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Old 01-17-2009, 09:35 AM   #1
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Interested, but tentative.

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.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:47 AM   #2
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I've been a tent camper and nature lover forever. I just love woods, hills and water. Campgrounds are a necessary compromise now that we've expanded to an Airstream. But the greatest majority of the time I'll use a state or county park, national forest campground. Very few of those have been tacky but some are more basic than others. People leave town for a weekend and usually go to some fun destinations. I don't know many who go across town to a residential trailer park -- and some of those can get sad. Think 'vacation' or 'weekend destination' and check out those campgrounds. And look at our review section here - http://www.airforums.com/reviews/

It'd be a nice idea to step out of my Safari and be within a block of a really good coffee shop but that's a romanticized view I'm not seeking. I'll seek natural settings but we always unhitch when set up -- the truck gets us into town just fine.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:50 AM   #3
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Yikes Goldilocks --- sorry you've experienced the run-down campgrounds. Where were they located - in the northern part of the state? I ask only because I haven't been north. The ones I visit in central/south are pretty well maintained -- for campgrounds. But, few are located near the action. I'm not certain why, but I'd hedge a bet that it's due to a couple main reasons (purely my opinion): 1) most campers are trying to get away from the action and 2) it would be cost prohibitive to have acreage in the active areas dedicated to a campground. However, I have visited a couple RV courts (dedicated to more permanent type residency) in Palm Beach and Martin Counties that are more central to nice dining and shopping. Can't help with identifying campgrounds outside my part of FL. The one's I visited in the Carolina's were quite primitive - the type I was specifically seeking at the time!
Curious to see what types of campgrounds other's have experienced.
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:58 AM   #4
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Sorry about your disappointments in N. Florida campgrounds, Goldilocks. There are quite a few good ones in the area. But being close to movies, restaurants, etc., is not quite conducive to camping. The idea of camping in my opinion, is to "get away from it all".

Topsail State Park, where we just camped at with many fellow Airstreamers from this forum was close to Destin and Panama City. Jekyll Island Campground is another good one, close to restaurants, but not movies. It is just over the border into GA.

Elie Ray's is a nice one on the Santa Fe River. But nothing close to it, for about 20 miles. A nice place to bring your Airstream AND boat.
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:09 AM   #5
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Most of our camping thus far has been limited to our home state (Ky) and there is a wide variety of surroundings. Some are close to towns and cities and some are not. Regardless, we are trying to get away from the activities and just enjoy the camping experience. The "get away" aspect is the best part for our family.
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:09 AM   #6
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WI Campgrounds

In WI we have many nice campgrounds. For what you are looking for try out Door County. The state park is full in the summer but early spring and late fall it is wide open and nice. Also there are many private campgrounds that are nice as well, Baileys Grove Travel Park and Campground is a good place to hang out. There are a number of towns in the area with good places to eat, things to do etc. I try to avoid any campgrounds that are focused on people who park there for the season, look for campgrounds that have a minimal number of those types of sites.

Door County is just one area of WI there are many others that offer quality camping, check out the WI Dells area as well.

You want a very nice place with lots of action? Go to my favorite place in the world to camp, Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. The campground is a 5 star (the part with 5 point hook ups) right in the middle of the best amusement park in the area. You can walk to nice places to eat, sit on the beach, ride as many coasters as you can take.


In short there are a lot of cool places to go with an Airstream, try it out you can't go wrong. If you don't like it call me I might be interested in buying your Airstream!
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:15 AM   #7
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Rivet A Couple of Alternate Possibilities

It does seem that most are in the country rather than near any action. A couple of exceptions are #1, Pecan Grove in Austin, TX (if you can get in), and a new campground in North Little Rock, AR, Riverside RV Park, right on the Arkansas River across from the Clinton Presidential Library. (City of North Little Rock | Main Page)

Pecan Grove is in a good location in Austin (see barenakedfamily.com ~ Pecan Grove RV Park and notice all the Airstreams), near good dining and there are plenty of other things to do and place to go in Austin. North Little Rock’s Argenta District is near Riverside and Little Rock’s Rivermarket District and the Clinton Library are all served by a trolley system. Memphis is also only a couple of hours away, easy daytrip destination.

LR/NLR has possibilities, but I would recommend Austin for action. We would like to have you visit here, though.
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:23 AM   #8
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Goldilocks,
There are campgrounds out there that run the gambit from state parks which offer limited services to the mega commercial campgrounds that offer just about every amenity one could possibly want. Take a look at Woodalls. Campground web sites are also helpful.

The fanciest campground we have been to has been in Foxboro, MA, Normandy Farms. It was not "near" anything other than Foxboro Stadium, but was close enough to make day trips to Boston, Salem, Plymouth, Newport, RI, and Old Sturbridge Village very easy. The campground has MANY amenities as you will see by the web site. They also have a coffee and pastry cart that comes around in the mornings and a concierge service that makes touring very easy.

A camping resort of the same caliber in New York is the Lake George RV Park. They have a trolley that runs into town for shopping and other cultural activities.

There are campgrounds out there that should suit your fancy, you just have to look for them. It's just too bad your first exposure was less than ideal.

And if you decide on an Airstream don't forget to look into all the Airstream parks scattered across the U.S.A.
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:15 PM   #9
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Here is what you are looking for. The Victoria Park Trailer Camp in downtown Cobourg Ontario.

It is located on the north shore of Lake Ontario, between Victoria Park and the Marina. It is right downtown within walking distance of a beautiful park, beach, swimming pool, shopping, restaurants, everything you need.


Town of Cobourg - Victoria Park Camp Ground

For a more traditional camping experience I recommend the Cobourg East Campground.

Cobourg East Campground - Home Page

It is about 10 miles from Cobourg on a good paved hiway. In a well maintained but "woodsy" setting.
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
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.
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.
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:26 PM   #11
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There is something going on in Cobourg nearly every weekend in the summer and fall such as,Bluegrass Festival, Craft Fair, Antique Car Show, Highland Games, Agricultural Fair, Volleyball Tournament, Rib Fest etc etc.
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:29 PM   #12
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Interested, but tentative.

Greetings Goldilocks!



In Southwest Wisconsin there are two RV Parks/Campgrounds that I would suggest. The first, and one of my favorites, is Rustic Barn RV Park in Kieler, Wisconsin:
  • Less than 10-minutes to DuBuque, Iowa for excellent shopping, good restaurants, and other fine arts attractions such as theater, museums, etc. The Ice Harbor (on Mississippi River has riverboat cruises some of which feature excellent dinners or luncheons).
  • Less than 20-minutes to Galena, Illinois -- excellent destination for antiquing (100s of shops both small and large), historic mansions including President Grant's home (open for tours on a regular schedule), many unique restaruants and bistros), a number of entertainment options.
  • Dickeyville is less than 10-minutes away where the Grotto is a must-see. There are also several interesting antique shops in Dickeyville.
  • Less than 30 minutes to Mineral Point, Wisconsin where you will find buildings rich in history as well as excellent restaurants and bistros. In addition, the Mineral Point City Band performs on a regular basis during the summer offering quality local entertainment. The Grundy House Museum is a must see as well as Shake Rag Street. Several of the local restaurants feature Cornish Pasty which is a real treat and quite filling.
My second choice in Southwest Wisconsin would be the Governor Dodge State Park in Dodgeville, Wisconsin:
  • The largest employer in Dodgeville is Lands End, and they operate an inlet store that often has excellent bargains.
  • The Don Q Inn located just minutes from the park is an interesting place to eat with quirky museum assembled by the original owners.
  • Just a short drive of about 20-minutes (North) takes you to Spring Green, Wisconsin where you will find:
    • Player's Theater -- offers excellent live performance on a regular schedule throughout the summer.
    • Frank Lloyd Wright Visitors Center and Taliesin -- world renowned for architectural history.
    • House on the Rock -- to fully examine this attraction, budget at least half a day -- its collection mechanical music boxes is a must see, as are most of the other collections -- bring comfortable walking shoes as this is a walking intensive sight.
  • Just a short drive of about 20-minutes (West) takes you to the town of Montfort where you will find:
    • The Montfort Wind Farm -- located along US 18, this is a must see photo opportunity.
    • Rural Route 1 Popcorn -- factory store -- located along US 18, is a must see for anyone who likes gourmet popcorn and flavored popcorns of many varieties. The store also features souvenirs as well as books of local interest.
There are many other similar examples throughout the state. I once lived in Grant County Wisconsin so the counties where these two parks are located were home territory for me. The City of Madison is less than one hour from Dodgeville and only a bit further from Kieler. Wisconsin Dells is only about 90-minutes from Dodgeville or about 2 hours 15-minutes from Kieler. Something else to keep in mind for the Summer of 2009 is that the WBCCI International Rally will be held in Madison from June 25 through July 5.

Kevin
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:05 PM   #13
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My second choice in Southwest Wisconsin would be the Governor Dodge State Park in Dodgeville, Wisconsin....
Good call Kevin. Our daughter lives in Madison and Governor Dodge is enough of a draw that we'll dedicate extra time to stay there. About 20 minutes south is the little arts community in Mineral Point -- nice pottery & other art; good brewpub restaurant. Don Q was having a bankruptcy auction in Sept when we stayed at Gov Dodge; it looks like it's still in operation judging from web presence.

Madison is a great little city if you do your homework. Many good non-chain restaurants. The best Saturday AM farmers' market! We've stayed half a dozen times at Lake Farm campground 10 minutes from downtown. I've recently heard good things about Token Creek and will probably stay there next time. Park List - Dane County Parks Department
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:33 AM   #14
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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.
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