana. Exit 99 on I-65 in central Indiana
GPS Coordinates: 39.60954N, 86.07566W
Our Site Number: N/A
Reason Selected: We had to have some service/repair work done at Stout's. They had just expanded and have a brand new asphalt parking lot with HUGE spaces and 50 amp hook-ups for their customers.
Setting: A HUGE parking lot with 50 amp electric in each light pole; I-65 is visible beyond the rows of RVs to the east; There is a gold range/batting cage to the south; The dealership building is to the north and there is a nice apartment complex across the road to the west
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig - plenty of room for any length combinationa and the "site" width was large enough for all slideouts
Hook-ups: 50 amp electric ONLY
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts: FREE! You didn't hear it from me, but as of this writing they didn't really care who parked there overnight as long as you were in an RV
Other Factors: No trees to get in the way of the satellites. Lots of room to manuever.
OVERALL RATING: 4 (out of ten)
How can we possibly give a parking lot a 4? Good question. But what we liked about this was its functionality for its purpose. It was easy to access from the interstate and there was so much room to get around. They didn't have to put in 50 amp electric but they did. They even supply boards for all jacks to keep from damaging the asphalt. AND there were flashing light security vehichles circling the parking lot all night long. The only problem I could foresee is finding a nice level place to park if they got really crowded - the parking lot was a bit wavy.

Stout's RV

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Journal Site 37: Moraine View State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: August 18, 2006 - August 22, 2006
Location: LeRoy, Illinois. About 7 miles off I-74 Exit 149 in east-central Illinois
GPS Coordinates: 40.41542N, 88.71921W
Our Site Number: C-8
Reason Selected: This state park was at a good stopping point on our route from Indiana to Ankeny, Iowa to teach at Life On Wheels on August 24. It was also near a few of our Journal readers and gave us an opportunity to meet them. There were other private campgrounds/RV parks in the area, but we just prefer the more natural setting and this was our best choice.
Setting: This was an old, wooded campground with a lake on one side and wooded state park land all around. It is isolated, quiet, and several miles from the nearest town.
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig, but the old sites are rather small so tow vehicles and toads have to be squeezed sideways onto the front of the sites. Adequate for big rigs, but not the best.
Hook-ups: 30 & 50 amp electric ONLY (very few 50 amp sites), nice dump station available
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts: $15 a night, $10 for seniors Monday thru Thursday
Other Factors: We had a few different site choices for satellite. The camp hosts were very friendly and helpful.
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
This was an old campground with only electric hook-ups. The bathhouses were adequate and fairly clean for their age and condition. Nothing spectacular here, but the price was right.

Moraine View State Park

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Journal Site 38: Prairie Flower Recreation Area Campground - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: August 22, 2006 - September 5, 2006
Location: Ankeny, Iowa. 8 miles west of I-35 (exit 90)off HWY 415 on the east side of Saylorville Lake north of Des Moines in central Iowa
GPS Coordinates: 41.74121N, 93.69008W
Our Site Number: 110
Reason Selected: Best big rig site in a natural setting near the Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, IA where we were teaching at Life On Wheels Aug 24 - 27.
Setting: Eleven different camping loops that are all a little different. We stayed in the Coneflower loop which is the loop nearest Saylorville Lake and has the most lake view sites. The campground has mostly open sites with a few shaded sites, but almost every site has a tree and at least some shade at some time during the day. The south loops are further away from the fairly busy HWY 415 and traffic cannot be heard. The north loops are more for group camping and are closer to the HWY.
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: HUGE sites. Can definitely handle any size rig, though some loops have smaller sites than others. No pull-through sites that I can recall in the south, more desireable loops.
Hook-ups: 30 & 50 amp electric ONLY; two nice dump stations and there are lots of fresh water spigots scattered througout to fill tanks
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts: $20 per night; Golden Age & Golden Access Passports are accepted.
Other Factors: Contracted staff was very nice. Plenty of open sites for satellite. The batthouses were VERY clean for a public campground. Lots of room to manuever.
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
We really enjoyed our two weeks at this campground. The sites were very large and there was great spacing between sites. We compare this campground to Taylorsville Lake State Park in Kentucky which we also gave an 8. Take away for no laundry facility and no water hook-ups, but add back for a great view of the lake, beautiful sunsets, and closer proximity to groceries, etc.

Saylorville Lake Camping

Prairie Flower Recreation Area Campground Reservations

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Journal Site 39: Backbone State Park - Overall Rating: 6.5

Dates: September 5, 2006 - September 12, 2006
Location: About 10 miles north of US HWY 20, which is a four lane divided highway, from either the Lamont or Manchester exits. The campground is at the south end of the park off country road W69 and cannot be accessed from the other park entrances, so be sure to aim for the south entrance.
GPS Coordinates: 42.60478N, 91.54510W
Our Site Number: 80
Reason Selected: We were looking for a state park or natural setting campground close to the Field Of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, IA that could be used as a home base for other east Iowa exploring.
Setting: A very nice, wooded campground. This is the oldest state park in Iowa and woods surround the campground. It is isolated and quiet.
Guidebooks: No reliance.
Big Rig Friendly: There are a few pull through sites, but they are not the most level and some have more grass than gravel. However, there are quite a few back-in sites that have plenty of room for big rigs to get in. Some low hanging limbs brush the roof and sides, but nothing to cause damage. The interior roads are all paved and there is adequate room to manuever
Hook-ups: Electric ONLY with a mixture of 50 & 30 amp sites. There is a dump station and fresh water spigots are scattered about for filling tanks.
Laundry: No facilities
Price & Discounts: $16.00 for electric sites in-season May 1 through September 30; $13 off-season Octover 1 - April 30; Camping coupons are available for purchase in seven night increments for $91 ($13 per night) for use at all Iowa state parks; no other discounts noted
Other Factors: This is a self check-in camground with 1/2 of the 50 electric campsites being first come, first served; There are two bathhouses with showers, but one is much nicer than the other; We saw deer in the campground every day; Satellite can be a problem in this very wooded campground, but there are a few sites for access; Depending on which way the wind blows, there are times when the odor from nearby hog farms wafts in - a bit unpleasant :) Iowa State Parks just started a reservation system in 2006, but we did not use it
OVERALL RATING: 6.5 (out of ten)
This campground was really pretty and quiet. The park was nice as well.

Backbone State Park

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Journal Site 40: Paradise Valley Campground - Overall Rating: 5

Dates: September 12, 2006 - September 15, 2006
Location: About 8 miles south of US HWY 18 and then just off Great River Road along the Mississippi River in northeast Iowa
GPS Coordinates: 42.93875N, 91.18849W
Our Site Number: 2 FHU
Reason Selected: We were looking for a campground as a base to explore the Upper Mississippi River area in northeast Iowa; We stumbled onto this one after another private campground did not work and Pikes Peak State Park Campground was not conducive to our large rig
Setting: Set in a pretty valley in a rural area near the Mississippi River; very quiet
Guidebooks: No reliance.
Big Rig Friendly: Maneuvering was fine on the gravel roads, but there are only 4 sites available that are not grass; It is a low lying area, so in damp times, I would not recommend parking a big rig on the grass
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups (50 amps) on four paved sites (make that three as one site is actually part of the owners' driveway and I would not use it); Not really sure about the grass sites - some had water & electric and some just had electric
Laundry: They have facilities on site - 2 washers, 2 dryers; But we forgot to check them out to rate them
Price & Discounts: $24.00 plus tax for full hook-up sites, $22.00 for electric & water; $20.00 for electric only; NO discounts whatsoever
Other Factors: The owners were nice, but they lived right behind the full hook-up sites and there was a lot of traffic in and out; There is a trout pond stocked with bluegill bass and trout; Rooftop satellite is a bit of a problem in the full hook-up sites - we had to pull all the way to the front of our site to get a signal; The road to the campground was right across the Great River Road from the Sny McGill access to the river and the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge
OVERALL RATING: 5 (out of ten)
This was another campground that just didn't "light our fire"; It was quiet and was a decent base for some exploring, but the full hook-ups sites were not the "sit outside and enjoy the surroundings" kind of sites; The grass sites might have been better, but it was damp, so that was out of the question; There simply were not other options for a rig our size.

No Website

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Journal Site 41: Pulpit Rock/Decorah City Campground - Overall Rating: 7

Dates: September 15, 2006 - September 20, 2006
Location: Right off U.S. HWY 52 on the west side of Decorah in Northeast Iowa
GPS Coordinates: 43.29715N, 91.80728W
Our Site Number: 37
Reason Selected: We were looking for a campground in the vicinity of the Upper Iowa River which we heard was the best canoe trip in Iowa; This campground was referred to us by a couple we met at a dump station at another campground :)
Setting: Set in a pretty valley between two city parks; two campground sections are separated by a lovely trout stream; the only problem with the setting is that the campground is bordered on the west by the heavily traveled US 52
Guidebooks: No reliance.
Big Rig Friendly: It's just a little tight, but big rigs can manage fairly well by going slowly; several sites are large enough for big rigs and there are a few pull-through sites; asphalt roads with gravel sites
Hook-ups: Electric hook-ups only (some 50 amps, some 30 amps); there are opportunities to fill the fresh water tank throughout and there is a dump station in each campground section
Laundry: No laundry facilities, but there is a laundromat in Decorah a mile away
Price & Discounts: $15.00 for electric hook-up sites, $13.00 for no hook-ups; Discounts: $2 off for seniors Sunday - Thursday
Other Factors: Staff was friendly; This campground is completely first come, first served and it is almost impossible to get in on weekends; We highly recommend getting in early on Sunday afternoon or early in the week; The rules say the maximum stay is 5 days, but we witnessed folks staying longer; Not heavily wooded, but enough to make satellite reception iffy; We did watch several people catch trout in the stream running through the campground; At the time of our stay there was noisy construction going on improving the neighboring park
OVERALL RATING: 7 (out of ten)
This was a campground that had lots of charm; Linda was prepared to give it an 8, but I couldn't go that high because of the highway noise and lack of hook-ups; Decorah and the surrounding area were enticing and probably raised the score a half point or so

Pulpit Rock/Decorah City Campground

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Journal Site 42: Elinor Bedell State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 6.5

Dates: September 20, 2006 - September 25, 2006
Location: A couple miles south of US Hwy 71/State Hwy 9 on 260th Street southeast of Spirit Lake on East Okoboji Lake in northwest Iowa
GPS Coordinates: 43.4131N, 95.06764W
Our Site Number: 5
Reason Selected: We read about Spirit Lake in a Backpacking magazine and it sounded like a neat place to visit. I read that Elinor Bedell was the newest state park in Iowa and it is one of the few with full hook-ups. Even though the campground has only 8 sites, we decided to give it a shot.
Setting: This is what they call a "prairie" setting which means no real trees :). It is one of the few state park campgrounds we have seen that is at the entrance to the park and sits on a fairly busy road with no trees as buffers to keep down vehicle noise. But other than the road, the small state park behind the campground is still in a very natural state.
Guidebooks: No reliance.
Big Rig Friendly: Oh yeah. Eight HUGE pull-through sites. It doesn't get any friendlier. :)
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups (50/30 amps) - no dump station
Laundry: No laundry facilities
Price & Discounts: $17.00 May through September; $14 October through April; NOTE: You can buy a 7 day camping coupon at any state park for $91 ($13 a night)
Other Factors: Completely self service - pay on the honor system; Only eight sites - 4 reservable and 4 non-reservable; However, there is a camp host on one of the non-reservable sites, so there are only 3 walk-in sites; No bathhouse or dump station
OVERALL RATING: 6.5 (out of ten)
We liked this campground was near a lot of activities while seeming rural. The full hook-ups helped as well. It didn't have a lot of character, and the fact that it was right next to the road kept it from being a 7. We would stay there again.

Elinor Bedell State Park Campground

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Journal Site 43: Louisville State Recreation Area Campground - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: September 25, 2006 - September 28, 2006
Location: Louisville, Nebraska. About 25 miles southwest of Omaha; About 12 miles south of I-80 Exit 440 on Nebraska Hwy 50
GPS Coordinates: 41.00219N, 96.17991W
Our Site Number: 152
Reason Selected: This state recreation area was at a good stopping point on our route from Iowa to the Heavy Duty Truck Rally in Wichita, KS on October 1. We basically saw it on a map, checked it out on the website, and decided to give it a try.
Setting: This was a beautiful campground with the Platte River on the north and several lakes within the campground. There are lots of trees and open sites as well. Trees buffer HWY 50 to the south BUT a busy railroad track runs through the nearby town of Louisville and along part of the campground.
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig with no problem - the interior roads are paved and very well maintained.
Hook-ups: 30 & 50 amp electric ONLY; fresh water spigots for filling tank were widely scattered; two nice dump stations available
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts: $15 a night plus a $3 park permit; There is also a $4 or $5 reservation fee if you make reservations in advance; However 1/2 of the sites are non-reservable, so reservations may not be necessary for a mid-week arrival
Other Factors: We had a few different site choices for satellite; there were no attendants at the time of our stay; bathhouses were decent, but the showers were pay-per-use quarter at a time; I do have to say that the Nebraska State Parks website provides a lot of information about the camping, but you have to bounce around a little bit to find it all
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
This campground should have received at least a 7 for atmosphere alone, but we had to knock it down because of the constant train traffic all day and through the night. The pay showers were also a turn-off. The price was right except for the pay showers.

Louisville State Recreation Area

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Journal Site 44: Tuttle Creek State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 7.5

Dates: September 28, 2006 - October 1, 2006
Location: Manhattan, Kansas. Just north of Manhattan on US Hwy 24
GPS Coordinates: 39.24721N, 96.58731W
Our Site Number: 100 or 110 (forgot to write it down, but it is a pull-through right on the water)
Reason Selected: Good half way point between Louisville State Recreation Area in Nebraska and our destination of Wichita, Kansas for the 2006 National Heavy Duty Truck Rally beginning October 1. Investigated on the web and since we needed to do laundry but wanted to stay at the state park, we figured we would have better options near Kansas State University in Manhattan. :)
Setting: Nice setting below the dam of the 12,500 acre Tuttle Creek Reservoir. Combination of treed and lakeside sites throughout the campground
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig
Hook-ups: 50/30 amp electric and water hook-ups; No sewer hook-ups, but two dump stations available
Laundry: No
Price & Discounts: The Kansas State Parks have the funkiest camping fee structure we have seen on the road. You have a daily vehicle fee, a daily camping fee, a daily utility fee, and a daily "prime site" fee for the best sites. From April 1 - September 30 the daily vehicle fee is $7 and the daily camping fee is $8.50. Take $1 off each of those for October through March. Add to that a utility fee of $6 for one utility, $8 for two utilities, or $9 for three utilities (for other state parks where there are sewer hook-ups). Then add $2.50 if you select a "prime site" like we did. So that was $7.00 + $8.50 + $8.00 + $2.50 = $26.00 a night for our stay. Kansas seniors/disabled (Only Kansas residents) get the daily vehicle fee for $4.25. BUT anyone can buy a 14-day camping pass which gives you about a buck and a quarter off the daily camping fee. Sheeeesh!
Other Factors: There were a few places to get satellite from the roof, but it could be tricky in some places; there was a small boat ramp 100 feet from our site and a hiking trail at the end of our camping loop; Bathhouses were okay; Staff (especially Cindy) was very nice and helpful; The Kansas State Park website is pretty good, but it does not have any campground maps of sites (which is why we can't go back and figure out our site number) :)
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 (out of ten)
We really liked this campground and especially our site. However, the funky fee system was sort of annoying and made it a little overpriced. Unfortunately our stay was short and we didn't get out on the water, hike, or explore the state park. Had we done those things, we might have bumped the rating up to an 8. We would like to stay here again and maybe do the 14-day stay.

Tuttle Creek State Park Campground

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Journal Site 45: Blasi Campground - Overall Rating: 5

Dates: October 1, 2006 - October 8, 2006
Location: Wichita, Kansas. On the west side of Wichita on Kellogg (Hwy 54/400) about 4 miles west of I-235
GPS Coordinates: 37.6624N, 97.47366W
Our Site Number: K-7
Reason Selected: Location of the 2006 National Heavy Duty Truck Rally which we decided to attend at the last minute. If not for the rally, we would never have stayed here as it is just not our cup of tea.
Setting: Right off the highway with a tire center in front (north), a Ford dealership to the west, apartments to the south, and a gravel road and church to the east; there were a decent number of trees, but it was a dusty gravel road campground with concrete pads where rigs are pretty close together; Of course all the heavy duty trucks made it look even tighter :)
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig, and their were lots of really big ones there when we stayed
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50/30 amp electric; circuits were overloaded several times and the electric went out often during our stay; dump station available, but not a very good one and not in a good location
Laundry: Yes - pretty good laundry facilities and the cheapest machines we have found on the road
Price & Discounts: Rates are based on rig length; Up to 30': $24 Nightly, $112 Weekly, $367 Monthly; 31' - 40': $25 Nightly, $119 Weekly, $382 Monthly; 41' - 45': $26 Nightly, $126 Weekly, $397 Monthly; There is a $2.50 discount off the Nightly rate (only) for Good Sam, AAA, & AARP members
Other Factors: There were lots of spots where we could get satellite; they did have a swimming pool; bathhouse was pretty bad; staff was accomodating; website has good information, but it lacks any photos of the campsites - good move on their part :)
OVERALL RATING: 5 (out of ten)
This was the type of campground where we would not normally stay - close to a big city, close to highways, and rigs side by side like a parking lot. Under our criteria, it would rate very low. We bumped it up to a 5 because of the full hook-ups, laundry facility, convenience to places we needed to be at the time, and a decent weekly price. Unless we attend another HDT Rally, we will not stay here again.

Blasi Campground

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Journal Site 46: Coon Creek Cove Corps of Engineers Campground - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: October 8, 2006 - October 15, 2006
Location: Kaw City/Ponca City, Oklahoma. On Kaw Lake about 8 miles east of US Hwy 77 in northcentral Oklahoma
GPS Coordinates: 36.78704N, 96.9178W
Our Site Number: 14 (photo) and then moved to 29
Reason Selected: We wanted to drive about 100 miles from Wichita and looked at state and federal campgrounds in Oklahoma as we made our way south to Texas for the winter. After some web research, we chose this COE campground east of I-35.
Setting: This was a beautiful campground that sits on a peninsula that juts out into Kaw Lake. The upkeep could be better, but the views are very nice. There are water views from just about every site. There is nothing around but nature in this campground. It is treed with plenty of sun and shade sites.
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig. Many sites are really large but they are all back-ins - no pull-throughs here.
Hook-ups: Water and 30 amp electric only; there is a dump station on the way out
Laundry: None
Price & Discounts: $16 a night; Golden Age Passports are accepted for a 50% discount
Other Factors: Reservations are through ReserveAmerica.com April - September; All sites are first come, first served October - March; Bathhouses have showers, but the bathhouses are pretty old; We had a few different site choices for satellite; there were no attendants at the time of our stay and paid by deposit envelope; It looks like the sites could use an infusion of gravel and some weedeating, but we overlooked that easily in exchange for the views and solitude; It is tough to find good information and there are virtually no photos of the campground on the web
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
This campground should have received an 8.5 if the upkeep was a little better or the bathhouses were more updated. But this is our type of place. It is rural, quiet, wooded with good satellite openings, on the water, and a haven for a variety of wildlife (especially birds). Every campsite has a water view and several are waterfront.

Coon Creek Cove COE Campground on Kaw Lake

ReserveAmerica Reservations for Coon Creek Cove COE Campground

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Journal Site 47: Bear's Den Resort - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: October 16, 2006 - October 22, 2006
Location: On U.S. Hwy 59 in Grove on Grand Lake in Northeast, Oklahoma
GPS Coordinates: 36.64878N, 94.82109W
Our Site Number: 126
Reason Selected: We were visiting family in Grove and my brother had some connections at this private Coast to Coast, RPI, AOR membership camgpround. We were able to stay for $18 a night.
Setting: This RV Park sits right on US HWY 59, but most of the sites sit away from the highway on a peninsula out into Grand Lake. Highway noise is still a factor, but there is nothing but water on three sides of most of the campground. The full hook-up sites are closest to the highway and closest to each other with no trees. Sites with water and electric only have more trees and more space, but they are not in very good shape.
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig, but some pads are just concrete for wheels and are not properly spaced for big rigs.
Hook-ups: Some full hook-ups, but mostly water and 30 amp electric only; there is a dump station on the way out
Laundry: Yes, adequate but not great.
Price & Discounts: We paid $18 a night, but this is a private membership campground, so rates vary
Other Factors: Bathhouses have showers, but the bathhouses are pretty old and in bad shape for a "resort"; We had a few different site choices for satellite; Friendly staff; Pretty good website
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
This was another place that we did not have a very good feel for. Being a "resort" we expected full hook-ups on all sites and we expected the sites and bathhouses to be in much better shape. Even the lake views were not enough to make us want to stay there again.

Bear's Den Resort

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Journal Site 48: Withrow Springs State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 7.5

Dates: October 22, 2006 - October 25, 2006
Location: On Arkansas Hwy 23, 5 miles north of Huntsville in Northwest Arkansas
GPS Coordinates: 36.1553N, 93.735167W
Our Site Number: 23
Reason Selected: Good natural setting state park campground on our way to the Buffalo National River
Setting: New wooded campground loop; very quiet except that it sits too close to a rural "spur" road for local access; Other than that, nothing but woods around
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig
Hook-ups: Full hook-up with 50/30 amp electric
Laundry: No
Price & Discounts: Lots of different rates - too confusing to list them all here, so I'll give you a link:
Arkansas State Park Campging Fees; We paid $25.50 plus tax so I guess we were in a "Premium A" site - whatever the heck that means; There are discounts for those over 62 but they are different depending on residency and whether it's a weekend or not - read carefully
Other Factors: Rooftop satellite options were limited; Friendly staff; Bathhouses were very nice and clean; Website is very nice; War Eagle Creek just outside of the park is a nice canoeing river and there is a good one mile hiking trail that runs along the creek; Wal-mart and laundry in nearby Huntsville
OVERALL RATING: 7.5 (out of ten)
Probably would have given this an 8 if not for the close proximity of the road and if the sites had been just a little bigger. However, we were very happy to find a paved, full hook-up campground in such a rural state park. Great stopping point while traveling through the northwest Arkansas Ozarks.

Withrow Springs State Park

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Journal Site 49: Denton Ferry RV Park - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: October 25, 2006 - November 8, 2006
Location: On the White River just off Hwy 62, Cotter, Arkansas.
GPS Coordinates: 36.293N, 92.52251W
Our Site Number: 35 & 15 (35 is a pull-through and 15 is a back-in on the river)
Reason Selected: We were looking for a place to stay near the Buffalo National River; The National River campground didn't have any openings, and other campgrounds nearer the Buffalo were not impressive; Decided on this RV Park at the last minute
Setting: Sits right on the White River; The back-in sites on the river are wonderful while the rest of the sites are typical pull-through RV park sites - nothing to brag about; The campground is quiet and on a rural road
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig
Hook-ups: Full hook-up with 50/30 amp electric
Laundry: Yes, two washers, two dryers
Price & Discounts: River sites $30, $25 for others; Weekly rate is $150 for all sites; Monthly rate is $420 for all sites; 10% Good Sam Discount and Senior Citizen Discount on daily rates; Winter rates apply November through February: $22.50 daily on all sites, $125 weekly, $350 monthly; We paid weekly rates as we stayed two weeks
Other Factors: All sites were rooftop satellite friendly; Wade in trout fishing in the White River right from the campground; Owner Bill Ernst is a great guy; He is also a member of a great nearby golf course so you have a ready-made golf partner; Bathhouses were fine; Cotter is known as Trout Capital USA and there is a great fly shop just up the road from the RV Park; Lots of fishing guides nearby
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
RV Parks are usually not our favorite, but we really liked this one. The first site we had was boring, but site 15 on the river is one of the best sites in the park. Good golf, good fishing, and the Buffalo National River made this a place we will return to in the future.

Denton Ferry RV Park

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Journal Site 50: Lake Ouachita State Park Campground - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: November 8, 2006 - November 13, 2006
Location: Mountain Pine, Arkansas. About 15 miles northwest of Hot Springs at the end of Highway 227
GPS Coordinates: 34.61438N, 93.17719W
Our Site Number: 26
Reason Selected: Brand new large site, full hook-up state park campground near our destination of Hot Springs National Park; Also recommended by a Little Rock couple we met while canoeing the Buffalo River
Setting: Nice wooded setting on Lake Ouachita, one of the cleanest lakes in the country; Partial lake views through the trees; Nothing else around for miles :)
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50/30 amp electric
Laundry: No facilities
Price & Discounts: Lots of different rates - too confusing to list them all here, so I'll give you a link:
Arkansas State Park Campging Fees; We paid $25.50 plus tax so I guess we were in a "Premium A" site - whatever the heck that means; There are discounts for those over 62 but they are different depending on residency and whether it's a weekend or not - read carefully
Other Factors: Beautiful campground and lake; Brand new campground, so it looked like there was still a lot of maintenance and clean-up being done; Limited options for rooftop satellite due to tall trees; Office staff was very polite; bathhouse was nice and clean; website is very nice; boat ramp just outside the entrance to the campground; entrance to campground is a pretty steep, but short, hill
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
Large paved sites with full hook-ups on a beautiful lake far from any city. A little more privacy between sites, and a laundry could have gotten this campground up to a 9. Pretty tough to beat.

Lake Ouachita State Park

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Journal Site 51: Rocky Point Campground - Overall Rating: 7

Dates: November 13, 2006 - November 16, 2006
Location: Just off U.S. Hwy 59 south of Texarkana and Wright Patman Dam in Northeast Texas
GPS Coordinates: 33.28832N, 94.17293W
Our Site Number: D-2
Reason Selected: Great natural campground on Wright Patman Lake as we headed south toward the Rio Grande Valley
Setting: Wooded campground with several lakeview and lakeside sites; very quiet with fabulous sunsets across the lake which borders the campground on the west
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig
Hook-ups: Water and 30-amp electric on most sites; Full hook-ups on 15 sites; 50 amp electric on 8 sites, 5 of which have sewer
Laundry: One washer/dryer at each of the three bathhouses; though they did work, all were in need of replacement
Price & Discounts: $16 for 30-amp with water; $18 for 50-amp with water (B-3,4,6) AND full hook-up with 30-amp (A-21, 23, 25, 27, 42, 44, B-20); $20 for full hook-up with 50-amp (B-5, 7, 16, 17, 18); One third of the 120 sites are non-reservable
Other Factors: Rooftop satellite options were available, but this is a very busy campground so the chances of getting a good rooftop satellite site are limited; Friendly staff; Bathhouses were okay; Website is limited; Many lakefront sites with gorgeous sunsets; Our pick of sites, if it had been available, would have been D-1, a non-reservable site right on the lake
OVERALL RATING: 7 (out of ten)
As I said, this is a very busy campground and even the non-reservable sites fill up quickly during the week. We probably would have given this a higher score if we could have gotten our pick of sites and the laundry facilities and bathhouses been a bit more updated. We would stay here again just for the lakefront views and sunsets.

Rocky Point Campground on Wright Patman Lake

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Journal Site 52: Escapees Rainbow's End RV Park - Overall Rating: 5

Dates: November 16, 2006 - November 19, 2006
Location: On Texas Hwy 146, a few miles southeast of Livingston
GPS Coordinates: 30.64686N, 94.87261W
Our Site Number: 176
Reason Selected: As members of the Escapees RV Club, we wanted to visit the national headquarters here at Rainbow's End in Livingston as we headed south toward the Rio Grande Valley for the winter
Setting: Old sites in a small wooded area; Newer sites all out in the open; Bordered on the east by the very busy and very noisy Texas Hwy 146
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig but sites were packed together and parking options were limited
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50/30 amp electric
Laundry: Yes
Price & Discounts: Lots of different rates - too confusing to list them all here, so I'll give you a link:
Rainbow's End RV Park Rates
Other Factors: Rooftop satellite options were available; All Escapees staff is very friendly as are Escapees member in general; The CARE facility onsite is a place for Escapees members to recover from illness and to go when they can't travel any longer as long as they or a loved one can assist with care - they live in their own rig; Sites 172 - 182 back right up to Hwy 146 and they are just horrible even with a privacy fence - the sites are just a few feet away from that busy highway
OVERALL RATING: 5 (out of ten)
If we were not such a fan of Escapees, we probably would have given this a lower score. Well that and the cheap prices for full hook-ups. This site may have been one of the two or three worst sites we have had since we have been on the road (under our criteria).

Escapees Rainbow's End RV Park

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Journal Site 53: Private Business Parking Lot - Overall Rating: N/A

Dates: November 19, 2006 - November 22, 2006
Location: Conroe, TX
GPS Coordinates: Now I can't give you that. :)
Our Site Number: N/A
Reason Selected: We were invited to stay here by one of our long-time website followers
Setting: Warehouse parking lot in industrial park but in a fairly rural setting
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Oh yeah
Hook-ups: Water and 50 amp electric
Laundry: N/A
Price & Discounts: Free!!
Other Factors: Our hosts were absolutely wonderful and took very good care of us with meals, golf, shopping, etc. Rooftop satellite was no problem at all
OVERALL RATING: N/A/ (out of ten)



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Journal Site 54: Rayford Crossing RV Park - Overall Rating: 8.5

Dates: November 22, 2006 - November 26, 2006
Location: Exit 73 on Interstate 45 about 20 miles north of Houston; 1 1/2 miles east on Rayford Road and then another mile and a half from there
GPS Coordinates: 30.11172N, 95.41484W
Our Site Number: 99
Reason Selected: We were invited by one of our readers to join the Texas Boomers RV Club for their Thanksgiving rally
Setting: Surprisingly wooded perimeter for being so close to the interstate and a major city; Sites are all pretty much copycat, uniform sites with a bit of grass in between each one
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50/30 amp electric
Laundry: Wonderful facilities
Price & Discounts: Rates range from $32 - $42; Weekly and monthly rates are also available; Discounts possible
Other Factors: Very friendly staff, tremendous facilities, and cleanliness; Decent website; Rooftop satellite available from all sites
OVERALL RATING: 8.5 (out of ten)
Though these large RV parks/resorts are not our cup of tea, there is no overlooking the fabulous facilities this place has to offer. If there is a better place in the Houston area, I would like to hear about it. We also were able to get the cheaper rally rate. Otherwise it's a bit pricey for our budget - worth it, but not within our usual range.

Rayford Crossing RV Resort

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Journal Site 55: Padre Island National Seashore Malaquite Campground - Overall Rating: 6

Dates: November 26, 2006 - November 27, 2006
Location: Southeast of Corpus Christi; 10 miles south once you cross the JFK causeway (Hwy 358) onto North Padre Island
GPS Coordinates: 27.42988N, 97.29632W
Our Site Number: Doesn't matter. :)
Reason Selected: I really wanted to experience a beach front campground on the National Seashore; Also, it was a good stopping point on our way to the Rio Grande Valley for the winter
Setting: On the beach side of the sand dunes where the only sounds were the gulls and the Gulf waves; The "camping" area for large rigs is nothing more than a parking lot; Only small rigs and tents were allowed in the row nearer the Gulf which were more like regular sites; Sites are 100 feet from the Gulf
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig but big rigs are relegated to a "parking lot" that can be tight between rigs and tow vehicles/toads
Hook-ups: No hook-ups at all; There is a dump station on the way out
Laundry: No
Price & Discounts: $8 per night; Golden Age passports get you a $4 rate
Other Factors: Rooftop satellite was no problem at all; Absolutely beautiful view and completely within the protected National Seashore; Bathhouses were decent; Miles from anything
OVERALL RATING: 6 (out of ten)
This place gets a 6 on sheer beauty of the Gulf, the beach, and the sunrises. Other than that, you better have a good boondocking set-up to stay more than a few days. We didn't so we only stayed one night.

Padre Island National Seashore Camping

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Journal Site 56: Padre Balli Park Campground - Overall Rating: 5

Dates: November 27, 2006 - November 29, 2006
Location: On the North end of North Padre Island which is located southeast of Corpus Christi
GPS Coordinates: 27.58329N, 97.22086W
Our Site Number: D-5
Reason Selected: Our set-up wasn't adequate for boondocking at the National Seashore and this was the nearest campground with hook-ups to the National Seashore and to the home of a website follower that invited us to their home
Setting: A parking lot in a county park that is in serious need of funding and updating. The good news was the Gulf was just on the other side of the dunes, so sunrises were just a short walk away.
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig
Hook-ups: Water & 30-amp electric
Laundry: Yes
Price & Discounts: $18 a night or $110 a week
Other Factors: This had to be the most run down campground we have stayed in.
OVERALL RATING: 5 (out of ten)
The website isn't much. The staff was cordial, but matter of fact. It looked like nothing had been painted in years. It was a very depressing place. The only reason it gets a 5 is because it was so close to the beach and a fishing pier where we were able to see some nice sunrises.

Padre Balli Park Campground

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Journal Site 57: Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Compound - Marinoff Tract - Overall Rating: 8

Dates: November 29, 2006 - April 16, 2007
Location: Seven miles south of Alamo, TX. About 2 miles west of FM 907 on Hwy 281 in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
GPS Coordinates: 26.08340N, 98.16437W
Our Site Number: N/A
Reason Selected: Site provided as part of our package as Tram Drivers/Interpreters for the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge for the winter of 2006/2007
Setting: Within a fenced compound with woods on two sides and farm fields on two sides; About a half mile down a gravel road on Refuge property
Guidebooks: None used
Big Rig Friendly: Could handle any size rig
Hook-ups: Full hook-ups with 50 amp electric
Laundry: Very nice three washer/three dryer set-up
Price & Discounts: FREE in exchange for volunteer hours
Other Factors: Biggest RV sites with the most space in between in the entire Rio Grande Valley; Also free propane, free laundry, free local phone service, and free drinking water provided; Lots of bird activity right outside the rig
OVERALL RATING: 8 (out of ten)
Large paved sites with full hook-ups on a wonderful wildlife refuge. Great winter climate.


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