The Ultimate Road Trip: THE SILVER SNAIL : A solo woman's full-time RV adventure
Join me at my NEW SITE — Joyrides of America — where you can SUBSCRIBE

Campgrounds
ALABAMA | ARIZONA | ARKANSAS | CALIFORNIA | FLORIDA | GEORGIA | KENTUCKY | LOUISIANA | MAINE | MISSISSIPPI | MONTANA
NEBRASKA | NEW YORK | NORTH CAROLINA | OHIO | OREGON | PENNSYLVANIA | SOUTH CAROLINA | TENNESSEE | TEXAS | VERMONT | WASHINGTON
FLYING J'S | CRACKER BARRELS

Commercial full hook-up campgrounds often have monthly and/or seasonal discounts that are at least half off the nightly rate. Not having full hookups usually means a cheaper daily rate (sometimes even free) and usually lands you in some spectacularly beautiful place away from crowds. Commercial campgrounds in Key West are ridiculously expensive, usually over $100/night for a cramped cement parking lot. Instead, reserve the state parks in the Florida Keys 11 months in advance, the day the reservation window opens at 9:00 am. (I haven't been able to plan that far in advance yet, but would sure like to). Oregon is one of the most RV-friendly, affordable coastal states. Maine, California and Florida can be some of the most expensive. A small trailer is very easy to tow and maneuver and opens up a lot more options for beautiful places to camp. State and federal campgrounds often have maximum size limits. Fancy resort parks sometimes have size minimums.

Read more about choosing a campground: WHERE TO STAY: A Full-time RVer's Perspective

 

ALABAMA


BLAKELY HISTORIC PARK, Mobile
March, 2008
$30/night: full hookup
I wasn't crazy about this place. The campground was far removed from the rest of the park and felt like a construction zone for a housing development, though the sites were certainly spacious enough and offered sewage as well. Not many other campers, too isolated for me, and pricey. I only stayed one night.

 

Shady AcresSHADY ACRES RV PARK, Mobile
May, 2011
$22/night, $130/week: full hookup
Just a few miles away from downtown and on the Dog River, this is a very nice, shady place to stay. The owner is very friendly and takes good care of the place and his guests. You don't have a view of the river, but a short walk will get you there. Across the street is a pleasant neighborhood loop for walking the dog.


UNIVERSITY STATION RV RESORT, Auburn
May, 2011
$30/night: full hookup
It's in the Passport America book, but it's no longer a member. Still, the owner gave me a discount. This place is very large and caters to the college sports crowd. I stayed for an overnight in May, and it was empty. But it fills up during game season. Nice place.

[back to top]

 

ARIZONA


DEAD HORSE RANCH STATE PARK, Cottonwood
May, 2008
$19/night: water and electric or $12/night: just water
Noisy. I guess it's okay for people to use loudspeakers and play karoake into the night, or for church groups to wake up at dawn and use their PA system for the whole park to hear. Other than that, this park was a very fine base to explore Sedona and Jerome, even Flagstaff. Phone and Verizon modem worked.



GRAND CANYON TRAILER VILLAGE, Grand Canyon
May, 2008
$30/night: full hookup
Really nice to be able to walk to the rim of the canyon, but not much character to the place. If you don't need a hookup, the other campgrounds in the park are much much nicer. Phone and Verizon modem worked.

[back to top]


ARKANSAS


LAKE CATHERINE STATE PARK, Hot Springs
March, 2008
$18/night: water & electric
Nice park on a lake with a nice power plant on the far side. I was only here 2 nights, but enjoyed my stay, and it was a short, pleasant drive into downtown Hot Springs. My site was in a little cul-de-sac, on the water, and the neighbors were fun. Clean showers. Cell phone and modem worked. Quiet and friendly, it was mostly occupied by local people with their families on vacation.

[back to top]


CALIFORNIA


ANTHONY CHABOT REGIONAL PARK, Castro Valley
June, 2008
$25/night: full hookup
Nestled in a grove of Eucalyptus trees that I understand are very fragrant, this campground is on the top of a hill overlooking beautiful Lake Chabot. None of the full hookup sites have a view of the lake, but some of the tent sites do - and lots of them would accomodate an RV or trailer. It's a bit of a hike to get down to the lake and up again, but Riley and I loved it. I also loved the miles of mountain bike trails. I wanted to scope this place out as a possible base for exploring San Francisco. It's $11/night cheaper than Olema and can shave a good 15 minutes off the drive into the city, but there is a 10:00 curfew which kills the whole thing and the drive over the East Bay Bridge is always congested. Phone and Verizon card actually worked pretty well up here. They didn't have a problem with me washing my car and trailer here, either.

 


CASINI FAMILY RANCH, Duncans Mills
November, 2008
$25/night: water and electric
Just drove through to scope this place out. It's beautifully tucked away on the edge of the Russian River, surrounded by big rolling hills and gorgeous scenery. Verizon phone and internet would not work so well. Not sure if they have wifi. Great place to get away from it all - not much for convenience or grocery shopping.

 


MALIBU BEACH RV RESORT, Malibu
November, 2008 (Thanksgiving week)
$290/week: water and electric
Beautiful panoramic vista of the ocean. Clifftop above the Pacific Coast Highway, but not much traffic noise. Instead, loud surf pounding all day. Great, easy drive into Santa Monica, Venice, Beverly Hills. Don't think I'd want to stay anywhere else when visiting LA. Quiet, safe, and secure.

 

 

 

 


MOUNTAIN VALLEY AIRPORT RV PARK, Tehachapi
June, 2008
$13/night: no hookups
This place was a nice little surprise, after driving through the desolate Mojave Desert. Good place to stop. Tucked away and quiet, but conveniently located. I pulled in at dusk and left early morning.

 



OLEMA RV RESORT AND CAMPGROUND, Olema
June, 2008
$36/night: full hookup with weekly discount
This was another nice surprise. The online reviews were negative, but for the proximity to Point Reyes and the coast, I enjoyed settling in here for a while. The sites were spacious enough, but not particularly private - they had just finished re-doing the front sites to make them bigger, so the landscaping was still young and didn't offer much buffer between neighbors, but at least you weren't right on top of each other. There are trees and grass throughout the whole park, and the sites in the back are the shadiest, but they aren't full hookups. I loved being able to ride my bike to Inverness and on some trails of Point Reyes without having to get in my car. It's an hour drive to San Francisco, but it's a nice drive on coastal Route 1, or Sir Francis Drake through Fairfax and San Anselmo. Three miles up the road Point Reyes Station offers some restaurants, grocery, and gas. My verizon phone did not work here. I could get a whisper of a signal in Inverness, but the most reliable place for my Verizon phone was to drive down past Stinson Beach and park in one of the clifftop pullouts overlooking the Pacific. Not a bad place for a conference call. The park offers free WiFi and it worked great. Some downers are: 1) they only take cash 2) they have a 2-week limit 3) people drive too fast on the gravel roads and kick up a lot of dust 4) when I came back after leaving, I settled in at a different site, which was supposed to be a full hookup, but the sewage drain was clogged. They knew about it, because my neighbors told them about it when THEY were put there before me, but they put me there anyway.

 


PISMO COAST VILLAGE RV RESORT, Pismo Beach
November, 2008 (Thanksgiving week)
$38/night: full hookup
Nice, clean, well-manicured park on the beach. Easy walking distance to everything. I only stayed here for one night....but it seemed to be adjacent to Pismo State Beach, which also has camping. Wouldn't mind coming back to this area, maybe try the state park. Seemed like a very nice place.

 

 


RIVER BEND RESORT, Forestville
June, 2008
$38/night: water and electric
Small, cramped, crowded, and noisy. But the staff and people there were very friendly. I was going to stay longer, but changed my mind once I arrived and only stayed one night.

 


SAM'S FAMILY SPA HOT WATER RESORT, Palm Springs
December, 2008
$264/week: full hookup
This park is in Desert Hot Springs, about 7 miles north of Palm Springs. It's definately a desert environment (not like Palm Springs, with an absurd display of grass), but Sam's does a really great job with their mineral spring baths and swimming pool area. The central area is beautifully landscaped with palm trees, grassy picnic areas, and a pond stocked with fish and lots of birds. Sites are very spacious, but only a few have much privacy. Nice proximity to Palm Springs, and Joshua Tree National Park.

 

 


SKYLINE WILDERNESS PARK, Napa
November, 2008
$25/night: water and electric
Wonderful place, surrounded by beautiful California hills. Of all the wine valley towns, Napa's probably not the most charming, but this campground is convenient to everywhere and is tucked away so it has a sense of peace and quiet and nature. Couldn't take Riley on the trails. USB modem worked wonderfully. There is Wifi in the park, for a fee. First come first serve. There are a few full-hookp sites, but I think they are a bit crowded. Archery, horseback riding, hiking/biking trails.

[back to top]

 

FLORIDA

* loved it *
ANASTASIA STATE PARK, St. Augustine
February, 2008
$23/night: water & electric
I had site #48 and would request it again when I return. This was a beautiful park: clean and very well maintained. The roads were smooth enough to rollerblade on and the beach was within walking distance. While the park was booked solid at this time of year, it never seemed crowded. The road coming in to the park offered great opportunities to view shorebirds. Every site seemed to offer enough privacy and space, and there was a friendly, neighborly vibe. Within 10 minutes from the historic part of town, this park is ideally situated. From what I learned of other options in the area, this is definately the best place to stay. No dogs allowed on the beach, though. My Verizon USB modem and cell phone worked fairly well here.

 

 

Blackwater River State ParkBLACKWATER RIVER STATE PARK, Holt
May, 2011
$20/night: full hookup
Shady, spacious level sites near a sandy river that makes a good swimming hole. Not too far from I-10, so it's a convenient and peaceful overnight spot. Decent cell coverage.


 


Camper's HolidayCAMPER'S HOLIDAY, Brooksville
January, 2011
$430/month - Full hookups
I really enjoyed my stay here and would come back. The sites don't have much privacy, but they are well-spaced and shady. Each site has a covered tabletop with a cabinet that's good for a grill and supplies. It's a big place, half is for RV's and the other half is for older "park models" - it's big enough to get some decent walking in. There's a lake and a pool and a large community of neighborly guests who stay for the entire season.


 


CHASSAHOWITZKA RIVER CAMPGROUND, Homossassa
January, 2011
$345/month, $150/week, $25/day - Full hookups
This placed looked great! ...but I didn't get a chance to stay. The campground is very close to the river and the sites looked spacious enough when I drove through to scout it out. Great kayaking here - with manatees.

 

COLLIER-SEMINOLE STATE PARK, Naples
April, 2011
$22/night - water + electric
This could be good homebase to explore the Naples area. It tends to have available sites during the peak winter months too, so can be a good bet when looking for an affordable place to camp in southern Florida. I stayed for one night on my way north.

 

Curry Hammock* loved it *
CURRY HAMMOCK STATE PARK, Marathon
March, 2011
$36/night - water + electric
Beautiful campground, site #22 and #9 especially. Sites are nicely maintained, large and many of them are private with a waterview. I stayed in site #22, waterfront. Interior sites are just okay - waterfront sites are grand. Entrance is gated with a keypad.


 


* love love LOVE it *
FORT DESOTO PARK, Tierra Verde
January, 2011
$40-45/night - water and electric
Best place ever, especially the waterfront sites. Many of the sites are very private with your own private beach and "walls" of trees separating the adjoining site. I did not stay here - just came for a visit. Great paved bike trails and fenced dog park. They even have a dog beach. It's close to Pass-A-Grille and St. Pete's Beach, which offer shopping and restaurants.

 


Highlands HammockHIGHLANDS HAMMOCK STATE PARK, Sebring
February, 2011
$22/night - water and electric
Fine place to stay for a few days in the Florida interior. Short trails through the hammock give you a glimpse of the real Florida. No privacy between sites.


 

JOHN PENNEKAMP CORAL REEF STATE PARK, Key Largo
March, 2011
$36/night - full hookup
Narrow, rocky sites with no privacy. Didn't much like it here. Gate with keypad entry. Nice place to kayak and a couple of swim beaches too.

 


Linger LodgeLINGER LODGE, Bradenton
February, 2011
$200/week - full hookup
Interesting "old Florida" vibe here. Riverfront sites are very nice, the others are just okay. The restaurant has live music on the weekends, so it might be pretty noisy if your site is close to it. The restaurant is like a natural history museum with a lot of stuffed animals decorating its interior. Staff are very friendly here and go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable. Dusty roads. They have a kayak launch area.


 

Long Key State ParkLONG KEY STATE PARK, Long Key
March, 2011
$36/night - water + electric
At Long Key, the campground road is locked by a padlock, so every time you leave, you have to get out of your car to unlock and open the gate, then get back in your car to drive through, then get out of your car again to lock the gate. Curry Hammock and John Pennekamp both had keypads. So should Long Key. Other than that, this park is wonderful. Waterfront site in the Keys - how can you go wrong? Keep in mind that the waterfront is not a clean sandy beach - there is a mass of organic sea gunk between you and the crystal clear, shallow water. It's a natural beach. Some people complain about this stuff smelling. Sites are spacious here.


 


Long PointLONG POINT PARK, Melbourne Beach
March, 2011
$30/night - water + electric, waterfront
Grassy sites on an island. Waterfront sites all have a small beach for boat access. Great place, but not much shade and it gets windy.


 

 

LOW KEY HIDEAWAY, Cedar Key
April, 2011
$35/night - full hookup, waterfront
Waterfront sites and a tiki bar that only serves beer. Sites are right on the main road - no driveway. I didn't stay here, but I did visit the Tiki Bar a few times. Great proximity to downtown Cedar Key - easily walkable.

 

 


* loved it *
MANATEE SPRINGS STATE PARK, Chiefland
March, 2008
$16/night: water & electric
Another great campground, this one extra-special because of the wild manatees that visited here. It's also a very popular place for cave-diving, with miles and miles of underwater caves to explore. There is an area where you can swim in the crystal-clear spring and a boardwalk to the Swanee River. There were manatees in the spring everyday I was here, as well as lots of jumping mullet and gar. The campground was sandy with spacious sites, plenty of privacy and shade. Great place. My cellphone and modem did not work here at all, but it was a 15-minute drive into Chiefland where there was a coffeeshop with wifi.

 

 

MIAMI EVERGLADES RESORT, Miami
March, 2011
$40/night - full hookup
For being near Miami, this was a worry-free, relaxing place to stay. Large campground with great open space and paved perimeter trail. It's not urban, but rather surrounded by agriculture - flowers and tree farms. Great laundry facilities. Hot tub and pool.

 


MYAKKA RIVER STATE PARK, Sarasota
February, 2011
$26/night - water and electric
I didn't stay here, just scouted it out. There are two separate camping areas. Both were shady and looked like fine places to stay. Some of Florida's largest alligators reside here. Bring a kayak.

 


RAINBOW COUNTRY RV CAMPGROUND, Cedar Key
April, 2011
$23/night, $285/month - full hookup
You can't beat the price here. I didn't stay, but I did walk around the place to get a feel for it. Seems just fine. Propane on site. Too far from downtown Cedar Key to walk. It's all by itself - nothing around.

 

 

SEBASTIAN INLET STATE PARK, Melbourne Beach
March, 2011
$28/night - water + electric
Sites #36-51, along the back side are the nicest, with grassy sites and mangroves for a backyard...these sites are bigger, and mores spacious with shade trees. If you can't get one of those, Long Point Park just down the road is nicer.

 


ST. ANDREWS STATE PARK, Panama City
March, 2008
$24/night: water & electric
Wasn't crazy about this park. I had a decent waterfront site, but it was more of an "urban" park, being so close to Panama City. Loud and crowded, and not much privacy. It was the peak of Spring Break, and Panama City was crawling with drunken college kids. I only stayed one night.

 



* loved it *
ST. JOE'S PENINSULA STATE PARK, Port St. Joe
February, 2008
$20/night: water & electric
There are two campground loops here, connected by a boardwalk over a marshy area, and I had a site in the loop farthest from the entrance (I forget the name of it). This loop was more shady and seemed more spacious. The other loop seemed more crowded and out in the open, but closer to the beach. Both, however had a boardwalk to the beach. My loop had recently undergone a controlled burn, so there was still a lot of charred vegetation. It's pretty remote, but my cell phone and USB modem just barely worked at my site. It was great here. Spacious, shady, peaceful and very friendly. Port St. Joe's, a 20-minute drive, is the nearest town with gas, groceries, post office and library, but not much of an attraction. It would have been nice to have a boat to be able to go out to the very tip of the wild peninsula, an 8-mile distance. There was also laundry on-site.

 

Sunset IsleSUNSET ISLE RV PARK, Cedar Key
April, 2011
$500/month: full hookup waterfront
Sunset Isle is the best place to stay in Cedar Key, but be aware that you have to pay upfront for your entire stay, and they do not give refunds if you need to change your plans. I had site #2, a beautiful spot under a tree with a dock, but very tight. Loved it during the week, when there weren't many neighbors around. On the weekend, the place fills up and neighbors are very very close. This is not true for all of the sites here, though. They are all different. Run by very friendly people, but they have a terrible reservation/cancellation policy. Easy walk into town.


 

[back to top]

 

GEORGIA

blythe island regional campground
* loved it *
BLYTHE ISLAND REGIONAL PARK CAMPGROUND, Brunswick
December, 2010
$425/month: full hookup
LOVED it here. Spacious sites, lots of trees and shade for privacy and natural beauty. Small inland fresh water lake for swimming and boating, but it's an island, so it's also surrounded by salt water marshes. There's a boat ramp and this is a popular fishing place. With 1,100 acres, it is a destination in itself and there are miles of trails along the salt marsh or inland...but also major fleas and ticks. Verizon worked well, but didn't need my Verizon internet as the park's wifi was great. Very friendly staff. Great laundry facilities and lots of cable tv channels. Large population of very friendly bunnies and squirrels, as well as armadillos, raccoons and deer. There were a handful of nights when the temperature dipped below freezing, and a handful of days when the high temps were in the 70s, but mostly hovered in the 50s during the day. Best place to stay in the Golden Isles region.

 

red top mountain state park
* loved it *
RED TOP MOUNTAIN STATE PARK, Cartersville
December, 2010
$28/night: water and electric
LOVED it here. Many sites are perched on the side of the hill overloking the lake. Since it was off-season, I had my choice of prime sites, and since the leaves had fallen off the trees, there was a wonderful view and a beautiful carpet beneath the trees. There weren't very many other campers, so Harley could safely run off-leash and there was a great sense of peace and tranquility. I stayed here to be near Atlanta, and it was about a 45 minute drive. I was only going to stay for two nights, but stayed longer because it was so pleasant. Verizon worked fine, but it was helpful to have the booster. The gate locks at night, but there is a keypad for campers, so you do not have to get out of your car.

 

Top of Georgia Airstream Park
TOP OF GEORGIA AIRSTREAM PARK, Helen
October-December, 2010
$7/day, $180/month: full hookup

CAUTION: The winter camp hosts are extremely unfriendly and go out of their way to make your stay extremely unpleasant. Stear clear in the winter.

You must be a WBCCI member to stay here, which means you must have an Airstream. At $180/month, you can't beat this price for a full hookup campground. The closest town is Helen, a disneyesque fake Bavarian village, but just beyond that is the town of Cleveland, so it's not too remote. Dahlonega, my favorite North Georgia town, is about 45 minutes away. The park offers wifi, but it's not very good, and many websites are blocked (youtube, facebook, etc). Verizon did not work here at all, but once I got a booster, it worked just fine. It's nestled in the mountains, and there's a creek that runs through the park, so it is very pretty. Lots of great hiking nearby. The local unit owns and runs the place and they have a way about them that may not appeal to most.

[back to top]


KENTUCKY


MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME, Bardstown
October, 2010
$18/night: water & electric
Nice campground next to a golf course. No trails. Very friendly staff. Verizon phone and Mifi worked well. McDonald's down the street has wifi. Good proximity to Lexington, Louisville and the distilleries.

[back to top]


 

LOUISIANA

 

BAYOU SEGNETTE STATE PARK, Westwego
May, 2011
$26/night: water + electric
Drove through to scout it out, but didn't stay. Looked very very nice, but they were working on the levies, so the road in was a messy construction zone. Only a couple shade trees in the whole park. I think site #1025 is the best because it has a tree. When there's no traffic, it's probably about a 20 minute ride into the city. During rush hour, an hour+. There is a ferry nearby, though - so look into that as an option.

 


FONTAINEBLEU STATE PARK, Mandeville
March, 2008
$16/night: water & electric
When I first arrived, I let Riley out of the car. He always sticks close to me, and as I was about to leash him the camp host rudely yelled at me to "get that dog on a leash". Later, I discover that he regularly drives around the park in a very noisy and loud ATV. At 8:00 am park workers with a blaring car radio collected garbage in front of my site. They slammed doors and yelled at each other. No privacy. Sites close together. I can't help but hear the next door neighbors complain into the night about Canadians. I love Canada. My cell phone and modem worked here, but not my favorite place.

 

FRENCH QUARTER RV RESORT
May, 2011
$700/week!!!!! - full hookup, Jazzfest pricing (regularly $69/day)
RV Resort - Not used to RESORTS, so I can't compare this to others. Awesome that it had a hot tub to soothe our aching feet in the jets. Awesome that it had an ice machine for endless cold drinks. Awesome that it was right on the edge of the FQ, within walking distance to a lot of what you might want to do here. Awesome that it had a shuttle to jazzfest. Access from I-10 is very easy - just watch for the signs once you get off since it's tucked way in the back of a parking area. Since it's situated between the French Quarter and Treme, and directly under I-10, it's not really in the best neighborhood, but it's fine. With an 8' high cinder block wall topped with razors, security cameras, and a locked gate, it's got 24/7 security and it feels very safe and secure within the perimeter. We were advised to take cabs, but we preferred to walk (there were 3 of us) - even at 3 in the morning. They are not very flexible if you need to change your reservation.

 

PONTCHARTRAIN LANDING
May, 2011
$250/week, $778/month - full hookup, waterfront
They offer a Passport America discount for seven days...and have a shuttle into town that will get you there in ten minutes. It's situated in an industrial part of town, but it's next to a marina and offers some waterfront sites. I didn't stay, but this is where I will come when I come back to New Orleans.

 

[back to top]

 


MAINE


* loved it *
RECOMPENCE SHORE CAMPGROUND, Freeport
September, 2009
$140/week (off season): water & electric
This is my favorite place to stay near Portland. It's in Wolfe's Neck State Park and the sites are spacious, but there are only a few that offer water and electric. Their waterfront tent sites are beautiful. Verizon worked okay here.



SMUGGLER"S DEN, Southwest Harbor (Mount Desert Island - Acadia NP)
June, 2010
$240/week (off season): full hookup
It was a great idea to stay on the "quiet side" of MDI and this place is great. LOVED being so close to Acadia, and it was nice not to have to deal with the congestion of Bar Harbor, even though I was here before the busy season started. Will definately come back here and stay awhile - off season is superb. Verizon worked just fine.



SUNSET POINT, Harrington
June-July, 2010
$567/month: full hookup
This is a really beautiful campground on a point looking west over Harrington River. Lots of beautiful grassy lawn that the owner meticulously maintains, as well as beautiful grassy trails through the woods on the water's edge. I really loved this campground and my site with a large shade tree and waterfront view, but it was just too far removed from anything except a grocery store. Everything else (hiking trails, Lubec, Acadia) was about an hour's drive. Because of this, it is cheaper than most of the parks around Acadia NP. I went a little stir crazy here for an entire month. Blazing fast wi-fi.

[back to top]


MISSISSIPPI


NATCHEZ STATE PARK, Natchez
March, 2008
$16/night: water & electric
I only stayed here one night, but it was a nice park on a lake and close to Natchez, a small town worth a visit. Clean showers. Friendly neighbors.

[back to top]


MONTANA


JIM and MARY's RV Park, Missoula
July, 2008
$190/week: full hookup
This was a great place to stay with nice green lawns and well-kept, spacious sites. On the outskirts of town, surrounded by rolling Montana hills, it was in good proximity to downtown Missoula and even Glacier National Park. The weather was fantastic too.

[back to top]

 


NEBRASKA


JOHNSON LAKE SRA, Lexington, just off I-80
October, 2008
$15/night: electric only with dump station
Only three other campers here. Beautiful campground on a lake. Leaves were still colorful and falling. Easy access from highway for an overnight. Great place to stop. Verizon phone and internet worked.

[back to top]

 

NEW YORK


MARGARET LEWIS NORRIES STATE PARK, Staatsburg (Hudson River Valley)
July 2010
$15/night: no services
Drove through and didn't stay. It felt creepy because nobody else was there - not a soul - no staff, no campers - just one campsite setup and nobody around. Too isolated on an urban edge in the deep dark woods for me.

 


PEACEFUL VALLEY CAMPGROUND, Downsville (western Catskills)
July 2010
$10/night: no services
Awesomely beautiful valley. On the river. Seasonal renters are directly on the river and have a large plot and riverfront to do with as they please. Huge open grass field - an airstrip, actually. Surrounded by velvety green mountains and just really beautiful and peaceful. I only paid $10 because I didn't hook anything up. Not sure what the hookup rate is. But he said $1600 for the seasonal waterfront sites. Verizon did NOT work. No service at all. So no internet and the campground does not offer wifi. Bathrooms and shower room were very dirty. yuck.

[back to top]

 

NORTH CAROLINA


BEAR CREEK RV PARK, Asheville
November 2010
On a hill, not so bad but sandwiched between highways. I didn't stay, just scouted it out.

 

Campfire Lodgings
CAMPFIRE LODGINGS, Asheville
November 2010
Beautiful! Spectacular view of the Smoky Mountains and French Broad River valley. But you have to get through the snarly woman who runs the place first. Seems like her mission is to turn away customers, instead of invite them. Toni, or Andi - a woman with a boy's name. I didn't stay, just scouted it out.


 

Campfire Lodgings
FRENCH BROAD RIVER CAMPGROUND, Asheville
November 2010
Kinda run-down, but the river is at your doorstep. Loud train across the river during the night - sounds like it's on top of you. Bathrooms have seen better days. I camped here in my truck for one night. Don't think I'd return with my trailer. No turnarounds once you commit to the driveway.



TAPS RV PARK, Asheville
November 2010
Small, across from Arby's. Fine for overnight, if you just want to sleep. Right on 4-lane busy road, no driveway. Near Blue Ridge Parkway. I didn't stay, just scouted it out.


WILSON'S RIVERFRONT RV PARK, Asheville
November 2010
Right next to an off-ramp, sandwiched between two highways and a river. Nearby railroad. Loud, but adjacent to riverfront park and trails. I didn't stay, just scouted it out.

[back to top]

 

OHIO


AIRSTREAM TERRA-PORT, Jackson Center
September, 2008
FREE! ...if your airstream is being serviced, otherwise $10/night honor system: full hookup
Designed as three circles, it's great that Airstream offers this full-hookup place to camp. It's a very easy walk to town. I parked in the back circle, because it felt surrounded by the most open space - a fenced field on one side, but a grassy lawn on the Airstream side. Airstream brings a tractor in the early morning to fetch your trailer, which leaves people hanging out in lawn chairs by their car, or chatting in the customer lounge. Be prepared to talk all things Airstream with your fellow Airstreamers! ...and take the tour.

[back to top]


OREGON


AT RIVERS EDGE RV RESORT, Brookings
July, 2008
$26/night: full hookup - weekly discount
Great friendly staff. Paved, level sites and roads. Being just a mile and a half from Highway 101, the property was private and quiet - right on the river surrounded by forested hills. You go down a narrow, fairly steep driveway to get to the place, which gives it a nice sense of privacy from the rest of the world. The Chetco River is right at your doorstep and there is a nice area on the edge of the campground where Riley could swim in the clear river and be off leash. That is priceless to me. Still, it's all paved and while it's surrounded by nature, the individual sites don't have much in the way of trees, grass, and privacy. Spacious enough, though. And their monthly rates are around $360, which I think is a great deal.

 


BANDON BY THE SEA RV PARK, Bandon
July, 2008
$28/night: full hookup
Terrible parking lot style park. There was a little bit of grass in between the gravel, but mostly not much to look at. This was just a stop-over park. We were hoping to stop at one of the beautiful state parks in the area, but they were all full. None of the commercial RV parks in the Bandon area were anything to write home about - but the state parks! They looked beautiful. It was a Saturday night, so we had to take what we could get.

 


* loved it *
BOICE-COPE COUNTY PARK, Floras Lake, Langlois
July, 2008
$16/night: no hookups, first come first serve
We were lucky enough to get one of the three RV sites with a view of the lake and privacy created by surrounding trees. This is a popular spot for windsurfing on the lake. It's a big lake, separated from the ocean by a narrow strip of dunes. Very beautiful area. Close to Port Orford. The other RV sites are in a clearing with no trees or privacy.

 


CROWN POINT RV, Corbett (outside Portland)
May, 2009
$330/month: full hookup
Nicely situated on the Old Columbia River Highway, and tucked away from the roadside by large trees and a tall wooden fence, this small campground is a secret treasure. I had spent a day scouting out campgrounds in the Portland area that were comfortable and affordable enough to stay for a month, and most of the places around Portland were un appealing - mostly commercial places catering to the big rigs with little nature or privacy. I almost passed this place up, thinking it was TOO rinky-dink, but it was cozy and rustic in the way that I like it, and convenient to the Columbia River Gorge and Portland.

 


DEERWOOD RV PARK, Eugene
April, 2009
$425/month: full hookup
Very nicely maintained park with lots of grass and trees. I got a site in the back, the farthest from the road. Their website says it is quiet, and mostly it is, but there is still some noise from I-5 and Route 58. Great bathrooms, showers and laundry. Spacious sites, but not much privacy between sites. I think there is Wifi here, but you have to pay extra. I used my Verizon modem just fine. Wonderful country backroad to Mt. Pisgah (very close!) and into town. Best place to stay in Eugene.

 


FORT STEVENS STATE PARK, Hammond (10 miles west of Astoria)
October, 2008
$18/night: full hookups
HUGE campground nestled in the trees, so not much sunshine, but beautiful location and great proximity to Astoria and beaches.

 


* loved it *
HARRIS BEACH STATE PARK, Brookings
November, 2008
$18/night: water, electric, cable tv, and beautiful water view
Beautiful coastal park with a handful of sites offering ocean views. Sites are spacious and private, with trees and shrubbery separating your from your neighbor. In the off-season, these are first come first-serve, but during high season, you can make reservations. No sewer hookup on the oceanview sites. If any of the water-view sites happen to be available, here's my notes on each site:

A10: No view at all. Lots of shrubs and trees
A12: Too many trees block the view
A18: The BEST view of the ocean rocks/cliffs to the south (pictured here)
A20: Some trees in the way, but okay
A21: Lots of trees
A22: Lots of trees
A23: Lots of trees
A24: Some trees, but okay
A25: No trees, nice open view, but not many seastacks in view and parking lot in foreground
C1: "Window" view created by surrounding dense trees, facing northerly

 


KAMPERS WEST, Warrenton (near Astoria)
March, 2009
$400/month: full hookup
Conveniently located to Astoria, Seaside and Cannon Beach, but not the greatest place. No privacy between sites at all, but there IS a patch of grass separating each site. Probably the best place for long-term, but if staying less than a month, definately stay at Ft. Stevens State park. Verizon phone and modem worked.

 


RIVERPARK RV RESORT, Grants Pass
July, 2008
$32/night: full hookup
This was a beautiful, small park on the Rogue River. We had site #12, which was spacious and grassy, and right on the river. Riley could swim for his tennis ball right from our site, and we could swim too...but the water was freezing! Wonderful place. Only stayed a couple nights.

 


SEAL ROCKS, Seal Rock (south of Newport)
June, 2009
$510/month: full hookup
Right on Route 101, I had a great view of the Pacific Ocean and easy access to the coastal state park across the road known for its rich tide pools. Very convenient to Newport and Yachats. Very nice park with spcious and private sites.

 


SOUTH BEACH STATE PARK, Newport
October, 2008
$18/night: electric + water
Another huge Oregon campground on the coast, and for the off-season it was surprisingly full. A bit of a walk to the beach. I only stayed here one night.

 


THIELSEN VIEW CAMPGROUND, Diamond Lake (near Crater Lake)
July, 2008
$11/night: no hookups
Mosquitos!!!! Ugh. Great place to camp on Diamond Lake. Sites were nestled in the woods, private and spacious and the proximity to Crater Lake is nice. A different time of year would probably be more enjoyable, as the mosquitos were out in full force and the campground was very nearly full.

 


WHALESHEAD BEACH RESORT, Brookings
August and October, 2008
$400/month + electricity: full hookup
Beautiful location across Hwy 101 from Whaleshead Beach. About 9 miles north of Brookings Harbor, this resort also has privately owned cabins that are available for rent, as well as a beautifully spacious RV park. Each RV site has it's own cedar deck and my favorite site, OL6, was surrounded by a nice green lawn with a wonderful view of the verdant hills and hanging fog. The cable tv was nice, but wifi did not reach my site. I could get it at the restaurant, and if I parked near the office, but speed was sometimes very slow. The best thing about staying here was being able to walk to the beach and coastal trails. Staff was extremely friendly and helpful. Propane was onsite. While the park preserves a nice sense of the natural environment, the sites in Orca Loop were not buried under heavy tree canopies, which was nice for the sunshine as well as not having to worry about falling limbs during storms.

[back to top]

 

PENNSYLVANIA

COOK FOREST STATE PARK, Cooksburg
July, 2010
can't remember the exact price - around $22 for water and electric
Just stopped for the night. Large campground. Has a loop for pet owners. Areas for dogwalking are limited. Level sites. Spacious and easy to get into. Fine for an overnight, but too many dog restrictions.

[back to top]

 

SOUTH CAROLINA


HARDEEVILLE RV PARK, Hardeeville, SC (near Savannah)
January-February, 2008
$10/night: full hookup with cable and wifi, monthly discount
I had investigated every park in the surrounding area of Savannah and settled on Hardeeville for a few reasons. Most parks were around $300/month, so that was not the biggest deciding factor, but it was disheartening to see that most of the parks were not going to be ideal. The Savannah KOA had a very rude staff and the sites were packed in very close together. Tybee Island was twice as expensive and an unpleasant half hour drive out of town (when the traffic was good). Other parks were either trashy or wouldn't allow Riley because he was too big. Hardeeville was spacious and shady, with grass and large trees. Len, the owner was always very friendly and helpful. The park was just a pleasant 10 minute drive into historic Savannah, and there was very little traffic to fight on the Talmadge bridge. I wanted to spend most of my time in Savannah, so the proximity was ideal. The only drawback to this park was that it was on a fairly busy road, and there wasn't a gate or enough foliage to give a sense of security or privacy from the traffic. There were complaints that the night club across the street pumped out loud music and throbbing bass on the weekends, but I hardly heard it. In fact, they were rarely open. Most guests here are long-termers, but i'd recommend it for anybody interested in being close to Savannah for any length of time. There is also laundry on-site. Wi-fi worked well at my site and cable was nice to have.

 


HILTON HEAD HARBOR RV RESORT, Hilton Head, SC
January, 2008
$40/night: full hookup with wifi
As my introduction to RV parks, I'm glad I chose to stay here, but it was pricey and had amenities I didn't need (pool, hot tub). It was beautifully maintained, and some sites were waterfront, with a dock. No complaints at all, except for the price. There was another RV resort on the island, which I checked out, but it seemed more crowded, and for the same price, i liked this place better. All plots are privately owned, so they each have a unique character. The place is very carefully manicured and tended, and has the feel of a suburban development. Each site is spacious, usually with some grass or landscaping and a large cement pad. There is laundry onsite and what looked to be a nice restaurant with water views, but it was closed for the season when I was there. If I wanted to go back to Hilton Head and pay the money, I'd stay here again. I do, however prefer more rustic, natural campgrounds.

 

* loved it *
HUNTING ISLAND STATE PARK, SC
January, 2008
$20/night: water & electric
Loved it here. Spacious, airy, shady campground with a row of waterfront sites. I had waterfront site #49 which actually enabled me to pull through, so that my bedroom windows were facing the water. Gated and locked at night. Visible park rangers throughout the day and evening. This time of year wasn't very crowded, and Riley could run on the miles of beach untethered. The beach was beautiful and just outside my door. The nearby-ish town of Beaufort was a nice place for coffee shops, restaurants, services/provisions and strolling, though the 20-30 minute drive wasn't particularly inspiring. Verizon phone and USB modem worked, but just barely.

[back to top]

 


TENNESSEE


MEMPHIS-GRACELAND RV PARK, Memphis
September, 2008
$37/night: water + electric
This a great place to stop for a quick peak at Graceland, since it is right across the street. It's located behind Heartbreak Hotel on Elvis Presley Boulevard which is a complete eyesore of a boulevard. Hard to imagine that this was once pastoral and beautiful. Graceland is now surrounded by gas stations, donut shops and plain ol' ugliness. This park, however, was nicely tucked behind all that, with a nice park-like setting that included an outdoor pool and a free limo ride to a restaurant down the street. Yeah, it wasn't entirely free since a tip was expected, but because it was just a stopover for me and I didn't unhitch, it was a nice perk.

 

Cove Lake State Park
COVE LAKE STATE PARK, Caryville
October, 2010
$20/night: water + electric
Didn't hook up, just an overnight. Looked like there was only one pull-through, and I nabbed it - right next to a pond. Nice place. Quick and easy access from highway, but far enough away to be quiet and pleasant.

[back to top]


 

TEXAS
NOTE: In 2008, a Texas State Parks pass cost $60 and covers all day use fees for an entire year. Campground fees do not cover day use fees here.


BALMORHEA STATE PARK, Toyahvale
September, 2008
$14/night + $7 day use fee (per person): water and electricity
It pays to have a Texas state parks pass that covers the days use fee. This is a neat park because of the large artesian spring pool. The water is crystal clear, inhabited by a variety of aquatic life, and maintains a temperature of 72-76 degrees. It's got a high-dive, but is also a popular place for snorkeling or scuba diving. Large, decent-enough campground, but not very clean when we were here. Desert environment.

 


BUCKHORN CREEK, Lake o' the Pines - Corps of Engineers Campground
March, 2008
$18/night: water & electric
Stayed here a couple nights on my way to Austin. On a large, beautiful lake, it's a very nice place in the Piney Woods region of Texas. Spacious, shady. Modem and phone worked.

 


LEWISVILLE LAKE PARK, Lewisville
May, 2008
$16/night: water and electric
Reasonable price and nice for a city park. I stayed here while my trailer was being fixed. Some sites have very nice water views. Good place to avoid the congestion of the big city. There was a curfew, though - the gates closed and locked you out at 11:00. Phone and verizon modem worked.

 

 


MCKINNEY FALLS STATE PARK, Austin
March, 2008
$16/night + $4/day use fee: water and electric
Fine city park, but not much character and I didn't feel a sense of neighborliness. Even though it was only 15 minutes from downtown Austin, it felt a world away, which is good for city people who don't want to go far to get the nature experience. I would rather be closer to the energy of Austin, and would try Pecan Grove RV on Barton Springs Road next time. Cell phone and modem worked very well.

 


SANDY LAKE RV, Carrollton
May, 2008
$27/night: full hookup
Only stayed here the one night before I dropped off my trailer at North Dallas RV. Very crowded, cramped, and no sense of fresh air and open space. It had a pool, though. Decided to spend my time at Lewisville Lake instead.

 

* loved it *
SOUTH LLANO RIVER STATE PARK, Junction
April, 2008
$15/night + $2/day use fee: water and electric
In the west Texas hill country, I LOVED it here. Lots of wildlife, beautiful river and peaceful. Popular place for bird-watchers. There are bird blinds setup with water fountains and food, and many different bird species come to eat and frolic there. This place made a birder out of me. Also armadillos, deer, wild turkeys, snakes, rabbits. Very clean, quiet and safe. Regular ranger-led programs, which were really great. Riley could swim in the river daily. i intended for this to be just a one-night stand, but ended up staying for a few weeks while I waited for parts for the Airstream. I could have moved on, but it was too good here. Some very scenic drives in the area as well. Cell phone worked, but poorly. No internet at all, but the library had a great wi-fi connection, and it's only 5 miles away. The sites were beautiful, spacious and private.

[back to top]



VERMONT


EMERALD LAKE STATE PARK, North Dorset
July 2010
$18/night: no services
Heavily wooded - dark and shady on a hilltop. Nice spacious sites typical of many state parks. Beautiful lake down below. No dogs in day use areas (the lake). Verizon worked okay. This was just an overnight stop for me.

[back to top]

 

WASHINGTON

GIG HARBOR RV RESORT, Gig Harbor
May, 2009
(can't remember the price)
I did not stay here - just scouted it out for future visits, since my brother lives in the area. It's a fine place, on a hill. I remember it being a bit pricey for what you get, but the location is very convenient to charming Gig Harbor. Not much privacy between sites.

POINT HUDSON RESORT AND MARINA, Port Townsend
May, 2009
$35/night waterfront full hookup
I did not stay here - just scouted it out for future visits, and it would definately be the place to stay - especially the waterfront sites. The interior sites are okay, but small. Its location can't be beat, on the edge of town and Port Townsend is a beautiful place to visit. Not much privacy between sites.

[back to top]

 


FLYING J's

Cheyenne, Wyoming
Ogden, Utah
LaGrande, Oregon
East Spokane, Washington
Gillette, Wyoming
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Brooksville, FL

[back to top]

 

CRACKER BARREL's

Tyler, Texas
Hammond, Indiana
Clive, Iowa

 

Haven't yet stayed at a WalMart. They are usually too isolated for my comfort, but I'm still open to the option. Flying J's seem to have a have a sense of community and people looking out for each other. They also have designated RV parking. Cracker Barrels also have designated RV parking and are usually in areas that have hotels and other restaurants with well-lit parking lots.

[back to top]

 

Join me at my NEW SITE — Joyrides of America — where you can SUBSCRIBE

 

The Silver Snail
All images and words © Sharon Pieniak
Aluminum PhotosInspired Cocktails The First Snaiil Trail aboutTrailer Life CampgroundsResources The Latest Snail Trail In the MEDIA ADVICE: Ask Sharon The First Snail Trail About CampgroundsTrailer Life Resources The Latest Snail Trail