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Old 01-18-2009, 09:02 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Goldilocks View Post
Wow. Thanks all for the replies. You altered my thinking on this. You reminded me of the new ways to pass the time while RVing (more than just movies or eating out, though that's part of it). I'll bookmark all these places you all talked about. Thanks again.
I think you'll enjoy all the parks mentioned, Goldilocks. There is a rather thick book I have seen (wish I could remember the name, perhaps another member will know what I'm talking about) that lists all the RV spots in North America.

Of course, there are many, but this one is recognized as THE Book. I met the author once, and she told me that she relies on camp users for her ratings. It might be worthwhile investing in that book for when you do get your trailer.

Oh, and Goldilocks, be sure to stay away from the Three Bears' house when you travel. They can get rather grumpy if you eat their porridge or sleep in one of their beds!

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Old 01-18-2009, 09:14 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Goldilocks View Post
Well, my boyfriend and I are still dreaming of buying an airstream, primarily for summer-time travel.

However, as I visit local campgrounds here in central Florida I am rather turned off by them. They mostly are run down, in poor locations, far away from shops, good dining, movie theatres, etc.. Maybe I haven't seen the right ones.

Before committing to buying an RV, we are thinking of first traveling this summer in the north without an RV, and trying to find nice places/campgrounds that compel us to want to join the lifestyle.

We are looking for campgrounds maybe in Wisconsin, or NY, or New England. Just a few examples that, after visiting, will cause the hook to be set, cause us to want to buy an RV and go back there again and again, year after year.

Do such campgrounds exist? Which ones do you recommend for first-timers like us? Which ones in Wisconsin, NY, etc, are guaranteed to be close to movies, restaurants, etc? Places of beauty and nature near to amenities and things to do?

Do such campgrounds exist? Or are they, like the ones I've visited here in FL, all run down, dismal, and far away from the action?

Thanks for any input you might have.
Most of the nicest campgrounds in Florida are in the Keys. Most of the state park Campgrounds are quite nice. The pan handle has many. Fernandina beach is another. I have been to many. You may not have access to it "all". However you will have access to different and interesting scenery.

If you want to be near it all. You can camp from Wal-mart to Wal-mart. This is what I typically do traveling cross country.(Seriously) Most allow it and you can get up in the morning and get whatever you need including limited RV supplies and be on your way.

Michelle TAC MT-0
Sarah, Snowball

Looking for a 1962 Flying Cloud

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Old 01-18-2009, 01:06 PM   #17
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:14 PM   #18
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Goldilocks, I wondered what happened to you. You started another thread a long time ago and then disappeared.

To some degree campgrounds are like motels and hotels—they range from awful to average (middle class perhaps) to luxury. Land prices have a lot to do with where to find things and the cost of accommodations. Hotels get the most use out of the space they occupy and even then downtown hotels can be very expensive. RV parks take a lot of land and as cities and towns expand, the campgrounds sell out to someone who wants to use the land more intensively, and thus campgrounds are usually at the edge of town. Some older ones survive, or may have very narrow spaces. At times we have paid more for the convenience of being close to the action, but with RV campgrounds that is not often an option. It goes with the territory.

I don't know what big book Aage is referring to—there are a couple. We use Woodall's and the AAA campground books. State and federal campgrounds may have been surrounded by development and would bring you closer to restaurants, etc., but generally you have to unhitch and drive to experience downtown things. But, you will have a kitchen! The food is better quality, costs less, and you don't find yourself at a restaurant you really regret. We go to restaurants from time to time (just like at home) either because we need a break or there's a really good restaurant we want to go to and will never have another chance (or we just need a pizza or Chinese food).

And sometimes, in midday, it's a challenge to go a restaurant or see something cool or go to a local museum because of parking the behemoth behind you, but you soon figure out how find those spaces big enough for RV's nearby. And at the end of the day, no bedbugs (unless you bring your own), a comfy bed (though you may want to use a topper on the factory mattress) and you don't have to go out and look for some barely acceptable restaurant within 20 miles. Every trip we've ever taken where we stay in motels, one or more don't have hot water in the morning—and a lukewarm or even lukecool shower does not start the day well. Many beds are terrible and the sheets come out and bunch up. To often the rooms aren't cleaned well even in supposedly decent places.

And sometimes the nearest available campground isn't too good either. But I know I'll have hot water and a comfy bed. I have a decent sized table for my laptop, or to read at, or plan the next day. A lot of motels do not have decent sized tables or desks. I'm more likely to meet interesting people at an RV campground. And, best of all, every couple of days someone tells me what a beautiful trailer I have and sometimes they want a tour.

Keep reading on the Forum so you know what you will be dealing with because the worst thing is not the occasional bad campground, but deciding you made an expensive mistake. And remember, every one who has a complaint (me included) will post on this Forum and sometimes it looks bad and it can scare you away. People without problems don't usually post the absence of problems (try and find a thread "Everything's Fine").

It's definitely a different way to travel, but if you grew up with RV's, motels and hotels would be different. And, always avoid dead end streets!

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Old 01-18-2009, 04:12 PM   #19
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Keep a good campground book available - I read them as if they're the only reading material in our home. There are several of them - Woodalls mentioned above, Frommers (the folks that write lots of travel guides) and Trailer Life's publication. All of them RATE campgrounds but you have to learn to read between the lines. Some places we wouldn't stay are rated higher than others that we really like. Once we've learned to read the evaluations, we know what to look for. We can still get caught on occasion but not very often. Experience is the great teacher. CrawfordGene made some excellent points - shows you what you can learn reading these Forums. We happen to use our AS for traveling because we like sleeping in our own bed and eating our own meals. We're not campers but we enjoy the experience of visiting with others in the campgrounds. It's a great way to travel and see the country. We get to a place, unhitch and use our TV to see the area - visit museums, historical sites of interest, and go to movies and restaurants if we so choose. Travel day means hitching up and pulling out and back on the highway. The best part of all this is the planning - sure helps the winter go by (for those of us living in the snow-belt).
Enjoy whatever you purchase but if you believe most of us on the Forums, why would you purchase anything other than an AS???
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Old 01-18-2009, 05:16 PM   #20
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A note about Frommers. We like their travel books on various states, but the campground book, so-so. They focus on two types of places—high end commercial campgrounds and public lands—state parks, national parks, monuments and Forest Service. Not nearly enough campgrounds because you're not always in a place where Frommer's has reviewed something. They have a section in the back that is little more than a list of other campgrounds and not all that many. The major listing are very thorough and useful, but there aren't enough. The maps are in another section. Thus, not an easy book to use.

When you've got Frommer's, Woodall's, AAA, maps and maybe a few tour books to juggle on your lap, the passenger could get blood clots in their legs from all the weight. Frommer's will not be replaced (unless my wife disagrees, then I will pretend I misspoke). I don't know about Trailer Life. What I don't like about Woodall's is that all of North America in one book is bulky. I could cut it in half and duct tape a cover to each half and maybe I'll do that. Or you can get it in two volumes, or even smaller regions. They're selling the 2009 editions for half price on Woodall's website, but the shipping makes it a less good deal. I've seen it in RV stores for half price, though they are less likely to have the smaller volumes. Amazon doesn't have the 2009 ones yet.

You do have to learn how to interpret the listings. Woodall's gives them "W's"—up to 5, but says they're not ratings, just showing how many amenities they have. One of the most important parts of the listing is how much space the sites have and how many they're crammed into small properties. AAA does have ratings and some information Woodall's may not have. Directions to campgrounds sometimes are incomprehensible and AAA directions tend to be better, but not perfect. Sometimes we use both to figure it out. There have been campgrounds that sounded nice, but we couldn't figure out where they were. It's a function of someone who knows the area writing directions that someone not from there can't understand.

It's getting to be planning time. I've already started improving things, checking things and otherwise itching to go. With the days getting longer, no snow in more than a week and warmer temps (40˚ today), it feels like Spring, though I'm sure that feeling will soon be crushed.

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Old 01-18-2009, 05:44 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by CanoeStream View Post

Thanks that was a great! thread, especially with the map.

ps: I think you may have watched "War Of The Worlds" a few too many times...
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by flyfisher View Post
Most Walmart's will allow you to "camp" in their parking lots. They normally are not run down, and there are often shops, good dining, movie theatres, etc. closeby.

Goldilocks, you could head south, listen to the lions roar, and still be "just minutes away from... the glitter and glamour of Palm
Beach" at Lion Country Safari - KOA - Overview, or visit the county park just off I-95 John Prince Park Campground, both should be nice and close to restaurants and plazas.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:01 AM   #23
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Urban camping

Sorry Goldi, but I have to disagree with you. The first year we owned our trailer, living in Ft. Lauderdale, we found it hard to escape the close proximity to civilization. I have found the state parks in FL to be great camping areas. Check out, plug in your desired metro area that you wish to camp/shop, and you can locate parks nearest to the action.

We have avoided the private/commercial RV parks, but you will find that there are some great state parks close to restaurants, etc, in Orlando, St. Augustine, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Tampa, Ormond Beach...

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