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Old 05-26-2009, 01:08 AM   #1
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Three Day Weekends - Gotta be a Better Way

So I stayed in my normal condo campground this weekend and it filled to capacity as is normal for a three day holiday weekend.

Surrounded by people who think grilling requires at least 2 gallons of charcoal starter. Children with roller skates, roller blades, skateboards, scooters, bicycles... The kids were noisy, but went to bed early unlike the parents.

Amateur campers who instead of getting away from it all, brought it all with them! I swear the people next to me brought two motorcycles, a golf cart, a boat, a grill which could have roasted an ox, and twelve, count em TWELVE lawn chairs! They then proceeded to set up three lighted plastic palm trees, canopy lights, rope lights under the RV - all of which remained on all night. Oh, and it rained most of the weekend.

So - I would have been happier and more at peace in the dreaded Walmart parking lot. In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, As God is my witness I'll never spend another 3 day weekend in a commercial campground.

Anyone got better alternatives though? Where won't it be crowded on a holiday weekend. Did anyone in Virginia go to the Virginia Highland Haven? What about the Airstream only camp in NJ? Any good state parks?

Save me! Paula
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:07 AM   #2
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Don't know what there might be near you, Paula, but this weekend, the "Dreamer" family towed our little Airstream over to a Provincial Park in Canada (Pinery). It was apparently NOT a holiday weekend in Canada, so there were lots of spots available. (We did stay in a "no hookups" section, so we were mostly with tenters, though by accident got a pull-through trailer site.) Lots of trees, brush and hills here, so from our site, we could only see part of the sites of two other groups, and doing that took an effort. And the park was very quiet (they've got strict "quiet rules"). No Ox roasting, no loud booze parties, no neon lights ... only ever saw four other people on the miles of Lake Huron beach. The Park's 6,500 acres seem to spread folks out so no one's too close. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

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Old 05-26-2009, 06:17 AM   #3
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I know what you mean about commercial campgrounds (especially on holiday weekends). Even the state parks in our area are packed and not very relaxing on long holiday weekends. We spent a Labor Day weekend at the NJ Airstream park and it was quiet and very relaxing. Virginia Highland Haven is also another park off the beaten path. The surroundings are beautiful, the people are very friendly, and park is very quiet. We just got back from our leased site at Penn Wood and even though one of the lease holders was hosting a rally for his S.O.B. friends it was still much more relaxing than a crowded commercial campground.
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:17 AM   #4
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Three Day Weekends - Gotta be a Better Way

Greetings Paula!

Too bad you aren't closer to the Midwest group. We had a wonderful Forums get-to-gether at Whittington Woods Campground, a commercial park in far Southern Illinois near Sesser and Benton. The park was busy, but not filled and while there were many young people there weren't any motor cycles, scooters, inline skates, etc. -- just a few bicycles on the park roads. This has been one of the most relaxing holiday weekends that I have had in recent memory.

Kevin D. Allen
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:25 AM   #5
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Have you wandered out to WV? There's a little more elbow room... though some of the neighbor issues can be more... interesting.
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:52 AM   #6
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We looked foward to our retirement 3 years ago so that we could enjoy the week day travel and camping. It has been good. In fact with the rallies that we attend as we arrive 2 - 3 days ahead and the same after. However, we try to accommodate the work and school schedules of our daughter and her husband and our grandsons to sometimes join us. Again we are awaiting them at the campsite and wave goodbye at camping's end. Camping is for fun and the downsides of crowded parks is unfortunate but we try to avoid parks that don't have limits on capacity and 'reasonable' party times. Those of you who have our travel time flexibility have the interesting observance of the arrivals of the masses, their frantic efforts to have a good time, and subseqent rushed departures. Lynn and I are amazed to realize that we once were part of that ritual.
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:52 AM   #7
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Took the boat out, tied up to an island and stayed there. Could get away from all the skaters, motor cyclists, golf carters, etc. It was very pleasant, quiet, and we were able to watch the wildlife. I agree, the state parks around here are very crowded on holiday weekends.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:11 AM   #8
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You're absolutely right, this last weekend was a madhouse. We had a major mountain biking (downhill, x-country) event here in Angel Fire, so we were literally neck-deep in tents, pop-ups, and some RVs. Fortunately, we've found that these bikers generally wear themselves out on the mountain, so when they return here in the afternoon, they're dead tired, and they have to be up early the next morning for the next round of races.

The biking families arrived here over a two/three day period late last week, so we gradually filled up. What was interesting was yesterday: We started the day still chock-full of people. By late afternoon, we were practically empty.

So now we're down to just a small group. Nice and comfortable. (As a friend of ours pointed out, we're enjoying retirement too much.)

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Old 05-26-2009, 11:30 AM   #9
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We find that the best place for relaxing on any holiday weekend is our own home. Our state parks and national forests get full and unpleasant even on regular weekends. We are fortunate to have occasional work flexibility for weekday travel. We like to arrive on Mondays when parks are empty and be out of there by Friday mornings when the beauty and peacefulness disappears in a mass of campers.
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:07 PM   #10
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We try to steer clear of ALL parks on these three weekends, but this past weekend we just HAD to get out so we did our best to ignore all the ruckus (beach volleyball until 1:30 am, noisy neighbors until well after midnight, LOUD neighbors who started yelling at each other at 5:30 am, etc,).
We had a good time nonetheless and look forward to a quieter weekend this time.
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Old 05-26-2009, 02:18 PM   #11
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We head up North for Memorial day weekend. It's typically still chilly enough to keep the major rif-raf out of the northern state parks here. We never venture out over 4th of July though - to many idiots out doing thier once a year camping with the family and friends. So, we had a nice relaxing, quiet, 3 day weekend. I will also say that Provincial Parks in Cananda are really quiet up through the end of June as they typically have school still in session until then.

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Old 05-26-2009, 03:36 PM   #12
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Being a fellow Virginian, I share your pain. We didn't even bother to go out this past weekend because of the hoards.

In addition to the private campgrounds, the Virginia State and National Parks overflow, starting on Thursdays. Late comers are out of luck unless they have reservations.

I've even gone to remote National Forest CGs here in VA with no hookups or ammenities, other than it's beauty, and it's maxed out. Lot's of contractor generators.

Are there too few campgrounds for the recreational masses? I don't know! But one thing I can count on, even in the summer time, when Sunday (or holiday Monday) afternoon rolls around the campgrounds get desolate. That's when I start my camping trips, with the best site and no neighbors during the week.

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Old 05-26-2009, 06:52 PM   #13
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I believe I would have preferred a noisey campground weekend,than cutting out the belly pan and frame work on my GT,oh the fun of restoring.Dave
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:04 PM   #14
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State Parks are a much better bet for long weekends as long as you are experienced with boondocking, or at least ok with electrical only hookups. We are luck to have several great State Parks within 2-hour drive from home, with one our favorites being French Creek State Park. As always, we scout out the campsites during our first visit to mark-up the campground map -- noting the best most secluded sites.

We often mix basic camping with a full service campground when going for a week or more. For example, we are hitting Assateague Island for a few days of boondocking, followed by a few days at Frontier Town (Ocean City MD) -- kinda a place Chevy Chase would take his family if he were lucky enough to won an Airstreams.

But..... definitely we stay away from the commercial places on the holiday weekends (we just stayed at Knoebles the week before Memorial Day weekend -- with about 20 or our luniatic friends).

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Old 05-26-2009, 08:26 PM   #15
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I never have to leave home....avoid the crowds.

I love to travel but hate the Camps you describe. Its nice to come back to the solitude. Maybe we could have an Airstream type get together here. Its only a mile or so to one of the largest lakes in Texas...and very few boats use it. Get Steve to set up one of his shindigs.
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:29 PM   #16
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Last year we spent Labor Day weekend at a local state park, it was a mess. The campground is made up of 8 space loops which works very well if everyone has one camper and one vehicle. A family from another state had 4 campers, 4 boats and 8 vehicles... They made no effort to even move when we were trying to pull through until I finally had to say " something's gonna move!". I don't mind the crowds, if people would just follow the rules, one camper, one vehicle, observe quiet hours, keep your area clean.....this should be just good common sense. I know, I know...after 15 years in public education I should know better.

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Old 05-26-2009, 10:45 PM   #17
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Here's my perspective - both my wife and I were fortunate that our parents loved to camp when we were kids. I think some people thought it was because they didn't want to spend the money on motels but in reality it was great fun, weiner roasts, fishing the creeks behind the campsite, meeting camp ground friends, learning about nature. It really added a lot to our lives growing up and something we've continued to do all our adult lives. But the campers were different then for the most part. I suspect some of it had to do with the fact that a lot of the parents had been through the war and understood clearly that each person has a right to their own space and common courtesy can go a long ways in making sure that everyone has a good time. Money was tighter so there were not the toys of today that seem to be a necessity for some to have fun out camping.

So last September we were camped in a US Parks CG just south of the border about 50 minutes from home when the Friday rush began. The CG turned from quiet and quaint with deer wandering into our site to a madhouse of noise and everyone going 1,000 miles an hour. What we noticed though was the kids. They were still awed by nature, stopped to stare in wonder at the deer who stayed back quite a ways but would peek out at the craziness, try to feed squirrels and the birds, and for them it wasn't a whole lot different than it was for us. Many of the parents on the other hand were there for a partah, forget the kids, focus on their own fun and games and let the park wardens herd the kids back if they got too far out of bounds. Not all parents, but more than half by a bunch. It was a sad statement of where people are going with their lives that they care more about their own fun than about teaching their children about nature, about good manners, and about being an adult.

Come Monday afternoon there was ourselves, the CG host, and one other couple left. At first we felt lonely it was so completely quite compared to the barrage of noise and activity we'd experienced for 3 days. What we missed were the children part and the few parents who were taking an active part in spending time with them. We wished those ones would come back. The deer, squirrels and birds seemed to know the exact moment to come back out into view and wasted no time checking out all the campsites for left behind goodies. We now know to head out Monday morning, enjoy ourselves till Friday morning, and then use the weekend to wash the trailer at home, restock it for the following trip, and enjoy the quiet around here as all the loud noisy people are out camping.

Barry & Donna
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:30 PM   #18
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We just returned from a long weekend in the Adirondacks, one of the three DEC Campgrounds on our favorite Lake will not be opening this season, another won't open 'til June 25th. All three are primitive with only H2o available. We love them because they seem to attract only the hardcore campers, but I guess we are at the bottom of the totem and the powers that be figger there ain't that many of us so we get wacked first. In 30yrs we can count on one hand the the people that have been a problem. I guess "Dack-Dock'n ain't for everyone...thank God. In five yrs with Cloudsplitter we never been "hooked-up". We found with the Safari that a lot of "full service" grounds can be "full circus."
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:58 PM   #19
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We traveled May Long, first stop Skihist Prov. Park some peop's but overall quite. No problems finding a site. Monday night we got lost ended up 50 k up a dirt road (shook off a few rivits sad to say), to a combination BC and Washinton rec area called Ross Lake/Hozomeen. The park attendent said we were the only campers for the whole mountain! Primative mind you, even the water wasn't potable (boil water advisatory).

Fun part, great display of the 49th parallel, oblisk and tree line. We jumped over the boarder san passport or drivers license just to say we did it!

Took the trailer in the next day for it's check up and repairs.

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Old 05-27-2009, 12:24 AM   #20
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We spent the Memorial Day Weekend at Stone Mountain State Park Campground in Metro Atlanta. Amazing that you can be in what is still considered Metropolitan Atlanta and feel like you are a hundred miles from the City.

The campground was completely full. And Paula, we don't travel lite so yes, we brought most of it with us! We brought the golf cart (St. Mountain is Georgia's only state park that will let you use one, they even rent them, but that would be $159 for the weekend). We put out all three awnings and set up the awning lights, the free standing awning, and the flag in the pol-ez. Then, we set up the satellite dish and it was a good thing because it rained almost the entire weekend! The campground host was very nice when I made the reservation and gave me the last site available for the holiday weekend (way back in February) and that was a new site that had just been added to the loop where about five of the campground host reside so we were in the "quiet zone". We watched movies instead of the laser show on Saturday and Sunday night and my kids got to see "The Long, Long Trailer" for the first time. They were a little mix in their reviews.

We were able to spend Sunday afternoon in the park at the attractions and riding the tram up to the top of the mountain and back before the rains came again. All in all, we had a good weekend given the sogginess of the weekend. It could have been worse, but it could have been better had the weather cooperated.

Oh, did I mention the guy that drove up to the bath house wearing only, and I do mean only, a pair of short paints and got out with his crack showing? Every step he took toward the bath house door revealed another inch of crack. Oh how my eyes hurt!!! It's like looking at a train wreck, how far will they slide before he pulls them back up?
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