Tag Archives: Campground Review

Campground Review: Trailer Village RV Park, Grand Canyon National Park

Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Trailer Village RV Park
  • Dates of stay: April 15-21, 2021
  • Location: Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim
  • Type of campground: National Park (run by private concession)
  • Cost: $65/night
  • Additional fees: none
  • Stay limit: unknown
  • Accepts mail / packages: did not ask
  • Cell reception: none
  • Website: https://www.visitgrandcanyon.com/trailer-village-rv-park
  • Pros: You’re in the National Park!
  • Cons: pay showers, sloped sites

Full Review

The Grand Canyon South Rim complex includes two campgrounds: Mather Campground and Trailer Village. Mather Campground has no RV hookups and is operated by the National Park Service. Trailer Village offers full hookup sites and is operated by Delaware Parks and Resorts, an authorized concessionaire. This is the first time we have ever been able to camp within a national park! Normally, we’re too big to get in anywhere. But Trailer Village offers big-rig capable sites AND full hookups to boot!

We had seen some worrisome reviews claiming that navigating big rigs into the campground would be problematic (low hanging branches, etc), but we had no problems whatsoever. Our angled pull-through site was paved and more than long enough for the bus. (We had parking room for the truck next to the motorhome) The full hookup utilities (50/30 amp electric, water, sewer) worked flawlessly. We even had cable TV! Our site was open and satellite friendly, so no issues with our DirectTV.

We had essentially zero AT&T cell service, though. Our WeBoost antenna managed to pull in a slow data trickle, enough to receive texts, but not send a text back or make a phone call. For cell service, you have to drive over to the Village area or the Visitor Center. There, we had 4 bars of service.

Just a couple of potential negatives to note. Our site was fairly level front to back, but was sloped to the left. We were able to manually adjust to an acceptable degree, but could not completely get to level. The other item to note is there are no showers within the campground, at all. There are restrooms — old school, but clean and serviceable. For showers, there is a camper services building located between the two campgrounds. That building was closed completely during our stay due to Covid, but normally showers are available ($2.50 for 5 minutes) as well as coin laundry facilities. Since we had full hookups, it was no problem to simply use our own shower and laundry equipment. In normal times, shuttle buses can take you directly from the campground all around the South Rim complex, but most routes were not running during our stay.

But these are minor inconveniences. From the campground, you can hop on paved trails and walk or bike one short mile to the Visitor Center and the Rim Trail. Elk wandered by our rig, calmly grazing on grasses between campers. Infinite stars shone in the night sky.

Priceless.

Bottom Line: A unicorn! Big rig capable, full hookup campground inside a national park!

Campground Review: Rain Spirit RV Resort, Clarkdale, AZ

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    • Name: Rain Spirt RV Resort
  • Dates of stay: March 17 – April 14, 2020
  • Location: 551 South Broadway, Clarkdale AZ 86324
  • Type of campground: Private / Independent
  • Cost: $19.33/night (monthly rate)
  • Additional fees: electric
  • Stay limit: none
  • Accepts mail / packages: yes
  • Cell reception: ATT not so good
  • Website: https://rainspiritrvresort.com
  • Pros: Central location, very affordable, nice and new
  • Cons: none

Full Review

Rain Spirit RV resort didn’t even exist during our last visit, 3 years ago. We stayed nearby at a Thousand Trails facility, and weren’t all that thrilled with it. We thought we might stay at the only campground inside Sedona, but the big rig spots there are extremely limited and anything in Sedona is expensive. We were very happy to find this brand spankin’ new RV park located in the nearby town of Clarkdale.

This RV park is just perfect. Their big rig sites are level, solid, long, and easy to get into. It’s just laid out well. The FHU utilities work perfectly — the sewer is even a downhill run! There’s no cable TV, but you can get a number of over-the-air channels. All of the sites are satellite-friendly. The park itself is located in a lovely setting with hills all around you.

For a small park (53 sites), the amenities are quite nice. There’s a pool, hot tub, small work out room, coin laundry facility, and small lounge with lending book/DVD library. The bath house consists of six spacious individual bathroom units (toilet, sink, shower), which I very much prefer over “dormitory style” bath facilities. They are clean and beautiful.

The only possible negative is the poor internet connectivity in the area. Our ATT hotspot slowed to a crawl, especially in the evenings. The free campground wifi was no better. It’s not a reflection on the park, the data signal just isn’t robust here. Phone and text was fine, email was slow, and something like zoom was completely out of the question.

The park is conveniently located near a number of attractions: Tuzigoot National Monument and Verde Valley railroad is just up the road. Old Town Cottonwood is less than 2 miles. Sedona is a half hour away. You can drive to Jerome in about 15 minutes. Cottonwood can meet all of your shopping needs including grocery, Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

This park is also extremely affordable. Our month-long stay on a big-rig site ran us $540 plus electric. Shorter stays are pricier, but even a month isn’t long enough to explore all this area has to offer.

We’ve already booked our month for next year!

Bottom Line: Great little park, inexpensive and in a great location.

Campground Review: Rincon Country West RV Park, Tucson, AZ

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Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Rincon Country West RV Resort
  • Dates of stay: Nov 17, 2020 – Mar 17, 2021
  • Location: 4555 S. Mission Rd, Tucson AZ 85746
  • Type of campground: Private / Independent / 55 plus
  • Cost: $34/night (seasonal)
  • Additional fees: electricity, high speed internet
  • Stay limit: none
  • Accepts mail / packages: yes
  • Cell reception: ATT good
  • Website: rinconcountry.com
  • Pros: Great amenities and location, nice people
  • Cons: sites can be tight and difficult to maneuver

Full Review

This RV park is typical of 55 plus adult seasonal communities — a large park (more than 1000 sites) with a mix of permanent park models and RV sites. We picked this park for its amenities and location. And the amenities are almost to numerous to list. There are the usual outdoor pickleball courts, shuffleboard, basketball court, bocce ball, horse shoes, tennis, a large pool and two hot tubs. There is an extensive recreation complex with hobby rooms (woodworking, sewing, lapidary, stained glass, ceramics/pottery, ham radio, billiards, card rooms), a library, rec hall and large auditorium. There are are two exercise rooms. There are several pet play areas. There is even an onsite beauty salon! In normal years, the staffed activity office plans a plethora of concerts, activities and mixers as well as help to coordinate the 100 plus clubs and hobby groups. But …. COVID. This year just about everything was cancelled and the indoor facilities closed. It was very sad, because the facilities are absolutely beautiful. Fortunately the laundry and bath house facilities remained open. (The clean, modern bath houses include individual bathroom units with toilet, sink and shower.) A few organized activities, such as frequent food trucks and a weekly Farmer’s Market, were still available.
The only complaint I have about the place is the site layout. It’s understandable that sites are created with park models in mind, rather than RV units, but it makes navigating into the site quite a challenge for a big rig. The layout is different than anyplace else I’ve seen, with a concrete patio placed in the middle of your site. You have a narrow slice on one side to park your rig and a narrow slice on the other side to park your toad. There are palm trees, light poles and sewer outlet obstacles. When the park is full, you are really boxed in! Smaller rigs didn’t have a problem, but it felt really tight for us. Since we plan to return next year, we identified and reserved a site that will be much easier to maneuver into. Otherwise, our site worked just fine. It was reasonably level, hard-packed gravel. We had the usual full hookups (50 amp electric) and a robust cable TV package provided. The free wifi was essentially useless, so we opted to subscribe to a local high speed internet provider through the park phone line system. I got pretty spoiled having high speed internet for a change! Our ATT signal was fine, being in a large-ish city. Getting mail and packages was very convenient here. The onsite mail room provides all seasonal residents with a personal mailbox and accepts USPS packages. Other shippers (Amazon, UPS, FedEx) deliver directly to your site! The RV park is located right next to the Loop, a 100 plus mile paved bicycle trail that is known as one of the best recreational trails in the country. Mountain bike trails are accessible just across the road. Tucson is a moderate size city with lots of activities and amenities. Shopping of all kinds is nearby. It’s an awesome location that draws an active crowd due to its proximity to the trails. Our RV site averaged about $34/night over 4 months. Electricity was extra (metered) and we opted for the luxury of high speed internet. When you added that in, our cost ran about $40/night. It was definitely more expensive than last winter season’s Florida stay (which included electricity and high speed internet). But, we really like this area and the folks here, so it is entirely worth it. In fact, we may winter here for the rest of our RV life. Bottom Line: Great park, awesome people, and it will only get better when COVID restrictions are lifted. We’ll return in November!

Campground Review: Hacienda RV and Rally Resort, Las Cruces, NM

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Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Hacienda RV & Rally Resort
  • Dates of stay: Nov 6-13, 2020
  • Location: 740 Stern Drive, Las Cruces, NM  88005
  • Type of campground: Private / Independent
  • Cost: $55.02 / night 
  • Additional fees: none
  • Stay limit: none
  • Accepts mail / packages: yes
  • Cell reception: ATT good
  • Website:  https://www.haciendarv.com/
  • Pros: Beautiful pull through site, great amenities. 
  • Cons: none

Full Review

This was our second stay at this large, immaculately maintained resort campground. There are other campgrounds in the Las Cruces area, but this is by far the nicest, in my humble opinion.  The cost is a bit higher than some places in the area ($55/ night), but the amenities and location are well worth it. 

The resort sits conveniently off of I-10, but is far enough away that the highway noise is negligible. We chose a pull through site, which was long enough for our rig, toad (parked sideways) and motorcycle. The pull through sites are oriented back to front, meaning that the hook-up sides for every pair face each other. It’s a little tight side to side, but a landscaped fence separates the patio sides, making every site feel a bit more private. We didn’t have a picnic table or fire ring (not enough space), but the gravel site was immaculate, level, and solid as a rock for our heavy jacks. The interior roads are paved and big-rig friendly. You see a lot of large buses here.

One note — the sites are all elevated from the road. You bump over a curb to enter and exit, which creates a bit of a trip hazard. Jeff slipped and twisted his ankle (not badly) while unloading our bikes. It’s just something to watch out for.

Our site was full hook up (50 amp electric, water, sewer) and cable TV. During our last visit, the cable signal was snowy, but this time it was just fine and we used it extensively. Maybe it was just the site we were on last time? Our site was also satellite-friendly for our Direct TV channels.

Our AT&T signal was great and our internet connection worked adequately. The campground offered free wifi, and it worked reasonably well, better than last time. We were nearer the office, which may have helped. The campground info stated that the water pressure was high and advised using a regulator, which was no problem for us since that is our standard practice.

Amenities at the resort  include a workout room, a fabulous hot tub, laundry facility, individual showers, restrooms, covered patio with fireplace, meeting facilities, living room area and gift shop. However, during our COVID-era visit, the beautiful hot tub was fenced and locked, preventing access. The other amenities were secured with card key access and were immaculately clean. Not only did they accept packages, the office diligently called to notify us every time one arrived. For shopping, a super WalMart is literally across the highway with everything you might need.

There are ample activities in the area including the historic town of Mesilla, the Organ Mountains, White Sands National Park, the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum and the city of Las Cruces itself.  Don’t miss the fantastic Farmer’s Market in downtown Las Cruces on Saturday mornings.

Bottom Line: Great resort and a great area. It’s a favorite spot!

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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_5972.jpgSummary

  • 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

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_5960.jpgCampground Review Summary

  • 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.