Tag Archives: Campground Review

Campground Review: Carlsbad KOA, Carlsbad NM

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Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Carlsbad KOA
  • Dates of stay: 10/31 – 11/5, 2020
  • Location: 2 Manthei Road, Carlsbad, NM 88220
  • Type of campground: Private / KOA
  • Cost: $49.27/night (ValuKard discount)
  • Additional fees: none
  • Stay limit: none
  • Accepts mail / packages: did not ask
  • Cell reception: ATT good
  • Website: https://koa.com/campgrounds/carlsbad/
  • Pros: level FHU sites, reasonably near the Caverns
  • Cons: none

Full Review

Although there are several campgrounds closer to the National Park than this one, we thought the Carlsbad KOA was the nicest of the lot.  This KOA offers the usual RV sites and cabins, along with a number of amenities. While the other campgrounds appeared to be little more than gravel parking lots, this KOA has trees and nice landscaping. The layout was good for big rigs, with wide and solid interior gravel roads and sites.

Our gravel pull-through site was hard-packed and perfectly level. It was fully long enough for bus and vehicles, and included a picnic table, fire ring and full hook ups (50 amp electric) including a very decent cable TV hookup. We couldn’t get many over the air channels way out there, but between the cable TV and our satellite Direct TV, we had all the channels we needed. We were escorted to our site by staff, which is typical for KOA. They did not provide daily trash pick up, but the dumpsters weren’t far away.

One note about the water:  I found it to be extremely hard with a very high mineral content. It was hard to create suds in the shower, the water was so hard. I didn’t like the taste (and it didn’t altogether agree with me), so I ended up drinking bottled water for the most part. YMMV

In these COVID days, the pool was closed/drained and gas community fire pit was turned off. The main men’s bathhouse was being renovated during our stay, but the central bath house was open, which provided several individual bathroom units. The main women’s bath house facility was open and functioned fine, but was a little tired looking. Perhaps that will be next on the list for renovation during the off-season. The playground, horseshoe pits and basketball court were accessible, but I didn’t see anyone playing at them. (The campground was only lightly occupied during our stay, even during the weekends.) There is also a dog run area. 

The campground smokes BBQ on site to supply their small restaurant. Due to COVID, the dine-in area was not available, but they would deliver full BBQ dinners right to your door. During our short stay, we didn’t take advantage of this option, but other reviewers rave about the food. We were too busy stuffing our face with New Mexico food from a delightful food truck (El Charro) in Carlsbad to go anywhere else!

The KOA is located about 20 minutes north of Carlsbad, and about a half hour from the entrance to Carlsbad Cavern National Park. Shopping and dining options can be found in Carlsbad. After my ValueCard discount and cashing in some points, our cost was a moderate $49/night.

Bottom Line: Great choice near Carlsbad Cavern National Park.

Campground Review: Catherine’s Landing, Hot Springs, AR

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Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Catherine’s Landing
  • Dates of stay: Oct 23-29, 2020
  • Location: 1700 Shady Grove, Rd., Hot Springs, AR 71901
  • Type of campground: Private / Independent
  • Cost: $46.67/night
  • Additional fees: boat/canoe rentals, zip line
  • Stay limit: none
  • Accepts mail / packages: did not ask
  • Cell reception: ATT fair
  • Website: catherineslanding.com
  • Pros: Good location, big rig friendly, FHU
  • Cons: none

Full Review

Catherine’s Landing is a large, private campground full of amenities that is located near the resort town of Hot Springs, Arkansas. The campground has it all:  dog park, disc golf, meeting pavilion, pool, dog wash, even a zipline, along with the customary bath houses and coin laundry facilities. The park appears to be a newer facility, and is well laid out for all rig sizes. The park offers cottages and yurts for rent, in addition to RV and tent sites. The park is also located on Lake Catherine, with waterfront sites, boat ramp, and boat rental concession.

Our back in site offered full hook ups (50 amp electric), cable TV, paved pad and patio area, picnic table, fire ring and charcoal grill. It was long enough to park all of our vehicles. And for a wonder, the paved site was actually level! It’s amazing how many sites we’ve visited that had a paved, concrete site that was NOT level! These guys built it right. Our site was also satellite friendly. Our ATT hot spot worked just OK, slow at times. The campground wifi was unreliable; sometimes fine and sometimes absent. There are just a few over the air channels available, but the cable TV was adequate — a little snowy on some channels, but watchable. The campground staff picks up garbage twice a day, which is always a nice service.

In these COVID days, all check-in paperwork was left on the outside late pick-up board so an inside office visit wasn’t required. The packet included the receipt for our pre-paid fees and a brochure with directions noted to our site. Since we visited off-season, most of the amenities were closed. During non-COVID summers, this place could be a blast. With walking trails, a zip line, boat access to Lake Catherine and more — there’s enough to keep the family busy and happy for days.

We also found staff and guests to be exceptionally friendly. The only issue we had during our stay was a slow-draining sewer connection. We alerted maintenance and it seemed to drain somewhat better the next time we dumped. The sewer connection is a nonthreaded type, which was surprising for a park that seemed otherwise so new and up to date. The cost was a moderate $47/night (at the weekly rate), which is reasonable for all the park offers.

Bottom Line: Great park in the Hot Springs area with a ton of amenities during the summer season.

Campground Review: Anderson/Muncie KOA, Anderson, IN

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  • Name: Anderson/Muncie KOA
  • Dates of stay: September 30 – October 14, 2020
  • Location: 3230 E 75 N, Anderson, IN 46017
  • Type of campground: Private / KOA
  • Cost: $50/night (with discounts)
  • Additional fees: $10 to wash bus
  • Stay limit: none
  • Accepts mail / packages: did not ask
  • Cell reception: ATT adequate
  • Website: koa.com/campgrounds/muncie
  • Pros: Inexpensive, close to family
  • Cons: aging bath house, militantly enforces 5 mph speed limit

Full Review

This is our second stay here at the Anderson/Muncie KOA. Our first was about 18 months ago, you can read that review here. We requested same site as the last time, which the campground was able to accommodate.

Anderson Indiana isn’t exactly known as a tourist mecca, so campgrounds are few in the vicinity. There is a nice State Park in town (Mounds Park) which surprisingly can accommodate our size, but only offers electricity hookup. That works for a week or so, but not for an extended stay. Fortunately, we found this KOA park on the northeast side of town that fit the bill.

I was pleasantly surprised by the big rig friendliness of this older park. Our site was a back-in concrete site with concrete patio, picnic table and fire ring. The electrical box and water spigot is at the rear of the site, far enough away to require virtually all of our electrical cord to reach! The water pressure can be high (up to 100 psi at times), making a water pressure gauge essential. Our Direct TV satellite was unable to lock onto a signal due to an ill-placed tree, but we were able to pick up a fair number of over the air TV channels. We didn’t try the campground wifi, as our ATT hotspot worked adequately. This trip, I was even able to stream Amazon Prime video using our mobile hotspot – wow! That’s better bandwidth than typical.

The campground is pretty, quiet and tidy with expanses of mowed lawn, mature trees and a large pond that served for both fishing and swimming. The leaves were changing during our stay, and the wooded area was really beautiful. The campground provides daily trash pickup from your site, which is always a nice convenience. There is also a club house, small camp store, and playgrounds. Even during this fall shoulder season time, the campground was fairly busy on the weekends. The weekdays had much less occupancy. There appear to be some long-term (year around) residents here, but their sites are well maintained. 

I mentioned last time that the campground workers are quite militant about enforcing the 5 mph speed limit. No one flagged us down to tell us to slow down this time, but we were very careful to creep along slowly during this stay! Ironically, the workers in their golf carts and trucks zip along quite a bit faster that 5 mph but, you know how that goes …..

There are couple of idiosyncrasies here. The shower in the bath house are the “push button” style which stays on for what seemed only seconds at a time. You also can’t adjust the water temperature and the bath house is unheated. I just used my own shower. Also, during our previous stay as a “monthly” renter, we were required to mow our own site’s lawn. We’ve had extended stays at quite a few campgrounds now, and no other place has had that rule! I guess that way they can’t possibly cause any damage to our rig? At least they provided the lawn mower.

Our last stay was 3.5 weeks and we were able to snag a very reasonable monthly rate, which brought our daily rate down to around $33/night. This time, we paid around $50/night for our 15 night stay, which included my ValueKard discount plus I redeemed $50 in points. The rules called for a $5 guest fee, but we had family members popping in and out briefly and were never hassled. We always did our socializing at our family’s homes. Other than mask requirements while in the office, we didn’t notice any impact of COVID to the campground operations or amenities.

Overall, as before, it was a quiet and pleasant stay. It’s not a fancy place, but it does the job. We will likely go back because of the proximity to our families. From a budget perspective, a longer stay is worthwhile if schedules permit.

Bottom Line: A site that works,  near our families.

Campground Review: Markin Glen Campground, Kalamazoo, MI

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  • Name: Markin Glen Campground
  • Dates of stay: 9/25-6/2020
  • Location: 5300 North Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49004
  • Type of campground: County park campground
  • Cost: $32.50/night
  • Additional fees: none
  • Stay limit: unknown
  • Accepts mail / packages: did not ask (unlikely)
  • Cell reception: ATT fair to poor
  • Website: www.kalcounty.com/parks/markinglen
  • Pros: Inexpensive full hook ups
  • Cons: a bit tight to maneuver in spots

Full Review

We had a couple of days to kill between our chassis service at Spartan in Charlotte and Entegra service in Middlebury, IN. Originally, we picked this spot in order to connect with friends in the area. But …. COVID.

The campground itself worked out quite nicely. It’s a fairly small campground of 38 sites, with modern full hookups — complete with 50 amp electric, water AND sewer! That’s unusual for a county park. The electric/water pedestal was wobbly, which was a bit concerning, but it all worked fine. The sewer connection is the non-threaded type so you need a donut adapter or equivalent. We booked the farthest ahead possible (6 months in advance) to get our pick of sites, a pull through paved site at the end of a row. On the aerial photo, it looked to be one of the easiest to get in and out. The site was narrow, so required precision when pulling in. The entrance gate into the park was also quite narrow, but could be navigated with care.

The site was long enough to park our bus and truck, and included a picnic table and beautiful fire ring. It was a bit sloped — why oh why do campgrounds pour unlevel concrete slabs?!  We had to manually adjust our jacks to get approximately level. There was no campground wifi, and our ATT signal wasn’t that hot, so internet was slow and spotty. No cable, but there were a few local over the air channels available and our satellite TV worked fine here. The cost was a quite reasonable $30/night plus tax. Not bad for full hookups!

The campground bath house was clean and decently maintained, but there was only one shower on each side (men and women), so it could get busy. There was also a playground. The county park facilities included a sandy beach and bicycle trails. Jeff rode the mountain bike trails three times and loved them! He said they were not terribly long, but they were “sweet”.

We were there such a short time, we didn’t really explore the area. Since you are directly in Kalamazoo, there are undoubtedly shops and grocery stores nearby.

Bottom Line: Modestly priced FHU county campground with big rig capability.

Campground Review: East Harbor State Park, Lakeside Marblehead, OH

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Campground Review Summary

Full Review

We don’t often stay at State Parks, but this is the rare exception that offers a few campsites with full hook ups AND that are big rig friendly. It’s quite a large campground with 340 electric sites, 160 non electric sites and only 51 full hook up sites. There are only a few sites that something our size can actually maneuver into, so we booked as far out as possible (6 months ahead). We carefully selected a site at the end of a row which gave us just barely enough room to pull in, although we couldn’t help but run over the grass. The main campground roads are wide enough for big rig access.

Our paved pull through site was narrow but long enough to park our vehicles. The full hook ups include 50 amp electric and are located conveniently in the middle of the site. The site also includes a fire ring and picnic table. The sewer hookup is the unthreaded type, though, so you need a donut or equivalent. There is no cable TV hookup and the over the air channels are few, so it was good that our site was satellite friendly! Our AT&T signal worked fine, and the free/open campground wifi was usable when the facility wasn’t busy.

We were in Section A, and the bath house there was clean and functional. My only quibble was the showers were a bit cramped and the flimsy shower curtains allowed water spray to wet down everything in the dressing area. But, the water was hot and plentiful and I didn’t have to keep pushing a button to keep the water on!

The State park is on Lake Erie and has a beach area, camp store, and disc golf course. During our Fall visit, the campground got quite busy on the weekend, but was fairly quiet mid-week. It provides a good location for visiting Cedar Point and Sandusky, and the Put-in-Bay ferry is close by.

Bottom Line: Great little state park with full hook ups, big rig capable if you’re careful with site selection.

Campground Review: Lake Milton / Berlin KOA, Lake Milton, OH

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Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Lake Milton / Berlin KOA
  • Dates of stay: 9/8 -15, 2021
  • Location: 15487 Creed Rd, Lake Milton, OH 44429
  • Type of campground: Private / KOA
  • Cost: $65.86 / night (with ValueKard discount)
  • Additional fees: none
  • Stay limit: none (seasonal)
  • Accepts mail / packages: did not ask
  • Cell reception: ATT good
  • Website: koa.com/campgrounds/lake-milton
  • Pros: Great kids play amenities, nice staff
  • Cons: pricey for the area

Full Review

We booked this at the very last minute due to our Lake Raystown Resort fail. On the campground booking website I selected a 30 amp back in site, because that’s all that showed as available. The next morning, the nice lady at the office called and offered up a 50 amp patio site that would be more suitable for our rig. It cost a bit more, but I was happy to accept. I was impressed at their pro-activity — such a change from the site we just abandoned! As is typical of KOA’s, we were escorted to our site and assisted with backing in.

Our site was extra wide, with plenty of room to park our vehicles beside the bus. The site included a wooden patio platform with patio set, and a fire ring. The gravel site was level, but soft. Our tires and jacks sunk in several inches. The utilities were oddly placed, with the sewer far behind us, and electric/water far to the right, behind the next-door site. Our 50 amp cord barely reached the plug and partially encroached on our neighbor site. The sewer opening was the non-threaded type. No cable TV, but our site was satellite friendly.

Garbage was picked up daily, in the mornings, which is a nice convenience. The bath house is basic, but clean and functional. The only annoyance is that it’s a “push button” type. The water temperature was nice and hot, you just had to push the doggone button every 10 seconds to keep it flowing!

It is apparent that there are a high percentage of seasonal sites here, but they are generally well kept up. It’s a kids mecca – there is an extensive playground and lake with floaties and jumpy things and all manner of kid playthings.  There is also a game room, and a larger lake to play on. The campground offers a number of rentals: carts, bicycles, paddle boats, golf carts, kayaks and canoes. It’s a perfect summer play place for families with children. We were there in September, when school was in session, so it only got relatively busy on the weekends. This campground is closed in the winter, shutting down around Oct 15.

For us, it was a good spot to set for a week. Considering we found it at the last possible moment, we counted ourselves lucky to have it.

Bottom Line: A bit pricey, but serves the purpose. Very nice people.

Campground Review: Country Acres Campground, Gordonville, PA

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Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Country Acres Campground
  • Dates of stay: Aug 22 – Sep 7, 2020
  • Location: 9850 Minyoung Rd, Ravenna, OH 44266
  • Type of campground: Private / Independent
  • Cost: $59.46 /night
  • Additional fees: none
  • Stay limit: 2 weeks limit 
  • Accepts mail / packages: yes
  • Cell reception: ATT good
  • Website: www.countryacrescamping.com
  • Pros: Clean, big rig friendly sites
  • Cons: a little pricey, limited amenities

Full Review

Country Acres offers a lovely campground right in the heart of Pennsylvania Amish Country. A sizeable campground with over 180 sites, only about a dozen are truly big rig friendly with 50 amp full hookups. These are located at the front end of the property with a layout sufficiently roomy for the largest rigs.

Our back in gravel site was level and spacious. We didn’t even need to use leveling blocks at all, for the first time in weeks. Our full hookups (including 50 amp electrical) appeared new and worked perfectly. The sewer drain actually flowed downhill of our rig, which was awesome. The cable TV connection was strong and provided around 75 choice channels.  Being in civilization (for a change), our ATT signal worked well, and the free/open campground wifi also was quite usable. Our site was satellite-friendly as well for our Direct TV.

The campground amenities included a coin laundry, swimming pool, dog run, meeting pavilion and three bath houses. I absolutely loved the bath house nearest us — new, clean, beautifully tiled, and spacious. It was absolutely the nicest bathroom I’d seen since Disney.

The company that owns this campground also owns other motels and businesses in the area. One of their perks is a free bus tour of Amish country, which I highly recommend. (No cost for the tour, but the drivers do work for tips). Due to the length of our stay, we also received coupons for the nearby Bird-in-Hand restaurant for either a free breakfast or $9 off any meal per person. We used it for the lunch buffet, which covered more than half of our check.

The cost wasn’t nominal at nearly $60/night, but it was a flawless stay. The site was great, the bath room was beautiful, the office staff was friendly, and it put us right where we wanted to be. Worth it.

Bottom Line: Great park in a great location.

Campground Review: Lake George RV Park

Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Lake George RV Park
  • Dates of stay: August 14-23, 2020
  • Location: 74 State Rd 149, Lake George, NY 12845
  • Type of campground: Private / Independent
  • Cost: $135/night (weekly rate)
  • Additional fees: none
  • Stay limit: none (closed in winter)
  • Accepts mail / packages: did not ask
  • Cell reception: ATT good
  • Website: www.lakegeorgervpark.com
  • Pros: tons of amenities, nice big rig sites
  • Cons: roads can be tight, very expensive

Full Review

Lake George RV Park is a destination family RV resort with almost too many amenities to list. But here goes: several pools, an onsite water park, fishing pond, bike trails, paddleboats, fitness center, tennis and basketball courts, horse shoes, coin laundry, trading post, cafe, arcades, movie theaters and even a theater with live shows. ALL of these are included in your RV site fees, which for us was a hefty $135/night! That ranks up with one of the most expensive site’s we’ve ever had, including Disney! Due to COVID, some activities and facilities were not available. But even during COVID, a few live theater shows went on, with limited admission, mandatory mask wearing and social distancing.

Our site was a large gravel pull through. The single lane, one-way road was tight getting to our site, but once there, we were able to pull in with no problem. The large site was fully long enough for all of our vehicles, and reasonably level. It was full hookup (50 amp) and included cable TV. It was not satellite friendly though, but there were enough cable channels to serve our needs. The campground wifi was usable for basic needs, as was our ATT hotspot. One nice perk was the daily trash pickup from our site.

Another free perk was trolley transportation around the park. We had our bicycles for transportation, but I could see how a trolley would be nice because the resort is HUGE and hilly.

We went to some of the shows and used the bath house facilities which were modern, clean and nice. You can catch a bike path just outside the RV park which leads to Lake George (the town) 4 or 5 miles away. Just keep in mind that it’s primarily DOWN to the lake so it’s mainly UP back to the RV park. The Outlet Mall shops are only a couple of miles up the road.

If we had young children, this would be a fantastic place to vacation. The water park alone was spectacular for an RV park, let alone the ice cream shop, free paddle boats, and free family-friendly variety shows. We didn’t take advantage of most of this, but seeing happy children at play was very nice.

Bottom Line: Quite expensive, but amenities galore – especially for families with children.

Campground Review: Abel Mountain Campground, Braintree VT

Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Abel Mountain Campground
  • Dates of stay:  8/7-14/20
  • Location: 354 Mobile Acres Road, Braintree, VT 05060
  • Type of campground: Private / Independent
  • Cost: $34.29 / night
  • Additional fees: none
  • Stay limit:  none (closes in winter)
  • Accepts mail / packages: did not ask
  • Cell reception: ATT fair
  • Website: abelmountain.com
  • Pros: moderate price, has big rig sites
  • Cons: bath house closed due to COVID

Full Review

We chose this spot as a park near the Green Mountains. We were given one of their big rig capable sites in a satellite-friendly location. Our enormous back-in grassy site was reasonably level and included full hookups (50 amp electric) and cable TV. Our ATT signal for internet was only fair, The office gave us wifi codes for three devices, but the wifi strength at our location wasn’t workable. We made do with our anemic ATT hotspot. Between the cable TV and our satellite dish, we had plenty of TV to watch. The campground has a number of amenities including a pool, pavilion for activities, basketball park and coin laundry. They also have two bath houses, which were closed for the 2020 season due to COVID. It seems ironic that the pool was open, while the bathrooms were closed. (So, just pee in the pool, my sister quipped on our weekly family Skype call! LOL) We were stuck (once again this year) using our own facilities including our semi-functional shower. Overall, the campground consists of about half seasonal residents and about half are sites for overnight travelers. In normal years, the campground organizes a number of activities and entertainment but — COVID. Of all the campground we visited so far during the pandemic, this was the only campground that called us ahead of time to find out where we were traveling from. Since we had just spent two weeks in a low-incidence area (White Mountains of NH), we were allowed to come. Otherwise they would have cancelled us due to the Vermont traveler quarantine restrictions. The campground suited our needs for our brief week stay, although not having bath house facilities was an inconvenience. In normal years, that wouldn’t be an issue. After our prior campground in New Hampshire, I WAS grateful to have 50 amp electrical service as we experienced some unseasonably hot weather during our stay. Bottom Line: Decent campground for the area, book early if you need a big rig site.