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Old 07-05-2006, 08:20 PM   #1
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hotLAVA's Avatar
1979 Argosy Minuet 7.3 Metre
Wilmington , Illinois
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 137
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This place sounds great!?!?

I have a question I'll ask before I tell my story, can anyone recommend a service or guide that accurately describes a nice safe campground in an unfamiliar area?

Now my story (read on if you wish)
The Local chamber of commerce in some town, somewhere highly recommended a nice place for us to camp and handed me a 3 fold thingy that described: Beautiful scenery, swimming lake with beach, 5 playgrounds, wooded sites, abundant wildlife, clean hot showers, full hookups, boat rentals, etc. etc. Reasonably priced at just over $20, We were there! I called for directions, pulled into the place, looked left, looked right, pulled out.

I have learned, after a lifetime of camping, that what looks good on paper isn't always that great in real life. I have camped in some pretty spectacular sounding campgrounds wishing I had a bulletproof vest. I always wish that a chain camping operation, ie. KOA, or service, ie. Passport America would have standards that all were forced into maintaining so that the people coming in at least know what they can expect. However, I can tell you a fun KOA story that involved an overgrown mini-golf course and a wasp attack - ouchee-wa-wa! They lost their credibility with me. Passport America - though I found a very nice, well maintained campground through them, is a bit deceptive in their "member pricing"- therefore, credibility gone. And though I've never used Good Sam, I've stayed in some places that had Good Sam stickers on their front doors that had me asking, what's so good about it, Sam?

We're not hard to please, though it may sound that way. We always choose a State Park, but availability seems to be more and more of a problem and we're not the types to think months ahead to reserve leaving us with the private campground our only option. I prefer a campground that lacks amenities to one that boasts amenities that turn out to be unsafe, run down, infested with wasps - or better yet,a fee to use. One campground wanted $3 a person to use their swimming swamp, then .25/10 minutes to use their shower.

So if anyone knows of a website, service, etc. that you find honest and helpful, I would love to hear about it!

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Old 07-05-2006, 08:29 PM   #2
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1984 28' Funeral Coach
Belleview , Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,635
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Well said Lava! This is the time of year that takes me to some of the biggest surprises. I'm off to Aiken / N. Augusta tomorrow and staying in a new RV park unknown to me. My sense of adventure and need of only a plug in and a shower makes my expectations short. As I travel alone I also don't have to please anyone else.
As we're doing S. Oregon/N. Calif. the end of the month I can simpathize with your booking woes with state parks... we're not staying in the places we'd like but will get by just fine.
So many guides are advertising at it's finest, not accurate representations of what is actually there.

Glen Coombe AIR #8416
1984 28' Funeral Coach
Former Rolling Showroom & PuttLab (now party bus)
"I'm not an expert. But I did sleep in an Airstream last night."
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Old 07-05-2006, 08:34 PM   #3
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Colfax , North Carolina
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Posts: 20,713
Click on the blue tab above, at the top of your screen, marked "campgrounds". You will find a list of campgrounds recommended by forum members.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 07-09-2006, 07:48 AM   #4
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While the campgrounds listing on this site are excellent, they are still growing. Here is a site that has been around for a while and I have found their reviews to be more accurate than any of the published guides....
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Old 07-09-2006, 08:35 AM   #5
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1994 30' Excella
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Milwaukee , Wisconsin
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The guide we use is called the State Park listing for whatever state we are in. We have never had a bad experience in a state park summer or winter. There were a few close calls but the rangers quickly took care of the situation. Granted these facilities may not have all of the amenities some people are looking for but one state park in Kentucky even had an 18 hole golf course at our door. Perfect for you Glen! Another one here in Wisconsin has an Olympic size swimming pool equipped with a lift for the disabled. In Georgia we found washers and dryers, cable TV and free fire wood. Ohio patrols the parks in knee deep snow and in Iowa they are so friendly they will will try and park your rig for you. By the way since you are from Illinois you have some wonderful state parks in your backyard, we rate your parks right at the top. Many weekends when we can not get into one of our parks we will drive down and take advantage of one of yours, since it seems most of the people in our parks are from Illinois. We love Kankakee, Perot, White Pines, you have so much to offer in your state.
Granted we have not been to all fifty states but in the ones we have been in we have not found a bad state park. The topper to all is that the cost is usually less than a private campground even after we buy an annual sticker.
Chaplain Kent
2015 Coachman Freedom Express 19RBS, Chummy IV- Ford Excursion- 7.3 Turbo-diesel
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Old 07-09-2006, 08:58 AM   #6
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1967 30' Sovereign
1999 31' Land Yacht
Bosque Farms , New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,620
It's always kind of hard. We generally chose the area rather than the park since we'll be spending the vast bulk of the time doing off-site exploring, hiking, whatever. Basically, the park is a place to park.

Even so, the park where we parked at Tusayan (GC) wasn't exactly the winner (insert horror story here). Others were ok; others still were great.

WBCCI 21043
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Old 07-09-2006, 12:17 PM   #7
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1963 16' Bambi
Yreka , California
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,912
I think we have all discovered this issue... I have found usually the "commercial" (privately owned) parks are more expensive, and although they have laundry facilities, power, etc. they are ALWAYS noisy, filled with icky huge yard lights, and usually allow barking dogs and noisy children. Not to mention they never have full grown trees and you are just a cut above a WalMart parking lot when it comes to how close you are to your neighbor... (sounds pretty grumpy, huh!)

We go with the state and national parks as much as we can. Otherwise we try hard to have several choices in an area (via looking in all the books, etc.) and head into one early to obtain a camping spot. That way, when we arrive if we decide it isn't for us we have time to travel a bit. I have found you can obtain reservations with your cell phone a good portion of the time while on the road. I even got spots at Yellowstone in July about 4 hours before arrival last summer!

If you prefer to make reservations in advance, then it is either luck of the draw, or you have been there before! However, I think the recommendations here by people who have actually camped at these spots give a much better chance of finding what you like!

Good luck.

Mrs. NorCal Bambi (traveling in S Tardis)

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